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.
Viewing the 'Budget' Category
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
I had to buy nappies and milk. I didn't have to buy some reduced snacks but I'll use them next week at work. Spent 7.51.
Excluding direct debits, I'm hoping not to open my purse again until Tuesday. And that should only be for bus fare.
We're having chicken quesadilla for dinner, using the last of the roast chicken. Homemade popcorn for watching Daredevil on Netflix. Hubby cooking dinner tomorrow, bangers and mash.
I'm going to attempt UFM in July too. At first, I thought that buying school stuff would be an issue. Anyway, last week I found out that we're entitled to a school grant. All I had to do was photocopy some forms and send them with the application form. Well, we did that on Monday. Yesterday I checked my email to see that I have been approved for the grant. The money - £90 - will go in next week.
I found out that hubby's credit card that I cleared last year, then J added to but we got a lot of it taken off, is sitting at 3k. I know J has bought some more things accidentally, but I didn't realise it was that bad.
I bought J a bed for his birthday. I spent almost 190. I had 160 set aside. He was ill on his birthday, so we didn't go out for it.
SG's has finished nursery now. One of the mums wants me to bring her over to play with her child during the summer. It seems that her daughter has become attached to mine.
What else? I signed up for an app that I installed on my phone. Apparently, by doing this means that I'll get a £10 shopping voucher soon. It keeps crashing, so I don't think I'll get it.
I'm going to try my best at UFM.
I found my claim form for my health plan. I'll go to the hospital next week to get it signed. That should help a little with my pending budget shortfall.
I returned some clothes that my mum bought for the kids. That was 25.00.
I also found a gift card that I can use for shopping. 10.00
I signed up for a free trial of hayu on Swagbucks. The marketing they use here is that you can view the show "the same date as the US". The episode I watched kept freezing, it must've taken me double the time to watch it. On the plus side, I've been watching Giuliani and Bill. I miss that show.
What else? The calendar has really gotten busy with upcoming events at nursery including school visits. Likewise, one for J too,for nursery though.
I think that's all.
This morning I recycled some jars and dropped off some donations.
Later, I baked raisin biscuits and tomato scones. They will be for snacks.
Yesterday I checked my eligibility for a credit card balance transfer. The check said I would be accepted, however, I haven't applied in case I don't get approved. Also, I'd rather use a balance transfer for my highest credit card, and that balance transfer doesn't run out until October.
I was going to go shopping on Sunday, but hubby made me realise that we don't need anything, so I'll hold off another week.
Yesterday we were in Edinburgh for an appointment and I
spent 18.69 at Burger King. It was unplanned. However, walking through Edinburgh is exhausting and we all needed it (we had some snacks with us).
My budget app alerted me that I'm close to overspending on groceries. I've only spent 72.xx,but it told me to lower my daily average.
For next pay, that is. Thanks to being off work I'll have less money to work with next pay. So, I need to try to cover this shortfall.
I really don't want to pay less to debt repayments, since it'll be my first month snowballing. And I don't want to stop savings, since these all help long-term. My variable categories are: food shopping, utilities and kids expenses. I can adapt these.
I'm sure I can claim for my two nights staying in hospital from my health plan - I'm not sure how much though...
I could start earning Swagbucks again, although I only have 300. And that takes time.
Hmm... I'm mostly just thinking right now.
I spent two days in hospital with SG because she had breathing problems. It was unplanned, of course. I spent a lot of money on junk food and sandwiches for me, since SG was having hospital food. I must've spent about 20 on food, although I didn't really keep track. Hubby got a takeaway so that was another 21. I also got a taxi home for us - we had so much stuff and I was shattered. All in all, it must have been about 50 in total.
She is doing better now. The doctor gave us medicines and an inhaler for the next few days.
In other news, I just paid off one catalogue today. That was 75.02. The other one is now 330.
Today is payday. Next pay I will be short because of phoning in sick for those two days, but we will manage.
In other news, I've been thinking about budgeting for other expenses such as school stuff. Each pay I send fifty pounds to my EF. From now on, I'll allocate twenty to these miscellaneous items that could potentially break the budget. I'll have to write it down though, otherwise I'll lose track of it. Yep, it only takes a small leak to sink a ship so I want to make sure that that doesn't happen.
Well, it feels that way...
I bought the kids new clothes and shoes, paid for sponsored walks, a trip. I also done another Approved Food order because I had a promo code to get delivery for 1.99 ( I normally pay 5.99). My cupboards are filled to the brim. Next pay I should only have to buy fresh stuff so this should help when I get paid again next Friday.
I also realised that I don't properly budget for annual expenses, so I'll need to figure something out. I only regularly save for Christmas. Come August I will have a child at school and one at nursery. Two lots of expenses for school photos, trips, meals (well, I think they're free until Primary 3 - I have to check) Then there's birthdays. Just when I think I'm getting myself together, I realise this. I have to budget in for this stuff; I just need to sort out the details. Hmm.
Yesterday I paid 12.50 to SG's nursery: 6.50 for a trip to the zoo and 6 for football/soccer lessons. The lessons are for six weeks and are subsidised by the nursery, it's supposed to be 3/wk. A coach came to the nursery this week and SG loved it,so I thought "why not?" If she wants to keep it up after, I can get in touch with the company.
Hubby has a stag do coming up this month. I'm expecting that to be at least fifty pound. Then I have the wedding reception in June - assuming I hear about transport, that is.
June is also J's birthday. I'll be getting him a bed. Right now, I only have a duvet set and sheets that I got in Asda/Walmart when they were on promotion for 20% off. I got a new one for SG too. I still need to buy the actual bed and mattress, so I've been looking online. I'm hoping I can get one for under 150.
Also, I want to take us to adventure mini golf for his birthday. We'll only go for one game since I know how grumpy and tired he gets. I checked and it's 23 for a family of four.
Lastly, I want to try to get us out more during the summer, so I'll need money for that.
We had the other wedding at the weekend there. Hubby went, since no kids were invited. I'd booked us two nights in the hotel, but I only stayed one with the kids. SG was ill so I came home a day early with them. Good thing too cause I had a really bad night with her. Total spending for the hotel was 330.90 and about 60 on train fares and taxis. Kids really enjoyed it.
I'm going back to basics with food shopping and tracking expenses.
One catalogue is at 84.50,i think. I want to get that gone this month. I have two cheques to cash which I'll put towards it.
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