Saturday, 31 December 2011

Mission accomplished

Today I managed to buy my season ticket for the year as I refuse to line TFL's pockets any more than I have to. I am a little concerned as to why my loan hasn't come through from work though, but my manager said it was easier to do it another way to the way I was told it would happen where the money is put in your account in one go so maybe that has happened instead and it isn't because I haven't passed my probation period.- eek! fingers crossed. 

Friday, 30 December 2011

My finances are a little up the wall at the moment....

Hello to the people who read this blog and I hope you all had a very enjoyable Christmas- with a not too bad financial aftermath to deal with in the coming weeks. This year Christmas seemed to pass by in a blur and I can't believe it is almost New Years Eve already.

I last posted before my work Christmas party just over a week ago, which was a very enjoyable night and surprisingly I actually tried to alternate my alcoholic drinks with soda water and lime and even drank a bottle of water in the cab home and took some painkillers too- I was very proud of myself as usually I never know my limits and end up in a bit of a pickle :S. The next day I was one of the first in the office at 8.30am and was feeling pretty good- just really hungry as I hadn't had much for dinner the previous evening, only some canapes. 

The past week I seem to have fallen a little off the frugal bandwagon, and whereas before I would have carefully thought about what I was buying there hasn't been much of that going on. Nothing too reckless, but there has been food bought which has gone mouldy and unused which has ended up in the bin which I usually try to avoid at all costs, clothes and make up bought that I wanted and didn't exactly need and meals out in close succession with the reasoning that hey-ho its Christmas. 

Also, what has really thrown me into the red is the all-in-one computer I bought outright with built in freeview television. It was a planned purchase, but as the BF gets paid weekly he still owes me £200.00 which I'll probably get in four £50.00 installments. It has a nice big screen, which is such a luxury compared to the crappy cracked screen laptop I've been using the past few months, and is perfect for photoshopping my photos and watching TV in our room. 

And on top of that my annual season ticket loan money still isn't in my account, despite the finance department saying it would be there the week before Christmas. Therefore, I have had to transfer money from my ISA into my current account to pay for all £1,880.00 of it. Eek! I tried to buy my season ticket today to start in the first of January so I pay for this years train fares and consequently avoid the ridiculous 5.8% increases but the ticket office was closed at 1pm. I'm hoping I can buy it easily tomorrow instead without too much hassle, but my sister said they make the process so over-complicated it took her three attempts to try and buy hers. Fingers crossed. 

All being well I will be able to buy the season ticket tomorrow and that will be my travel costs paid for the next year. Once that's all paid for I will have around £165.00 in my account plus £55.00 cash which I need to pay in  tomorrow whilst carrying out my mystery shop at Santander (£10.00 payment for asking a few silly questions and filling out a form-more on that later!) totaling £220.00, I'm hoping to get around £60.00 next Friday for the bar work I've done this week taking that up to £280.00, plus the £200.00 I'm owed from the BF £480.00 and I should be selling my Wii for £100.00 making that a grand total of £580.00 to last another 25 days. Most of this will go on bills; £220.00 rent, £150.00 into the joint account, £42.00 gym membership and then £33.00 phone bill= £445.00, leaving £135.00 to spare. 

It feels good to finally work all this out as for the last week or so its been a bit of a head in the sand situation. I think my head cold has knocked the stuffing out of me a bit and I'm almost (I said almost!) looking forward to getting back into the usual routine- hoping to shake the cold before returning to work. 

I hope you all have a great evening tomorrow, whatever you have planned and hope next year is a happy and successful one for all!

PS. Does anyone have any resolutions yet? I haven't given too much thought to it yet I must say.  

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Just a quick post, it was payday yesterday finally so I've updated my ISA and ticker. It's the work Christmas party tonight, lots of free alcohol which is super scary with festivities going on right up until the big day. Hope everyone's having a Merry Christmas and will be posting a more lengthy post in a few days time.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Money money money....aint it funny?

Over the past few days I've been watching a BBC documentary series titled 'Money'. The series explores peoples different attitudes towards money and it makes for some very interesting watching. Here's the link if anyone wants to check it out enjoy the rest of your weekend. x

Saturday, 17 December 2011

I've just shifted some money around in my accounts so that I wouldn't be tempted to spend it anymore and now have the grand total of £6,662.00in my savings account so the little turtle has made some progress. This last few days I've been itching to shop for myself as I recently cleared out my wardrobe and draws of items which had seen better days and think I needed to replace a few bits.

I managed to resist popping down Oxford Street at lunch (mainly due to it being so cold) but last night after having my hair cut in Wimbledon I was left waiting for the BF, so naturally headed to the shopping centre to keep warm. I caught the last 15 minutes of H&M being open, hit their sale section and found a set of black fur trimmed mittens and black bobble hat for a fiver. This purchase I do feel was actually pretty necessary as my one pair of mittens were beige and falling apart (they'll go in the bin today) and my one bobble hat was a cream bear hat with pom-pom ears which were starting to come off- neither of which went with my new elegant black coat. My hands were also getting really chapped from the cold spell we are experiencing at  the moment, and the hat will help to keep my body heat in.

However, I also spotted a sparkly silver jumper I had eyed on a colleague at work that had caught my eye (the human-magpie effect!) which was priced £15.00 so I gave in and took it to the till- I thought it would be nice to wear on Christmas day.

Then, I was really hungry by this point and needed something to eat. All the available options didn't seem to appealing; the usual fast food outlets, supermarket pre-packaged sandwiches etc. so I opted for quite a bad choice on reflection- a Gregs steak bake. However, you had to spend a minimum of £3.00 to pay by card so I wound up walking away with a steak bake, festive bake and a mince pie...hmmm. Fairly annoying as I had already preprepared my dinner of steamed fish and green veg which was at sitting at home in the fridge-but such is life.

Myself and the BF went for a few drinks, but the pubs were crowded there was nowhere to sit/stand without being in someones way so around eleven made our way home. I thought that as our joint account is back in the black this week we would use that but we shared the cost between our personal accounts, so that was another £9.00 I hadn't planned on spending- think it might have been nicer to share a bottle of wine at home!

So the excess money is in my savings account, there is £100 left in there at the moment and half of my recent purchases haven't yet come out. I've also just remembered I need to buy another weekly travel card at £47.00 for the week- eek.

Left to pay
47.00-travel card
£25.00-hair cut
£20.00- H&M clothes (jumper is going back as looks awful on!)
£20.00- National Geographic subscription
£9.00- drinks out
£10.00- dinner out today
£3.00- Gregs

That's £15.00 (well it was if I was keeping the jumper!) over my budget which is what I originally anticipated so that's fine. I've also got a few shifts lined up at the pub over the week I'm off including New Year's Eve which I was umming and ahhing what to do, whether to work or go out. However, tickets to where I was meant to be going was about £20-£25, plus all the travel and drinks on top, plus I didn't fancy having to wait for two night buses in the cold. So I should have a little extra in January to cover these little overdraft inducing treats.

Right that's enough of me going on, does anyone have anything nice planned for this weekend? x

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Happy Hump day folks

Santander finally came through and managed to send both my debit card and pin number to the right address- it took almost two months needless to say I have been less than impressed with their 'services'. It's been so long since I could just pop across the road to Sainsburys for food at work it was quite a luxury to scour the shelves today.

I've given myself £75.00 to last until payday next Wednesday, and so far this week I have spent almost £25.00. Yesterday I ordered my Dad a 'National Geographic' subscription for the year which was a reasonable price of £19.00, included in this price is a fleece, ideal for wearing to work on cold days and out walking/cycling at the weekends as well as a world map. I thought it was an unusual and much more thoughtful present than the standard Next jumper I usually buy him, although I'm not sure if he'll actually have anything to open on Christmas day- I think I'll probably have to print something out to put in his card.

Today I spent almost £5.00 in Sainsburys on, well snacks..... I felt like I needed some nourishment to fend off the winter snuffles and general 'urgh' feeling as was pretty sleepy this morning- more so than normal! So I bought some peppermint and nettle tea which is meant to be cleansing etc. some mixed unsalted nuts with raisins for some good fats, vitamin e, a small bar of Green and Blacks organic dark chocolate (it has antioxidants right?) a bag of cherry tomatoes to go with the cheese and crackers in my packed lunch and a jar of very mini gherkins to also go with the cheese (a bit of an odd craving). I thought I would be needing to keep my strength up over the holiday period and really want my skin to clear up and improve as much as possible before the work Christmas party. Therefore, as well as the unsalted nuts I've also been guzzling water at my desk, eating avacado and peanut butter wholemeal sandwiches and making an effort to eat my fruit. Does anyone have any blemish fighting tips om foods to avoid? I've heard dairy is bad but I'm not sure.

So left in the budget I have £50.00 left, out of which I need to get my hair cut (again before the said office party) as my bob has completley lost its shape. I'm hoping I can get a stand by appointment after work on Friday which is £25.00. I also need to buy a small present for the BF around £20.00 approx. I'm also meant to be going to Richmond on Saturday and will probably end up having lunch or dinner out.... I doubt it will come to a fiver so may eat just a little into the overdraft once I've put the £400.00 into my savings account.

Overall I don't think that's too bad considering I've also completely paid off the car repairs too. Fingers crossed no disasters strike before the 21st like last month!

Image courtesy of  'We heart it'
Hope you're all having a good week so far- Happy Humpday x

PS. do you remember this time last year when there was non-stop snowfall? I'm quite happy its bright and nippy outside today!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Cheapy easy cheesy pasta

Inspired by some of the recipes floating around the frugal blogosphere this weekend I decided to try and make my own cheese sauce. Though this is a fairly simple task to do I'm too impatient to follow recipes and weigh out my ingredients, preferring instead to wing it.

So into a saucepan went some margarine from the fridge, some milk and flour which was heated gently over a low heat, whisked and then I added half a ball of mozzarella some garlic powder and black pepper and whisked a little bit more to make a smooth paste. I set this aside while the pasta finished cooking, microwaved a cup of frozen peas, chopped a few leftover cherry tomatoes lurking at the bottom of the fridge and combined all the ingredients which was then poured into a casserole dish. I then placed this into a warm oven to bake for half an hour to make the top crispy.

 When I sat down and had a mouthful it tasted like I had gone a bit overboard with the flour, and the mozzarella had a very weak taste. But it literally cost me pennies to make, and filled me up for the afternoon. The next day, I had the leftovers after returning from a spot of Christmas shopping. This time I melted some smoked applewood cheese over the top which gave it a flavoursome taste- much better! I'm planning on practicing my easy cheesy sauce again this week.

On another note there's just ten days to payday, and less than two weeks to Christmas Day- can't wait! I cleared out all the rubbish in my wardrobe I never wear and utilised a top organising tip from A Thrifty Mrs whereby you place all your clothes on hangers facing the "wrong" way; i.e so that the hooks are all facing you, and once you have worn the clothes you turn the hanger around again. It's an easy way to see exactly what you wear and what items are taking up precious space in your wardrobe.

And I have also made a list of a few items I think I do actually need to stock up on- including a flat pair of pale ballet pumps (oh-so-chic, versatile and most of all comfortable) I'm planning on throwing away my tan coloured ones which have been worn to death, a new black cardigan as my current one is looking somewhat worse for wear and lots of new socks (say goodbye to holy socks!)

Now all I need is for my pin number to come through from Santander......though it's been pretty annoying being without my debit card it has made me consider my purchases much more than normal- which is always good for the piggy bank. 

Friday, 9 December 2011

Weekly round up

Today was a mini payday for me, a little sum of £32.00 was deposited into my account from the three and a half hours bar work I did a few weeks a go- not too bad. I deposited that, and a little extra to round it up to £50 which I tucked into the savings account to make the little turtles journey a tiny bit shorter.

It's payday a little earlier this month due to Christmas, four days early so just eleven days away. I've worked out that after taking my rent and joint account money away from the sum in my current account I should be left with around £475.00. I'm going to give myself £75.00 to play with up until then (including a small token Christmas present for the BF- were keeping it small this year as we're planning on buying a decent desktop computer in January. I'm tired of trying to read around the crack in the screen on my laptop, and the keyboard is definably on its wayy out too (what a fabulous excuse for the typos!) I've also almost sold my WII with some games for £100.00 too, which will be going towards the computer, so all round a fairl good week- though after last week I'm not catching my chickens before they've hatched!

Today everyone made a trip to Gregs the bakers and the chip shop for Friday chips, I was a little envious sitting there with my mozzarella and tomato home-made sandwich and a couple of satsumas, but was quite glad come 3pm when a box of beautiful cupcakes from a bakery in Primrose hill arrived. I had a red velvet glittery cupcake (it didn't taste any different from a normal cake- I was left wondering what all the hype was about. After 20 mins I had sugar overload and had to prop my sleepy eyes open until I was able to nod off on the train. I'm cooking a chicken breast which needed using before tomorrow, sliced in half and seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic along with some pan fried potatoes, Brussels sprouts and peas which were left overs that were frozen a few weeks ago- some gravy will complete my thrifty dinner. xx


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

A small surprise windfall...

This lunchtime I braved the chilly London winds and the Oxford Street rabble to go to the bank to try to sort my debit card out once and for all. After discussing my ongoing problems with the cashier she shows me that I was meant to receive a new debit card in the post as well as a pin number. Well, the pin number turned up a few weeks ago but no card.

She shows me that my new card was sent to my old address, yet they managed to send the pin to the right address....I know go figure, where is the sense in that? She hands me a leaflet with a phone number to call 'stage two' complaints, great I thought.

Returning to my desk I rang the number and after explaining all my hassles over the last six weeks and threatening to move to another bank (calmly and politely of course)I'm put on hold to wait for my second apologetic gesture.

 After some time listening to 'Greensleeves' he says that he will credit my account with £100.00! Whoooo!! Tonight it has gone straight into the savings account, along with an extra £14.00 to make the amount nice and even, rounding the total up to £6,200- the ticker is moving along slowly I'm pleased to say and I'm planning on stashing away a little extra when I next get paid too. This week's spend £0 (Not much choice with no bank-card!) TTFN x

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

I'm trying out a ticker....

To help keep me on track during the silly season I've installed a savings ticker both on here and on my iGoogle desktop to help keep my end goal in sight. It should be possible to save this amount over the next year and a half all being well. I chose a little house motif as this is what the cash will one day go towards....


Thursday, 1 December 2011

Dealing with 'The urge to shop'...

This week, sans payday and with most of my Christmas shopping done (go me!) - which never usually happens The urge to shop came over me. On my morning commute a girl stood in front of me who seemed to be wearing the exact same blazer I had lost last week (sob!) and after logging onto the H&M website I realised that a) my bank card STILL isn't working as it should, and b) I had left the joint account card at home, preventing it from taking another battering (which it really doesn't need!). I had a few quid in my purse to buy food shopping at lunchtime, so said clothes shopping was put on hold (phew!). However, after a turn of events in the office someone piped up that they had my little black blazer at home, after picking it up at the end of the night, and this morning I was reunited with one of my wardrobe staples- happy days!

This week, so far has been fairly frugal (didn't really have much of a choice!) I have only spent money on food for lunch supplies from Sainsburys across the road including;

  1. A mini loaf of bread (will keep in the freezer and take out as and when) 
  2. Six pack of McCoys crisps (on special offer £1, two down, four to go- around 16p per bag!)
  3. A packet of crackers (nom..nom)
  4. A punnet of plums (loads left- will take to Centre Parcs this weekend)
  5. A packet of cherry tomatoes (again, loads left but should last in the fridge until next week)
  6. A bag of satsumas (two left, which will be eaten today)
  7. A bag of spinach (last handfuls will be wilted in pasta tonight)
  8. A budget ball of mozzarella (finished; made four sandwiches 11p per sarnie)
  9. Six pack of diet coke (also on special offer £2.50, 41p per can opposed to 65p two left for the picnic) 
  10. Two sausage rolls (52p) 
  11. One mini french stick baguette (50p)
All of this came to around £11.00, which really is the equivalent to a couple of lunches from a posh coffee shop, and this should do me for lunches for the rest of the week.

 Last night we were also taken out on another media night, this time to Byron a very posh burger chain which has just opened up around the corner from the office near Centre Point- all expenses paid of course. I tend to be like a kid in a candy shop at these events, and last night was no exception. I ordered the Byron burger with blue cheese and bacon, accompanied by courgette fries (yummy!) and a HUGE Oreo ice cream milkshake- delicious, but somewhat of a bad idea, followed by a full fat coke. I had been sooo hungry all day I had eaten loads, and by the time I had made it to the tube station I was feeling more than a little sick.....

Anyways, enough of that, this weekend I'm off to Centre Parcs for four days with the BF and the family which should be nice, and relatively low cost too (M&D paid as a VERY late part 21st present for me, and part 21st present for my sister) We've both always wanted to go since we were little, I think mainly due to their clever advertising campaigns, so looking forward to it. M&D want to keep the cost down as I think it set them back a fair bit, so it will be a weekend of relaxing in the spa, being forced to do Zumba and cycling about, spending the evenings having a few drinks (probably non-alcoholic as I think alcohol makes my skin worse!)......

Is anyone up to anything nice this weekend? .. x