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Archive for October, 2013

Christmas 2013: Forming a Plan

October 27th, 2013 at 02:02 pm

Ok. I've decided to list here what I am planning to do for this Christmas.

- Where will Christmas be? Not sure yet, so unlikely we will be hosting
- Cards - send out or email? Send out. Need to buy in cards for close family.
- Gifts - got quite a few for SG, will get a few more and an outfit for Christmas Day. Other gifts:

Hubby: he's picked a dvd (£10-£15 I think)
Mum: jumper and pyjamas (£20)
MIL: will discuss with hubby, but pyjamas probably
BIL: a book
3 cousins: pyjamas for all three (also got a birthday in December)
SG's "cousins" aka my cousins kids: money for oldest, bodysuits and socks for younger two (this was requested)
Friend's kids: books (done this last yr, hardly ever see friend but she gets SG)

I also need to buy another packet of lights for the Christmas tree. I'd like us to have a new outfit to wear on Christmas Day but only if it's doable.Also, we haven't got any hanging decorations for the livingroom - but they're not a necessity, just a want.

Have I missed anything?

Meal planning etc

October 26th, 2013 at 11:07 am

I finally got around to making the root vegetable and lentil casserole - which has curry powder in it so looks more like a curry. Either way, there will be leftovers. I searched how to make spiced onions at home, and it looks easy, so I will try that soon to go with the poppadoms that we have in the cupboard. I didn't realise it was only us Scottish that have spiced onions until I was looking for recipes.

Next week I will be making:
- pork and butter bean stew
- cheesy vegetable pasta bake
- butternut squash soup
- lentil spaghetti bolognaise

Capital One sent me a letter telling me they are increasing my credit limit next month, due to how I've been managing my payments, or something like that.

A present for SG arrived today. I used my catalogue rewards so I wasn't out of pocket - it was on sale at £3.

We've been saving all year for Christmas. We got our high street vouchers a few weeks ago yet we haven't been shopping yet. This is unusual, we normally go as soon as we get them. For the record, we have £200 plus I've got £40 on a gift card that I started a few months ago.

Update

October 24th, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Three weeks in to this minimal spending and I'm finding myself stressing out. So much so, that I woke up at 5.30 this morning just to pay some bills that are due. Of course I checked my bank balance and it is getting lower. It's not going to get higher, obviously.

I've got a few more bills to pay then the rest are direct debit, so no need to worry about them.

We're almost out of potatoes but I'm going to hold off getting them for a couple of days - we've got plenty of pasta and rice to keep us going. I've already had to buy bread, milk and butter this week.

Yesterday was a NSD.

Feeling Optimistic

October 21st, 2013 at 06:30 am

We went to Aldi on Saturday. I spent £61.56 but only £51.09 was on food. I couldn't get everything I wanted, so I picked up a couple of things before work yesterday. Spent £2.49. So I've spent £53.58 on food, and I've got £36.42 remaining. (I budgeted 90 as opposed to 140 last pay peiod)

I had to alter my meal plan slightly after I'd been shopping because there were a lot of root vegetables on offer. This week I'm making:

- cottage pie with vegetables
- spicy root and lentil casserole with rice and naan bread
- baked potatoes with beans and cheese
- leftovers

I'm feeling pretty good about my minimal spending. Cupboards, fridge and freezer are stocked so I only expect to have to buy fresh items. I wasn't feeling so optimistic while we were shopping though, in fact I was a bit moody with hubby when he tried to get something that wasn't on the list - even though I added a few items that weren't on the list because they were on offer.

The rest of my food shopping money is sitting in my small document holder. I need to withdraw the other cash for SG and household.

Payday

October 18th, 2013 at 09:26 am

Today was payday. We got to see the damage a week off sick had on hubby's pay. Not good. Spending has to be kept to a minimum. Hubby suggested putting bills on the credit card - no way! We will just have to deal and get through this, it will be a learning experience if nothing else.

When SG is sleeping later I'll be meal planning and writing my shopping list.

The only thing I have accomplished so far today is to change the date of my automatic savings transfer. When I first set it up a few years ago, I could only transfer money either monthly, quarterly or yearly. Well, I had a look today and there's a four-weekly payment option, which matches when I get paid. So I've changed the date of my automatic transfer. Now it will be £10 every four weeks rather than every month. I was going to increase it a few months ago, but I never. Part of me was thinking just to delay the payment but if I start doing that I'll never want to save money. It's an evil cycle. And there's another part of me that thinks "you can do better than £10".

During this pay period I will not be paying anything to my BNPL items from the catalogue. I hate it but I had to cut a few things. I've also reduced our grocery budget and household spending. If I could think of something else to reduce, I would. Oh, obviously snowflaking towards debt is not really happening. Again.

Wow this post is sounding depressing. I can think of a few good things though:

- hubby's friend paid us back the money he owed us (£10)
- I had money left in the bank before payday
- our cupboards are full, should only need to think of a few staple items to add to the shopping list

A few days later...

October 17th, 2013 at 02:30 am

I used the last of my food shopping money.I noticed that 500g packs of pasta were half price - 50p each - so I bought some in. I also bought in reduced mini naan breads which I've put in the freezer for when I make a curry soon.

There was a sale at work. I spent £12.15 on clothes for SG's Christmas. They were all half price, and were items that I wanted to buy when they were full price.

I made spanish potatoes in the slow cooker on Monday. We had them with wraps and then paninis the following two days. It felt like a takeaway because all I had to do was heat them up. I'll be making them again soon.

We gave one of hubby's friends a loan of money this week. It was £10. Hubby said we will get it back today. The last time we gave him money it took him weeks to give it back. We'll see.

My mum's coming over for lunch tomorrow. Normally I go out of my way to find a really nice recipe for us and then I make it. This time, I'll use what's on hand - it'll be something with lentils or baked potatoes and beans probably. I had a look at cooks.com (thanks Snafu) and found a lot of nice recipes using lentils.

Oh, I checked Capital One today. My new card arrived yesterday so I'm going to activate it soon. Normally I wouldn't activate it so quickly but I'm worried about security now. Anyway, it looks as though they've increased my credit limit. I now have 474.03 available, I'm sure there was less available credit last week.

Using up what you have AKA Meal Planning

October 13th, 2013 at 11:50 am

This week my plan is to use up what we have. I'll probably have to buy bread and milk at some point, but that should be about it. Actually maybe chopped tomatoes too since I use them so much. So, what do we have? Well today MIL gave us some of the food she gets from her work but never wants: lots of paninis, wraps, chicken goujons and rolls. We also have plenty of potatoes, frozen veg and lentils. And pasta too.

I made my first lentil stew yesterday. I found a recipe on the back of the packet and adapted it to what I had. We both enjoyed it so much that we had no leftovers. Hubby wanted dumplings with it, I used the last of my self-raising flour to attempt to make some. We had home made rice pudding afterwards which hubby made this time. He made more than I normally do so we had leftovers (well I did)

I'm making a shopping list here, aren't I?

An observation before I read your blogs: I noticed that the price of tinned chopped tomatoes increased within a couple of days. I bought them at the start of the week and they were 31p, at the end of the week they were 34p. I should have stocked up earlier.

Today's Happenings

October 11th, 2013 at 09:18 am

Returned two out of three library books. I need to find the other one soon.

Posted the engagement card I got last week. 50p for a second class stamp.

Since I was at the local shopping centre, I went into to Co-Op to have a look. I spent £2.24. I bought a pack of short grain rice to make rice pudding and a packet of mini meatballs for SG. They were on sale for 99p rather than 2.xx, also the offer's finishing in the next few days, so I decided to pick them up while I was there.

I came home and made a batch of minestrone soup. We will all eat this.

Tomorrow I'm working. When I finish I need to pick up milk, sausages for SG, potatoes and carrots.

A Capital One fraud adviser just phoned me. She explained that the transaction was on a gambling website, and there was another attempt on the same website too. She asked me when I last used my card - told her March. She had to verify that so I had to wait a few minutes while she checked. I was right, 29/3 was the last transaction. She told me to cut up my card and that a new one will be with me in 7-10 business days. Not a problem, since I never use it. She did question whether anyone else knew my PIN, or used my card, told her no-one else knows it.

The conversation lasted a bit longer than it should have because we had trouble understanding each other. Oh well, at least it's sorted now.

Fraud

October 11th, 2013 at 02:31 am

I got a text from CC1 at 8.20 this morning:

"This is a Capital One fraud check for card ending ****. A £290.00 purchase was made on 11/10/2012 at 0820, if this was you please reply y, if not reply N"

Of course I replied N straight away, then signed on to check. Sure enough, a £290.00 cash advance was made this morning! Capital One said they've taken action to protect my account and they will call me within 24 hours with an update.

I haven't used this card in 7 months, and it certainly wasn't for a cash advance when I used it. It's been sitting in my purse doing nothing yet this manages to happen. And the icing on the cake it that I didn't even have £290 credit available.

Minimal Spending Update

October 10th, 2013 at 09:06 am

I spent 10 yesterday on stocking up on food. I'm trying my best but I'm disappointed when I see how little I have left in my budget - about 13. We only had chicken left so I bought casserole pork and beef mince for £2 each. I guess I'm used to us having meat a lot. That will need to change, although I will still make it for SG.

I seem to be spending a lot of time looking for recipes. I found a recipe which uses green lentils: roast chicken, tomato and lentil one pot. According to the magazine, it's 1.38 per serving and serves four. I'm sure I can make it for less. I won't be making this yet though since it uses chicken thighs and we haven't got any just now.

I've got four hours overtime at the weekend. It won't make up for hubby's days off work but every little helps I suppose.

We've used a lot of potatoes this week - we've only got two left now. Last time we had a 2.5kg bag of potatoes it took us ages to use them.

I went to my mum's today. 3.80 spent on bus fare. I've gotten the feeling before that my mum thinks we're really struggling - I guess we are in some ways. However, I brought it up today that all bills are paid on time and extra has even been paid towards cc1. Yes DH has a shortfall but we are trying. As a household I think we are ok, obviously we could be doing a lot better.

Day 4

October 7th, 2013 at 10:23 am

I spent 9.52 at the shops today. It would have been less if I'd remembered my discount card. I bought:

- a baguette
- cheese
- butter beans
- kidney beans
- pizza base mix
- grapes
- cherry tomatoes
- sausages
- tomato puree
- multipack of crisps

This is my first time buying the pizza base mix. It was .70 so I thought I would pick it up and give it a try over the next few weeks. I had to buy in some fruit because we only had bananas left. I was out of tomato puree. Hubby asked me to buy paracetamol for him. The crisps are for work and they were a pound from the pound shop (the vending machine at work charges .41 a pack)

No spending planned for tomorrow.

Day 3, meal planning

October 6th, 2013 at 01:06 pm

Day 3 and I spent 2.10 on bus fare today.

Dinner was baked potatoes with cheese, and some pickles at the side. For desert, yum yums given to us by MIL from her work.

We've got haggis and fresh vegetable soup in the fridge now... hubby's sorted for lunch tomorrow.

I'm trying to decide what to make this week, it's looking a bit like this:

- minestrone soup with bread/rolls (don't need to buy anything)
- bbq chicken with rice and veg (same as above)
- chilli bean soup with cheesy garlic bread (400g tin of butter beans, baguette, cheese)
- a vegetable pasta dish

Minimal Spending: Day 2

October 5th, 2013 at 07:47 am

First of all, yesterday I ended up spending 1.49 on two packs of salt (50p/kg) for hubby to soak his foot in , and some more tissues for SG.

Today has been a no-spender. I've been spending the day getting organised for going to work tomorrow, and cooking up food for us and SG. I've got a sheperdess pie cooking just now. First time I've made it, there's certainly plenty of veg.

I found over a kilo of dried green lentils that MIL gave us a while ago. Expires next month but I want to use them before then, so I've been trying to find recipes using green lentils online.

Mil text me yesterday to tell me that she had sandwiches dated tomorrow for me for work (lunch sorted), and to invite me to my first ever bridal shower. I told her I couldn't afford it at first, then she told me it's at the bride-to-be's mum's house. She offered me a lift home that night, or I can stay at hers. I said I would go after that. I'm not sure about etiquette at bridal showers though. Do I need to bring a gift?

I've been obsessively checking my credit card statement online for the past few days, waiting for it to update. It finally updated today. Minimum payment was 70, I paid 90. Getting close to my goal of 60 by the end of the year.

Minimal Spending: Day 1

October 4th, 2013 at 07:50 am

I spoke to hubby last night, basically said to him that we need to spend as little as possible for the next six weeks. He wondered why six weeks? Because that's how long it is until the next pay that we will have no sick days and possibly extra hours.

SG's got a cold and there's no tissues in the house. I met my mum for a coffee then went to buy some tissues and some olbas. I also needed to get an engagement card (£1.50 was the cheapest), some more milk (£1.99 for 6 pints, we're going through a lot) and a box of teabags (27p). Well my mum ended up paying for it - she said just put it with my stuff. She also bought our coffee too.

For those of you wondering how we're going through so much milk when I just bought four pints yesterday - we had a cheap dinner last night: porridge.

In other news, while catching up with my mum I persuaded her that she has to pay herself first. So, every two weeks, I'm transferring a little to her savings (I've got a laptop, she hasn't) Well I made sure before I left to make absolutely sure that it was ok for me to do this, she said it is. Well, her savings account is now ten pounds better off. Wish I could say the same for mine.

So day one is a NSD - but only thanks to my mum. I'm back to work in a few days so need to plan what I'll take for breakfast and lunch.

Thinking

October 3rd, 2013 at 12:16 pm

It's two weeks until payday tomorrow. I get paid every four weeks. Is it possible to go six weeks with minimal spending/no spending? I've done a No Spend Month before, but we were in a different situation then: it was just the two of us and we were living at MIL's.

Speaking of MIL, it's her birthday next month. Wonder if I can get a "free" gift for her?

I spent just over six pounds today, bought a 2.5kg bag of potatoes, a pack of yoghurts for SG, 4 pints of milk and a loaf of bread.

Little updates

October 2nd, 2013 at 02:09 pm

We've almost officially changed utility suppliers. Next week it should all be changed over, hopefully we will see some savings.

I made carrot and coriander soup tonight. Before I starred cooking I had a good look in my store cupboard and there's a lot more than I thought. Tins of beans and spices and herbs kept getting knocked over. I thought I only had one onion left but I found a few more, plus one red onion. I also found a kilo bag of pasta. I thought I had to buy more soon, too. Good thing I had a thorough look.

I've been playing about with the budget for next pay period. Still deciding what to do. I'm hoping to continue putting extra towards CC1 though, and putting money towards the Buy Now Pay Later Items that I have on my catalogue because the last thing I want to do is pay interest. Also, savings are going to need to be replaced - probably very slowly though.

Shortfall

October 1st, 2013 at 06:39 am

It's just over two weeks until payday. I asked hubby to check his minimum payments on his two catalogues last night. He didn't want to; I found out he usually just waits until payday, signs in and makes his payments. I prefer to know what's happening in advance. He checked and both of his payments have increased. Great. But I'm glad we know now so we can try to prepare. Hubby didn't say much the rest of the night about it.

I've been thinking about what to do. To make matters worse, hubby got minor surgery today so he will have to take a few sick days this week. Also, the last of my savings will be transferred to his account to cover his shortfall for this pay. I asked him to check his bank account before the catalogues. I'm glad I did.

The way I see it, we have a few problems: savings will be depleted after this transfer and there will be another shortfall next pay since there's been no OT since we've both been on holiday from work. When I go back to work next week I will try to get an extra shift but I can't do much since I have to look after SG.

I've got £41.46 of my grocery budget left. I'm debating whether to use this money to buy a meat pack from the local butcher's that's £25 and stock up on tinned tomatoes, pasta etc. Or trying to spend as little as possible and keep it for the shortfall next pay. Thoughts? What would you do? I'm also considering making a big batch of soup and freezing what's left.