Destination England

Our journey from debt to England…and everything in between!

Archive for the ‘Move to England’ Category

Back from Hiatus

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Well we’re back from our trip home to England.  I apologize for being out of touch the last few weeks, and not posting.  All of our time was absorbed in activities, and spending time with family and friends.  I rarely used the internet for more than checking my email every few days, and checking on things like prices at a restaurant, or directions to somewhere.  To be honest, I had a bit of writer’s block as well and had no idea what I wanted to say, or where I could begin to say it.  Three weeks have given me so much material, that I’m sure I’ll have some bits for a while!

The trip was more than I could have ever asked for, and I miss everyone and everything in England.  Being back in the states still feels a bit…odd.  I have been born and raised here, but I still feel a bit foreign.  Phrases like “You alright?” and “cheers” get odd looks, or completely different responses.  I find it odd now not having beans for breakfast (a problem my wife and I have rectified as of yesterday’s shopping).  I am amazed at the fact of how dependent on our cars here.  After three weeks of walking virtually everywhere, I feel a bit guilty popping in the car to drive down to a shop (read in American “store”) ¼ of a mile down the road.  It is the little things like those I miss.  And the Irn Bru.

I am happy to be able to get back into the swing of life, though.  I wouldn’t say I’m happy about being “home”, but I am happy for us to get the ball rolling on getting ourselves in a position to move back to England as quickly as possible.  Toward the end, I felt a bit in limbo as friends and family planned their lives for after we left, and life went on as normal, but I still felt out of sorts.  We return with renewed vigor and excitement to save our pennies, and get out of debt as quickly as possible!

I plan to write a bunch of blog posts about our time there, as well as a few about some things and people from there.  We’re still settling back in, so bare with me!


Written by Jas

June 26, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Free Diabetic Prescriptions!

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Last night Sarah and I made our way to our local pharmacy to pick up our prescriptions and something for dinner.  Upon walking in there was a big sign that said “Free Diabetic Medicines!” and listed five common medicines used to treat diabetes.  Two of which –metformin and glipizide – I happen to be on!  I spoke with the pharmacist to confirm (because this sounded too good to be true), and indeed they were free. So how does this help the budget? I’ve broken down the costs we spend on prescriptions.

My Prescriptions:

  • Metformin – $8
  • Glipizide – $6
  • Lisinopril – $4
  • Simvastatin  – $4
  • Vitamin D – $6
  • Byetta – $40
  • Needles – $5 (this every three months)
  • Testing strips – $25

Sarah’s Prescriptions:

  • Birth Control – $10
  • Vitamin D – $6
  • Thyroxin – $6

I’m spending roughly $94.67 a month for my prescriptions before this offer.   My wife pays about $22 for her three prescriptions.  That brings our monthly total to around $117 a month. With getting metformin and glipizide for free, that saves $14 a month, bringing the montly total to $113 a month.  So by saving $14 a month, I’m saving $168 a year!

Moving to England looks to bring even more savings for us on the prescriptions front.  According the NHS website, prescriptions have risen to £7.20 for a prescription – I will assume that is for a single 30 day supply, £28.25 for a 90 day prescription, and £104 for a year long prescription. So using that math, my six prescriptions would cost £43.20 a month. Now, my wife is also on medication, which would add three more prescriptions, bring the total to £64.80 a month.  Keeping the £ and the $ relative, that’s cutting our prescription costs in half.  That being said, reading further down on the site, I found this:

Medical exemption (MedEx) certificates are issued on application to people who have:

  • A permanent fistula (for example caecostomy, colostomy, laryngostomy or ileostomy) requiring an appliance or continuous surgical dressing.
  • A form of hypoadrenalism (for example Addison’s disease) for which specific substitution therapy is needed.
  • Diabetes insipidus or other forms of hypopituitarism.
  • Diabetes mellitus, except where treatment is by diet alone.
  • Hypoparathyroidism.
  • Myasthenia gravis.
  • Myxoedema (hypothyroidism requiring thyroid hormone replacement).
  • Epilepsy requiring continuous anticonvulsive therapy.
  • Continuing physical disability which means the person can’t go out without the help of another person. Temporary disabilities do not count even if they last for several months.

Reading that, it looks looks like I would qualify for the MedEx certificate.  Also, my wife would qualify as she recently found out she has Hashimoto’s Disease, which will in all likelihood leave her with an underactive thyroid.  This means that all of our prescription costs would not cost us any out of pocket expenses.  I would be very relieved having not to worry about any out of pocket expenses for my medicines.  I’d that £64.80 a month and put that into a high yield savings account, or a college fund for Connor.  While we aren’t anywhere close to a plan similar to the English equivalent, the fact that some pharmacies are starting to offer free diabetic medicines, and antibiotics is a good start.  I’ve only seen Meijer and Giant Eagle doing this, but a google search revealed a chain called Publix is offering free metformin to its customers.  Hopefully this is a trend that will continue to help combat the rising costs of prescriptions!

Written by Jas

April 25, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Long Term Goals

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This past weekend I had a bit of an eye opener.  Sarah had a really bad home sick moment.  It is times like this those five years seem like an eternity, and no matter how you spin it, five years is a long time.  I think I had lost focus a little.  While my desire for this is no less, the every day day-to-day seems to be more pressing, than something that is five years from fruition. So what can one do when you are staring down the barrel of a long term goal?  How can you keep motivated?

Keep your eyes on the prize

This might seem like common sense, but it is harder than you’d think.  With everything that happens in the day to day, sometimes it is hard to keep your focus on your ultimate goals.  We put lesser more immediate priorities before the more important long term priorities.  Is this wrong?  I would say in moderation probably not.  Some things have to be addressed.  A car breaking down or a medical bill that needs to be paid should definitely take priority.  Buying a new TV or eating out a lot probably isn’t.

Celebrate the Victories (even the small ones)

One of the biggest things that can help with “shortening the gap” is to focus on milestones or small victories that put you that much closer to your long term goal.  For me, it’s getting out of debt. I have a spread sheet with all the debt I currently have.  Every time one of those debts is paid off it is crossed out.  For me that is a victory because that’s one step closer to our goal!  Whether it’s an old $50 medical bill, or a car loan (eventually it’ll be paid off!) it’s still a win!

A long term goal is something that can be difficult to obtain due to the gap between start and finish.   You will run into times when it seems hopeless and further away than you can believe.  Just remember to keep your eyes on the prize and celebrate the small victories along the way to your ultimate goal. You will look back with a great sense of accomplishment when you can say “I did it! I’ve made it!”

Written by Jas

April 12, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Trip to England (Part 1)

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Well after about a week of an aggressive cold (which I’ve graciously passed on to my wife and son), I’m feeling a bit better.  I still have some lingering tiredness that won’t disappear, but I’m functional.  I wasn’t down for that long, but when I was down I was out!

Over the next few posts, I will be talking about our trip to England in June. We are going for about three and a half weeks.  This will be Connor’s first chance to see a lot of family, and also it will be Sarah’s first time back since moving to the States.  We’re both looking forward to it, as we are both really in need of a vacation.  Plus it will be the last time we get over there for about another year and a half (next trip is planned for Christmas 2011).

I’m really excited about this trip.  We are fortunate that we don’t have to worry about lodging because we’ll be staying with Sarah’s parents.  Also, transportation isn’t an issue in London or really England as a whole.  Being in London we’ll be able to access most anywhere in England with relative ease.

I absolutely love London.  I never thought I’d enjoy big cities (Chicago and New York weren’t that impressive for me), but London is absolutely amazing.  I’m a history nut, and I love walking down streets where one building is modern, and another is back from the 14th or 15th century.  If you’re a foodie (I am not by any means, but I do love food), there are restaurants galore, pubs, take away, everywhere.  The best part of it all places like the National Gallery, British Museum, and other museums are free.  The Royal Parks there are beautiful seemingly year round.  It’s truly an amazing place, rich with history and culture!

I am a bit spoiled having my very own travel guide.  Sarah’s able to show me places off the beaten path, and more “local” than the tourist stops. We ate at some of the best places that I haven’t read about in the tour guides.  I was able to see things from a local perspective.  So this trip will be about us meeting up with family, introducing the little man to the onslaught of “aunts” and “uncles”, as well as becoming reacquainted with a City that has a lot to offer and many different layers.

Written by Jas

March 21, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Moving to England: Five Year Goal

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Before Sarah moved to the States, it began to become more and more apparent we want to move back to England.  Primarily it is where the bulk of her family and support base is.  Her immediate family isn’t big, but they’re extremely close.  Her friends have been around since the school days and sometimes it is hard to distinguish them as either friends or siblings.  Once we found out we were going to be parents, I think this is when we made our minds up and set our goal.  England is where we want to raise our family. We have a strong support base over there, and when raising children we believe that is one the essentials.  Besides, it would mean free baby sitting more quality time between Connor and Family.  There are other factors in our decision, but primarily, this is the big one.

Why wait?!

So why don’t we just move? Well a “subgoal” is to move over 100% debt free. That’s right – zero debt.  How tough is this goal?  Currently, my debt is about $32,000 and some change. The bulk of this is student loans and an auto loan. We’ve devised a way to pay down this debt, and save for our move.  What is our approximate timeline? Five years. Using a modified debt snowball method (pay smallest debt first the largest – we’re doing this up to a point, then swapping and paying largest interest rate debt to smallest.), we hope to have our debt gone by 2012.  That would give us about three years to aggressively save for moving over to England.  In later entries, I’ll post about this more in greater detail.

Moving over seas is EXPENSIVE

The biggest factor really is money. From what I’ve read and researched to move a standard home with furniture you’re looking anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000 and I’m told that might even be conservative.  Plus you have to factor living arrangements, cost of living expenses, and other basic need costs.  Then there’s the airfare to get there (which with price at today’s rates for three people is around $3,000).  When you factor in the difference between then £ and the $ we have to save almost twice as much as what we plan (current rate is $1.50 = £1). With that in mind, our financial goal is to have about $36,000 in the bank when we move.  This would translate in today’s market to roughly £24,000.  I think that would give us a good starting point.  This gives us time to find a place of our own, find employment, and “settle in.”  This amount is sure to change over time, though I think this is a fairly easy goal to attain.

It’s not just about the Benjamin’s

Another aspect for our five year goal is more of an emotional one.  I only have my mother as family here in the states.  My father passed when I was 18, and I am an only child.  My mother’s health is fragile at best, and these past few years have been extremely tough.  Five years gives us time to make arrangements and enjoy the time we have left with her.

Five years seems like a long time for this goal, but the more I think about it, the more I think it’s just about right.  Our goal isn’t just about moving home.  It’s about moving home the right way. Without debt worries, a substantial nest egg, and a well thought out plan, I think we’re setting ourselves up for success.  Only time will tell.

Written by Jas

March 10, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Welcome to Destination England!

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Welcome to my little hole of cyber space. This is going to be an ongoing endeavor for me to post about my journey out of debt and ultimately moving overseas to England.  My wife, Sarah is from London, England and one of our goals is to move back there within five years.  This is not only my story, but my family’s story.

This is a way for me to keep tabs on the journey, but also as a way to look back periodically and see where we’ve come from, and how far we have left to go.  Also, I hope that those of you who read this feel inspired either by various topics, or just in general.  While this is a journey for us to reach going home to England, this is also a journey of our lives. There will be information on our journey to become debt free, our struggles and triumphs at raising our now 5 month old son, steps to make the move to England and other random musings!

So sit back, grab an Irn Bru, and enjoy!

Written by Jas

March 10, 2010 at 12:48 am