Let’s face it, not many people will look back at 2020 with much fondness and many challenges still remain.
It would be easy to write off the year entirely but there were small bright spots if you cared to look hard enough. Perhaps just small simple things. I got to know my neighbours, while outside applauding the NHS staff and key workers. People were generally more friendly. For the first time, I felt there was a real community spirit and a sense of goodwill for everyone.
I was fortunate not to be affected by Covid, directly. Like many though, it did impact my finances and my personal circumstances didn’t allow me to be furloughed. I, therefore, had to be resourceful but by making small savings… big dreams were able to develop.
Being resourceful, while being stuck at home most of the day did pose certain challenges. I decided to focus on my garden. It’s not a big garden although I do have a small greenhouse. My aim was to invest in my garden and grow as much fruit and vegetables as I could.
I do have a couple of apple trees, some raspberry canes and a rhubarb patch. This year, I wasn’t going to let the birds or slugs get to them first or just let the fruit rot, before picking. I was going to pick everything and waste nothing.
I had no space in the borders, so the vegetables would all have to be grown in pots and containers. These I had acquired over the years and were stored at the back of my shed, but they had hardly been used. I had plenty of soil from my compost bin and I ordered loads of packets of seeds. I grew carrots, radishes, spring onions, runner beans, courgettes, tomatoes, salad leaves and others.
What I couldn’t eat fresh was either pickled, frozen or dried and I made numerous fruit pies and crumbles, supplemented with foraged blackberries.
The whole experience was very rewarding and therapeutic. I also had loads of great-tasting organic produce and I saved a ton of money in the process.
This all got me thinking. I wanted to do this again, but not just when I have to because of a pandemic. However, I want to do it bigger and better in the future and I don’t want to be restricted by what I can grow in a pot. I want to upscale. I want a bigger garden.
I decided to have a look at property online, to see if there was anything suitable for sale and at what cost. I also wanted to see property price trends over the last six months to gauge where the market was going. According to Rightmove prices were largely flat in my area. I felt the pool of properties sold wasn’t large enough to get a real feel of where the market was going. So I decided to review it again later.
I needed to find out what I could realistically afford before taking things further. After doing a bit more research, I calculated what I could expect to receive for selling my house and how much more I would need to spend, to get the kind of property I wanted. I came up with a rough estimate that I would need to find around £100k.
I found a useful online calculator that worked out the size of the mortgage I would need and the cost of repayments, based on my figures. I could play around with the numbers, such as the term and interest rate, to see how that affected it. It showed a Full Monthly Payment would cost me about £474, applying the default settings. That was certainly food for thought. I noticed they also had other calculators, such as one for remortgaging your property, that may come in handy at some point.
After all the number crunching, I decided I would need to work and save a bit harder, for now. However, I will be keeping a close eye on property valuations and if something comes up in my price range, I will be ready to pounce! Not forgetting my checklist for selling my home.
Adversity can lead to positive change. Sometimes just subtle changes in our lives can give a new perspective on what goals we want to achieve. Saving or earning a little extra money along the way can take us one small step closer to achieving those goals.