On this day 28 years ago, my business with Ex Partner was finally concluded and all debts against the house were settled.
It had been a trying 2 years, and I’d chosen a useless solicitor to act for me whose delay in getting a court order forcing him to sell cost me thousands as property prices dived.
I was also ripped off as although I qualified for legal aid, it later came to light that she had not presented my application and charged me an exorbitant fee instead. When trying to trace her for reimbursement, she had disappeared. Great.
Never mind. It meant that Hubby and I could plan our wedding and begin married life with no debts hanging over us. I still remember getting the letter from the bank giving me 10 days to repay £30,000! Partner had not paid a penny against the mortgage or home improvement loan since the day I left, but at least I had been sensible to advise the bank of everything that was going on and honouring the personal loans I had taken out. My copy of the foreclosure letter was a matter of course as the house was in joint names, but it still loosened my bowels and made me feel sick.
I swore there and then that I would never get in that position again, and with a substantial cheque in my hand, cleared everything I owed personally and cut up my credit cards.
We got change out of £500 for our wedding and a four day trip to Amsterdam for our honeymoon. Our wedding night was a riot as we had an inside cabin with bunk beds on the overnight ferry to The Hague.
Debt scares both of us, which is why we are careful not to overspend and budget for everything we do. Our first house put us in negative equity when the property market crashed in 1990/91 so we were stuck in a house worth less than the mortgage against it.
It became the norm to count the pennies and squirrel excess away. It was never much, but we did OK and when that cheque came through, I paid a lump sum off our mortgage and as interest rates started to fall, we kept to the higher payments.
When we came to move in 1996, we were able to cover the shortfall, our deposit on the new property and all our legal fees without having to borrow more than required for our new mortgage.
As things have turned out, we are still living frugally, but don’t go without, eat well, are warm and on top of our bills. If we want something and can’t afford it, the budget fairy goes into overdrive, hence our ability to revamp our kitchen. The worktops, sink and tap plus the necessary trimmings set us back just under £330, so we were well pleased.