We got engaged, bought our little house, married and fell pregnant within one year. I know right? A busy year!
In the same year, Mr T was made redundant due to the recession. Mr T was completely amazing, he was prepared to take on any job to keep us afloat. After working for several agencies in various factory’s and a lot of uncertainty, he was offered a job he loved, which was conveniently a 5-minute walk away from our house.
We went from 2 good salaries, to 1 smaller salary, during a recession, with mortgage to pay and a baby to raise.
We had a tough few years, we were living well below the poverty line, and we lived on chips and beans for what felt like forever, and family and neighbours would invite us for meals or bring us shopping or spare food. We cut back absolutely everything we could, the only ‘luxury’ we had was our telephone line and internet connection (and our mobiles, which we couldn’t cancel, only reduce the package)
We learnt a hard lesson about money, and we were determined to be debt free.
Thing slowly became easier as contracts ended, we could cancel and shop around for better deals. The recession ended and but we still worked our hardest to clear our debts, and 6 years later and 2 more babies later, in 2014 we paid off our last ‘non-mortgage’ debt.
I think the most important thing we learned during that time, was that money doesn’t buy happiness. I am not saying it wasn’t hard, but the hardest part was being organised, researching and planning. Once we were in a routine it was easy, and living simply became second nature.
Last year when we became debt free, we had a few months off. We bought new things, ate whatever food we fancied and didn’t really thinking about what we were spending. Then I checked our finances and we were overdrawn. Overdrawn by hundreds of pounds.
Had we been any happier? No.
Had we made any amazing memories? No.
Had we anything to show for our extravagant spending? No
We worked out, if we took the money we had been saving to pay our debts, and overpaid the mortgage we would be mortgage free in 9 years time, a full 9 years before our mortgage term is up. Meaning our mortgage would be paid before our eldest child finishes high school, and while our youngest is still at primary school.
It means we cant re-plaster our landing or renovate the bathroom. The tiles in our bathroom will stay blue, and only the grout and seal will be replaced, but it also means we will be financially secure, and then we can fulfil our dreams later in life.
Our situation might change, but at least now we have the flexibility to change with it, unlike before when we were buried under all that debt. We have a good balance now.
The children are at the top of our priority at all times, but what they need more than anything is our love, time and attention, not toys, holidays and accessories (although don’t get me wrong, those things are nice!)
This way, they may not have the latest game console when they are 6 years old, but hopefully we will be able to buy them a car, insurance and lessons when they are 18.
We don’t miss the money, because its money we never had to miss, and we still have holidays, days out and treats through careful budgeting.
Sometimes its hard, but we appreciate what we do have more, and we are looking forward to living with financial freedom.