Showing posts with label winter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label winter. Show all posts

Monday, 21 January 2013

Blue Monday

 The last time I blogged we had some last minute viewings booked in; the last one of the day we loved. A ground floor maisonette, private well kept garden and newly reburbished throughout with two huge bedrooms. W had an offer accepted, only for the initial happiness to last around a week when we found out through a friend of a friend the property had a £10,000 bill coming our way from the leaseholders which could be due in around three years time due to them re-doing the fire escapes (our property didn't even have a fire escape). At the top end of our budget there was no way we would be able to afford it. We put this to the estate agent who claimed ignorance, and the price was dropped and agreed at £5,000 lower than the original asking price.

We put our searches and survey on hold whilst waiting for more information, and the Friday before new years eve I had about ten calls from the estate agent who was trying to get us to book the survey to show some commitment to the seller. They had apparently mentioned re marketing the property if we didn't get things moving. After doing some digging for myself and speaking directly to the leaseholder I found out the work was due to start in the summer just a few months after we would be moving in and the money due by the time they had finished the work. I also discovered 47 awful reviews of the leasehold company online, describing them as a money grabbing nightmare!

We pulled out the first working day of the new year, however at the end of that same day the vendor dropped the price by a further £5000 to get us to buy. We spoke to the mortgage broker who advised us we could take a home improvement loan and use the equity in the house to pay it off. We thought things were settled when we received confirmation of the new asking/purchase price in writing and email. Then surfing the property sites to compare what we were getting for our money I found the property had come on with another estate agents and there was even an open day planned for that weekend with our estate agent. From that weekend I knew the property wouldn't be ours so as not to be too disappointed.

On the Monday I found out they had had a higher offer from someone who supposedly knew about all the work and additional costs. I just wish we had been told upfront as another buyer had pulled out before us, but we were told 'for financial reasons' so we knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into. After we lost it, I felt a kind of relief, like it was meant to be for a little while.

However, after seeing lots more properties nothing seems to compare and I'm worried the prices are going to go up before we've scrabbled onto the property ladder. So that seems to be taking up most of my time at the moment.

However our mortgage is almost through, just the survey needs doing now and our family bought us lots of nice home wear and vouchers for Christmas so we only need to pay for the big appliances once we finally find somewhere.

I also had a nice surprise last week; I found out we had hit our target at work and was in fact £55,000 over target! Because we did so well my colleague and myself are going to be given £505.000 worth of high street vouchers as part of a commission scheme. When I was first told about it I thought I would get about £50 so that will definitely make things easier! I decided to get £250 love to shop vouchers which covers lots of shops including Robert Dyas & Homebase, £100, £50 B&Q and £100 Arcadia vouchers (I'm treating myself to some new clothes after all this saving malarky!) I was also told we were getting a £750 annual payrise; I thought it would be performance related and thought it was kind of mean but its automatic which I think is pretty nice as it covers increases in peoples train fare/heating bills/food etc.

This year I bought my annual season ticket and opted for the overground option only- this was £600 cheaper and means it forces me to exercise every day too. I'm now walking around two miles per day at least. I'm going to get my car back on the road and use the money I saved to pay for my car; a much nicer luxury than a bus pass!

Finally, I sorted out my health care plan at work. I decided to take advantage and booked myself an eye test as I haven't had one for around three years and had self medicated my contact lens strength which I buy over the internet. It turns out I wear my lenses too much, starving my eyes of oxygen and causing blood vessels to grow into my corneas which if not sorted out can damage my eyesight! eek!!

I can claim £60 per year for optical costs, so I ordered a four month supply of contacts £50 and away the receipt for my eye test £22 and decided to buy some nice designer glasses. I bought a D&G smart half rim pair for work and a lighter plastic Karen Millen pair for home + insurance. Though this was pretty pricy I think my eyesight is one thing worth investing in.

Phew! Think its all out now, hope you're all staying toasty and warm- until next time!

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

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 :)