Changing your name after your wedding

Sunday, 27 August 2017

One of the more common questions you get asked when people find out you’re getting married is “So will you be changing your name then?” Generally it’s directed at women, but more men are hearing it too, and if you’re in a same-sex relationship then double-barrelling is flagged up as an option.

I'm only changing my surname!
But one of the problems is just how much stuff you end up needing to change, and how many different ways there are for doing so. After getting married in April I’m now in the process of getting things updated with my new surname, and frankly I’ve had some mixed results with it!

I’m quite lucky to work for a large employer with lots of HR staff dotted around the place, and they have plenty of experience in updating your details. All I needed to do was show up at the HR office with my marriage certificate, wait for a colour copy to be sorted on the photocopier, and that was it. My colleague in HR sorted out my payroll, HR record and pensions information so it was all swapped over in less than a week! I count myself very lucky to have found it this easy, obviously your work place may be slower or require you to fill out extra forms.

Verdict: 5/5

My main bank since my student days is Barclays, and through Google I managed to find the page on their website that said I just needed to take my marriage certificate in to a branch and they would sort it from there. So I did exactly that, and spent just over five minutes with a staff member going through the process. Originally it came across as very easy, again they took a colour copy of my marriage certificate, and I was told that a new debit card and chequebook would be in the post shortly.

However when things arrived it became very clear that something had gone wrong. Although they had updated my title, so I was now “Mrs”, they’d left my maiden name as my surname. Cue a certain amount of frustration, especially when I went to a second branch to sort it out (I didn’t want to go back to the first for obvious reasons). They could see that something had gone wrong with the changeover, although they didn’t tell me what, but they couldn’t fix it until I handed over my marriage certificate again. I therefore had to make a third trip, certificate in tow. I ended up with yet another new card and another new chequebook, but thankfully in the correct name.

I also have a mortgage with my husband through Halifax. This time it was closer to ten minutes as the staff member had to fill out what seemed to be an extremely long online form. Not only did they need my previous name, new name, my address and my mortgage account number, but I was also asked about my current wage! I even had to check that they weren’t going to change my mortgage in anyway as some of the questions seemed too personal for what was a change of surname. Once more the marriage certificate was copied, and the online form had to be printed off and the whole thing sent to a head office through Halifax’s postal system.

The disappointing thing with Halifax, apart from the questions, was that I was told it would only take three days to sort out and I would receive a text message to confirm it had gone through. Despite them having my mobile number (I’ve had texts from them in the past) I never received anything to confirm the name change had gone through. We only realised it had been processed a week later when we checked our mortgage account online, and found it was now titled “Mr & Mrs” with one surname.

Barclays – 3/5
Halifax – 4/5

Electoral register
This got done this week as we received a letter about updating details online. No need to photocopy or send off the marriage certificate, we just logged in with the code we were sent on the letter, and there was an option for me to change my surname on one of the pages. Obviously until I next get a polling card I won’t be certain that it’s gone through fine, but it seemed to be a smooth process.

Being on the electoral register is important for your credit rating, so keeping it up to date with your name and current address should be standard. When you get one of these letters, double check they’ve spelled your details correctly, and amend them online if not.

Verdict: 5/5

Driving licence
I’ve only just sent this off (very naughty I know), so hopefully this will go through fine! I’ve deliberately left this late as it’s the first time I’ve needed to send off my marriage certificate and I’m worried it’ll get lost in the post, or damaged by the DVLA (a friend of mine had a bad experience with hers). I collected a form from the Post Office, filled it in with all the details, and have now posted it off with my driving licence and the marriage certificate. It should take three weeks for the new to make its way back to me, and hopefully my marriage certificate will come back in one piece too!

Verdict: 5/5 for getting the form from the post office, ?/5 for getting it back!

I expected them to be the biggest nuisance with this kind of thing, but it appears not! All I had to do was fill in an online form, including the date that we married and some information about my husband, and that was that! But again, I’ve only done it recently so any problems won’t have arisen yet. But for ease of use I’ve found them one of the better ones to deal with, even if it was a little time consuming.

Verdict: 5/5, so far!

I haven’t got around to sorting out our utility bills (energy and broadband are in my name), and I haven’t done my passport as I’ll need to pay £95 for a new one to change my name! But so far I feel I’m making progress, and this doesn’t even include all my shop loyalty cards that have also been swapped over!

Charity Shop Haul: July 2017

Sunday, 13 August 2017

(The blog post below includes some links to Amazon, these are affiliate links and mean that I earn a few pennies if you choose to buy the same thing. You will not be charged extra by Amazon.)

July started off slow for charity shop visits, but then I had a week off work and spent the first afternoon of it wandering around the huge number of charity shops outside the Grafton Centre in Cambridge! This was then followed by a morning strolling around Colchester, so in one week I managed to visit a lot of shops, and get some lovely bargains!

I love White Stuff, but I find some of their collections a bit hit-and-miss, so I haven't bought anything from their shops recently. I did however find this gorgeous blue top in one charity shop, and quickly snapped it up as it was only £5! I've actually got quite a few of their tops, but some of them were bought three years ago and are starting to get holes (I wear them every week as they're suitable for work), so my plan is to use charity shops to replace the four most damaged tops!

This month was quite poor for book purchases, possibly because I have quite a few from the past couple of months that I need to catch up on, so I was quite discerning this month. I also just didn't find a huge amount that I needed or wanted to buy, it was a better month for DVDs (as you'll see below). That said I did find two decent books to add to my shelf. The first is "Nella Last's War", which I've actually read in the past and really enjoyed. This book is an edited version of a set of diaries which were kept during the Second World War by Mrs Nella Last. She lived in Lancashire in Barrow-in-Furness and spent the war actively helping charities, running her house, and worrying about her sons.

The other book was "The Times Obituaries of Notable Women", which is a collection of obituaries about various women who died in the 20th century. It should be good source material for some upcoming ebooks so I'm looking forward to sitting down properly with it at some point and making a few notes.

Now that I've moved out of my parents place I'm finding that I need to buy DVDs that I've had easy access to for years. So imagine how chuffed I was to get the first two Bridget Jones movies for £1 each. They're nice easy watching that you can have on as noise in the background without dedicating lots of time to watching, so having my own copies at last is great. I also got "Made in Dagenham", which I've wanted to watch for years and never got round to!

Mortgage Overpayment - July 2017

Sunday, 6 August 2017

If you'd like to find out more about why we're overpaying our mortgage, the post is here!

July turned out to be a fantastic month for overpaying. It wasn't a record breaking month, that's still held by April. But it was still very good and it's all thanks to my expenses claim, my train ticket to a work conference gave an enormous boost to the payment pot!

So without further ado our overpayment for July was £129.27!!

That was made up of our standard £30, which we budget every month. I received £5.39 from Quidco, which was cashback from buying some house items a few months ago, and then £78.66 was my work expenses claim. I also did a couple of account sweeps, rounding my bank balance down to end in a 5 or a 0, and that netted me an extra £5.56, and then I finally rounded down the mortgage balance at the end of the month to pay off an extra £7.66. 

Since we're now just over halfway through the year, I thought I'd take a little look at the impact our mortgage payments, and the overpayments, have had on some of the numbers!

When we started the mortgage we were having £12.01 added in interest per day! It's now down to £11.82 a day. We were due to go under £11 a day in August 2020, but we've now brought that up to June 2020, and of course that will go down as we continue to overpay. We were due to drop under £155k owed in May 2018, that's now fallen to March 2018. I really want to do it before January, but playing with numbers suggests that that might be a little tricky. I'm really happy with how close we're getting though, it's good motivation for the future.

I have a terramundi pot, which I started to save in when I was living in London. I only add £2 and 50 pence coins to it, and it's starting to get a little heavy. But it's certainly nowhere near full ,so I'm now debating if I want to crack it open in December and use whatever's in it to make one last huge overpayment for the New Year. But on the other hand I'd like to know how much it can hold when it's full, so I should hold out.

We'll see what the coming months bring, and see how many more £2 coins I can stuff in to it in the meantime XD