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Every Thursday I will be bringing you another instalment of my guest series, Money Talks. I’ll be featuring bloggers from all walks of life giving their answers to money-related questions. Hopefully, you will find a new blog to read and learn more about other people online. Money Talks will be live every Thursday and I’ve got some absolutely fantastic bloggers taking part! Hope you enjoy it. If you’re a blogger and want to take part then get in touch. This weeks instalment features Tuppennys Fireplace You can check out the Tuppennys Fireplace website here.
When did you start blogging?
I only started blogging in April but had been thinking about it for some time. We are aiming for early retirement and our goal is now getting closer. I wanted something to help me deal with the transition as it was starting to get scary!
What inspired your blog name?
The Tuppenny comes from the fact that we have managed to save enough on a small budget even though neither of us has earned big bucks. We’ve never paid 40% tax for instance. We saved every spare penny, or tuppence, that we had.
FIRE stands for Financially Independent, Retire Early which has been our ultimate goal for the past 12 years. And we intend to move to a different location on retirement hence it being our FIREplace.
What is your attitude to money – are you a spender or a saver?
Both! I have always tried to save. 12 years ago we decided we wanted to retire early so really ramped up our savings. However, I do love a supermarket bargain, hence why I had to do a money focus month recently as my spending has slowly increased to a level I wasn’t happy with.
What is the best bargain you have ever purchased?
This may sound a little crazy. I withdrew a big chunk of our savings and put it into our pensions in one year to take advantage of the student finance regulations. This gave us 20% extra from the government in our pensions and meant that DD2 got the maximum student loan and grants for three years of her degree course.
She gained nearly £10k in loans, grants and bursaries as a result. We still had to top up her funding as the loan system doesn’t always cover all of a student’s costs. Although in DD2s case it’s more about my mistakes in dealing with her inability to manage her money.
What is the biggest splurge you have ever made?
We bought a camper van a few years ago as we enjoy the outdoor life and camping. Instead of going for a van that had already been converted, we bought one and paid for a brand new fit out. We had great fun in it for a couple of years but then found we weren’t using it enough to warrant it sitting on our drive. Selling it enabled us to put the money into Mr2p’s pension which was a better use for the money.
We would have saved ourselves about £5000 if we hadn’t insisted on a new fit van and been content with a pre-converted one. You live and learn!
If you had £100,000 right now what would you do with it?
I’d love £100,000 right now! I would put £97,000 of it into our new FIREplace fund. This would make a huge difference to the size of garden/land we could afford and give us more choice of location and house when it comes to finding our forever home.
The other £3000 would be to treat ourselves, whether that is a small holiday, a couple of meals out or some DIY projects (we know how to live!).
If you could go back 10 years & give yourself one piece of money related advice what would it be?
Given I am about to hit a big zero birthday I would go back 20 years. 10 years ago I had finally got my financial act together and stopped making most of my financial mistakes. However 20 years ago it was a different matter.
20 years ago I should have invested in the stock market. We had some spare money at this point, not much, and should have been investing for the long term by using the stock market. Instead, we saved into cash ISAs. I did dip my toe in the stock market in 2001 but that was a small lump sum and not repeated until 2008 – lost opportunity there.
What was the last item you purchased?
Ice creams! I’ve been doing a money focus month and kept forgetting to buy ice creams. I refused to pop out to the shop just to buy ice creams even though we’ve had some fab weather. I ended up forgetting them twice much to Mr2p’s disgust. I finally remembered this week. They were yummy!
What is your favourite ever blog post?
It really brings home to me about the choices we all make in how we live our lives and spend our money. We make choices with our money in everything we do whether that is living near family, buying a house rather than renting, having children and driving a car.
How long it takes you to reach retirement depends purely on one factor:
Your savings rate, as a percentage of your take-home pay.
This post reminds me that if I want to stop working I need to be aware of my savings rate and keep my focus.
What is your biggest money regret?
Saving into exclusively cash ISAs for the first 5 years we had some savings. Although it seemed like we were getting a decent return on those savings (4%), in reality, we lost a lot of ground because we weren’t saving into the stock market which increased significantly over the same period. By much more than 4%.
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