Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Freecycle and night class

Isnt Freecycle fab? I got my free chair yesterday so decided I would ask on Freecycle if anyone had the matching footstool - ended up with 2! One is black leather look and the other is cream to match my chair. Took both as the chair and cream one will go in the caravan and the black one is really comfortable in my sitting room.

Went to my Aromatherapy night class last night - looks really good - we are going to learn to blend our own oils and make room sprays, lip balms, bath milks and creams for gifts. Will be a bit of an outlay getting some of the essential oils but I'm not buying anything yet until I know which ones I like (actually, most of them!)

Home-made lentil soup on the cooker and I had a good driving lesson this morning so its a good day!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Well under food budget! and a free chair

Did my online shop and it came to £57.95 so this months housekeeping is....


As I allow £300 for my monthly housekeeping I can now put £90 away in my holiday fund! Great stuff! So thats a long weekend in the van!

Will do the same next month - although I could just put that money straight away its much more fun doing it this way!

(also did the Asda price promise and will be getting £3.66 off my next shop)

The free chair - went round to my friends for a cuppa and we were watching out of the window as a house across the way was getting emptyed...my pal spotted a small old fashioned sofa so went across and asked if she could have it for her sun room! So we brought it over and she gave me her Ikea Poang chair which was in there. The reason I took this is that we might be getting another caravan! This one is just small, its an empty shell as it was used for storage. I want to turn it into an office (and use it to store my camping stuff that I used to have in our caravan!) We are supposed to be getting it this weekend coming so I will have to live with the Ikea chair in the middle of my living room until then! The joy of the Ikea chair is that I can disassemble to get it into the caravan!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Bit hungover and night class musings....

Our wee town has an annual music festival and for the past years and years me and my friend have always gone to see the same singer.....last night was the night so feeling a wee bitty fragile today! On a brighter note - hardly spend anything as I hardly ever drink anymore and it didnt take very many last night for me to start going on to lemonades!!!!!

The lady I get a lift in to work runs the council Adult education programmes - have done a few in the distant past (ECDL, Advanced ECDL, Cookery on a budget and Calligraphy) so I had a look at this years offerings. Lots I fancied but too far away so have signed up for Aromatherapy for Beginners - starts at our local school on Monday evenings for 10 weeks. Best of all it would normally cost £74 but cos I am on Working Tax credit I will get it for £19 (I remember when they were free!)So might pick up some tips for cheap home-made Christmas presents.

Doing well with my housekeeping budget this month too so very pleased....only 1 more shop to do - if I manage around the £50-£60 mark I can put nearly £100 away into our holiday account which is great.

September housekeeping - £152.01

Monday, 19 September 2011

Weird tea and cheap meals

My cupboards are empty until I get my on-line shopping tomorrow so tea was wee bitty challenging!!!

We had.....2 small lamb kebabs each (last of my meat bargains - reduced down to 20p), a tin of new potaotes fried (20p) and a packet of lemon and coriander cous cous (40p)

I tried to bulk it out by making a pud - had a tin of rhubarb lurking so used that with a crumble mix on top.....never thought but should have drained the rhubarb so it was a bit soggy but filled a hole!

The price of food is really going up all the time - dh fancied a Frey Bentos steak pie (the round ones in the tins - we call them landmines!) The last time we bought them they were £1 and we eat 2 of them for a meal - they are now up to £2 each! I refuse to pay £4 for a meal so it will be 1 between the 3 of us and loads of mashed potatoes and veg....

Same with Swankies fish - its the only fish in breadcrumbs dh and dd will eat - 2 pieces for £2 - usually I buy 2 packs and dh has 2 bits but he's going to have to start and only have 1 - and I will put the spare one back in the freezer to use when we get it again, I think £4 is far too much.

I must admit I try to work on £1 per portion per main meal (less if I can manage it) - this includes anything accompanying it (ie pots, veg etc) so £3 for the three of us but am finding this really difficult.

Am making lasagne this week - by adding grated carrot and a handful of oats I can get not only the lasagne but can freeze a portion for the next weeks Spag bolog.

Am giving Asda smart price frozen chicken breasts a go this week. We are having stir fry and chicken/broccoli pasta. I dont know how many portions are in the bag but its £3.99 per kilo which was the cheapest I could find. Bit dubious about this as I once bought frozen chicken breast from Iceland and they were only 85% chicken - the rest was water!!!!!!!

Im quite glad its getting the colder weather as stews and soups are much cheaper than summer meals!

A wee frugal holiday

Well we now have our tourer on a seasonal pitch near Dumfries - went down at the weekend and had a lovely quiet relaxing break. As I have said before its not a cheap way of holidaying as it will be costing me £58 per month to site it (paid for out of my holiday budget) but its a bolthole for the whole family and I must admit holidays are very important to us all.

So me, my eldest dd and my youngest dd went down - took food down, visitied a local farmers market for some nice goodies and went to Tesco and got messages while we were there. Including petrol it cost £25 per person (my eldest dd pays for herself) So out of my monthly holiday budget I can afford to pay for the van and have one weekend away at the moment.....or if we really cut back and plan our menus for the van and do some careful shopping maybe even 2! Any extra trips while we are down there (theres loads of castles I want to visit) will be paid for from my Entertainment budget.

Dh couldnt come down as we was working and instead of just using up stuff from the cupboards/freezer he went shopping - £16.19 to add to this months food budget.

Just did an on-line shop - bit heavy this week as I needs lots of staples like rice and pasta etc - had e-vouchers from previous shops so it came to £56.59 including delivery.

Septembers houskeeping - £129.01

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

History school trip - more outgoings!

Does it never end! lol - dh is going for a history trip with the school tomorrow to Beamish - so that was £18 and she'll need a packed lunch. I hate packed lunches on trips - she doestn mind eating Smart price stuff in the house but has to have "names" for her lunch which I suppose is fair enough (teenager.....) and anything homemade is a complete no-no!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Probably last car boot....

We have a Sunday market near us and my pal wanted a trip out so off we went.....

Car boot bit - got 6 soup spoons for 50p (a need - dont know where all my spoons go to!)
4 books - at 10p each (this really is the last of my allowance now gone)
Xmas mug, bowl and saucer for dd for Xmas - £1

The market had mens wool jumpers - 2 for £5 - now I have scoured second-hand shops, car boots etc for thick mens jumpers for dh for work (hes a fisherman so needs wool) and cant get them anywhere so bought 4 off this stall for £10 which is excellent value. I always buy wool jumpers the size larger than he needs just in case of shrinkage!

Might have a bakeathon this afternoon......or maybe tomorrow!....

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Table top sales are my downfall....

My pal asked me to go with her today (so no petrol spend lol) - very small table top sale at a village hall - only 5 stalls including a homebaking one (never buy from these as I can make my own cakes and they are usually a lot nicer!)

So spent......

50p entrance fee (including raffle ticket)
Book for dd - 50p
Goodnight Mr Tom book (for me!) - 20p
Shrek Junior monopoly - £2 (thought this was dear but it was unused)
Pride & predjudice and Tom Jones (the dvds you get in papers) - £1 for both
Interactive DVDs - The Weakest link and Horse racing - for the caravan - £2

And spent £2 on a bacon roll and 2 cups of tea....

And thats the last of my allowance gone! I have exactly 30p for a treat for me to last the rest of the month.......no wonder my money has been vanishing - this cash business is the mutts nuts. I cant overspend if I simply dont have it!

Popped into Aldi on the way back and stocked up on breakfast cereals and bits we like from there - spent just under £15

September housekeeping - £71.20

Friday, 9 September 2011

Pays to cost a recipe - syrup sponge pud

I am a bit obsessed with spreadsheets - they are great fun! sad or what!! lol

So I decided to cost a home-made recipe I found on the net somewhere (cant for the life of me remember where!)

2 oz sugar
2 oz marg
2 oz flour
1 egg
1 oz milk
1 tablespoon golden syrup

Mix the sponge mix, put in microwave bowl, pour the syrup over, cover with clingfilm and cook in the microwave for 3 mins - this made a lovely quick easy pudding for the three of us.

On todays prices at Asda on my supermarket it came to 34.13p - add a packet of instant custard for 10p (that was from Sainsburys) and the whole pud cost less that 15p per portion.

If you had bought one of those tins steamed puddings it would have cost over 3 times as much and I doubt if it would have done 2 of us never mind 3........

Cash is hard going!

Had to put on for a couple of birthday collections at work so that was another £4 gone.....dd has a school trip to Beamish - £18....

But on a brighter note I have taken lunches to work so thats saved me £10 - if I had paid for them out of my allowance I wouldnt have had anything to spend for the rest of the month. Now this is the point of my allowance - to spend on just small treats on myself - if I dont get that I tend to feel hard-done-by and splurge out on something larger!

Got flour, marg etc in my on-line shop so will have a baking/freezing weekend to help out eek our finances this month.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Cash is painful!

Got my haircut today (costs £25) I really like my hairdresser and we dont have a lot of choice living in a small town. I could drop it to a dry cut but that still costs £17. So what I am doing is growing it into a chin length bob and that will only need trimming every 8 weeks or so - you get a free fringe trim inbetween which is great.

So out of my monthly allowance I do not have a lot left!

Had a look round the charity shops and didnt buy anything - this buisiness of cash only is quite scary and working really well!

Did buy some bits for lunches that I forgot to order with my on-line shop but even then I was very aware of how much I was spending - not a bad thing at all!

September houskeeping : £56.23

Monday, 5 September 2011

Asda order done....

Total - 49.74 - this is to last 10 days. Did the Asda price promise from my last shop and got £3.97 which I can use against my next on-line shop...

September houskeeping : £49.74

How my budgeting works

Thanks for the comments Froogs - its nice to know how other people manage their money!

I think I have explained my Freedom account before but for newbies who have joined me recently (welcome!) here goes....

I am an anal spreadsheet maker - everything is down on a huge one - its a work of art! I only have 3 different accounts with my bank - joint current, joint saver and my own saver.

All my regular bills (ie direct debits for gas, electric, council tax etc, mortgage,broadband etc) get left in my current account. When I started my Freedom account I had to go through all my outgoings that had to be paid - these are:

Road tax
Car insurance

I divided the yearly amount by 12 and put this amount away (joint saver.

Then I figured out how much to spend on:


and do the same.

Then I divided the rest of my money between the additional following

Car repairs

Over the years I have tweaked and tweaked the amounts - the first 5 always got funding - then I managed to fund the last 7 - at first I could only put £1 in each of them but as I paid off my debts that rose and rose.

Then at long last I managed to have a proper savings account which is a nice feeling to have a wee bit of money behind you - this is the amount that got hammered when my dd was sick.

Again, its all on-line or on paper - as I was so bad with cash I tried not to use it as I always wrote down what I paid for with my debit card.

So for 8 years this stem's has worked well but by tyring just to use cash I think I can be more aware of my spending and open another account (Seasonal pitch) to put money in to pay for our seasonal caravan pitch.

I budget £300 for housekeeping - now this does seem a lot compared to what some people are living on......so I have had a re-think and dropped it to £250 - £50 is therefore going into my seasonal account which means I only have to save another £10 a month and that's it sorted. I must admit I am finding it more and more difficult to manage on my housekeeping. We do love our grub (dh and dd are total carnivores!!) so I am going to have to get a real grip on this. We cook from scratch really well but its also the portion sizes I have to deal with.

So off to do this weeks menu ready for my Asda on-line shop....

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Trying cash only

Me and t'other half were having "that discussion" about money.....since we became debt free in 2003 I have used the American idea of a Freedom account - I have certain budgets for certain things and only spend what is in that account.....

However, since my dds wee brush with cancer (which was a suprisingly expensive time) we dont seem to have been able to get out of the bit. We dont have any debt, we are living within our means but I do feel we could do better.I definitly have not been on top of our money as I used to be.

Now that we are going to have our caravan on a seasonal pitch we will need to put away money every month to pay for that.

So we have decided to trial using cash instead of plastic. I have always been really good about noting down our spending (and only ever used debit or credit cards) and then balanced our outgoings every month. Cash has a habit of vanishing from my purse...

So my first attempt at this was to take out my £50 allowance for this month. This is to buy fripperies - little treats that I like to have.....

First test - car boot sale (big yearly one)

No petrol money (dd took me)
Took flask with tea, made sarnies, dd made home-made shortbread.

Coalport china daffodil brooch - 50p
6 melamine plates for caravan - £1.50
Books (for youngest dd) - £5.75 (a lot of books!)
Clock for caravan - £1
Kite (for me!) - £2

Then bust out and spent £4.50 on chips!

So I will be taking my lunch to work - been very lax about that too and it was costing me around £10 per week! eek!

So when this money is gone.......its gone.....no more plastic....

Have my car-share money in another purse so at least I know I will have that!