<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: December, 2014
 

Archive for December, 2014

Last day of 2014

December 31st, 2014 at 12:48 am

I think I'm the only one that's pleased that this year is almost over. It's been my worst year to date so I'll be glad for 2015 to be here.

I was thinking about snowflakes last night - the money kind, that is. I haven't really got any disposable income since I put all extra towards debt repayment so I will take "snowflakes" out of my budget. I'm not sure if this will work, I'll see next year. For example, if I save £5 off my shopping I'll just include that in my budget as spent. The only exceptions will be direct bank deposits and Paypal, which I am considering aiming for most of the time from Swagbucks, or at least every other time. It costs more than an Amazon GC but I think it will be worth it.

I was also wondering whether I should aim to find x amount of snowflakes. When I tried this almost two years ago I didn't do well, but I never made a goal and I don't think I was as motivated then. So my goal will be to find £150 worth of snowflakes. Realistic? Who knows? We will find out in 2015.

This & That

December 29th, 2014 at 05:55 am

I've just been trying to catch up on washing and general tidying since Christmas. We still have three toys in our room that we forgot to give SG on Christmas Day, but I think we will delay it a bit because she got so many toys and I only just managed to sort them out.

I checked my email and Love Money emailed me. I read their article which said that 30% of families have less than £500 in savings and 53% have less than 5k. Unfortunately, we're one of those families. Mind you, it did also say that family credit card debt had increased but ours hasn't.

https://www.lovemoney.com/news/42367/family-debt-more-than-doubles-in-last-six-months?source=1000557&utm_source=lunch_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=LM%20lunch%20newsletter

I haven't been near a shop but will need to go tomorrow to get some fruit, veg and milk.

ETA: I've got a huge tub of double cream to use up. I just found a recipe online so will be making that, minus parmesan with cheddar instead because I haven't got any.

http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/29220/pasta-with-tomato-and-cream-sauce.aspx?o_is=SR

Afterwards

December 27th, 2014 at 09:06 am

Well we had a great Christmas. Of course, anything beats last year's: sitting on the couch in pain recovering from surgery eating toast and scrambled egg, not able to pick up or play with SG etc. There's a lot of leftovers. Half of one turkey crown is in the freezer, yesterday's is in the fridge. I sent my mum home with leftover turkey, stuffing and tomato soup.

The kids were spoiled so I have a massive declutter mission ahead of me. MIL dropped off a ton of stuff before Christmas. DH recognised a lot of it when we opened it, so she must have just been clearing out what stuff she had of SG's and J's at hers. One of J's presents was newborn trousers so they're in the donation pile already. I wasn't expecting her to get anything since they're still not talking so I guess I shouldn't complain.

My mum went equally crazy and brought more gifts over on Boxing Day for the kids.

Today has been spent getting rid of boxes and wrapping paper, and sorting toys. DH spent £1.00 on milk and that's been it.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

December 24th, 2014 at 08:37 am

Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! It's 4.30pm here, will be winding the kids down soon.

Glad to be home

December 23rd, 2014 at 06:16 am

From the store, that is. Nowhere exciting. I forgot how crazy it is at Christmas. I woke up early this morning and went to Aldi with my list. I was there for it opening at 8. Spent 27.xx and managed to forget a couple of things I'd forgotten to put on my list, silly me (although I couldn't find tomato puree in Aldi)

I came home, settled J eventually for his nap then left to go and put in a prescription for J at the pharmacy, then got the bus into town again, this time to Iceland. I dropped off some carrier bags on the way there. Traffic was manic so i was glad to be walking. Spent 10.06. I was going to pick up the turkey crown from the butcher's on the way home but DH phoned wanting me to come straight home.

I fed J when I came home because DH was exhausted from looking after both of them - mostly J, this morning. He's used to SG,not so much J. Dh made me a cup of tea and I had one of my homemade biscuits . Dh is going to the butcher's soon.

I'm gutted i forgot a few things but I'll make do. It would have been worse if I'd forgotten my list.

Year End Totals

December 21st, 2014 at 01:08 am

This is how my credit card debt is looking at the end of this year. I've updated my sidebar so this entry is for my records really.

At the beginning of the year I had 5652.81 of credit card debt. I'm ending the year with 5132.01. I've only managed to clear 520.80 worth of debt. That was helped by shifting my highest interest card, Capital One, to an interest free card in September.

I could have done a lot better but it also could have been worse. I have to remind myself that I was off sick for the first five months of the year, then I went back for all of seven or eight shifts then it was time for maternity leave. When we were at our worst and borrowing money, I was only managing to make the minimum payments.

So, to summarize, here's how things are looking now:

CC Debt 2014:
CC1: 1273.01
CC2: 4379.80
Total: 5652.81

CC Debt update (12/14)
CC1: 830.09
CC2: 4301.92
Total: 5132.01

Here's to knocking more off debt next year!!

Oh, a snowflake!

December 19th, 2014 at 04:18 am

I just checked my bank balance there and noticed that 5GBP had been deposited. I done a survey a few weeks ago and the reward was 5GBP. I know it's not officially January yet but money from this pay will go toward January until I get paid on the 9th. So, as per my new 70/30 rule:

- 3.50 to cc2
- 1.50 to EF

It couldn't have came at a better time because I'm feeling particularly happy today. This time last year I ended up having emergency surgery; today I finally got round to doing some baking with SG. All in all, a good day.

Little bits of everything

December 18th, 2014 at 10:45 am

I was in bed by 9.30 last night. About ten minutes before I crashed out I noticed that MIL had text me. She wanted to know if it was ok to drop gifts off on Monday. I said it was okay. Today she text me again thanking me for the Christmas card that SG made for her. Then she added pics of the card to FB.

Our tree is up, but not decorated yet. Although SG seems happy enough with it. It will be decorated by Saturday because I won't have the chance to do it tomorrow when DH is at work and when he's home we're going to our friends to drop off the kids presents.

I've not done much today. DH got the tree out of the very back of the big front cupboard and then we sorted through our jackets deciding which ones to recycle/donate. We also found a hanging wooden side cabinet (if that's even its name) for the bathroom, and a few mirrors that DH is going to put up.

I went for an hour and half nap this afternoon. We didn't get the tree up until four ish then we had to get dinner ready.

I've organised a Graze chocolate treats box (3.89) to be sent to my mum next week. She asked me for a box of chocolates but I haven't got them so I decided this would be a nice touch instead. I wrote a personalised message and it will be delivered for free on Tuesday.

I looked at next month's budget and added a category for an allowance and gifts, ten pounds each. We'll see how that goes. I hope to find snowflakes to throw at debt and savings too.

I'm waiting on my credit card statements updating so I can see how much I've paid off this year. I know that it's not as much as I would have liked.

Trains etc

December 17th, 2014 at 11:51 am

And by "etc" I really just mean more trains.

Today started off well (after I eventually got back to sleep) Before we left I had put on a load of laundry and hung it up to dry. I also managed to put away other laundry - I see this as all very productive.

We left at 12 ish to get the bus to the train station: 3.00 spent.
Got two train tickets (kids under 5 are free):12.80 and got the train at 12.36 roughly.
We were in Edinburgh for one ish but we managed to get lost because I didn#t write down proper directions, just what buses we needed. Eventually we got the bus (3.00) You would think we were tourists because everything's changed since we were last there years ago.
SG's appointment went well. We were told we could claim travel expenses so we tried to find the building to go to. We walked there to find out it was closed. Then we realised that we spent all of our change on the bus to the hospital so we needed to get change. By that point we decided just to walk back to the train station. J needed fed and we needed a hot drink. We got one about forty minutes later in the starbucks next to the train station (9.xx)
We were literally right next to the station. We checked the board and seen that our train was leaving in two mins. We hurried to the platform, jumped on, and we were taking off our coats when the tannoy announced that it was going to Glasgow which is the opposite direction. And nowhere near home. We got off at the next stop and I was expecting to have to pay another train fare. We went to the waiting area and spoke to an advisor who wrote a note on the back of my ticket and told us the next train was due in a few mins which would take us back to Edinburgh. We'd gotten comfy when it was time to leave to catch the train (third one of the day) When we got to Edinburgh we had about ten mins to wait for our train. It thankfully showed up on time and I double checked with the conductor that it was actually our train.
It was after five by the time we got to our train station. And it was raining. We checked times and realised we'd missed one of our buses but not the other. Well it drove past us. It was at least another half hour before the next bus so we decided to walk. We were two bus stops away from home over half an hour later when the bus drove past. We got home at 6 and gave sg a quick bite to eat.
I'm so pleased that we had snacks with us. DH filled the bag with enough healthy snacks for sg to last the whole six hours and we had a litre bottle of diluted juice to drink.
I've decided to add in a misc/allowance category for all these coffees etc.

I came home to read on FB one of my friends ranting about how much she hates wrapping. My first thought: I'm in the Christmas spirit, and I was so pleased at myself for having most of it done.

I think that's all.

4am really?

December 16th, 2014 at 08:23 pm

I've been awake for the last half hour and I don't know why. I'm not stressing about Christmas - I posted all the gifts and cards I had to yesterday, which is the most organised I've been. I've still got some gifts to wrap but not enough to lose sleep over.
today we've got a hospital appointment in Edinburgh for sg which wasn't budgeted for but it's nothing major. I will be making a packed lunch to take with us so apart from hot drinks #no thermos) spending will be minimal.

Another task done

December 14th, 2014 at 06:37 am

I finished wrapping the presents that I need to post. I'll post them on Tuesday. That's about all I've done today, I'm a bit behind on housework but I did put a load of washing on this morning. Some dishes to do but not too much.

I actually went for a nap earlier because J woke up at 5.30.

I'm close to redeeming a five pounds Amazon Gift Card. This will go towards snowflakes when it's used.

Other than that, it's been a NSD.

Santa. sleeping & numbers

December 13th, 2014 at 01:32 pm

Took the kids to see Santa today. SG took to him in the end but J slept through it all. Cost: 1.50

Before our visit to see Santa, we stopped in at Greggs for two mochas, a flavoured water and a sausage roll for SG. Cost: 5.90

We also went to Poundland where I spent £5.05.

My cousin and her kids came to visit when we came home. We exchanged gifts for kids and I gave her ten pounds to give her eldest son for Christmas because I forgot to get his gift card in.

DH is away out for a meal for his work's night out.

I was playing about with next month's budget and I included my new, ideal figure of 160 towards CC2. Doing that apparently leaves me 50 over budget. I'll take a more detailed look later but if that's true then I can cut back on shopping or something to make up for the extra payment. I'll also be on the lookout for snowflakes, of course

Payday

December 12th, 2014 at 02:15 am

Today's payday. I ordered my shopping for delivery tomorrow (4.00) instead of early next week because the fridge is practically empty (I gave it a quick wipe down this morning)and so is one of our cupboards. I spent 118.90, although 72.40 was on formula and nappies; 46.50 was on food including a few things needed for Christmas such as tin foil trays, paprika, frozen prawns and cranberry sauce. We're almost out of milk so DH is getting some today. We still need more but I'm going to Aldi for that stuff.

I paid both credit cards; 85 to cc2 and 30 to cc1. I'm optimistic that as of 9/1/15 I can pay extra to cc2 (four weeks from today, my next payday) I'm hoping that some snowflakes will come my way and help me pay it off.

Shopping Online

December 11th, 2014 at 05:17 am

CCF asked about how I shop online for groceries so I thought I would dedicate a post to it. I'm no expert but I will do my best to explain.

Okay so here in the UK we can shop online for most of the major supermarkets: ASDA, Tesco and Sainsburys. I'm sure there are a few others but I'm only really aware of those three, but I've only used two of them: Tesco and Asda (Walmart) As far as I know this started a few years, maybe more, and there are Home Shopping departments in most stores I think. Customers have the option of either choosing a home delivery slot or a click and collect slot. The click and collect slot is something I've never used because we haven't got a car. Basically, to click and collect, you would place your order then choose a time to collect. You drive to the store car park where there is a colleague sitting in a van waiting for you. They unload your shopping into your car for you. I'd assume that they would tell you if there were any substitutions (if they don't have your item they upgrade a brand, but you only pay for what you've chosen so therefore don't pay more) I always go for the cheapest home delivery slot - usually £1.

When I am shopping online, I log in and choose my items. I have the option of choosing a delivery slot which they hold for two hours. Today I am going to choose my items then save my list because payday isn't until tomorrow. I've never done this before, I usually just do it on the day, so I'm hoping it works out okay. DH suggested that I use my credit card to pay it then pay it off tomorrow but I'm not going down that route. Once I've picked my slot, confirmed order etc I have until 23.59 the night before my delivery slot to amend my order. This is really handy and something I've used a few times when I've forgotten to add something.

We started shopping online more when I was recovering from surgery, and then when J was born because I find it so much easier. I have a Tesco clubcard so I will get points from shopping there. They send me a quarterly statement with a money off voucher. I try to compare prices and I've found that since so many supermarkets are in competition these days, a lot of their prices are similar, if not the same, especially on items like fruit (68p/kg bananas in Tesco and Asda)

Any other questions? I thought this would have started in the states before here to be honest. Aldi and Lidl have become major competition for the supermarkets and shopping online is something that they can't do.

Snowflakes

December 11th, 2014 at 04:34 am

Not the money kind though. It's snowing here.

I started an online shop today. I had my list next to me, with what food I still need to buy for Christmas. I'll start it today and confirm it tomorrow so that should save some time. Aldi have got parsnips, clementines, potatoes in their super six so I'll get fresh stuff from there.

Tomorrow is payday.

The credit card company sent me a letter because I've only been paying the minimum, or just over for a while. I was focusing on CC1. They definetly won't be sending me one next year.

Well that's interesting

December 10th, 2014 at 12:32 pm

** Warning: not financial-related at all ***

So, I was on FB earlier and I noticed that I had a new friend request and a private message. That's probably not strange, but I never usually have both. I checked out the message first and it was from my half-brother. Friend request? Him too. It was just a basic message, how's the family etc. He deleted me off FB well over a year ago, maybe more, also with a message explaining why - FB's stupid or something like that was his reason. I responded to the message then the friend request with a few short sentences.

Does anyone else think this is strange? Maybe he's going to ask for something soon (he hasn't in the past but you never know) Or am I too cynical?

Backstory: same dad, never grew up together. He found out about me about 8/9 years ago. We attempted to hang out. Then it just became we spoke if we seen each other. He's also got two other sisters.

Doctors, turkey etc

December 10th, 2014 at 07:28 am

I'm pretty sure I really have no reason to update my blog today but I decided since I had some time, that I would.

I went to the doctors this morning. I've had earache since Friday and today was the first day I could get an appointment. Turns out I'm fine.

After the appointment I went to the butcher's to order our turkey for Christmas Day. I got the smallest turkey crown for 12.00 and also half a pound of streaky bacon. I'm picking it up on the 23rd, it was either that or Christmas Eve and I'm refusing to go anywhere on Christmas Eve. I'll pay for it when I pick it up.

I wrote out a list of what food I'll need over Christmas. When I get paid on Friday I will do an online order and get a few things that I either can't get at Aldi or refuse to get it because it's too heavy.

I wrapped two more of SG's presents today.

I'm feeling a bit optimistic about next year's financial goals. I'm out of the habit of tracking snowflakes, if I remember I used to track any extra money, under budget and now probably SBs. I'm not sure if I ever get any Amazon gift cards if I should track it when I get it, or wait until I use it and it's officially been used so is a snowflake, if you know what I mean? That really doesn't make sense. For example, if I redeemed a gift card now but didn't use until March say for SG's birthday, would I just count it then?

Numbers, numbers

December 9th, 2014 at 06:34 am

I just changed my phone plan. I currently pay 23.45 per month for 100 mins, 500 texts and 250MB data. Well I've literally just upgraded so my new plan is 300 mins, 500 texts and 250MB data. I also added an extra300 mins for calling 08 numbers which can be really expensive. So, my new plan is costing me 12/month. Saving 11.45 each month compared to my old one.

I've just been looking at numbers for CC2 on whatsthecost, a website that lets you see how much interest etc you pay and lets you adjust your payments. If I can manage to pay 175/month beginning Jan 2015 I will have cc2 clear by Dec 2017. Or 155 will be June 2018. 135/month payoff date is March 2019. I prefer the shortest date of Dec 2017 of course so I am going to do my best to pay as much as possible next year.

I also want to increase my EF next year. I withdrew from it twice this year, otherwise I would have 228 rather than the 28 that I currently have. Next week my extra weekly payments will increase from 1/wk to 2/wk for the forseeable future. I also deposit 10/four-weekly. I worked it out and next year's automatic payments total 238. By the start of the year I should have 43 in EF. That added to 238 (total automatic savings for the year) comes to 281. I might aim to have 350 in savings, possibly less depending on debt payoff, by Dec 2015. That's over 70 more so it might be a bit of a stretch. I'm still debating. Aiming for 300 seems easy.

I've decided that any snowflakes will be split 70/30 between CC2 and EF. 70% to CC, 30% EF.

ETA: I just worked out that to get to 350 it's only 69 extra over the year. I get paid four-weekly so that's only 5.xx extra each pay period. Hmm. It might be doable.

This & That

December 8th, 2014 at 06:18 am

I completed a SBs survey this morning. It's the first one I've done in a while. I've neglected Swagbucks but now I'm thinking I should go on it occasionally because it might, either directly or indirectly, help me with my goals for next year.

I'm going to cancel Love Film as soon as we get the film that DH wants to see and we've watched it. My package is changing from 4 discs unlimited for 10.34/month to 2 discs for 7.99.

I'm going to change my phone contract too, but I'll do that this week while I remember. My Swagbucks survey this morning was about mobile phones, otherwise I might never have remembered that I want to "upgrade". Thank you SBs. I've been meaning to do it for ages.

I spent 15 mins there wrapping one of SG's presents. She noticed it the other day so it had to be the first one to get wrapped. I added ribbon and a bow so it was fiddly but worth it. At least I'm not stressing at the last minute doing it.

We're having mince and tatties (potatoes) for dinner tonight. Mince is in the slow cooker cooking as I write, just need to get potatoes ready later.

The sun is out here but it's icy. Hope everyone is warm and safe!

More Using Up

December 7th, 2014 at 04:50 am

Tonight we're having breaded chicken in wraps with salad. Then we will have a caramel desert that I had to make up as it needed using up. The packet mix for the chicken, wraps and desert are all from my Approved Food shops over the past few months. The desert in particular I had been putting off making up but today I finally bit the bullet and made it while J was napping this morning. It didn't take long to do since it was out of a packet, it's just getting the motivation to do it.

I wrapped a Christmas present today and wrote a card. Our tree isn't up yet because the living room isn't ready but I'm still in the festive spirit.

Using Up

December 5th, 2014 at 03:25 am

I made us lunch today from leftover chicken, pesto, tomatoes, halloumi cheese and pasta. We've just had an early lunch and there's plenty leftover for DH when he's home.

I wrapped a few this morning, getting SG to"help". She decided to wrap up a present for J so she gathered up his soft toys and attempted to wrap it for him. A few minutes later she gave up and decided just to draw for him instead. I've wrapped the majority of the presents that aren't for immediate family. I will wrap up my mum's present when I get some photos of the kids printed to put in the frame that we got her. Next I will start wrapping SG and J's presents but that won't take long.

NSD

December 4th, 2014 at 10:14 am

I love NSD's. I wrapped a Christmas present this morning, and did some decluttering when DH came home. I found a packet of Christmas cards that I'd bought on sale last year.

Still haven't baked with SG yet, and it's three weeks till Christmas. I might just aim to bake one easy thing like banana bread. We've already made Christmas cards together, I was just debating about adding on the extras e.g. glitter.

Goals

December 3rd, 2014 at 07:15 am

I've been thinking about this year's goals, if I accomplished them, and next year's. I decided on minimal goals at the start of this year when I was recovering from surgery, and off sick from work. They were:

1. start a housing fund: FAIL
2. CC1 min. payment top 25: unsure - I transferred it to a 0% card and now min. payment is 25 but it wasn't all down to me
3. earn enough SBs to claim £25AGC: DONE- i might not have done this if I hadn't been off sick**

Next year I would like to:

1. increase EF to 280/300
2. decrease CC2 by x. amount (haven't decided figures yet)
3. cash only Christmas using vouchers plus extra cash savings
4. not order from my catalogue (exception being using rewards, but only up to that value. If I don't use them I lose them)

These aren't set in stone yet but this is roughly what I'm thinking.

** From 17/12/13 - 21/5/14 (roughly) I worked eight shifts. I was off sick for about 18 weeks then I finished up on maternity leave/

Today

December 2nd, 2014 at 08:36 am

I've had quite a productive day. This morning I managed to sort through clothes that I'm getting rid of. I'm donating a few bags and recycling the others.

I posted four parcels today: 11.20. They weren't Christmas presents. I'll post Christmas presents next week.

We were talking today and DH mentioned no housework on Christmas Day. I'll need to do dishes and a tidy up obviously. I think he means no sorting out laundry etc. I'll just need to be caught up by then. What does everyone else do?