Showing posts with label Finances. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Finances. Show all posts

Monday, 3 December 2012

Christmas shopping

On Sunday I made sure I was up and out on the great British high street before 11am ready to meet one of my best friends for a spot of belated birthday lunch and Christmas shopping. I seemed to do my shopping in almost one swoop, and only have to buy little top up presents closer to Christmas. What's more there were some great bargains to be had when you search hard enough.

This year see's Christmas presents stripped right back; here's what I have bought and wrapped up so far;

Mum- a decorative candle holder which holds three glass votives, found in a department sale for the bargainous price of £4.00.

Dad- Best of REM CD £6.00 from Amazon with free delivery.

Sister- Calvin Klien make up set £15.00 and knitted hairband £2.00 from TK Maxx and Primark respectively.

Sister's BF- Bench boxers and sock gift set £8.00.

Nan- Decorate black sequin embellished scarf £4.00 Primark and black box frame in which I'm planning to put some of my photography work (perhaps from the wedding) £6.00 from Tiger.

Granddad- Aftershave and deodorant set from Next £10.00 (they do some really nice smellies for men which smell like 'the real deal').

Secret Santa at work- A miniature snooker table for his desk, a minuscule £3.00!

BF- A superman onesie from Primark £15.00.

BF's sister- A vintage style burnished gold long necklace with camera pendant- £5.00.

I was pretty pleased with these as they all come in at the same price I spent on one person's present last year! Not forgetting the £1.00 gift wrap from Primark and left over box of cards from about three years ago that were £1.00 for a huge box from Wilkinsons.

This week is my work Christmas party. I was planning on buying a new dress as a little treat, but since my having to pay for a £40 cab the other week and doing myself out of my interest I'm just going to recycle the classic LBD and stand up on the train home so as not to FALL ASLEEP! lol.

Happy festive season!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

September Sunday.

Evening all,

I can't seem to believe it's September already- though the recent chill in the air and it turning dark outside by 9pm are starting to make it more and more obvious. Soon it will be my one year blog-o-versary, Halloween, our five year anniversary, my birthday and Christmas! Whoa!

Anyhoo, I think I've fallen off the blogging bandwagon a little. I think my frugal-y habits have become ingrained in everyday life, but despite my own posts becoming few and far between I'm still an enthusiastic reader of those I follow.

On the finance front, the BF was paid all his overtime again, clearing more money than the previous month. With the extra cash he has finished paying off his credit card re-payments to me, its all gone about six months earlier than we anticipated so yay on that front.

The saving spreadsheet shows we have the grand total of £19,359 just a few hundred pounds away from the minimum we'd need to buy a £160,000 property- so if things carry on we should have more than a 10% deposit, hopefully reducing the monthly re-payments which I'm pretty pleased about. I was thinking of maybe booking an appointment with an advisor next month just to see what our options are and where we need to be etc.

Finally, after chatting to some new colleagues at after work drinks last week someone told me I can get an overground train straight into where I work. Not only has it made my commute much easier, it means I won't have to fork out for tubes and buses next year. In comparison a season ticket for rail only is approximately £500 less over the year than the price of a full travel card- so I can put this money towards getting my car on the road as I'm starting to miss the independence of having it.


Monday, 21 May 2012

Another weekend, another update

Things on the blog front are starting to seem a bit predictable right?....

Anyways, this weekend went pretty much as planned and was good on the spending front; I budgeted £20 for drinks out on Friday night, a catchup with old work friends. I really enjoyed the eve and spent just £8.50 as I was so busy chatting away.

Saturday, I worked at Twickenham as there was another rugby game on. I did 10-4 so should get £35 quid (approx.) for this; the game wasn't until five, so we didn't get busy until half two when it went mental. I finished at four, ate my free dinner, abbott ale steak pie, mash, beans and gravy and escaped the madness. I watched some of the Chelsea game with my housemate and snoozed the eve away.

Sunday myself and the BF had the entire day together, which is somewhat of a rarity. We spent it cycling the surrey countryside out in the fresh air which is what I needed. By the time we arrived home it was dinner time; we cooked chicken thighs, drumsticks and wings in a marinade, some rice which was egg fried as the eggs go off tomorrow and home-made guacamole. I've just eaten the left overs at work, which were also yummy! (It's a no-spend day for me today!)

This week will be a little busier and more fun filled than last week, with cinema, dinner and theatre trips planned throughout the week, and a house party this weekend. On Thursday the BF has an interview as such with an air conditioning firm for an apprentice position. It means that if he gets the job he'll be a- working with one of his best friends, b-working normal hours so we'll have a higher quality life together now and in the future, c- once he qualifies he will earn more than what he can if he progresses in retail management d- he'll get a company van which will mean free travel for us too!

On the flip side, for this year he won't earn as much as he would once his promotion goes through at work which means I'll be the one saving- however I had only worked out what I was able to put away anyways, so that isn't too much of a disaster as I hadn'd really banked on help anyways.

He's rediculously excitied, but I can't help but think I shouldn't get my hopes up just in case it crumbles around us again. Tonight I'll be re-writing his CV which he'll need to take along with him on Thursday.

Fingers crossed.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Living on a financial edge

Inspired by this post by Frugal Queen, who has become one of my favourite go to inspirational blogs over the last few months, I whipped up a rather unconventional culinary treat last night.

Out came the big box of fishcakes which were £2 for about 12 I think, I popped five into the oven so as to have some for my lunch at work (today). Realising I had no potato-type foods I scavenged in the back of the cupboard for half a packet of couscous I'd pegged down, and rummaged in the freezer for some peas. I was feeling quite hungry so also used up a naan bread that I had frozen before it had gone off. The combination was fairly strange to see and a few people commented on my random assemblement of food but it filled a hole (twice) for almost nothing. I kind of wish I had taken a photo- but I'm sure you can imagine it.

I cooked my dinner and placed the remaining food into a washed out plastic Tupperware container (recycled from a housemates recent take away) to take to work. I think one of the key aspects to saving as much as possible is being organised- from doing a weekly food shop for foods which will a- last the week and b- make enough filling, healthy meals, to making sure the washing is kept on top of so as not to buy any impulse clothing buys, to keeping a constant eye on bank accounts etc, and finally always looking for the best deals from car insurance to washing powder.

Just one week away from payday I feel quite like Astra from who looks forward to her monthly bank statements as its the reward for a months worth of hard work saving. I feel the same and can't wait to have a new budget, plus to see my figures increasing on the spreadsheet knowing we are getting closer to our goal.

I have roughly £4 at the moment once all my bills etc are paid, and I'm off out for a few drinks tomorrow night. However, I figure the money I'll get from Saturday's bar shift should be enough to cover this cost. Otherwise I'm just ploughing on with the no-spend days.

And I've also updated the ticker so that the figures are all proper.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Just a quick update; I checked all my usual accounts etc this morning, including my new credit score and its gone up 37 points since I last logged in and is now sitting at 935 I think inching its way to excellent. I'm really pleased, its because I've had my credit card three months now (I think- I can't find the post where I wrote about it). However, I'm not really too worried about my score, its my BF's. But he has been using his credit card responsibly, and has a direct debit to pay it off in full now so hopefully this will be enough to improve it. He's kind of in denial about his score, and won't check his report- grr!

Also, I've been paid from my first lot of Quidco cash back £13 (was meant to be £18 but they take £5 for membership type fee) so I have approximately £4 to my name which isn't tied up. However, I have picked up another bar shift Saturday at Twickenham which should be an extra £30 or so, so I can squeeze by to payday in 10 days time.

Besides that, things are ticking along as usual; there's been less food waste- just a couple of bits of the end of a loaf of bread which had gone mouldy. I also choppped up some vegetables and put them in the freezer to stop them ending up in the bin.And my BF has sort of got approval for his pay rise; his work are weird they work backwards it seems. He still has to fill out half a workbook, quickly apply and then have a kind of mock interview but I'm hoping he'll have it sorted by the end of the month. I need to stop nagging though, because he's still a bit of a child and he digs his heels in even though he knows it needs doing. Are all men like this?? 

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Another week, another update....

I've got a bit of an obsession with cat paint atm lol!
I think this has been the longest amount of time I haven't blogged for to date. The reason? hmmm... no real reason really, things seem to be ticking along fairly smoothly, no disasters to report etc. I did end up picking up another four hour, last minute bar shift on Tuesday evening, so come Wednesday eve I was feeling pretty sleepy.

Then on Thursday I went out after work for a colleagues leaving do in town; I made sure I stuck to the happy hour glasses of wine which were £2.70 with 50% off, topped up with soda to make them last longer, as well as to dilute them down. Because we had reserved a couple of tables the bar gave us a couple of platters of free finger food, bottles of champagne and about 20 shots. Luckily I was well positioned when the freebies arrived, so enjoyed a couple of glasses of Prosecco for free as everyone else seemed to turn their noses up at it, some food and three free shots (I'm pretty sure they were mini glasses of bitter lemon lol!) before heading home.

Friday lunchtime we went out for lunch to a new American restaurant called 'Meat Liquor' which is located behind Oxford Street. The food was delicious, and I could see why the burgers have been getting rave reviews all over the internet. The bill set me back £16 which meant  it took up the majority of my weekend budget, but I was paid for the Saturday bar shift so squeezed it in without going over budget. I also put all three meals on my credit card and the others are transferring me the money to get more use out of my credit card to try to push up my credit score. Friday evening I was so sleepy from my huge lunch and kind of late night the night before me and the BF just dozed on the sofa in front of the TV.

Saturday I had to buy my Dad a present for his birthday; I couldn't find anything and decided to give him the vouchers I won through work instead which can be used at Halfords, Homebase and HMV amongst others. My Dad's quite practical (think that's where I get it from) and was very pleased when he opened his card and found these nestled inside. Saturday night, after watching Britain's got talent I cycled to the pub for a few drinks, spent about a fiver sipping slowly lol, and this also included the price of my cab fare home too.

Sunday we decided to rearrange and sort out our room, all junk was thrown out, stuff we won't need has been put away in the loft and all our paper work has been filed neatly into labelled plastic wallets.

Then yesterday we visited my family and went out for dinner for my Dad's birthday. We went to the harvester, and managed to wrangle a free round of drinks for six- and four of them were re-fillable too! The bar man completely messed up the change he gave my dad, and ended up giving him all his money back in a different form. Mum & Dad covered the bill, so will probably have them up and cook something nice as a thanks in the next few weeks or so.

I've got £16 of disposable income to last the week, then I should get paid about £25.00 for my bar shift last week. I'm out for a few drinks Saturday, so this should easily cover this leaving me with about £40. I'm also expecting one of my Quidco payments of £13, so should be able to scrape through the next two weekends and make it to payday.

I think there's another happiness revolution due, but I'm a bit stumped for ideas as to what to include.... 

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Getting organised

This weekend was really good on the frugality front; I spend under a tenner on some drinks in a bar having a catch up with a friend on Friday night. Saturday I worked and had a huge free early dinner, myself and the BF was really tired, and combined with the terrible weather we declined the offer to go to the pub with our two housemates. We cosied up on the sofa together and watched Britain's Got Talent as well as catching up on some of our favourite TV shows we'd missed in the week. I kept dropping off to sleep, I have no idea why I was so tired.

Today has gone by quite quickly, I got up when the BF left for work and sorted our entire room out, sorted the washing for the week, hoovered the flat and washed the kitchen floor. After all that I obviously needed another nap lol, as I fell asleep again. This afternoon I decided it was time to get my finances in order, the savings tracker just wasn't cutting it as I've got too many different accounts, as well as the money owed to keep track of. I managed to download an excel sheet from the internet and noted everything down. At the top of the columns were titles including; ISA 1, ISA 2, 5% saver, joint saver, money owed for BF's credit card, pension with a total at the end. I've tried to screen grab my uber-organised excel sheet but it doesn't seem to want to let me.

The good news is that my previous calculations in regards to the total was correct, I've reached £10,039.02 in tota, excluding my pension and joint savings. However, this month £250 will be going into our joint account due to the way payday fell and will fall at the end of May. I can stretch £50 pretty far, so to be without it makes things fairly tight, especially I had £30 worth of extra bills to find the money for too.

I've also got a couple of nights out to pay for this week, as well as a team lunch (the venue was picked by my manager and friend from uni who hasn't a clue on how to save money). He's picked a fairly expensive place, and when I said my RSCP was a maybe he said he would pay.

When friends offer to pay for things it always makes me uncomfortable, I would rather go quietly without, whether its an expensive lunch or some shots at the pub- I always try to politely decline and enjoy what I have budgeted for, but a lot of the time they don't like taking no as an answer. Does anyone else experience this whilst trying to save?

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Payday update

That time of the month came again, payday. This time it meant I have just about exceeded my 10k mini target which feels pretty good, even though there's still a way to go. I'll wait for the £250 to go out of my account at the beginning of the month (into my 5% fixed payment saving account) and for this month's credit card payment to come out (£70, only £45 if my own personal spending) before transferring the £350 into my general ISA.

Our refund also came through from British Gas, £245! I've shifted the money almost straight away into our joint account every day saver, which is almost at £500 so as not to spend it. I'm not sure what this will be used for, either to book a holiday late in the year, flights in the summer to the BF's beachy home town, or as part of our stamp duty payment. Either way, its nice to know its there as last year our joint account was running on empty due to more expensive accommodation costs and we had to buy all our new furniture.

I also took out the Experian 30 day free trial to check my credit score to see if it had been affected by my lack of student loan repayments, and its in the good category with a score of 898 our of 1000. It seems that because I have very recently applied for credit I have been marked down, and because I'm not really using much of the credit it seems to be going against me a little- crazy right? Anyways, I'm aiming to improve my score by only using my credit card where ever possible rather than the money in my own personal account, or in our joint account. We need to improve the BF's credit score, I'm guessing that due to his lack of organisational skills and late credit card payments etc it wont be as high as mine so I think he may even start using the dreaded credit card for small amounts, now that he has set up a direct debit for the full amount to be paid off every month.

Finally, this month financially looks OK (all being well with the job- we've gone very quiet which is never good!). I've got a five hour bar shift on Saturday, which I'll get paid for seven hours. This covers money to renew our rental contract (£80 for them to file the contract- ridiculous!) as well as the last what I owe my housemate for last years TV licence with a little to spare. I also have those vouchers to pay for my dad's birthday present.

My clothes need a bit of a lift (again?!) so this lunch time I hot footed it down Oxford street to H&M as I had a £5 off voucher that expires on Sunday. I picked up a replacement pair of skinny blue jeans (two pairs of mine will be going in the bin) and a white t-shirt top as all my white tops have been relegated to 'house clothes' ie. a hop, skip and a jump from becoming pyjamas. I thought the jeans were £20, but scanned through the till at £9.99 so in total I spent £13. I've allowed myself around £30ish for new clothes this month, and I kind of need some new ballet pumps as the sole in mine is starting to go.

I think that's all the news on the financial front; the wintry weather is making it easier to resist the temptation to spend, you can't step foot outside the door without being drenched!

Onwards and upwards.... until next time x

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Food glorious foooddd.....

Over the last few days we have been using up whatever food has been lurking in the fridge, freezer and my desk draws before going shopping tonight.

Last night I didn't bother making a packed lunch as I still had half a portion of the pasta I made the other week still at work, some olives, some water biscuits, hot cross buns and some apples at work.  Slowly over the day I intend to eat most of this list, despite the randomness of different tastes.

This week I have had to throw out a little less food wastage, I think only a carton of left over chocolate milk bought on impulse from the Co-Op downstairs. And I think from now on I'll start using my credit card to pay for the food shop and transfer the money from the joint account to pay for it as this benefits us in three ways; it shows that I am able of borrowing more money and repaying it, it will show how much we spend on food over the course of a month and I don't have to use my credit card for things that aren't really essential.

As the 10k target gets closer I'm itching for payday to come which is in two weeks so I can say I have achieved it (even though we still have a way to go on the saving front, the majority is probably done :)).

I'm finding that I'm getting a bit bored in the evenings at the moment, where I'm cutting back on my spending whereas before I never got bored and always felt like I had lots to do, so I think that's why I'm getting more impatient. But I keep reminding myself, in a few weeks we are already four months through the year and there's only eight more to go.

Does anyone else have a relatively short saving target they are itching to reach? and the more impatient I'm getting the more I want to cut back to reach it quicker, but there's only so much you can cut back on. Patience is a virtue after all, and the good things in life are worth waiting for.

Luckily over the next few weeks I can make use of free tickets I've accumulated; two free VIP tickets for the funfair (we plan to go Friday night should the weather hold up), two free cinema tickets courtesy of a work colleague who got them from Sky and a free pub quiz, with free food and drink which is being held by a media company next Wednesday which I plan to take full advantage of- I've even booked the next day off of work!

Here's to the next two weeks xx

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

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.

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 :) 

Monday, 6 February 2012

Weekly spending round up

Last week was a fairly thrifty week, I think I'm the opposite to most people whereby I save as much as I can the first few weeks then as pay day looms closer I allow myself some little treats. This week my spending went as follows;

Monday- No spend day

Tuesday- Bought Diet Coke pack of six on offer for £2.50. One can is 65p saving £1.40 (Joint account)

Wednesday- Had to buy petrol in advance or  I would never go to the gym. I saved my Sainsburys voucher which gave me double points on fuel for the occasion & popped into see my BF at work and he made me a frothy hot chocolate (freebie :D) =£20. 

Thursday- Had to re-order my contact lenses as I had run out (Glasses are definitely not for me) from Day Soft Lenses One months supply costs just £10, whereas before I bought my contact lenses from the opticians at £32 per month- what a shocker! this saves £220 per year.

Friday- Free night out with the grads from work thanks to company funds. Fast food dinner £3.50 (wish I had waited for my mums stew instead!)

Saturday- Coffee with friend £2, her amazing company, free. Exchanged Xmas present £7.50.

Sunday- No spend day thanks to annual season ticket taking me all round London and Kent/Surrey borders. 

Though it looks more red than green (or blue) it came in within my weekly budget.

Total £52.70. Next week will be easier too as the lenses will last two months and the petrol around one month.

I'm planning on going to the cinema on Sunday to see 'The woman in black' as I have buy one get one free vouchers, maybe coffee with a friend Saturday afternoon and a date night with the BF Fri, as well as popping round his sisters to (hopefully) drop off the Wii and pocket the cassh Tuesday evening! In the week I might (try?) and squeeze in a few gym trips if it doesn't snow again.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Weekly round up

Happy Friday everyone, just thought I would post quickly on the current financial sitch. My second Barclay's bank card came through in the post yesterday so I am now able to use my sole account for my monthly disposable income. I've decided to do this because at least then I know what will be going where and so on. It also has £0 overdraft, unlike my huuge interest free overdraft in my Santander account which I can dip into now and then- but would obviously rather not, so this new system stops this urge.

I now have £185 disposable income to last the remainder of the month which should be do-able at around £60 per week- anything left over is a bonus. I'm still owed one last £50 payment from the BF for the computer which will then be paid off.

I'm also owed around £23 for a short shift I did at the last minute at the pub, as well as £10 for the mystery shop at the weekend. My Santander account should just about make it through the month, but may go £50 overdrawn due to my standing order joint account payments and the way payday fell, and will fall this month. I should get paid the day after (with any luck) so won't be too bad.

Out for a few drinks with work tonight which is budgeted for, and lunch tomorrow with a friend and then continuing with the no-spend into next week.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Charity shop find and a quick update

A few days ago I was en route to do another mystery shop whereby I go into usually a bank, ask a few questions and fill out a form online and a company deposits £10.00 into my account for my troubles. I usually only accept a mystery shop assignment if it fits into my plans and isn't out of my way otherwise the payment wouldn't be worthwhile.

If anyone fancies becoming a mystery shopper here is the link

I was scheduled to go into the bank at 10am, but had gone straight to the shops after my morning zumba class and was a little early. The high street where I was had lots and lots of charity shops so I thought I would kill some time and have a look around while I waited. I usually like looking for bric-a-brac and purses and handbags in charity shops, and (I think?!) struck gold with this little find.

My current purse, which was a present over a year ago from my sister had a broken zip and any cash I had in it would fall out everywhere, and it was made from a hard material and was kind of plastic-y to hold. I found this purse/wallet thing in one of those bins you find in charity shops and was a snip at just 50p! It also says that it is made from cowhide, so I assume its real leather? Either way, I don't think its bad for just 50p.

Anyways, I have just enjoyed some yummy leftovers from last nights dinner at my desk- spaghetti, home made tomato sauce made from tinned tomatoes, garlic, onion and one yellow pepper with some frozen prawns. Sometimes I think people look at me a little strangely for bringing my own lunch in everyday, and not having super exciting plans scheduled for every single night after work, but I just try to stay focused on my end goal. I really don't want to be paying almost £1000 every month to pay for someone elses mortgage when I'm 30 if I can help it, and eating my own home made lunch and avoiding the pub in the week seems like a small price to pay.

Tonight I plan to use up the box of mushrooms sitting in the fridge with some chopped, fried bacon and perhaps some rice in a sort of freestyle oriental type sauce improvised from soy sauce, white vinegar and fish sauce. I'll make double and take the second portion to work with me tomorrow, then will have the microwave lasagna which is in the freezer on Friday lunchtime.

I've worked out my monthly budget which works out at around £60 disposable income for the next three weeks, which I think should be fine and may even have a little extra left. I'll then transfer this into the Barclays account once the card finally arrives, then all we need to do is for the BF to set up his standing order to me to pay back the CC, transfer the money usually used for council tax into our holiday fund and I think we're heading on the straight and narrow financial path...kind of.

In other news I have also had my hair cut asymmetrically, which is another resolution off the list for this year. It's probably the shortest my hair has ever been on one side, literally just above my left ear but think I have finally got used to it. The colour is still annoying me a bit, as its slightly darker and redder a few inches from my roots but I'm determined to grow my natural colour through this year... perseverance is definitely needed!

Hope you're having a happy Wednesday wherever you are. x

Monday, 30 January 2012

Be gone credit card and good riddance!

Yesterday myself and the BF spent the day in London celebrating Chinese New Year with my Mum and Dad. We headed past Trafalgar Square up to China Town in pursuit of dragons, drums and decorations. Things were pretty crowded and quiet in comparison to other years so feeling the cold we went to Carnaby Street for a bite to eat.

Conversation turned to our current living arrangements and how I am increasingly getting fed up with living with other people who bring drunk 18 year olds home who puke in our loo and who don't seem to know how to pick up a hoover. Anyways, after discussing finances and savings etc the conversation turned to my BF's credit card and the extortionate amount of interest he is paying, and what a rip off it is. My mum, (who used to be a personal banker) strongly advised that I pay off the balance of £900 using my savings, and my BF pay me back instead. A monthly repayment of £75 should clear it within the space of a year. So that's what we plan to do, I have just made the transfer and it should hopefully be paid off and sorted out by tomorrow.

They then said that if we (I?) continue to save how we/I am then they may be able to help us with some of the deposit on a flat in around a years time. I almost cried with relief that I won't have to put up with this situation for too much longer and we may even have our own, settled home. It almost seems to good to be true and so far away, but will feel so worth it if it does happen. Though it is a little disheartening transferring almost £1,000 out to pay of the credit card certainly makes financial sense in the long run. If things go to plan I should have around £10,000 by the end of July (if we stay living in the same place we are now- fingers crossed, even though the people aren't great its affordable, is a fairly nice, newly refurbished flat and is also great location wise).

So come July time that leaves ten months to save £500 per month, maybe more if I get a decent pay rise in October and the BF starts saving too. That's at least a total of £15,000 so would probably need to borrow £10,000 off my parents for a deposit. Their mortgage is going down shortly and they have my sister and her BF living at home paying a couple of hundred pounds rent between them so all being well they can help us towards our future. Eep!

Day to day saving seems so hard, but I just keep thinking every thing I buy means our own home is just a bit further out of reach. I've resisted the daily diet coke, and have a weeks worth of meals planned so won't need to do a shop until the weekend when I plan on going home as my BF is working nearly the whole weekend and I want a couple of uninterpreted good nights sleep (as well as some free food as well of course hehe!).

I'll keep my little turtle tracker at the same amount as I will be recouping the money over the next year and want to know where I am in relation to my overall goals.

Does anyone have any inspirational quotes to keep me focused? and does anyone else struggle with just keeping going? Please feel free to share your tips.

Hope you've all had a Happy Monday and may the frugal feeling stay with you.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


Payday ticker update- £60 straight into the ISA. Hoping to get my £100 for the Wii at the weekend, and I have acquired a days holiday at my bar job somehow, though not sure how as it isn't a regular occurrance, but I'm not complaining. This is due to arrive on Friday.

It's someones birthday today in the office (another one, there's been about three here in just a couple of weeks) but I had to eat my pre-prepared cheese pasta lunch I made a few days ago so gave it a miss. My freestyle recipe most definatley needs some work. I was tempted to go for something yummy at the pub but I'm going out for dinner for dim-sum Friday evening with a friend so I'll save it for then instead.

Oh I have also completed one of my New Year resolutions too; yesterday I had my hair cut asymmetrically and I'm feeling pretty bald on the left side of my head at the moment. It's really short so will take some getting used to. 

Monday, 23 January 2012

Lost funds

I have a budgeting app on my phone where I record what I spend on a daily basis, and this month I seem to have lost about £70 somewhere. I've gone through my bank statement and from what I can see it matches my spending on my phone so I'm going to have to go through with a fine tooth comb exactly what has happened.
Any advice? 

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


Just a quick post to say that today I set up my pension scheme through work. Though the company no longer contribute to employees pensions I will get tax relief. This means that when I pay in £50 per month around £30 I would have paid in tax anyway will be put towards my retirement fund. Not huge amounts but better than nothing.

I also had news today that the BF's sister will be buying my Wii off me which will be paid in two installments of £50, one tomorrow and one at the end of the month so should be able to squirrel most of this away.