Being Frugal Has Helped Us Achieve Our Goal
The whole point of our frugal life for the last 12 years has been to save enough money in order to retire early, quit our jobs and move to the countryside.
That may seem like an impossible dream to you but we are living testament that it is possible.
We don’t earn six figure salaries (not even half that). Yet we will be retiring 15 years earlier than the UK government says we should/can/ought.
After writing about our trials and tribulations trying to narrow down our search area for our relocation back in May. I fully intended to updated you on our 2nd trip of the year to the Lake District.
Grand plans and all that. That post never materialised and so here we are and we’ve already been for a third time.
It’s been almost six months since my last post on the subject and I know some of you are keen to hear the next installment so here it is.
We are intending to Retire Early having saved enough to be Financially Independent (FIRE). The plan involves moving to the Lake District when we retire.
Our FIRE date has now moved up a year – wahoo! We are now hoping to move next year (2019) as long as we can sell the house. Brexit is supposed to be happening at the same time – not the best of timings.
We currently live on the South Coast of England and want to move to the Lake District/Cumbria. This is not just a couple of miles down the road. Think 7 hours away.
So checking out locations is not something we can do whenever we feel like it. Nor can we do so on a weekend without negatively impacting us the following week. Tried it, didn’t enjoy it, won’t be doing that again.
We don’t have a million pounds in the bank – not even half. So we will be living a frugal FIRE lifestyle (aka LeanFIRE) and our final location will be somewhat determined by our small ish budget.
It would be a whole different ball game if we had ½ million to play with. But we don’t so we have to be flexible both in where we choose to relocate to and what we eventually buy.
What Do We Want?
A lot! We have lots of ideas of what we want our next home area to include. Currently our dream includes:
- the countryside
- big landscapes
- very large garden (or land!)
- a slower pace of life
- good broadband
Oh and a double garage/large workshop/outbuildings for Mr2p. The South East doesn’t make the cut, nor did Wales, Scotland or Dartmoor.
Although we did accidentally buy a house on Dartmoor when we were focusing on that area. My first post on our FIREplace search has the details if you haven’t yet read that little gem!
June – A Week Of Sunshine
It is said the sun shines on the righteous. Well that isn’t really me but boy did the sun shine for our entire June week in the Lake District.
Of course if you are in the UK you’ll know the sun seemed to shine basically everywhere for weeks and weeks. It certainly made our week away special.
It was my big birthday (50 – shhh) and we had booked a small cottage a 10 minute stroll to the waters edge of Wastwater.
I think (but not 100% sure) that Wastwater is the deepest lake in the Lake District. There aren’t any fish in it either which I find very strange. It has The Screes along one edge which are pretty foreboding when you are standing opposite them.
The plan for this week was more walking and less location hunting – it was my birthday after all! It felt like to me the last 2 weeks we had away were mainly consumed by location hunting. I really wanted just to get out and WALK!
And walk we did! We did an afternoon of location hunting on the one day when it was drizzle and cloud. Walking any fells or peaks was a non-starter as visibility was down to 30 feet in places.
We checked out many small villages and towns north east and west of Cockermouth. Some were lovely (Wigton) and some were less pretty (Aspatria). But our overall feeling was perhaps we were getting too far away from the Lakes themselves.
It didn’t help that due to the low cloud we couldn’t actually see them once we were more than a couple of miles away. Perhaps that day wasn’t the best day to tour locations.
The rest of the week was spent walking. They all involved boots off and feet in lakes at every opportunity as it was so hot! I promise I did not complain once about the heat.
A fitness tracker was one of my birthday presents so these long walks kick-started my weight loss and fitness regime which I continued on returning home. I had to do something about the weight I’d put on since I started blogging!
Overall the week went well with no mind changes, no blizzards and no running for home before the roads closed like last time. Positively uneventful.
October – Back On The FIREplace Hunt
We returned to the Lake District in early October for another week of walking and location hunting. And of course I was hoping for another uneventful week.
We stayed at the same self catering cottage in the Western Lakes as this time last year. It’s cosy, warm, clean and the owners are welcoming.
Needless to say the journey up was not fun. The M6 had been closed earlier on so although open by the time we were approaching the pinch point it still meant delays.
I don’t think you can actually go even one day without at least part of the M6 being closed. And then of course you have the delights of the never ending roadworks. Which for us always seem to be AFTER the accident we encounter.
So just as you think you are clear and can make up some time you hit average speed cameras and really slow moving traffic. It wears you down for sure.
The Western Lakes
If you are visiting the Western Lakes, even if the southern end it is advised that you travel north and go the long way round.
The A66 from Penrith to Cockermouth is much, much better than the A590/A595 from Kendal round to Gosforth and beyond. We knew this, we’ve experienced both and believe me the A590 gets very tedious very quickly.
BUT, we had of course decided to location hunt on the way up. It makes perfect sense if you want to check out locations around Kendal to do so when you are passing.
Especially when you DON’T factor in the 6.5 hours it took you to get to Kendal and that you might just be a smidge tired. Sigh!
So we checked out Milnthorpe, Levens, Arnside and around there. All lovely, all affordable but likely would involve compromising on garden/workshop. But definitely more accessible for visitors and for us if we wish to visit family.
Since we were a little way along the A590 we carried on that way, checked out a few other villages and then called it a day.
We arrived at our home for the week 9 hours after we left the South coast. Why oh why do we do this to ourselves?! Ker-knackered!
We did get a better balance this week than our week in February with a couple of decent long walks coupled with some location hunting.
Walking 10 miles up Skiddaw in driving rain with 100 mile an hour winds and zero visibility was an experience. One you are likely to have if you visit and walk in the Lakes any time of the year.
We revisited some of the villages we had shortlisted previously. Checked out locations we had crossed off last time in case the weather had been a deciding factor. And generally got no further in honing down our preferred area, sigh.
I know you are wondering whether Mr2p threw another spanner in the works as spectacularly as he did in February. In fairness to him, no, at least not spectacularly.
But, he does like to test me sometimes. During the week his suggestions included:
1.Why don’t we drive to the Peninnes to check them out again? This is where we stayed in February, when we spent all our time travelling to the Western Lakes because he said it was his preferred area.
And where were we staying this time? Yes, the Western Lakes. I put my foot down and said no.
2.Shall we drive over to Kendal and do a bit more location hunting there? I refused that one as well – couldn’t bear the idea of going back and forth along the A590/A595 all day.
My compromise is that for our next week away we will probably choose somewhere near Kendal/Windermere/Bowness. We can location hunt more easily and complete some walks around that area.
3.Shall we check out Broughton-in-Furness and the Ulpha area? No it’s the A590/A595 again!
4.The final one was – why don’t we stay next in the place we stayed in February (Peninnes) as it was lovely and we can check out Keswick area from there? No! We’ve already done Keswick and I know I’ll run the risk of being driven all around the Western Lakes again.
Location Hunting Isn’t Always Fun
Right now I am so over location hunting. The fact is, most areas around the Lake District would suit us.
I’d love to live within striking distance of Keswick or Kendal purely because they are nearer to the M6 so you can get in and out of the Lakes much easier.
But our wish list means we might have to compromise if we focused on those areas only which I am not prepared to do.
So we can’t narrow it down to those 2 areas but I also don’t want to discount them as occasionally a property does pop up that seems to meet more of our wish list.
Escape To The Country – I Need You!
I am seriously thinking about applying to be on the TV programme “Escape to The Country”.
How fab would it be to be shown 3 properties having someone do all the hard work of filtering against criteria, location, price etc.
I have already checked out the requirements to apply – our house needs to either be on the market or already sold.
Where Are We Now?
Right now my mindset is – as soon as our house goes on the market I am filling out that Escape To The Country application and submitting it with a huge plea to please find my FIREplace!
I haven’t booked a cottage for our next trip yet but let’s face it, January is not exactly peak time. I am sure we will be be able to find a cottage within our budget in the location we choose to stay in. Just got to decide on that location!
I’ll let you know how the next visit goes and when I put my Escape To The Country application in!
After writing this 3 weeks ago I sent out my monthly newsyletter to subscribers and mentioned our hike up Skiddaw in 100 mile winds and driving rain. Guess what? One of my subscribers lives a stones throw from Skiddaw! How fabulous is that?
Kate very kindly contacted me to suggest alternative locations, namely the northern fells which include Skiddaw. They are less touristy, properties prices are reasonable and you are still within striking distance of Keswick and Cockermouth and the central fells.
So, big thank you Kate! We are now going to be staying near Keswick in January and will research this area along with revisiting the wider Keswick area. The Windermere area is still within a reasonable travel time given we don’t have to use the dreaded A590.
I still think we’ll need Escape To The Country to do the final house hunt though!