I've reached the halfway point. Baby is doing well,according to my recent ultrasound. We haven't bought anything yet. However, we now need to start getting organised.
I've still been decluttering,although not as much as before. I need to step up before I add baby stuff.
I need to get started Christmas shopping soon. Luckily for me I have a 6 year old who is happy to tell me what she wants. She is an advertisers dream. I do point out to her that she can't get everything. I've started an Amazon wish list for the first time ever.
Speaking of Amazon,I've just claimed a £5 voucher from swagbucks. I need to get back on it so that it can help with Christmas shopping.
I've reached the halfway point. Baby is doing well,according to my recent ultrasound. We haven't bought anything yet. However, we now need to start getting organised.
It's been a while since I last updated. Since then I've been a bit lax tracking my spending. Time to get focused again.
Last night I meal planned and wrote today's shopping list. It's payday today. I'm going to make sweet and sour chicken in the slow cooker (a first for me). I'm hoping there'll be plenty of leftovers.
I'm 17 weeks pregnant now. I'm definitely making an effort to eat good stuff. Of course, this pregnancy is already heaven compared to the last because I'm healthy.
I'm trying to continue to declutter. My mum wants to buy stuff for the baby already, but I told her I need to check what we have first. If I can get stuff nearly new,I will.
Debt is going down. I have to update my sidebar.
I've been really bad these past few weeks, getting a takeaway impulsively last week and buying little things here and there when I'm out. So bad.
I also bought a coat rack from amazon. £23
Kids have school trips coming up. For once, I had money set aside in my sinking fund.That was good.
So,one of the reasons I've been distracted is because I was having bladder problems. I had a catheter in for a week. I went to the doctors the other week because I hadn't peed for almost a day.Two litres of urine later.. then a catheter. I'm now without a catheter and doing it myself, when needed. I wasted some money at the hospital a few times on sandwiches from the cafe.
So,the reason I'm having issues,if you haven't figured it out already... I'm pregnant. I don't know when I'm due,I haven't seen the midwife yet or had my ultrasound. Plus,family don't know yet. We will tell them once I've had my ultrasound. It's nice to tell people, even if it is anonymously.
Credit card: 2436.84
£345.87 paid off since last month.
I've spent £112 on food so far since payday last week. Ouch. My tesco order was huge though. I've been looking into portion sizes and trying my best not to waste leftovers.
I found a bean and pasta soup recipe that I'm going to make for lunches next week. I cooked up some pinto beans and I also have cannelini beans in the freezer.
I'm going to a speech therapy course for parents of children with social learning difficulties. It lasts 6 weeks. I think it'll help a lot.
My new hours started. My first pay will be at the end of the month.I'm looking at that budget now.
Credit card: 2561.84
13 payments of loan left. It'll be gone May 2019,then credit card shortly after that in September. After that I'll put that money to hubby's credit card,which is still sitting at 3k due to its high interest rate. By the time that's gone,it'll be 2020.
I'm really hoping for a Low Spend April. I've ordered, what I hope, is two weeks shopping from tesco. It doesn't arrive until Thursday. I made sure to order dried cannelini beans, pinto beans and adzuki beans. I've never tried adzuki beans.I'm going to make sure that i cook and portion them up for recipes. My new contract starts next week so I need to make sure I limit my shopping trips. If I can get most of it at once,the happier I'll be.
My meal plan is looking like this:
-slow-cooked pulled pork with potatoes and veg
-sweetcorn fritters with salad
-carbonara-style pasta with pulled pork and mushrooms
-penne with red peppers and spinach (SG picked)
-tostada with chicken, black beans, salsa
-frozen pizza (twice)
-sweet potato and white bean chilli (Jamie Oliver)
-chilli con carne with rice and tortilla chips
-leftovers (definitely need to make sure there's no waste)
I cancelled one of DH's direct debits. It was only for a fiver,but every little helps,right? Next I'm going to look into reducing our cable package.
I bought a bag of dried turtle beans (black beans). I'm going to definetly incorporate them into our meals. We've already tried black beans with a tortilla and an omelette. It was from my new recipe book. A few meatless nights a week are the way to go, I think.
I finally opened up a savings account for my sinking funds. It's for birthdays and school/nursery expenses. Hopefully I'll have more in the future.
So, I had my meeting at work. It went better than I thought it was going to. I was completely shocked when she said that my hours weren't changing. However, as she started reading through my hours I realised that they had one day wrong. Well,I explained that I can't do that shift because I can't get there early enough. She had a think and suggested a long day. I pointed out that buses are unreliable at that time so she shortened it. The result was that I was now 4 hours less. She said that I can pick up another day to make up my hours,in fact another very early start was suggested.
Well,I came home and spoke to hubby about it. Another very early rise just doesn't work - I'm talking before 4 - so we're just going to rework the budget. Before I left work that day I spoke to another woman who is also reworking her budget.
So,it's not official yet because I haven't signed my new contract. Was it the best decision financially? Probably not, but for my sanity and family life, I think it is best.
This weather is depressing. The schools have been closed for three days. My grocery shopping wasn't delivered so I went to a local store to see what was there. No bread or milk. I had to buy almond milk. I've never tried it. Will it taste weird in tea? I went to the butchers too. Spent 17.95 today. This is possibly the least amount spent on food on payday ever (unless my order shows up)
I've got bread in the bread maker. Fingers crossed it turns out. I'm making a chicken pie for dinner.
Got the date of my next meeting at work: next Saturday. Speaking of work, I hope I make it in tomorrow. I know buses are running now.
I've just done an online shop which is getting delivered on Friday (payday). Before that, I done a meal plan:
-slow cooker pulled pork
-black bean tacos with salsa and guacamole
-pulled pork carbonara
-Mediterranean spiced pasta
I'm also going to try baking an orange loaf cake for the first time, and banana bread.
Took out an amazon prime free trial. I didn't plan on SG buying the Frozen movie accidentally today. That was 9.99, but thankfully I had gift cards on the account.
It's SG's birthday soon. All money for it will be coming from this upcoming pay. I wish I had sinking funds already. Mothers Day is also next month.
I've decided I'm going to put an a4 sheet of paper on the fridge with our grocery budget, and spending, on it.
My work are being a nightmare. I had a meeting to discuss my hours. They want everyone to be as flexible as possible. Well, I explained that I'm not. They noted it down. I asked if redundancy was on the table? No, it's the last option. At the next meeting they will give me hours that some computer decided is best (to meet the needs of the company). I'm dreading it. Someone told me that she was offered hours, but she couldn't work that late and they wouldn't negotiate with her. So, it's all or nothing.
For now, I'm job hunting and resisting the urge to hand in my notice.
So, any idea what I should do meanwhile? Minimise expenses? Put away extra cash? Or towards debt?
I've been paying into a private dental plan for years. Well I recently found out that I'm entitled to free dental treatment due to low income. I have a card that means I'm exempt. We've had them for a couple of years, but I just thought that I still had to pay the plan. Goods news is that I don't. It'll save me £13/month.
Any money that I can save is good because redundancies are happening at work. The company used to be flexible, but they're just not now. Sigh. I'm just pleased that my remaining credit card debt is already on a 0% card, and that I took out the loan when I did. Of course, it'd be even better if I were debt free, but I'm not. 13 months left on my loan.
This is one thing that I don't have, but I know I'll need to set it up ASAP. I know a few of you have sinking funds. How do you keep track? Are they in a separate savings account? Right now I think I'll need one for school/nursery and clothes for the kids. Us too, possibly. I know this'll help my budget in the long run if I can get this set up.
It's been a while since I last updated. So, what's been happening?
First of all, I started watching a lot of budgeting videos on YouTube. Actually, I started that at the beginning of the year when Creditcardfree mentioned it in her blog. Now, I'm trying to figure out if I'm more of a pen and paper gal, or if spreadsheets are the way forward? And, do I prefer updating daily or once a week? And cash only? Right now, it's mostly cash for variable expenses.
I had a birthday. I treated myself to a new cookbook from Amazon. I had vouchers so the book was free. The aim of the book is feeding a family of four for £40/wk. I'll be making some stuff from it.
I also just spent a Christmas gift card today. I added a couple of things for the kids. I was 6.49 OOP.
I had a check up at the dentist. One of my fillings needs replaced. It'll be £56. This wasn't in the budget so, today, I made sure that my health plan is updated online. I can make the claim the same day so that's good. I also made sure that both kids are on it. They are. (Youngest has had a lot of referrals since last year. Possible autism diagnosis. We've been to lots of appointments for him. Next one is ophthalmology this month, since they really did refer everywhere).
Hmm, what else? SG's birthday is next month. She told me the other day she'd like a party. I had to tell her that's too late notice to book a party. Looks like I'll be planning one next year.
On Friday I spent more on food shopping than planned: 72.xx in Iceland and another five in Lidl.
Yesterday it was 16 - I think? - on pull ups and some snacks.
Today it was some new shoes for littlest, whose went up half a size. I also got him a jacket that was on sale. Spent 38 on trainers, then another 26 on the sale stuff.
I think that's enough for now.
Last year's UFMC was way more successful... This year's just highlighted how much money is going towards debt. Despite watching spending, I'm still cutting it pretty close. Payday is on Friday.
This month highlighted that we pay too much on our mobile phone bills - mine will be cancelled in a couple of weeks, but I'm still paying for a sim card for a tablet that broke months ago (but the contract isn't up yet, and we didn't take out insurance!). It's in hubby's name so I need him to check when it's up so we can cancel.
I know I complained about the extra debt repayments, but I know it's worth it to have it gone.
I'm going to keep up using cash only for shopping. I really like doing this. I think I'm more accountable that way.
All in all, I could've done better.
I made a batch of chocolate caramel muffins. I had a tin of Carnation Caramel that needed using up. I've also made up some raspberry jelly that I bought months ago. We're having pizza for dinner using a pizza base mix. I'll put some leftover sweetcorn on the pizza.
Next Friday is payday. We'll be eating from the freezer until then. I have some frozen mince, stuffing and pigs in blankets, possibly bread rolls too. And I've almost finished the bag of mixed veg.
I finally phoned to cancel my phone contract. I'll be taking over hubby's next month.
I realised from just using cash this month, that a lot of our money goes to debt. I knew that was the case, but this makes it clear. At least, I'm paying more than the minimum and I should only have to do this until the end of next year - hopefully I'll be debt free by then (November 2019,hopefully). So, although I won't have saved a lot, I think I'll keep up this cash only habit because it really makes me think.
In other news, I'm almost finished that bag of lentils. Finally. I'll buy in a 500g bag the next time, not a kilo. We're having the last of the turkey for dinner tonight. Afterwards, we'll have rice pudding that's in the slow cooker.
I started this blog 12 years ago today. Way back when I was a young twenty year-old. Wow.
I was thinking the other day that I need to actually write down estimated payoff dates. I know the loan is May 2019. I can't remember when my 0% card finishes - August 2019? Then after that, I'll put all that money to hubby's card.
In other news, I spent 43.xx at Aldi. Way more than the 25 I wanted to. Ugh. But never mind. I'll deal with it.
I'm going shopping today. I meal planned, wrote a list then checked old receipts for prices. I'm hoping to spend less than £25 in Aldi.
This is what we're having:
-spaghetti bolognaise (SG picked, I'll make it tonight)
-turkey cacciatore (last of the turkey)
-lentil meatloaf (uses up lentils)
-tuna pasta bake (2 tins in the cupboard, plus pasta)
Now I'm hoping that I'll have one week where we can mostly just eat out of the freezer. We'll see. I bought frozen veg in last week and I haven't opened it yet. We're almost out of potatoes but I didn't put them on my list because we've got plenty of rice and pasta.
I think I'm doing okay, ten days into Uber Frugal Month. I don't know how much money I'll actually save, but I am more conscious of my spending.
I returned three unwanted Christmas presents yesterday. The store didn't offer store credit, so I exchanged them for a new pair of boots for J, and a loofah. Spent 50p.
I also bought a box of baby wipes because I seen they were on offer. Originally, I was going to get them next week but I changed my mind.
Meal planning has been going well. I think I bought in too many bananas though, so I'll get less next time. I shouldn't be shopping until Friday.
Next week I will use up the last tub of turkey in the freezer. I'm still trying to decide how, though. I froze half of the chilli that I made too, but I don't think I want the same again (we had it with rice and tortilla chips)
#1: It's less stressful carrying cash. No need to check my bank balance today
#2: I was asked if I wanted to contribute to someone's retirement gift. I used to work with her. Everyone that currently works with her is giving 10; I'll give 5 (from next week's money, not this week's)
#3: It helps to look around (I found those black beans in one of my normal supermarkets in the world foods aisle)
#4: I spent 179.xx last pay period on groceries. The aim is less, ideally 140 (or less)
#5: I might not end up saving as much cash on my Uber Frugal Month this time round, but my attitude has changed.
It's payday. I went to three different shops due to offers, and spent 59.61.
Over the next week, we will be eating:
-macaroni and cheese
-chilli with rice and Tortilla chips (making a double batch and freezing the rest)
-Turkey burritos (leftover turkey, burrito mix needed using)
-loaded potato skins with salad
I withdrew 140 cash for the week. It's a bit more than needed but I'll need enough change for bus fares. Leftover money will be rolled over. Next week I'll be withdrawing less since I expect to spend less now. All that's left to buy now is nappies - and wipes, but we're not out yet.
On Sunday I want to buy a couple of tins of black beans to make soup. I have to get them from Tesco because nowhere else sells them. While there, hubby wants us to treat the kids to a babyccino (about 55p) plus he'd like a coffee. Not frugal, I know. I did say no to food there though (3.50+ for a toastie). Anyway, if the weather's really bad I'll just go myself.
Oh, I paid off the catalogue today. Almost forgot that.
And I need to remind myself that I'm trying to get out of debt. I'm not looking to take the kids to Disneyland. Is this completely random? Yes. But only because I seen on Facebook that an acquaintance is just about ready to take her kids there, and I just wished that I could do that.
Two years to go! (I hope!)
Yesterday was a NSD - I really need more of those!
Today I bought:
-bus ticket (4.30)
-topping up electricity (5.00)
-milk and some reduced items (3.96)
I'm working the next two days. That'll be another 8.60. I'm thinking this month I won't buy a weekly ticket since it might actually be costing me more.
Last night we had pork loin steaks, the last of a frozen bag of broccoli and cauliflower, and the last of two bags of rice and leftover noodles. Tonight it'll probably be baked potatoes with beans and whatever else I can find.
Payday is on Friday.
I wrote out a long entry, but I forgot to copy it and I lost it. Anyway, here's some goals.
1. Beginning February, pay 125 to 0% card. (also check how many months I didn't pay 125 - I think it's 5)
2. Continue to track spending. Review once a week, since I seem to lose enthusiasm as time goes on after payday.
3. Save for Christmas - adding in saving at butchers and asda too. Ideally, I'd love for all of Christmas spending to come from saved money. (Money usually budgeted for food could go to debt. That would be amazing)
Have 1-2 Complan a day, as per dietitian's request.
I think that's all.
As much as I can, anyway. I've been looking at some budget meals. I also will plan around what we already have in - so turkey twice over the next few weeks (I had three tubs leftover which I froze, we're using one today)
Still no sign of us getting the warm home discount yet, so I'll just try to use energy wisely.
I'm going to pack snacks for when I'm out, and especially for after work when I sometimes buy a sandwich.
I haven't phoned my phone company to cancel yet. I'll do that today, but it won't impact next month now.
I'll just try my best to save money.
It was SG's first nativity play yesterday (at nursery they just sang, they didn't tell a story). I spent:
-£4 entry (£2 each)
-£1 at the craft fayre
Then I bought a raffle ticket from J's nursery (£1)
Completely unrelated, I also got my hair cut (£18)
It's dress down day today, so that's another pound. Last week it was Christmas Jumper Day/Save the Children and I spent £2 for them both to wear theirs.
This is mostly for my notes. It's all in my notebook in my bag anyway.
Oh, we just wrote cards to each of the staff since DH and I ate the chocolates I bought for the teachers (they were two small boxes). Lesson learned: buy them later next year.
I'll also be spending £36.75 at the butchers next week.
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