Monday, 30 April 2012

Our sealed pot - meet Fillmore!

This is 'Fillmore' our campervan moneybox!  He's named after the VW campervan in the film Cars which we all love.

I first heard the idea of a sealed pot on the MoneySavingExpert site but it never appealed to me as a way of saving.  Then I started reading SavingForTravel's blog and saw her challenge about putting money away for something special and I thought again about seeing if we could incorporate it into our savings for next year.

I decided that I wanted to keep it separate to the other savings plans we had.  I wanted it to be for something we'd all enjoy and something we might not feel we could splurge on when we're on the road. After a bit of thought we decided we'd all quite like to try kayaking round the coast of Cornwall.  I love the idea of doing adventurous activities, but really they have to involve no heights as James and M are really scared of that kind of thing!

I looked into how much something like that might cost and it looks to be around £120 at least for the four of us.  I'll add some links to the bottom of this post of websites I've found, it needs a little bit more research done, but I have to say I am very excited about the idea of it all.  Spending that much money for a morning or afternoon's activity will certainly not be happening often, if at all, but what a perfect opportunity to give these activities a go.

So, Fillmore gets all our change, any money we find on the ground (roadkill!!), any money that I might have budgeted to spend and not needed to, any money I find in pockets, you get the idea.  I'll open him up in December and see how close we are to the total we need.  He's quite heavy already and I know there are some paper bits in there too, but I have resisted so far in counting it all up!

(just so I don't lose the links I shall shove 'em here!)

Sea Kayaking Cornwall
Cornish Coast Adventures
West Cornwall Adventure

Friday, 27 April 2012

April goal round-up

We're not quite at the end of the month, but today is our last pay day so number crunching day it is!

  • We have 11 months, 2 weeks and 5 days until we go!

  • I have cleared 9 items (9!!!!!) from the house in April with a total amount made of £70.12.  I also managed to get more stuff on ebay last week and most have bids but I'll add those in to next months totals.  So:  9/1000 and £70.12/£1000.  ;o)  Quite a way to go still!

  • Overall at the beginning of April we had £673 saved up and at the end we have £1212 so we nearly doubled our money!

I'm not sure how figures will add up next month.  We've had a minor setback in that I no longer have my job at my dad's shop (long story!).  It wasn't a lot of money coming in but was enough to add up to a decent amount over a year and it's gone now so I need to think about alternative income and ramp up any online money making I can.

I am not mentioning the ticker counting my weight loss ;o)  Maybe next month I can report some good there!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Keep holding on

I came across a fantastic blog today that I will be spending some time reading when I get chance.  But this particular post is lovely and made me think of our own journey to get to where we are at the moment.

At the end of 2011 we'd had plans, not the same as the plans we have now, although if I'm honest I still wanted to do this but hadn't quite worked out how.  Back then we had planned a really big holiday, 3 weeks in the USA to be exact.  I did my normal and spent ages researching and planning and we made a good dent in to saving the money we needed to go.  We got past Christmas and were anxious to book to holiday knowing there would be no going back and then two things happened.  First was that my father in law, who was planning to go with us, decided he'd rather do the trip with J's cousin than us and it would be organised by a travel agent which I didn't want to do.  Then our car broke.  We felt like something was telling us not to go and so we made the decision to cancel our big planned holiday and if I'm honest it was an easy decision and none of us were too bothered by it which was quite surprising!  The car breaking made me realise we were stretching ourselves just a little bit too thin and I could see we'd be in huge amounts of debt when we came back. 

So the big plan changed but it had a huge effect on me.  I felt like a failure.  It brought back memories of all the times I've had big plans and changed them when things didn't feel right.  There were always good reasons - we seemed settled in jobs, money was too tight, we were too scared.  It didn't stop me then feeling like a downright failure though and it was how I felt again at the beginning of the year.

It didn't take us long to decide that we needed to start planning and executing the plan as you now know it, I do always like a plan, but I was still reeling and life was being very unkind.  We had ideas on how to save up enough to do a very basic trip but then more and more we were knocked back.  The new car we had decided to buy broke twice and cost us lots of money.  It was drinking petrol in a way that was costing us way more than we ever imagined just to get J to work never mind let us do any other kind of life living things and when we decided to take the plunge and trade the new car in for a newer model of our old reliable car we lost even more as its mileage wasn't what it should have been.  I cried lots then.  James was also struggling and feeling down every day.  How could we try and do our dream when at the very beginning we just had such huge obstacles?  Finances were key at this point and they were going backwards instead of getting better.  I hadn't told anyone about the idea at this point, and I was glad.  Were we going to give up again? 

James was fantastic and kept reminding me that it wasn't going to be easy and handed on a plate.  I knew this of course, but reassurance is always good.  I used to also go out for walks and just try and get all our finances and thoughts straight in my head.  I started writing my own little diary in a word document, my thoughts were still too precious and unformed to make public.  I also started to look for positive quotes about perseverance and stuck them at the end of each diary post.  This one is my favourite:

Before the rainbow you will have to endure a little rain

I love rainbows so this struck such a chord with me.  We made playlists of feel good music and songs that reminded us of travelling and we listened to them every night.  Then one day I wrote less and less in my private diary and started telling people about the 'adventure'.

All of a sudden things started getting there.  The savings started building to a number that seemed significant.  J's work started to get better and so he was happier.  I had a plan that looked like it would work and I was much much more confident and happy.

I've still no idea if we'll make it to the end of this journey and do the adventure as planned.  Maybe something else will come up, I've no idea really.  But I really do feel like we can do it.  I just need to keep my courage up and not listen to the monsters in my head.

I made a playlist with songs to pick me up when I feel down, but actually didn't manage to find too many songs to put in it.  Up to now, I've never actually needed to listen to it since i made it although I'm sure there will be more downs to come.  One of the songs I love is this one:

Sunday, 15 April 2012

1 year to go! Meeep!

15th April 2013 is our planned leaving date.  I wanted to wait until the school Easter holidays had finished so looking ahead that was the Monday after that.  I'm quite glad we have a planned date, makes it feel real somehow!

So for the next 6 months we'll be saying 'this time next year we'll be doing xyz and this time next year we'll be sat on a beach'.  I may bore people before long ;o)

Crantock Beach Newquay Cornwall

Veor Cove from Carnelloe Cliff Cornwall

Ooh beaches :O)

A year still feels so long away but when I think about clearing the house of all the stuff then I know it will go by soon enough and I'll feel like I want more time!  This will be the hard bit when we're going without and keeping all our money to one side and trying to declutter.  Yawn ;o)

Speaking of which, I made a bit of progress with my crud clearing venture (CCV :o)) and sold 5 things on a home ed buy and sell group.  So that is 5/1000 and £21/£1000 ;o)   I'm laughing at the notion that I have 1000 things I could sell, 1000 bits of rubbish I could throw out maybe, but to sell?  I'm pretty sure I will struggle, but it might be an interesting thing to track!  James is up for doing some car boots (I'm not sure he's *ever* done one in his life!) so we'll try and get one in for maybe June and then another at the end of Summer.  There are a few all year round ones so might fit in a third before we leave the house.  I have lots of local friends who know all about car boot sales round here so I shall have to pick their brains.  Any money we make is going to be extra towards a better campervan and isn't being counted on.  I might even make a page on here with things to sell, which might work if I start plugging the blog and sharing it round.  Something to work on.

Friday, 13 April 2012

10% woohoo!!!!

Today we have reached 10% of our savings goal as per our ticker on the side of the page.  Our rough target is £10,000 and today we went past £1000  in our savings account.  Those people who know will know this is no mean feat for us!  We are people who live each day as it comes and we are not savers at all.  We do have to be for the next year though.

(A thousand pounds?  It's not worth it.  I won't save it.  I'll go the royal mint and print my own money.  Humph!)   (Sorry I've got no head thousand pound sketch if you've never heard of it!  A daft kids programme that is a bit like marmite ;)

In order to start bumping up this total I need to be getting going on removing and selling some of the rubbish in this house.  It needs to be gone anyway for us to leave.  I'm hoping we may be able to store some of our precious things with my parents and also J's dad, but really I want this to be a few boxes not hoards!!   We've been talking with the kids lots about thinking carefully about purchases they might make as we'll need to either get rid of them or store them next year so no point buying huge teddies for example (not looking at anyone here dear daughter!)  It's making me think much more about what I bring into the house too.  But not bringing stuff in is just one side of it, I need to get stuff out!  I was thinking that what would be a good challenge is to sell 1000 things.  In my head this sounds great, 1000 things at say an average of £1 each (my house if full of crud!!) is another £1000.  But then I realised I'd need to sell 100 things a month for the next 10 months - arrrrghhh!  Doesn't sound quite so doable now!  Anyway, I made a start listing some things on a home ed list and hopefully will sell some things there and I stuck a grand total of 3 things on ebay.  Ugh I hate selling on ebay!!!  Needs must though :)

Sunday, 1 April 2012


Keeping the faith and stopping myself getting bored is going to be a big thing for me on the pre-journey part.  I am very fickle, get bored ever so easily and am easily distracted by shiny things.  This is why I know we need to go in 2013 rather than any later.  I know my limits!

So this week has been pretty heavy on inspiration finding.  First off, a friend of mine (who never likes to think of herself as inspirational so I won't say she is as she'll just hate that) has a fab blog over at Wondering Wanderers and she blogged lots from last year when she upped sticks with her family and travelled around the UK in a 30 year old van.  They did lots of wwoofing as they were looking for an alternative lifestyle and wanted to get a taste for it.  They did and they are now off to live on Rum which is an island off the west coast of Scotland.  One part of their trip that I was very jealous about was 6 weeks wild camping round Scotland and I asked Nic if she would give some tips to anyone else planning on wildcamping with a campervan and her post is here.  I loved reading it all and it got me all excited to be doing it!

When I decided on our vague plan I came across another blog which I found incredibly inspirational.  Married with Luggage is the story of 2 people who decided life was too short and went for their dream of travelling the world (only slightly jealous of this!!!).  They sold everything they owned and saved, saved and saved some more to enable them to do 3 or 4 years of travel.  One of their tricks to keep them focussed is to have a map in a prominent position so you can always see what the dream is.  So one of the very first things I did was to get a map of the UK which also has Ireland and stuck it up in our living room. So here it is, I suspect it will one day also have cut out pics of places we want to go stuck round it.

I've been to the library and picked up some Lonely Planet books - I love these and used to have loads of them when I was younger.  I just used to read and dream and read and dream and occasionally I did actually get on a plane and live it too ;)  Books with lots of pics in them, especially of the beaches in the Outer Hebrides are also good as are ferry timetables with prices in so I can crunch numbers to my heart's content!