Wednesday, 29 February 2012

February round up

I've been documenting my finances all month using my iPhone app which allows me to see at a glance where my money has been going.

So here goes;

Basic income: £1,444
eBay money for dress: £60
Pub shift & tax rebate: £116
Mystery shop: £10
Sold Nintendo Wii: £100
Pub holiday pay: £37

Clothing: £7.50 extra on exhanged Xmas present (blue dress H&M) which has been worn lots, including work, lunches & dinner. 

£16.00 black ballet flats from Topshop, also worn lots and allow me to wear some of my springier clothes from last year rather than buying new ones. I walked into work yesterday to 'You look nice, are your trousers/top new?' Nope :) Think its called 'going shopping in your wardrobe'.


£2.80 'water for elephants' paperback, Amazon
£1.70 'E' paperback, Amazon

Both for the bookshelf as I like adding to my collection in between borrowing from the libary (my local libary also didn't have these books)


£10.00 Friend's birthday present
£5.00 Charity donantion to a friends little sister
£1.20 work donation for colleague who had a bike accident

Groceries (bought for personal eating!)

£6.00 Dim sum from M&S 
£1.14 hot chocolate and biscuits at work


£220.00 rent
£200.00 into the joint account (covers food & bills & some trips out)


£20.00 Contact lenses 
£12.21 Cosmetics etc.


£1.50 drinks
£15.00 Ping Pong Dim Sum
£4.00 Las Iguanas 
£10.00 Borough Market
£3.50 Burger King
£4.00 x2 hot drinks out 
£13.70 Pizza Express
£3.80 lunch at work cafe (jacket potato with beans, sans beans :() 


£156.00 Monthly travel card
£20.00 Petrol (car coming off the road at the end of the month)


£42.00 Gym membership (now cancelled) will be making use of my push bike and the lighter evenings
£35.00 Phone bill

£796.00 spent, which is about normal for me. (=20 cash I forgot I withdrew for a cinema trip, and lunch out) 

Savings: £967 approx. 

£500 leant to BF for credit credit card payment
£60 extra money to round down the account
*the rest is sat in my current account waiting for the new ISA to be opened

This month we shouldn't be paying council tax, and a few days ago I made BF check and update the Gas and Electricity meter readings and it seems we are around £200 in credit with the gas, I have no idea how. Lets hope it comes back our way.....I also spontaneously bought a dress online I saw on a blog, and it sold out and the payment didn't go through- on reflection I'm kind of pleased it happened.

Here's to another fun and frugal month. x

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Sunny Sundays

I woke up this morning after a lovely lay in around 10am. The sun was shining through the window and from inside it looked like perfect picnic weather, except my BF had been at work since 7am and still isn't home :( I really hate the lack of weekend time we have together. Yesterday he had the whole day off, so in the week we started to plan our first Saturday together in ages....then I remembered I said I would work behind the bar at the rugby match.

Any hows, the sunlight looked perfect for a spot of early spring photography except I felt like I couldn't really move from my cosy bedroom. So I thought I would try to get some of my iPhone photos printed here there's a deal where you can get 50 free prints when you sign up...I've signed up about three times now lol with different email addresses.

Not being very technically minded I struggled to import my pics from the phone to the comp so uploaded them to the blogger phone app and saved them to the desktop. I thought I'd get the pics printed off and stick them on the top sticky out bit of the wall of our room now as we are almost certain we'll be staying here for the next year. So that's the reason for the last post consisting of my images.

As the clock neared almost three thirty I thought to myself I have to get motivated and sort stuff out for the upcoming week. Usually I get all that stuff out the way in the morning leaving the rest of the day to relax, so I started by putting a loaf on to bake, changing the bed sheets, sticking a washing load on, folding the dry washing, wiping the dust off the surfaces and finally hoovering the hall and the bedroom.

I also made use of some bread crumbs I made the other week out of a stale garlic and coriander naan bread left in the cupboard. I defrosted some white fish, pressed it in flower, dipped into beaten egg and then into the bread crumbs. I then made sweet potato wedges and put both in the oven, which was accompanied with beans.

Though productive I wanted to go swimming to make the most of my gym membership, or cycle up to meet BF from work and make the most of the daylight. Both haven't happened, but I think sometimes I put a little too much pressure on myself to achieve everything on my lists, so enjoying the rest of my day off with the BF before stepping back on the hamster wheel again is my priority.

In other news, last week I walked past an electronic store on Tottenham Court Road that buys old and broken laptops. I'm going to wipe everything off mine (with help from BF) and take it in tomorrow to try and pick up some extra pennies for it as its just sitting under the bed collecting dust at the moment.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Payday update

Should be able to squeeze in £800 this month into the saving pot, leaving me with £100 in my disposable Barclays account, and my credit card around £52 (I think). I've got a couple of Saturday bar shifts coming up, as well as another mystery shop so should be alright. This month the gym membership has come to an end, as I've chosen to put the money into my pension instead and the car comes off the road too, which will be another worry virtually eliminated.

Weekend plans consists of drinks tonight (thinking of stretching my £20 budget by alternating alchol with soda water and lime), working at Twickenham tomorrow daytime, out for dinner with the BF tomorrow evening, and gyming/sleeping/housework etc sunday.

Happy Friday to all xx

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Is that Spring peeking its head around the corner? :D

This is an iPhone pic of my sister's Valentines roses, we saved our money instead. Thought I would share...

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Money entwined with emotions

Just a few days until payday and I have rewarded myself a little for being so good this month. I've just bought 'water for elephants' from Amazon, £2.80, a pair of flat leather ballet pumps (which I wore to death last summer) from Topshop for £16 and some hair dye to (hopefully!) even out my colour from Boots £6.50 (on reflection it seems to have worked)

On another note, recently we've  been experiencing a bit of relationship wobble when it comes to our priories. I no longer wish to live like a student with god knows who coming and going at all times of the night. I want to save as much as possible within reason to try to get a morgage next year when we'll be about 27. I want to save for an amazing holiday thereafter, I want to achieve a good career that pays a decent wagethat will enable us to have a comfortable life. I want to spend quality time with people who are really my friends, who value me and who understand me, not spend my entire weekends drinking jager bombs with people who I think are my friends.

Sadly, the other half's priorites seem to be similar to that of a floundering teenager, who still thinks that someone buying you a beer makes you 'friends'. He thinks I'm getting too old before my time, and I sadly think he's being a bit naive and immature.

In the past I have been the one who has bailed us out financially, and I put it to him that if I hadn't been careful then how could we have got through these things?

The conversation will have to be had tonight to amend this. I want to be with someone with the same life goals and aspirations as me, who can support me, and be equal to me in terms of our finances, not hinder me.......

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Train journey photo stitch

On my journey to work I made these......xx

The eBay auction on the dress also ended yesterday, reaching £70 thanks to a friend bidding up the price. Once eBay takes their 10% and paypal their £3 I have £60 for myself. Considering I paid £40 for the dress I'm fairly happy with making a profit of £20, plus I have more space in my old bedroom to hide the junk everyone else seems to dump there.

 I can't open a new ISA until the 6th April, so I'll pay the money into my disposable Barclays account and keep any extra funds for a few months in the Santander until I can transfer it into the ISA.

I have also spoken to our landlord and he thinks its a case of just re-signing the current flat contract for the next year, which is good news. So I downloaded the electoral roll form, which is filled out and on Saturday I'll drop it into the town hall.

Finally there was also a company call yesterday, and the company had a great start to the new year so hopefully things will hold out. It's nearly the weekend too, any nice plans? 

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Blog layouts

I can't decide on which layout I like most- does anyone have any ideas? Please share your thoughts x

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Bank visit & my first credit card

Just a quick update, I received the money for the Wii today and tried to transfer it into my ISA (taking my grand total to £7,700) but it would only let me transfer in £50.

So I trudged off to the bank and spoke to someone who said I had used up my allowance due to having to use some of my savings for my travel annual season ticket. So he set me up instead with a monthly fixed saver where £250.00 goes straight into the account, which after 13 payments gives 5% interest almost double my current ISA.

He said I can then set up a new ISA at the start of the new financial tax year, April 6th. He also said to help get a mortgage in 18 months time it would be a good idea to have a credit card as it usually allows you to borrow more, so now I have my first credit card and a direct debit which will goes out on payday to avoid any interest payments.

He also said one of the biggest factors in being given a mortgage is being on the electoral role which I'm pretty sure myself and the BF aren't on. But first things first, I need to find out if we can stay in the flat for another year and what the rent will be etc.

So, this weekend my aim is to pop into the estate agents next door who we officially rent through to find out what the situation is. Then, by next weekend if all goes to plan I'll make an application for the electoral role.

Once again... fingers crossed. Oh and the dress is at £50 on eBay with one day to go.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Lunch time post

I would like to welcome the latest follower to my blog, Jack McCallum! Although this blog is to track my saving journey it's always nice to see people are interested in what I have to say.

I'm also treating myself (a little) this lunchtime due to the unexpected tax rebate- Thai food for lunch, £4.00 but will probably be my dinner too, and a six pack of diet cokes to keep under my desk on offer for £2.50.

I've taken out £20 for the weekend, which should cover a bottle of something for tomorrow evenings gathering, and a half price trip to the cinema seeing this week come to a total spend of approximately £30 from my disposable bank account. Hope you all have a great weekend, Happy Friday! x

This mornings snow fall :)

Courtesy of a small, unexpected, tax rebate from my ad hoc bar job!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Just a quick lunchtime post from me- hot office topic of debate: do you ever use tea bags twice?

Are you a double tea bag dunker?! 
Pros- one packet of tea bags last twice as long
Cons- two s**t tasting cups of tea

Decide for yourself which side of the fence you sit on- I think I fall somewhere in the middle of the two. If I'm coming to the end of a pack I'll make do until I next pass a shop which stocks them at a decent price. £1.50 for a packet of green tea in Budgens or 77p in Sainsburys?

Secondly, I've just given the Sainsburys basics chocolate digestives a go and they are no different from any other biscuit, bar the packaging. I've kept them tucked away in my bag though out of sight of judgmental eyes lol.

Often my housemate (currently around 5k in debt) makes comments about the 'cheap' food I buy, in reference to Adsa or Sainsburys own brands, not even the 'smart' price value ranges. I think I will definitely give the value brands more chance, even if I have to smuggle them into the cupboards. Also the BF can be a bit snobby about some food items, so wouldn't dare switching his beloved peanut butter down a range. I may buy one for him and a cheapo jar for myself in the future. Ooh the excitement of my life at the moment.....

In other news my dress has a bid of £27.00 on eBay, another £13 and I'll have recouped the money I spent seven years ago and freed up some space in my wardrobe. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


Recently at work there has been one birthday after another, interspersed with Someones leaving collection, baby collection, been burgled collection etc. Litrally some collections have gone round just one day after the one before.

At first I didn't mind putting my hand in my purse to club together for a collective gift. But then it got a little bit much, and it seems I'm not the only one that feels this way. Afterall the management on the six figure salaries aren't coughing up a penny towards the cause. Embarrassingly these large envelopes filled with coins land on your desk for you to fill then write your name on the back so everyone knows if you havnt contributed anything. The last one went round yesterday, I had about 70p in my purse and felt like I had to put it in.

Over the last few months (just after Xmas too!) the amounts people have been contributing have been dwindling as everyone is complaining about a lack if cash. This might seem a bit mean, but if a colleague is a genuine friend surely we would vouranterily shlep to the shops in pursuit of a gift? No... Anyways, this brings me onto another similar topic- valentines day.

Those exclaiming that their bank accounts are grim are simultaneously online shopping for £60 flowers for their partners. Call me cynical, but they're just going to die right? I got bought a mini Rose plant, much cheaper and was meant to bloom and grow rather than wither and die which I appreciated much more. We're planning on cooking a nice meal together indoors this year and putting the 40 quid we save towards our holiday fund.

It's also a good job I didn't count my eggs before they hatched as I had a phone call from my mum this morning saying my dads job may be on the line due to his company performing poorly, so the financial help may not be as easily available as we'd briefly hoped. I think the best thing to do is to keep aiming for my 10k, then a 10% deposit and then see where we stand, after all a lot can happen within 18 months.

I think it's important to live in the now as well as plan for the future. So today I spent £2 on a hot chocolate at the in for a work colleagues birthday, and shared dinner with friends in their home. We all contributed towards the food so came to hardly anything each.

Done my bit for today. Until next time folks, happy frugal-ing x

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Waiting for Spring...

Yesterday my old pub manager rang and offered me a shift Saturday daytime working at Twickenham with a couple of the nice girls from the pub. The rugby is on, so the clientele isn't too bad, some even tip so should make around £36 (not accounting for tips) for a six hour shift, plus a free meal. Not amazing, but as one famous supermarket chain says, 'every little helps'. I didn't account for this at the beginning of the month so its extra to throw at the fund.

Its also been arranged that we are dropping the Wii off tonight so that's another extra £100. In total this month (if I hadn't paid off the BF's credit card) I would have put away 500 (CC) + 60 (TMP wage)  +37 (Spoons holiday pay) + 100 (Wii money) + 36 (Twickers) = £733  + whatever the ebay bits gather (there's 31 people watching the dress!). A pretty good month on that front, well I think it's that my accounting skills still aren't quite up to scratch!

The BF told me the other day that he also has £2,000 worth of shares at work, which sounds nice but until they materialise into actual cash I won't account for. Plus, once he gets his payrise, which should be in March all being well he thinks he can save around £300 per month, plus pay off what he owes me for the credit card. Though I have to keep reminding myself to not count my eggs before they hatch and all that.

Last night I did a swift shop at Iceland to top up the supplies in the cupboard, I gave myself a budget of about £20 quid and it came in at £19 for the lot, including a dinner fajita kit at just £1.75, and a huge bottle of Lenor fabric softener for £2.00. I think the trick is that I had to physically carry the shopping so that stopped me trying to buy too much. I might even bear this in mind in the future, and Iceland is on the train route home from work so don't even need to use my car.

In other news I'm still trying to get my housemates to turn the heating down just a smidge, but they can't seem to comprehend that the bill will go up if they keep heating the entire house when the temperature really isn't that bad. We have flats either side of us and live on top of a cafe! I got up this morning with no heating on and it was fine...oh to have my own space to do what I please. I think it's that which is keeping me out of Sainsbury's this lunch tine. I've swapped the cans of coke for filtered water for the second day running, wahhoo progress and have also run out of tea bags.

For the rest of the week plans are as follows; dropping round the BF's family tonight after dinner (I pre-made potato wedges out of potatoes that were beginning to sprout, I used the oil which comes with sun dried tomatoes which I bought a few weeks ago and had kept in the fridge since- think I'm really getting the hang of this frugal living stuff!) they've been marinating in the fridge today, along with some garlic and onion. All BF needs to do is to pop them in the oven, along with the frozen chicken pieces which will be marinated in one of those shaky bag things. Frozen peas complete the meal. Tomorrow eve I'm going to a friends for dinner, with said cheap fajita kit in tow. Thursday eve is body attack, Fri eve some drinks in the local, Sat working, Sun hitting the cinema with some vouchers. Done! :)

Did anyone else catch Superscrimpers on Channel 4? As always it was packed with thrifty tips, my favourite was using an old sock, filling it with rice and sewing it up and microwaving it to make a snuggly heat pack. Might make the housemate said sock gift lol to stop him whining about the heating!

Hope you're all having a cheap and cheerful week so far! x

Oh and one more thing, if you want to save money on entertainment Netflix is well worth checking out we started the free trial and within a week have watched lots of films. We also got a years worth of antivirus software which we were going to buy for signing up :)