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Sinking Funds

February 15th, 2018 at 02:25 am

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.

Update

February 14th, 2018 at 04:46 am

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.

Lots of Spending

February 4th, 2018 at 05:20 am

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.

Uber Frugal Wrap Up

January 31st, 2018 at 03:11 am

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.

Using Things Up

January 26th, 2018 at 05:52 am

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.

Update

January 18th, 2018 at 06:00 am

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.

12 Years Blogging

January 14th, 2018 at 03:29 am

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.

Meal planning

January 11th, 2018 at 11:04 pm

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)
-frozen pizza
-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.

Update

January 10th, 2018 at 06:26 am

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)

Observations

January 6th, 2018 at 09:54 am

#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.

Day 5

January 5th, 2018 at 05:45 am

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
-pizza
-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
-leftovers

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.

Day 3

January 3rd, 2018 at 07:44 am

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!)

Update

January 2nd, 2018 at 06:23 am

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.

Goals for 2018

December 31st, 2017 at 12:30 am

I wrote out a long entry, but I forgot to copy it and I lost it. Anyway, here's some goals.

Financial

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)

Health

Have 1-2 Complan a day, as per dietitian's request.

I think that's all.

Planning for UFM

December 28th, 2017 at 10:49 pm

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.

Some Spending

December 14th, 2017 at 11:29 pm

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.

Thinking about UFM

December 9th, 2017 at 11:42 pm

Yesterday I spent some time thinking about UFM. I checked bank statements from January and February this year; I put 107 extra towards debt after this year's Uber Frugal Month. I don't think I'll be able to match it next 6ear for two reasons: 1. We aren't getting warm home discount yet (I switched suppliers and I've been told we're in the latter stages of the process) and 2. I pay the equivalent to dh's credit card. Anyway, I will definitely give it my best shot, especially since I've had more time to think about it this time round - last year I only heard about it from Debtfreebythirty's blog post.

DH is going to decrease the number of screens on Netflix in preparation. I'll remind him today.

I need to phone my current phone supplier to cancel since I'm taking over Dh's plan - he's joined a new one via our cable supplier.

I checked online for recipes using pearl barley and saved a few. I've got a bag in the cupboard that's barely been touched.

Lastly, I reread some blog entries from fellow SAers who took part.

Uber Frugal Month

December 8th, 2017 at 05:20 am

I just signed up for Uber Frugal Month, starting on 1st January. It should get me in a good mindset for the rest of the year, and hopefully save me some money. I told hubby I'd signed up. He's fine with it, but he didn't want to read the blog post about it.

I went to Aldi today. Spent 53.xx.

Paid 75 to my 0% card - that'll increase in February when I've paid off the catalogue.

I read an article about the company I work for planning to cut 800 jobs.

Thanks for all of your comments on yesterday's post.

Edited to add:

I'm trying to think of ways to be Uber Frugal next month. I can reduce the number of screens/devices on Netflix, always pack lunch (extra for a Saturday) and pack extra snacks to eat before work when I get there early. Hmm. I'll also use up the food that we have before going shopping.

Sigh

December 6th, 2017 at 10:57 pm

I'm a bit fed up just now. Tomorrow is payday, which usually perks me up, but I don't know. I had to withdraw from my meager savings to cover spending. I thought I was doing good at managing it. Sigh.

A few people got laid off at work yesterday. I think it'll be us next. All the more reason for me to focus on getting out of debt and building up my emergency fund again.

I've been on social media less. It just doesn't help my mood when I'm feeling like this.

I just need to come up with a plan.

Update

November 27th, 2017 at 02:20 am

I'm counting down the days until payday. Eleven days.

I thought I was finished with Christmas shopping - well, apart from framing a photo once I get the print. I ordered SG a leapfrog learning tablet. I had 57 in Amazon vouchers, so it was 12 out of pocket. Anyway, yesterday we took the kids to see Santa and she asked for a superhero costume. I checked online and I can get it from work next month, and I know there's a special sale, so that should be less than fifteen pounds.

I noticed that I'm not really stressing about Christmas. At least, I dont think I am.

I've still been tracking spending in my little notebook that I keep in my bag. I've noticed that I don't have a budget for miscellaneous items, and that I tend to buy a sandwich after work on a Saturday (although I'll need to stop that). I did try packing more but I ate it on my break, so I obviously didn't pack enough...

We decided last year that we need to replace our Christmas tree. I was supposed to budget for it, but I forgot. Last week my mum told she was getting rid of one of her trees, so she offered it to us. She tried to get us to take her decorations too, but I think we've got enough. I'll end up buying one that the kids made at the fayre next month, no doubt. No point taking them when I don't need them.

Double Digits

November 10th, 2017 at 05:44 am

The catalogue is sitting at 95.50. There's only one more payday left for this year, so it will be gone early January. Then I'll put that money towards my credit card.

There's 18 months left on my loan.

Went shopping this morning. Spent 51.xx although 9.99 was a Christmas present and 5.98 was on thermal socks, so not too bad actually. I've meal planned for the week.

On Monday I'm going to start wrapping what I have in so far.

Kids are going to see Santa at the end of the month, although I paid for it last pay.

Quick Update

November 6th, 2017 at 05:00 am

I barely update these days because I'm constantly talking about the same thing: paying off debt. I have no new updates about my debt, only that I'm still paying it off. I'm still being optimistic that i will be debt free by the end of 2019. So two more years of this.

I did notice that DH is aware of the budget, although I only casually talk about it. The phrase "Is there room in the budget?" is used a lot.

I've been working on decluttering and getting organised. Despite this, I still haven't started Christmas shopping yet because I'm not sure exactly what to get eldest. Littlest is easy but I need to shop around first before I go parting with my money.

Almost Payday

October 11th, 2017 at 10:53 pm

I can't remember when I last updated...

Ive been really lax at tracking spending this pay, so that'll change as of tomorrow when I get paid. I'm still meal planning, so that is helping. I've been making an effort to use things up. In fact, I've almost finished the bag of dried chickpeas that have been in the cupboard for months. Next on the list, is scotch broth and vegetable broth. And pinto beans. I keep forgetting about them.

I haven't started Christmas shopping yet.

Still paying down debt. Nothing changes.

Payday

September 17th, 2017 at 09:49 am

It was payday on Friday. I paid 71 to my only credit card - the new 0% offer. If I want it cleared in 25 months, I have to pay 126 each month, so I'm 55 short, not good. Once the catalogue is clear - it's at 195 now after Friday's pay3, I got the figure wrong - I can use that money.

I downloaded all of Swagbucks' mobile apps. The plan is to redeem for PayPal gift cards then put that towards hubby's credit card. It's taking ages though. I have redee0one 10PP so far. I actually think I'm going to need a separate phone, just to run the apps.

Update

September 3rd, 2017 at 12:01 am

I transferred my remaining credit card debt to another 0% deal. Hopefully it'll be gone in 25 months when the deal is up. I can try, anyway.

We're in the process of switching utility suppliers. Should be sorted by next week. I'm hoping this will save us some money.

The catalogue is at 205. It should be gone by Christmas (fingers crossed)

Uber Frugal Fail

July 29th, 2017 at 09:08 am

I don't have numbers for UFM because I didn't give it my best shot. We're having issues with my youngest, so my mind was elsewhere. Maybe I'll attempt another one later in the year.

Not so Frugal

July 10th, 2017 at 07:09 am

I took SG to the cinema. It was 2.49 each. I got her a kids snack tray too. Spent 7.49.

Later, I bought her a new jacket and socks. Plus socks for hubby. 25.05

By this point, I was hungry and it was lunchtime. Spent 4.25 on a sandwich and fruit salad for us. Not frugal at all.

Black Wednesday

July 5th, 2017 at 07:27 am

For my bank, that is. I logged on and I couldn't view my current or savings accounts, only my debt. I've reported it to them. I did some further research and found out that online banking has been intermittent since this morning.

Sigh. I didn't realise how dependent I am on the internet.

In other news, day 5 of UFM involved buying some more fresh stuff because hubby threw out some veg from the salad drawer that he didn't like the look of. Anyway, I used my gift card so I didn't have to use any cash. I also put a fiver in a collection for a girl at work who is going on maternity leave.

Day 3

July 3rd, 2017 at 06:29 am

I spent 23.69 on shopping today. I ended up going to Aldi, rather than hubby. I wasn't well last night and he's the same today. I must have bought all of their Super 6 today.

This week's meals are:
-bangers and mash
-roasted veg and feta puff pastry tart (I've still got another packet of ready rolled puff pastry to use up next week)
-spaghetti bolognaise
-Butternut squash risotto (the mix is from a jar though, not sure how it will be)
-tuna pasta
-leftovers

Day 2

July 2nd, 2017 at 05:46 am

We're almost out of fruit. Hubby is going to go to Aldi tomorrow, with a list.

We had leftover chicken stir fry for lunch. I'm making a bacon, veg and tomato casserole for dinner because there's veg needing using up.

I've been spending some time decluttering and organising today. No spending here.


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