How we saved our money to buy a Greek ruin

How we saved our money to buy a Greek ruin

It’s a question we get asked a lot. “How did you afford to buy two properties without a mortgage when you’re so young?”

Let me take you through it, because it’s completely achievable. It’s just a matter of changing the way you think. If we can do it, then there’s no reason why you can’t too. You’re imagining that we had high-flying jobs, wore suits and commuted to London, right? Guess again. We are normal people who worked normal jobs. Read on to find out how we saved our money to buy a Greek ruin.

A few years ago I was completely taken in by the idea that getting a mortgage was a statement of success. If you managed to get a mortgage and buy a house, then you had made it in life! It was only as I started to question everything I had ever been told that I started to find inadequacies in the system I was being funnelled into.

The concept…

So this is how it works if I’m not mistaken. You somehow get together the deposit for your future mortgage. Next you head to the bank, where somebody taps away at a computer, ruthlessly looks through your credit records and then triumphantly announces that you’ve been authorised to take out a mortgage…Yay! Next, some pretend numbers (money) are transferred into your bank account for you to complete the purchase of your house. From that point onwards you spend the next 30 years working to pay off the debt (pretend money) plus a mountain of interest on top. In addition, if you were to run into financial difficulties and can’t pay the mortgage then the bank can seize your house and assets. I think I’ve pretty much covered it…am I’m supposed to believe this is good news?

We thought about it in depth. Mr Sidestepping-Normal and I realised that there was no way we were choosing this an option for ourselves. How on earth could we sidestep this normalised format?

Saving a high percentage of our income…

Unfortunately, to have options, you have to have money. After lots of research, we realised that if we changed the way we thought, and made changes to our lifestyle, then we could save a high percentage of our wages. With a lump sum of money we could change our situation.

We started to scrutinise our spending and curb our outgoings. Within weeks we were saving considerably more by not wasting it on unnecessary things. You can read about our top 10 saving tips and how we saved £1000’s per year. As time went on, we became quite adept at saving, but our biggest outgoing was rent, and that was swallowing our cash every month. How could we eliminate rent?

Moving back in with parents…

We could have continued to rent whilst still saving a good proportion of our earnings, but it would definitely have taken us a lot lot longer to reach our goal. We reluctantly made the decision to move back in with my parents so that we could save more. In hindsight this was a huge help, and I feel so grateful for the opportunity they gave us. It can’t have been easy for them to have their children (plural, as one of my sisters also moved back!) moving back home in their twenties along with a husband and two dogs in tow!

Typically, at the time we were naive and selfish. It felt like a huge sacrifice of our independence. Oh poor old us! How self centred we were! We spent 2 1/2 years living back at my parents house in the little annex, before another of my sisters was knocking at the door asking for her turn. I can hear you asking; “How many sisters does this gal have?” Just to clarify, only two.

Living in a caravan to save money…

We hadn’t reached our goal in terms of savings. At this point we moved into a caravan on a friends piece of land paying minimal rent.

Dora settled into caravan life very easily!

After a year in the caravan, we once again moved back into my parents house and stayed in the little loft room…Just when they thought they had got rid of us for good!

Our savings were exceeding our previous expectations and we became quite addicted to watching the balance go up every month. Another year passed and as our savings pot started to overflow. So did the need to leave the loft room and finally embark on an adventure that had taken 5 years of saving.

Spending the dough…

We aren’t the sort of people that take kindly to conforming. So with our lump-sum of savings we decided to buy a Greek ruin and a villa…why not!
After 5 years of boring everyone we knew with our plans and dreams to move to Crete, and much to the disbelief of our friends and family… in the words of Del Boy “We only went and bloody done it Rodney!”

Once you take the plunge and make a huge decision then there’s nothing left to do but live it!

We get on very well with our new Greek neighbours!

All in all…

It was only by evaluating everything we were spending, that we realised how we were wasting our money. We had nothing to show for it at the end of every month. Towards the end of our 5 year saving stint we were saving an almighty 90% of our wages every month.

By making huge changes to our lifestyle, we were able to save the money to buy a Greek ruin and a villa without the need for mortgages or loans.

Admittedly, our savings could never have bought a house in our home town in the South of England. We chose to move country where property prices are very low. Most importantly, we have complete peace of mind that nobody can take our properties away from us. Furthermore, we don’t have to worry about huge repayments every month.

I completely understand that this might not suit everybody. However I do think that everyone can make changes to better their situation by thinking outside the box. Whether you want to take it to the extreme and move countries to get what you want is another matter. Allow yourself to think of alternative ways of achieving your goals, because there is never just ‘one way’

What about if you are already tied into a mortgage?

Moving countries and swanning of to Greece to buy a Greek ruin isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. There are still ways you can adopt elements of this lifestyle though. Maybe you have your heart set on a mortgage, but you can’t get the money together for the deposit. By rethinking the strategy you are using to save, you could quickly and easily reach your goal. Similarly, you could get the mortgage paid of much quicker by evaluating your monthly out-goings and eliminating the unnecessary expenses.

There are plenty of people that would dismiss the way we accomplished this and would see too much self sacrifice. I can honestly say that although there were tough times, and times when we never thought we would make it, we thrived and learnt so much about ourselves. We now feel so much pride about what we have achieved and the fact that it was all down to hard work.

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2 thoughts on “How we saved our money to buy a Greek ruin

    1. Hi there, thanks for your message. Crete is a wonderful place and I feel very safe here, but I’m an aware person and wouldn’t put myself in certain scenarios. I could just gloss over the details and tell you that it’s all perfectly fine, but the truth is that as with anywhere, there are areas that are best to avoid as a foreign lady living alone. If you are in a busy village surrounded by lots of people then I’m sure you wouldn’t have a problem. If however you moved somewhere more remote with an old fashioned view towards women, then you may have some problems. The cities, touristy and expat areas are a lot more ahead with equality in my opinion. Please don’t be put off, as long as you are sensible, you will be absolutely fine. I think the same could be said for the UK or anywhere else.

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