Property and how I invest: build a property empire

Property is one of my favourite ways to invest. There are several factors which make it a no-brainer for me when it comes to growing my gold.

Property prices can go up or down but in the long term always go up eventually. History is proof of this. So your property investment goes up in value plus you can rent it out and receive regular income as well.

Interest rates are still relatively low so decent mortgage deals still available. Bricks and mortar investment is attractive because it’s something concrete (pardon the mixed metaphor!), not an abstract concept.

Queen Cashbags and I bought our first property ten years ago. It was such a relief. Years before I had really hated handing hard earned money to a landlord who I perceived did very little, if anything. I had bad experiences with landlords as a student and later when I first worked in London. I try to be a considerate landlord as a result.

We were fortunate to be able to afford a mortgaged flat in the Home Counties. We chose the location because it was thirty minutes on a fast train to central London and five minutes walk from the station so ideal for commuters.

We bought the flat “off plan”, which basically means it did not exist when we bought it, we just had the plans of what the property would look like when built. We bought off plan because they were offering cash back on the purchase and we could customize the property how we wanted it. We chose awesome work tops, kitchen cabinets and special flooring.

We bought Castle Cashbags a couple of years ago. It is a charming Victorian terrace in the East Midlands with a pretty garden. Queen Quidbags favoured a period property, though I would have been happy with something modern for the right price!

We spent seven months looking at a variety of quirky cottages in chocolate-box villages around the East Midlands. We chose this area because it offered much better value for money and was still just about commutable to London.

We ended up buying a property in town because it was walking distance from the train station and so much nicer than the properties we had seen in the villages for the same price. We were also gazumped a few times on village properties, including a beautiful old place made of honey-coloured stone. In hindsight, it was probably for the best as that place needed an awful lot of work. There was a huge hole in one of the bedroom ceilings. I was gazumped right after I’d had a full building survey done, but managed to flog the report to the gazumper!

The rent from our flat covers the mortgages on both properties, which is a great position to be in. It’s really helping us grow our gold.

I strongly suggest you speak to an appropriately and properly qualified person before making investment decisions on property.

property investment

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Frugality: The Cashbagger Mindset

I am not the type who likes non spending days. This is not the king’s style. As I have probably said before I do not like squandering money but on the other hand I am not sooooo extreme to try to wipe it out from as many of my days of the month a possible. What I do like are what I call OBBs (Opportunites to Bag a Bargain).

If I am out there spending, whether online or in store, I keep it modest. In this castle modesty is a virtue when applied to splashing cash. However, at the same time I want to think that I got the particular item or service for a good price. Ideally the best possible by my kingly standards. Therefore, I consistently devote bags time before a purchase for research.

This is usually online but could also involve seeking advice from friends, relatives and/or colleagues of me or Queen Quidbags. We might even ask Prince Pennybags for a view if it is anything remotely technical that we are thinking of parting with hard-won gold for. In fact, I am currently  working on finding the best option for a suitable tradesperson to visit Castle Cashbags for a boiler check/service. As I am sure you can imagine, Castle Cashbags can get cold in the winter, especially the dungeon. Dragons are expensive to feed so we rely on gas central heating.

I am also looking at an exciting (maybe even romantic) weekend trip away with Queen Quidbags very soon. Once I have found the best option on that I will make sure I pay via one of the excellent cash back sites that are around these days. On the rare occasions when I forget to buy stuff using cash back sites I feel genuinely gutted. For about five minutes. The King loves a bargain nearly as much as lovely Queen Quidbags.

Cash Grab

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Train travel: the royal money train

The train. A noble form of transport ever since the first loco coughed and spluttered its way up the Darlington to Stockton line in 1825. But here in 2017, was ever a ground-based method of travel more over-priced? Settle back in your own throne, relax and let me share with you a way I’ve learned to live like a king without busting the royal budget.

I used to be one of those many ordinary folk who considered the season ticket the best option for saving a few quid. But I found it would seriously eat into my monthly pay packet. So I did some thinking.

I asked at the office if I could work from home one day a week. That got agreed. I did that for a while so people could see I was coping, could be trusted and was getting the work done. Then I asked if I could do two days from home per week. At that point it was time for a little growing of the old gold and living like royalty.

I searched and found advance single tickets to cover my journeys in and out on the three days I had to go into the smoke. To my kingly delight these six singles, when booked in advance, were less money than a weekly or monthly ticket. But wait – not only that. If I included my holidays, I would be saving money compared to an annual season ticket holder. But the best was yet to come.

I discovered that I could travel FIRST CLASS on the way back EVERY DAY for the SAME MONEY. Oh, and of course if the train is ever more than 30 minutes late don’t forget to claim money back from the train company. I find the best way to do this is online, using my phone to take a quick photo of the ticket.

All aboard the Cashbags Express, next stop Moneytown.

Money train

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Walking: Walk like the King to save money

Walk more. Walking is free and good for you.¬†As a result of the absurd cost of housing anywhere near my work place I have a hell of a commute. A few years back I used to take the train then underground or bus on top. I was spending too much on commuting costs. I was overweight too. King’s eat a lot, they particularly like burgers. But my belly was also getting me down and stopping me feeling like proper royalty. Then I had a revelation. Why not save money and get fit at the same time? A brace of pheasants with one big chunk of buckshot.

Bit much? No way. Even a bicycle has either capital/maintenance or rental costs. With walking all you are paying for is extra wear and tear on your shoes. And walking is a great form of exercise – gentle on your heart and joints and so much more dignified than jogging. Cycling is good exercise too of course, but it can be hazardous activity in a big city. Even if your riding is faultless, what about all those huge trucks and buses? Unless you are in a truly bike-friendly city like those of the Netherlands, it can spell danger.

Train fares are rising, but the cost of walking stays the same. Diddly squat. Gym fees are another issue. How many people can put their hand on their hearts and say they go often enough to justify the monthly gym fee? Walking is exercising for free. Not only that but you are outside in the open air not in a dimly-lit sweat box touching machines that carry the prints of countless other sticky fingers.

Rip up the travel tickets, bin the gym membership. One of the best investments you can make is a comfortable pair of shoes. Get walking.

Walking foot

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