vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Where are you and where are you going?
George the original one
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by George the original one » Sun Aug 21, 2016 3:44 pm

What a model couple!

Noedig
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by Noedig » Sun Aug 21, 2016 11:28 pm

Hey Vexed, nice to see another UK blogger. Congratulations on settling down.

Having discovered ERE a couple of years back and gone through a stage of extreme enthusiasm for the idea myself, I have settled down into a position where I am more content to spend money the money I have, it's just that my criteria have changed to rule out spending on consumer crap and buying things when cheaper equivalents exist. Hence, bulk buys, home cooking, ebay/gumtree, UK holidays & cheap citibreaks, and an old workhorse diesel car.

As a cycle commuter for thirty years my advice is, have a spare bike for those days when the main one is out of commission. Forgive me if this is dealt with somewhere in your blog, I just have sympathy after I read your "had a bad day" post including the chain down the drain. Special congrats for ditching the car lease, I know that's old news but was a striking marks of a change of course in your life for the better.

I think that a lot of the appeal of ERE to those on this board, is that of control: as INTJ people for the most part, we need to have control.

What I mean is, that fixing things, laying down food for disasters, the feeling of financial security - ERE becomes a rationale for doing what we really wanted to do anyway, a kind of defence-in-depth from the world. My opinion now is that that tendency has to actually be held in check so I don't go to ground and neglect human relationships, or throw time and energy at cost-ineffective tasks unless there's a really good reason (like, finding out if fixing a washing machine is cost-effective!). I'm all for saving the planet and I always try to fix things before ditching them, but sometimes quality goods are so cheap, it just makes no economic sense. If you've spare energy to tinker though, kudos to you.

Congrats on buying an old Mac BTW, after haunting ebay I did same myself, would not swap my Imac 24 for anything. Use it mostly as a PC tho.

Good luck with the journey, and well done for starting a couple of decades younger than I did!

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Viktor K
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by Viktor K » Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:57 am

Hey Vexxed, just caught up on your journal. It's a great read! A lot of stuff I can relate to here! My SO is the "NF" mindset as opposed to yours "SF", but I have the same challenges with getting her on board for stuff! Wishing you luck and congratulations on tying the knot! Keep keeping us posted please! :)

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vexed87
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by vexed87 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:21 am

Thanks all for the lovely comments!
Noedig wrote:As a cycle commuter for thirty years my advice is, have a spare bike for those days when the main one is out of commission....
Not sure if I ever mentioned it in this thread, I probably have elsewhere, but I started out commuting on my Mum's old MTB but the frame was too small and weighs as much as a tank. It was not fun to ride on a 16 mile commute, a proper back-up has been on the cards for some time, but I was waiting for the right bike to present itself, hopefully it just did :)
Noedig wrote:I just have sympathy after I read your "had a bad day" post including the chain down the drain. Special congrats for ditching the car lease, I know that's old news but was a striking marks of a change of course in your life for the better.
Ah that was a bad day but I can look back and laugh now. :lol: Thanks, getting rid of the car was a major turning point for me. Quite symbolic. I don't know what happened, but ERE just clicked for me around about then. I think overcoming the cognitive dissonance that comes with car ownership and wanting to save the earth while saving money really helped spur on lots more positive change at home.
Noedig wrote:I think that a lot of the appeal of ERE to those on this board, is that of control: as INTJ people for the most part, we need to have control.
What I mean is, that fixing things, laying down food for disasters, the feeling of financial security - ERE becomes a rationale for doing what we really wanted to do anyway, a kind of defence-in-depth from the world. My opinion now is that that tendency has to actually be held in check so I don't go to ground and neglect human relationships...
This is something I really need to work on myself, luckily DW is very patient with me, thankfully she sees a lot of the sense in what I am saying and doing, but helps me strike a balance, particularly by encouraging me not to bring it up the pro's of ERE with everyone I meet for the first time, thus avoiding scaring them away and failing to build new relationships. I've calmed myself down a lot in the last 12 months, but there's still some way to go! :)

@Viktor, glad others are getting something out of it and my life isn't too mundane :D

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FBeyer
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by FBeyer » Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:02 am

vexed87 wrote:...
And finally, meet my new fixed speed bike/toy. I picked this up from some guy moving out of the area, 2/3 off retail sticker price, only a few months old. I spotted it on gumtree after toying with the idea of building my own, but as it purpose built and such a bargain, I had to have it. Admittedly, I haven't ridden a fixed gear off the track before, it's slightly disconcerting to not be able to stop pedaling/coast when heading downhill or attempting to stop at speed! I have really enjoyed the challenge of riding this on the local hills, there are a lot of hills around here and pretty steep too. I think riding this regularly will really increase my fitness and eliminate lots of frustration with mechanical issues, who knows. It may become my main steed. It's my new favourite for sure.
Image
...
HA! The single-speed corruption spreads!
I'd never ride a fixed gear, but I have a hard time imagining that I'd ride something that wasn't a single speed ever again. Mechanical issues are long gone with a single speed. Taking the back wheel off and on again is usually a hassle with gears and whatnot; no more!

Muy importante: You should be riding at a somewhat high cadence to avoid trashing your knees. In time you'll figure out the proper gain ratio.

Congratulations on the marriage!

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vexed87
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by vexed87 » Fri Oct 14, 2016 7:54 am

@Fbeyer, I really enjoy riding it, sadly I haven't had as many chances as I would like as there's a couple of issues... the bar tape I bought kept coming off in heavy rain we have here, I think the adhesive has perished. I'll need to source some double-sided tape to keep it in place. Secondly, the gear ratio is way too challenging for the local hills, I thought my fitness would explode exponentially within a few weeks but it appears I'm about as fit as I can get! :lol: A few weeks after riding 2 or 3 times a day I was getting really terrible low back pain and it wasn't getting any easier. I think I was putting way too much strain on my back spinning up those hills. A larger cassette on the back is definitely in order. I think it's got a 16T cassette on there right now, whereas I'd be better off with at least a 18T cassette, maybe even a 20T! I'm shelving that project for now though as winter is approaching. I'll have a new commute route on the horizon with lots of unlit path, I just picked up a cheap shimano dynamo hub and need to buy a new rim and lights and get on with a wheel build so a few large but fun expenses coming up in the transport category :).

October Update:

Big news this month, DW and I have put an offer on a house which has been accepted, we are going through the motions now with the mortgage lender, solicitors and building surveyors. I had heard the process was expensive, sheesh, I wasn't mentally prepared for the ridiculous fees charged! The whole thing could fall apart at any moment too, and we'd lose close to 3 months expenses paid out already! All being well, contracts will be exchanged around Christmas. Luckily for us the house is vacant so there is no chain. It's a 3 bedroom detached victorian house. It's a bit of a project but definitely liveable in the short term. But a project we'll both enjoy. Neither of us have taken anything like this on, so cmonkey, we may be calling you for advice on insulating and dry walling ;)

We are moving about 10 minutes drive away from our current location to a sleepy Yorkshire village. We'll both have slightly longer commutes which is ERE blasphemy, I know, I know! But that the only downside as far as I'm concerned. For me it's still bikeable at 10.5 miles each way, only 3 miles further than I am right now. 6 of those miles are on dedicated country cycle pathways with no cars in sight, hence the lack of street lighting and need for new dynamo setup. There's also public transport to the two nearby cities which we currently lack and a train station 2.4 miles away. The nearest supermarket is less than 3 miles away, there's local pubs, convenience stores and businesses. Our walkscore jumps from 6 to 47... so in that respects it's a step in the right direction! I'll also finally have my own garden space, and a home with working fireplaces in 4 rooms. A dream come true, so long as we exchange contracts.

Financials are not great as you might imagine, I've been saving for the best part of 2 years for this moment, so my net worth is taking a serious hit in the coming weeks, I'm not even going to share it :oops: , but on the plus side, my regular expenses have been super low as I have had to remain extra disciplined about spending to ensure we can cashflow the various fees without eating into our deposit. By the way, if anyone is wondering why I wasn't minted in my previous net worth graphs with deposit savings, I've kept cash savings for the house separate, not sure if I mentioned that. Savings rates into the coming months will probably remain well below 50% as we're going to need to decorate and furnish every room, and we'll need boring stuff like new guttering, garage doors, kitchen and new white goods.

I'm pretty excited to get in and start the renovation work, can't wait to see what the coming year brings.

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cmonkey
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by cmonkey » Fri Oct 14, 2016 8:18 am

I do hope some pics are forthcoming*....DW and I are both in love with British Victorians. :) In fact, I am planning on building what I would consider a Victorian/British garden of sorts once I am done with this renovation. Fully furnished with greenhouses, cold frames, brick walls and paths, arbors, etc... Think Longmeadow. ;)

My only piece of advice would be to not do as much as I have done all in one go! While we have gotten it 'out of the way' it has made life much more stressful in the short run. Feel free to PM me for anything, however.

OTOH, my DIY confidence has now reached a new level that will extend the rest of my life. Not only on the house, but just with everything else. Whereas I had a pre and post marriage life, a pre and post ERE life, I also have a pre and post renovation life, as this event stands up there as 'life-changing' in terms of personal confidence in my ability to accomplish large goals.


Have fun! I remember moving into our first home together, its a very enjoyable time and one you will remember forever.

* maybe a caulking job :lol: ;)

saving-10-years
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by saving-10-years » Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:05 pm

Congrats on getting the offer accepted. Hope it all goes smoothly. Here is some advice which might prove helpful if problems crop up. This happened to us with our first house (Edwardian terraced that used to be a dentists and was in vegetation-on-roof bad repair.

If your mortgage provider asks for certain repairs (removing vegetation from roof and repointing were ones for us) then they will also likely ask you to provide information about costs of repairs.They will then hold back that amount from the agreed mortgage (even when said mortgage is not for the full amount of their valuation). This means that you are short some money and need that same amount to do the repairs. We quoted for all tasks that we could do ourselves as though we were doing them ourselves, so decorating, repointing, removing vegetation ... This meant that they kept back a much smaller amount and we could therefore afford to pay someone for pointing (which is very expensive because its almost all labour). Some friends who, unbeknownst to us, had tried to buy the same house were unable to do so because they supplied tradesmen-sized quotes for all the work and could not then finance the purchase (because of amount held back by mortgage company) as well as paying for the repairs.

Being ERE-types you should have more financial flex than that couple had, but its a frustrating loop to find yourself in. You can also show evidence that you have skills and experience to do the work. (Sorry if this is all obvious).

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vexed87
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by vexed87 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:36 pm

@cmonkey, ah yes, I knew that caulking challenge would come back to haunt me. I have been putting it off, but can't do much longer as my father won't be best pleased if I leave his bathroom with moldy caulking! I've been getting on with woodworking though, so will have some of that to show off in next few weeks while, I'm doing it 100% hand tools and it's slow progress but lots of fun :)

@saving-10-years, great tips, I'm quietly confident that we got the house at a good price because the vendor was desperate to sell up. Hopefully major works that we know need doing won't eat into the property value much, we've also held back a few thousand for the very reasons you point out, but we'll definitely quote the work we can do ourselves at DIY rates, thanks for that!

Noedig
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by Noedig » Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:08 am

Good luck on completing your purchase : an old house in a sleepy country village, a dream for many and achievable it appears for you. Presumably what with the biking and growing your own veg and other idyll-facilitated pursuits, the ERE dream can be brought nearer once again.

BTW, IMHO is good time to get a mortgage in UK. Inflation will rise.

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vexed87
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by vexed87 » Thu Oct 27, 2016 6:45 am

Thanks Noedig, unfortunately the house isn't for us. The survey has come back and the house has major issues, possible rotting structural timbers due to extensive damp, significant issues with tree roots causing movement which makes the house uninsurable in the short term, the roof needs major repairs, including rebuilding of multiple chimney stacks and replacing of flashing and guttering and repointing of brickwork. It really is a beautiful house but it has been neglected to the point that it is beyond what we are prepared to take on and would no doubt turn into a money sink. I can cope with DIY but these issues require experts. We would be probably looking at spending 50k just to get the house up to a reasonable standard, we would be looking at a big fat negative return based on the current and potential valuation of the property.

We are taking the money lost survey and valuation fees on the chin and moving on. The surveyor told us that movement issues happen to only 1 in 100 houses so we are really quite unlucky. The annoying thing is the vendor knew about the movement issues as they have had corrective work done previously that they didn't highlight during our viewing, they knew these works had not resolved the issues as the have resurfaced since the failed intervention was undertaken.

The whole process is frustrating and expensive, and not made easier by vendors who conceal major issues! On the bright side, the surveyor reckons we can find better for our money in nearby areas. The search continues....

saving-10-years
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by saving-10-years » Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:05 am

@vexed87 Sorry to hear this but well done in having a good survey. You might like to consider taking out mover protection insurance next time (we used SAGA when buying our rental and they offered this). What is it?
If, through no fault of your own, you are buying and the seller withdraws or accepts another offer, or if a search or survey shows something that prevents you from buying, we may refund you up to £1,850 in legal, survey and mortgage arrangement costs.

If, through no fault of your own, you are selling and a search or survey shows something you didn't know about which means you cannot sell, or if your buyer pulls out and you cannot find another, we may refund you up to £720 in legal and marketing costs.
The rental property was the second that we offered on. The first one had the sale fall through because there was unclear title on the access to the garage/parking. Saga did not charge any legal fees and also refunded the cost of the survey, so although this was more expensive than other conveyancing options it was worth it. It made me realise that people can simply change their minds. If you paid for surveys and all the other stuff and were happy to go ahead and the seller withdrew you would have no recourse. Where couples are selling up as part of a divorce/separation this seems to me to be an unforseen that could happen (they could reconcile or simply not agree so as to annoy the one wishing to sell). The good news is that at least you are not needing to sell in order to buy. What a nightmare that is and one that as extreme-ish savers we, and perhaps you also, will always be spared. Better luck next time.

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cmonkey
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by cmonkey » Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:06 am

When you say 'movement' are you talking about the foundation moving/bending out? We had our "bending" foundation repaired for 8K. It was not due to tree roots, though, but just settling soil around our block foundation.

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vexed87
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by vexed87 » Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:57 am

@10-years, Thanks for the tips. Our conveyancing fee's are thankfully refundable if we don't move, however as search fees with local authority are not, the conveyancer will credit this back to us for the next property we buy, which is better than nothing. The survey and bank valuation fees are non refundable though.

@cmonkey, Regarding the movement, yes the foundations of the building are moving and the damage caused by this could become significant in the long run, but it's hard to estimate the exact cause and cost of a resolution without a structural engineer. But it's going to be pricey. Based on everything else that needs remedial action. We're ducking this one out.

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vexed87
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Wheel building

Post by vexed87 » Tue Nov 22, 2016 5:12 pm

House hunting has quietened down lately, it's on the back burner until new year as the market is quiet this time of year, not a great deal of new stuff coming on the market. I have a slightly different update this time as not a lot is happening on the home front and I continue to save 60% of income, but it's mostly going to my shared savings with DW for the house for now though.

I recently started a thread here on dynamo hub wheels. As I just turned 29, I decided to treat myself and take the plunge and build a dynamo hub wheel after pricing it all up. I worked out I could do it reasonably cheaply if I kept the price of the rim and hub to a minimum. My current factory built wheels are nearing the end of their useful life anyway. After doing my research on hubs, the elegantly named Shimano DH-3N72 came up the winner at a frugal £58 delivered, compared with the Schmidt SON Delux which was £185 delivered. £58 is not much more than an mid range hub, yet a bargain price compared with the high end SON model.

The trade off between the SON and DH-3N72 is a slightly more utilitarian appearance and hub doesn't come with the better sealed bearings which means it won't last as long without proper maintenance. This means cleaning and re-greasing the bearings when they get contaminated with road grime. A 5-10 minute job if you have the tools and know-how. Having maintained my own hubs before, this is no big deal.

In order to keep costs down, I had to opt for the 36 spoke version of the dynamo hub, which due to a sale was £20 less than the 32 spoke equivalent. For those that know anything about bicycle wheels, the rear wheel usually has more spokes than the front, or at very least the same number. The reason being that more force is exerted on rear wheel as you drive the bike, so having more spokes on the front means unnecessary extra strength required for the front relative to the rear. Starting from budget factory built road wheels (20 spokes on the front, 24 spokes on the rear), it would be particularly odd to have a 36 spoke wheel up front, keep the 24 spoked wheel on the rear. Also, these seemingly fancy low count spoked wheels typically become untrue after any bump in the road and they are poorly built in factories which contributes to early spoke fatigue which results in breakages after a few thousand miles.

Therefore I decided to replace both wheels on my road bike with 36 spoked wheels. At the end of the process it meant I have some quality hand built, sturdy and hopefully long lived wheels. Replacing both means I am able to match colours of the hubs and rims on front and back too as the silver hub would stand out on an otherwise all black bike. I'm not normally so anal, but I don't want to look silly now do I ;)

I booked the day off to work on this. The parts arrived last week.

Image

Image

Here's the finished product.

Image

I just took the bike out for a spin on a dark country lane and I'm really pleased with the amount of light this lamp throws out. So wheel building is another string to my growing DIY bow. A particularly rewarding one too, as these wheel would cost me £220 to buy new (pre-built), mine for a fraction of the cost. 8-)

Did
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by Did » Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:31 am

Sure you're across it but we discovered you can pay for an oral report with the surveyor and it's much cheaper than the written report.

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vexed87
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by vexed87 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:36 am

@Did, I suppose one of the benefits of the written report, is that if the surveyor omits any critical information they (or their insurer) are liable. Having it in writing helps in this regard. Also, with the extent of the work that needed doing on the last property, we really needed to chew through the finer details of the report, before going back to the surveyor with informed questions, oral may have lead to information overload! :)

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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by halfmoon » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:33 pm

vexed87 wrote:@Did, I suppose one of the benefits of the written report, is that if the surveyor omits any critical information they (or their insurer) are liable. Having it in writing helps in this regard.
It's probably different everywhere, but in this US state (Washington), a written inspection can be given to the seller along with a counter-offer. The seller then must disclose the inspection details to any prospective buyer. Our buyer's agent taught us this when we bought our rental property, and it saved us $10,000 on the purchase price because the inspection uncovered roof issues that might inhibit another buyer. We used the $10,000 to replace the roof with a much better one.

The inspection cost us $250, which I would call a good deal. :)

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vexed87
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by vexed87 » Thu Nov 24, 2016 4:30 am

@Halfmoon, yes, if the valuation comes in at under the accepted offer, we would be in a position where we would want to negotiate, particularly as we are taking on a mortgage. As we have a larger deposit than most, we could still go ahead, but where is the sense paying more than the house is worth? You might have to in a seller's market, but with brexit and recession on the horizon, I'm sure we'll be seeing a buyers market soon. Also the rate on our mortgage is calculated on the ratio of Loan to Value, so if the value drops at valuation, the interest rate goes up. For the last property, we were looking at change from 1.4% for 3 year fix, to 1.8%, it adds up!

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vexed87
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by vexed87 » Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:15 am

I feel I may have neglected this journal lately, I guess that's because not much interesting has happened around here. DW and I have been saving diligently, I have been contributing ~25% income to retirement fund since my last financial update and ~50% to the house deposit fund. Savings however dropped to 0% last month due to xmas gift giving and my new bike project, which I finally finished.

Well, here it is!

Image

Edit, more pictures here with rack and new dynamo hub wheel I built:
https://imgur.com/a/UBePF

It's a surly disc trucker, I picked up the frame on ebay, fitted it with 9 speed XT drivechain, with dura-ace bar end shifters (which are weird with me being used to STI levers). So far they are proving really reliable shifting which is nice. I also added a Tubus Logo Classic rack and two Ortlieb Plus Roller Panniers since the photo was taken, so now I'm finally able to do some serious shopping trips, something I have been dying to try for a while. I'm going to take it on its virgin shopping trip into the city this weekend to hit up the produce market, hopefully some photos incoming! Also, I'm pretty excited that I can finally lug beers home without the use of a motor, the rack can support up to 40kg in total, and the MTB gearing will help me tackle the local hills.

I spent a lot on this bike, if I had to give a figure, it would be around £1300 all in, but I lost track some time ago. That said, I haven't compromised on the parts, and the build is much nicer than the surly complete build, I bought all the parts in sales etc, so saved a smallish fortune. I wasn't fussy about mixing brands either and got a couple of parts used, namely the stem, seat post and pedals. The bike frame should last a long time, steel being pretty durable. The wheels are hand built and bomb proof too. Building from scratch was invaluable experience, and I'm a heck of a lot more confident about finding a bicycle mechanic side gig if I ever need extra income.

In other news, DW and I had a offer accepted on another house, we are going through the motions again, all subject to contracts/survey's, and to avoid another disappointment, I am doing my best to curb any excitement, but we can't help being pretty upbeat about this house which is ready to move in without any major work, it's a new(ish) build, similar area to the last, built in 2001 and really energy efficient too, although the boiler needs replacing. Hopefully we won't have all the problems we experienced last time as that house was ~100 years old. We are dropping 20% deposit on this to get the best rate we can at the moment. The plan is to fix in for a couple of years at 1.94%, gambling that base rates will stay low and we negotiate to a better rate once the fix expires, since we're first time buyers, there's a premium which we can wiggle out of. I see interest rates rising markedly in the long run, but I'm hopeful they'll hold out just a couple more years.

I just bought a bunch of organic/permaculture books used on amazon, mostly around £2.80 each, I want to ramp up the growing again this year, annoyingly with a move on the horizon, a lot of my work might go to waste, so I'm not buying new seeds etc, I'll just use what's left over form last year and hope it all germinates. Because of the move, I'll be taking a no dig/lazy approach as the season changes to spring, who know's when we'll have to up sticks and leave the plot behind.
Last edited by vexed87 on Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

Ydobon
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by Ydobon » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:28 am

I love the massive resellers on Amazon who are using bots to control the price of their inventories, some of the bargains that can be had are ridiculous if you're patient. As a method of delaying/preventing consumption I use Camel Camel Camel to alert me when a book/CD hits its lowest price ever (usually no more than £2 for 3rd party new, or 50p secondhand). Basically you pay for the postage. It helps to avoid consumption as record low prices usually take several months to come along, allowing me to trim the list as I go.

Fancy looking bike! I had thought about taking up my employer on their cycle to work scheme, but the savings (tax, NI) were marginal, I lack confidence (haven't been on a bike in 20 years!) and roads in Glasgow are in pretty bad condition.

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vexed87
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by vexed87 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:54 am

@ydobon, haven't seen you around these parts for some time! Similar strategy here but I only buy the books (save for a few exceptions) when they are 1p plus postage. Mostly older editions of the very same text are at this price point, the trick is looking through al the editions of the book, amazon hides them from product page. I'm surprised these companies make enough profit to remain viable selling their books at a penny, the postage cost must be inflated somewhat to prevent competition with amazon's prime delivery scheme, or they turn over a lot of used books. :lol:

I agree, the C2W scheme isn't usually worth the hassle unless you are a higher rate tax payer, that's when the savings make a real difference. Considering the lead time on generating the voucher (it took 3 months here) and then most bike stores will whack a 10% fee on top of the sale price to cover the margin lost to the C2W scheme company (they charge the bike shop a fee for participating in the scheme). You can get around that fee as some stores who are willing to take the hit, but you're stuck with what the LBS will sell you, not necessarily the frame/model you really want. I think I saved around £100 in tax contributions over the 12 months, but spent £65 on the topping up the retailer, so not really great savings. Had I known this from the start, I would have paid upfront out my own pocket to walk out of the shop with what I want without the paperwork/hassle. On the plus side, the expense was paid montly, so less of a dent in net worth, but a debt liability incurred in the short term regardless. If you leave your job, you have to pay up the balance immediately. Most ERE folk should have the cash lying around to pay upfront, so makes sense just to do that and be done with it.

Thanks for the compliment, I've also had a few at the bike parking shelter at work now too, I'm pretty happy with it so far. Its so damn practical, if a little sluggish on the climbs. I would recommend you give cycling a go, it can be intimidating at first, and everyone thinks their local roads are the most dangerous going, but they're not, most driving is of equally poor standards, and segregated cycling infrastructure in the UK is so badly designed that your better off out in the road anyway. You just need to get used to it, and optimise your route to avoid as many main roads as possible. Where there's will, there's a way!

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vexed87
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by vexed87 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:00 am

Quick update; Our house purchase is proceeding well, we are likely to exchange contracts next week with a view to complete by the first week of May. We are almost home-owners... GULP! :shock:

Sorry if I already mentioned this, didn't have time to re-read my recent posts, but for the benefit of UK readers we made use of the Help To Buy ISA scheme which I thoroughly recommend, it has a generous 25% bonus on saving contributions (contributions are limited to £1000 in the first month, then £200 every month thereafter), so between DW and I, we have a nice healthy return on our small chunk of our savings. It almost feels criminal. Between us we have pocketed almost £2500 of tax payers money (clearly an attempt by the gummit' to prop up the housing market). This however is fortunate as our expenses are about to go through the roof. Even excluding the 20% we have put down on the house, we now need to buy a sofa, fridge/freezer, washing machine, dresser/cabinets, drawers, dining table and chairs, and dry wall the en suite.

DW is getting excited and dragged me around various paraphernalia shops yesterday seeking various useless items that women seem to be driven to adorn their homes with. Luckily we left empty handed, the first 'shopping' trip I have been on in months only cost me two cups of coffee. We went to new John Lewis department store, the place seems to be devoid of any soul, and everyone was fake and plastic. I don't miss those places. Probably because they don't sell bikes. DW is now planning curtains and matching cushion covers, I'd like to leave her to it, but I was reading JMGs Green Wizardry again the other day and have to start thinking practically about insulation, and DIY curtains are on his checklist..., watch this space.

I can't blame DW for getting a little carried away, all I can think about is finally getting my hands on a garden and planning a permaculture oasis of my own, then subsequently filling the garage/shed with my bike and gardening tools! :lol: Saving continues with a 25% contribution to my pension fund, and 50% to house/furniture purchase fund. After a few months I expect expenses to settle down and I can get retirement saving back into full swing. In the mean time, I have been working on my bikes A LOT.

The road bike needed an overhaul after the winter months. The bottom bracket on my road bike has been creaking for a while, and that started around about the same time as my front derailleur began playing up. I decided to replace both last week. I had a big hassle with the bottom bracket. I swapped it out myself, but didn't save a penny because I fucked up and installed the wrong size on the first attempt, which took me about 1.5 hours to extract with a hammer and chisel. I learned the hard way to double check the model before buying parts (£25 down the drain, idiot tax). The shifter/derailleur was relatively easy to swap out, I picked up a used shifter for £20 on eBay. They are £170 for the pair new online. These will keep me going a little longer, until I swap out for the new 11 spd 105 groupset, but that's £350 I don't want to spend right now, as tempting as it is.

The Surly LHT pictured above also needed emergency surgery as I installed the disc on the hub improperly which was resulting in rubbing against the brake pads with every revolution, annoying! When removing the disc I rounded off one of the T25 bolt heads and had to take the electric drill to extract it, in the process I ruined the hub with metal shavings and bent it our of shape by physically yanking the disc from under the stuck bolt, I had tried patience, but it just wouldn't budge. I had to rebuild the wheel, in the end that debacle cost me £80 (more idiot tax) for a new rim, spokes and a disc. Luckily I had a spare hub to use, but it required a different number of spokes, which is why I needed a new rim. Well, that will do for a spare wheel for a project another day. I need to stay away from my bikes for a while because they are costing me a small fortune lately. DW was not impressed with my latest card statement with all the bike parts, and now has a free pass to buy lots of home paraphernalia. Can I complain? :lol:

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vexed87
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by vexed87 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:23 am

Moved Home, Super Long June 2017 Update

It has been hectic since my last post, we moved in the first week of May as planned. The house is a 101sq meter, 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom + downstairs toilet (yeah, I know, but I didn't build the house). The move only adds 5 minutes to my cycle commute which is ideal, and it's 30 minute ride from the inner city, yet surrounded by farmland and green space, so ideal for dog walking and a eventually, maybe even a child. The house was built in the early 00's, it's reasonably modern in appearance, although most of the paint colour and fittings are not to our taste, for example:

Image

Every room needs some work, but it's perfectly livable, so there's no pressure to get it all done right away, that toilet being the only exception :lol:. The house really just needs our stamp, or should I say, a dash of minimalism and white paint.

Jobs done so far:

*I oiled all door hinges, it's beggars belief than anyone can put up with literally every single door creaking. The previous occupiers were clearly not DIYers.

*I swapped out numerous dead or halogen and incandescent lighting to edison style LEDs, I think I will leave the existing CFLs in place, because they are still pretty efficient, but it takes a while to reach full light output, which I find irritating coming from a fully LED lit apartment, which is instant on. I may change the CFLs out in frequently used rooms for now, and leave the CFLs for hallway and guestroom.

*I also weeded plant beds, cut back overgrown hedges, the lawn has been left by the previous occupiers in a dire state, not much I can do about this now, so will have to wait until September, there are more weeds and moss than grass. I transplanted the few veg annuals that I had from the old place.

*Began prepping living room for painting, removed nails and screws from plaster and took down the old broken curtain rails, filled in holes and cracks, swapped out hideous light fixtures for nice new copper pendants, sanded and cleaned the walls, then...

... I was struck down with a Peritonsular Abscess, I've been bed ridden all week. It's the most horrific pain, I was lucky I went to the GP when I did to get antibiotics, I was told by the GP that it could lead to obstruction of airways or sepsis. Thankfully, the pain and swelling has receded and I'm out of bed again. I think I took too much on, on top of the house move, I have been training for a triathlon, swimming and running 3 times a week, cycling at least 20 miles every day. Think I just need to take it a bit easier with the extra swimming/running for a bit. Happily, DW and I are taking a trip to Cyprus next week to soak up some sun, drink some beer and get away from the chaos of the new home, so I'll have plenty of time to relax and pick up a book again.

When we return, we will resume with some more technical DIY challenges, namely plaster boarding the en suite, installing new cermaic fittings, tiling, grouting and repairing the shower, currenty the faucet only spews scalding hot water, I imagine this is a thermostat failure, possibly a job for a professional plumber. I’ll also need to buy some ladders so I can clear the house guttering, treat and repaint the facias, as well as do some work on the garage roof. All the outdoor wooden furnishings, doors, and fences need attention too. We also need to get someone to in to lop conifer trees on the property, which so big they are over shadowing our living room and making it dark in the morning and early afternoon.

I need to work up some plans for the garden, this is the job I'm most excited about, DW doesn't see it as a priority, but I want it to supply most of our food in the long run, which may be possible, but I'm considering getting a local allotment plot to supplement this. I have been dreaming about having my own garden for a LONG time. I cannot wait to put a lot of the theory I have been reading in permaculture books into practice, I hope to establish
fully fledged permaculture food forest. I am under no illusion that this is quick job, deftinely more of a long term vision, possibly 5+ years away from completion. I need to get on with planning where my fruit tree's will work best etc. There's currently a cherry tree and stawberries in the garden so far, everything else is simply decorative in nature, so a lot of it may yet have to be sacrificed to the compost heap!

On the spending front, as one might imagine, fixing up a new home is expensive, but I would consider most of the stuff as one off purchases, as for furniture, we’ve opted for mostly used/reclaimed or new solid wood pieces. We deliberatly went for solid wood items, for durability and optionality (i.e. sanding, repaiting etc). So as long as DW doesn’t change her mind and begin to demand new furniture to stay ‘on trend’ most of what we have bought can be considered BIFL stuff, so hopefully won’t have to deal any of that expense again, otherwise I may well be forced out of early retirement as soon as I get there! :twisted:

Discretionary spending has plummeted out of necessity since we have been unsure how much exactly everything was going to cost us, we needed as much padding in our accounts as possible. I think we have had one take out meal on the day we moved, and we have eaten out twice since April, which is pretty good going for us. I have bought a couple beers recently, but we have been so busy moving house thst there has been no time to spend money. We are pretty much cash flowing everything at this point, with no debt being carried on credit cards, which I’m very happy with. I haven't made any contributions to my investment accounts this month, and possibly won't do for the next few months while we rebuild our cash savings funds back up.

Mortgage payment is roughly £300 each, over 28 years, we'll be overpaying by quite a lot, at least £200, maybe more. It's been a while since I had to pay housing so I will be caerfully monitor spending over next few months to ensure I am being good!

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cmonkey
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by cmonkey » Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:25 am

You should make the most of that toilet.


Congrats on the new house! You sound like my friend here, so many "need to dos" ; just remember most of those are actually "wants". ;)

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