Saturday, 31 March 2012

Batch cooking

This morning after enjoying a nice lay in I decided to indulge in a spot of batch cooking so as to not let any more of our food go to waste.

I cooked us some breakfast, so had to defrost and cook an entire packet of sausages. I used the left overs as part of a two portion pasta dish and as a topping for my made-from-scratch pizza.

I had the following to use up; four sausages, three peppers, a handful of plum tomatoes, cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese. So I dug out a jar of Asda brand tomato pasta sauce and whipped up the pizza for tomorrow nights dinner and some pasta for next weeks lunches.

I made the pizza dough using the ingredients that was already in the cupboard and putting them in my bread maker. Once it was ready I put it in a large bowl, covered it with a tea towel then place it in the warm oven which I had just switched off after cooking the breakfast.

So we have four meals made from food which would otherwise have turned mouldy lingering in the fridge.

Here's some pics of my production line.

Enjoy your weekends x

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Just a quickie..

Just a quick ask, my Google adsense pin came through last night which I set up. My grand total is currently hovering around the £12 mark, so I ask any visitors to the blog to please click on an ad on your way through and I'll be extremely grateful! I'm hoping that around May time I can buy some new spring clothes with this money as my wardrobe needs a bit of a spring injection as everything is looking a bit tired.

Happy hump day x

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Spring has arrived in London!

I love it when the sun shines and all the cherry blossoms bloom! I took these pics before meeting a friend in Putney yesterday. We had a few drinks whilst enjoying the sun walking next to the river which was lovely. I love these colours and think it would possibly make quite a nice bedroom colour scheme one day....

I love it when the sun shines and all the cherry blossoms bloom! I took these pics before meeting a friend in Putney yesterday. We had a few drinks whilst enjoying the sun walking next to the river which was lovely. I love these colours and think it would possibly make quite a nice bedroom colour scheme one day....

Anyways, payday came around on Friday and with that the ticker gets updated. So if my calculations are correct this is how much I've saved so far (including the BF's credit card repayments which will end next January)

Things on the money front are coming along fairly well I think, besides having to throw some food out earlier on in the week; a new tub of Heinz 'fridge' beans that I forgot were ours which were growing mould, some out of date eggs which were put on someone elses shelf and forgotten about after doing a big shop, a carton of gone off pomegranete juice, blood orange juice and chocolate milkshake.

Things I'll take from this is to keep control of the shopping by not buying such big shops as we don't get round to eating it, not buying items to try which may end up being wasted and keeping all our items on the bottom shelves so I can actually see what we have.

Friday was our two housemates birthday drinks, I managed to dodge the offers of shots with the urges to 'live a little'...hmmphh! and only had two bottle of cider (I don't know how it lasted for the few hours we were there-I guess you get quite a lot in each bottle). I had budgeted £30 for the night, but only spent a fiver- result!

Today I have put this dress on Gumtree to try and sell for £50, like the other dress it came from New York's Greenwich Village and unlike eBay Gumtree doesn't charge you to advertise. I also took advantage of this websites offer of 50 free prints when you sign up, I've signed up with a new email address about four times now.

 I plan on making a border of photos around our room seeing as we're going to be here for another year. Other than that I've sorted out our room for the week, done two loads of washing and may head to the park to start reading 'The time travellers wife' in the sun before cycling up to meet the BF from work. Hope you're all enjoying the sunny weather, Happy Sunday! x

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The 2012 budget changes,,, what it means for me

If what I can make of the reports is true I think due to the increase in the amount you can earn before tax I should be approximately £12 better off per month as of next month, I think. That's a whole £144 per year each and £288 between me and the BF which isn't too bad.

Although the price of cigarettes is going up by 37p hitting BF in the pocket. I want him to give up, but he doesn't want to even though on some days he forgets to smoke lol.

In other news our council tax has also dropped from £164 per month to £135 so we should be slightly better off there too. It all adds up, and as everyone here and at Tesco knows 'every little helps'. I'm hoping the BF doesn't notice the decrease in the council tax so I can squirrel away the excess into the holiday fund without hurting our pockets too much.

The weather is getting much nicer so this morning I caught the early train and walked from Waterloo to Tottenham Court Road. I'm considering refunding my tube train and bus travel card and getting an overground only rail pass as its almost £400 cheaper a year, money I could use for a holiday or car insurance. I also know my walking routes to and from work now so it doesn't seem as daunting as when I first started working in the city last October.

I think I may inquire at the train station at the weekend to see if its worth getting it changed over and I'll have to check with HR too to see if my monthly re- payments can be altered, as I know that they can be difficult in accommodating admin changes outside of the 'allocated window'.

Anyways, its been a fairly good month money wise, I think I've put almost £800 into various saving pots thanks to my interest payment. So here's to limping through to payday, eating carrot soup lunches (only the one jar remains of the batch I made the other week) I think I'm going to have a lovely golden glow come the end of the year from all the carrots I've eaten hehe- who needs a pricy spray tan?! 

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Mother's day.... On a budget

Happy Mother's Day to any mums out there! This year I took my mum to see Coppelia at the London Collesium, tickets were just £30 for two so thought that was pretty good value for money. We ate at La Tasca the spanish tapas place, and used a voucher code from voucher cloud, an app on the iPhone to get buy one dish get one free, so we spent a nice evening in London without breaking the bank.

I also bought my Nan a present, a £2 box of Dairy Milk chocolates and recycled a gift from the BF's family which they gave me at Christmas; a mini bottle of Burberry weekend perfume and some English handmade soap all wrapped up in some wrapping paper I made using word and ordinary printer paper (courtesy of work hehe!)

To make this wrapping simply type the persons name repeatedly for one line across word, then copy and paste until you have a paragraph of text. Colour each line a different colour, then copy and paste the paragraph again and again until you have enough sheets to wrap your gift. It's really effective and costs hardly anything (or nothing in my case) work gave me my birthday present wrapped in it and I loved it, as did a friend of mine who I also made the wrapping for. 

Today my Mum and Dad popped in on their way back from my Nan's, my mum had been wanting me to bake her some bread for ages so put a seeded loaf in and wrapped it in some clear patterned plastic wrapping I had saved from a bunch of flowers (that's the blurry thing in the photo) I also gave her a little Pimms cocktail when she came in.

We went to the pub where the BF works to meet him, the parentals had a roast each and with four drinks the bill came to £15. On mothers day the pub is usually heaving but this one was a bit quieter as I think people are still cutting back on unnecessary expenses.  

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Love this

It can be applied to almost anything in life, for me at the moment its my saving journey. 

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

This morning I took advantage of Starbucks latest promotion. The American coffee house giant has introduced a new policy in that they no longer call out your coffee by its name, instead they will be calling out your name. This marketing stunt is designed to make Starbucks appear more personal, setting it apart from the Costas, Coffee Republics and Cafe Neros. Today they were giving away lattes free of charge as long as you tell the barrista your name. The giveaway has gained loads of coverage on the net and is one of the top topics on social networking site Twitter, to find out more here's the BBC's take on things: Having weaned myself off of coffee shop take aways it was a nice mid-morning treat to enjoy one knowing it hadn't cost me anything.

In other news, there's nothing more to really report; enjoyed a fairly frugal weekend of Saturday night drinks (I drove so ended up only spending about a tenner) though I did buy a £10 H&M voucher off my friend as she was given it for Christmas and nothing in the shop fits her. I might save it for my sister's birthday in June to go along with the Marmite set I picked up for her in the Boots sale.

On Sunday we made the most of the sunny spring-like weather and cycled over to Richmond Park and enjoyed a picnic as the sun set. We then cycled over to our friends new flat who have just bought their first home, then back to ours to whip up some carrot soup for the week. I bought a huge bag of carrots for 50p from Asda, chopped them up, threw in half an onion lingering in the fridge along with some vegetable stock boiled it up and blended. It made six portions of soup which should be my lunches for the week. Its been surprisingly filling and at less than 10p a portion great value for money.

Finally, yesterday I really needed to pick up a few bits from Sainsburys so dipped into my Nectar poitns- what would have been a £5.30 spend ended up costing me just 30p. Oh and the water bill has come in for the next year at £80 each, which works out at £6.60 per month, which is liveable. We're paying in two installments the first due at the beginning of April. then the second at the beginning of October. I've picked up another extra bar shift on Saturday which should hopefully cover this half. And lastly its official, our rent isn't going up because 'we've been such good tennants' in the words of our landlord... the same day the oven broke sods law ay? 

Monday, 5 March 2012

Just checked my ISA's, this years interest has come through of £150.00 would have been more if hadn't loaned BF money for CC and my Annual Season Ticket loan from work had come through, but the money saved for BF on interest payments is worth it. I now need to look into what to do with these accounts for the next year. Any advice? x

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Rain rain go away....

I'd hoped that we could go marching into March with positivity on the financial front, but its been a bit of an odd week. On Wednesday my mum rang me while I was on the train on my way to work to tell me that my Dad's company has had the financial funding from the Germans pulled and they've all been told they could either receive a letter telling them they're redundant at any time or they could turn up in the morning and the gates be locked and they get nothing in terms of redundancy pay.

She said that a lot of people that work there take the mick by calling in sick lots and being late, and that there is a lot of office staff who do nothing and my Dad has been told that everything to do with him is excellent so he may be one of the last left but it seems like a bit of a sinking ship. I always get the urge to look around to see what's out there in terms of work as soon as the alarm bells start ringing but she said he hasn't looked for anything yet. The thing is, all he needs is some work for the next three years and then he gets his MOD pension. My mum's wages should cover the mortgage and bills etc so it won't be a complete catastrophe, but my Dad has been made redundant about five times and the last time he spiraled into depression so it's not exactly welcome news.

On Thursday I went into work and found out there were two redundancies at our London office, one an account manager dealing with new business. I guess if that's his full time job and the new business isn't there, or providing as much income as the company want that's his job over. The next was one of the creative team on my floor, apparently his role had changed a few times and he was doing bits and bobs so I guess his role just doesn't exist any more. Then Friday afternoon came and news from downstairs told us of an account director had been told he was also being made redundant. The reason for this is because the head of the company wants the younger grads to develop, but he didn't rule out taking another account director on in the future so that suggests they wanted to get rid of him on the grounds of either his performance or that he didn't seem very well liked, I'm not sure.

The strange thing is that this year we had a work Xmas party where there hadn't been one for three years previously as there wasn't the money for it, then over a company call we were told the company performed much better than expected in it was a bit of a shock for this to happen. At the moment our team is making 7% more money than predicted, unlike quite a few departments. I just can't help but worry, especially as my biggest client Loyds Banking Group has put their call center recruitment on hold for quite a while (although things with this account seem to change within the space of a day).

It just seems that no-one is really safe at the moment, and everything has a knock on effect. If clients don't have jobs to advertise, we don't have jobs. With unemployment at a 17 year high (I think that's the latest figures) and with the cost of living ever increasing (I caught site of the cost of petrol today- ouch!) I just don't know how this country is going to get out of this mess. It seems the only real option is upping sticks and moving to another country for a better quality of life.

Anyways, enough of the doom and gloom though the weather certainly isn't helping matters, I guess I can only work towards our goals in the here and now- I don't have a crystal ball so can't predict the future. This weekend has been a good one money wise, I set aside £20 for Friday and managed to squeeze in a pub lunch in aid of the redundant people (kind of weird, what do you say to people in that situation if you don't even know them that well?!) and drinks out, as well as a nighttime bike ride- saves on cab fares! I then did a mystery shop combined with an essentials food shop and pound world trip for toiletries, batching them all together to save time and petrol.

Then in the afternoon after getting our room straight I got a call from the BF, someone at the pub had a family emergency so couldn't come in- could I cover? I had no plans and wasn't feeling all tired so said yes to some extra pennies.

The pub manager also popped in today and wants the BF to have everything sorted for his promotion within the next three weeks so I really hope he gets that sorted out so he can help me with this saving lark- I think then it will feel like we are both in the same boat and it may feel a little easier, even though he is much more blase and laid back about the whole situation.

Today the weather is pretty grim so I think it will be another lazy/organising type of day.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Marching into March....Google Adsense

I just want to say a big thanks to anyone who has taken the time to click on my ads, slowly slowly the click fees are beginning to add up I'm pleased to say :). If anyone wants me to click away at their ads I'm happy to trade off hehe.

Just wondering though, does anyone know how the money becomes real life £££'s in a bank account rather than sitting in the Ad Sense account?

Happy Friday all xx