Uber Frugal Month Homework, Step 2-7

Step 2- So, I looked through my personal spends in November and then our joint account spends. It got a bit confusing as we often pay ourselves back from the joint account, but it isn’t always clear what we have spent it on. Such as, we pay for dog appointments and medication, then the house (joint) account pays us back. We both put a lot of our earnings into the house account, so this is why it pays for things like this. We also use it, if we decide to buy house based things, it is where the holiday money sits until it is used etc. So I am not 100% sure what I have been paid back for, as I will often pay for a few things before taking back and the online account isn’t as detailed as I would like! Last month personal spends has included a trip out with my friends for afternoon tea for a friends birthday, where I did go shopping as well as Christmas Presents, which I don’t always have to buy. I have spent over £200 on clothes, I am expecting about £75 back in returned items. Still a lot of money, I did need a waterproof coat- I don’t have one that fits and haven’t for many years, choosing to just get wet! But the other items were desire items!

Step 3-

Fixed Mandatory Expenses- This is non moveable costs

  • Mortgage- £717 (£50 overpayment, rising to £250 overpayment Jan 2020)
  • Gas- £106 every 2-3 weeks in the Winter, less in the Summer
  • Council Tax- £159 (think its for 10/11months)
  • Energy- £25.51
  • Water- £35.50
  • Life Insurance- £60 (I am sure I can get this cheaper if I actually looked, we got it through the mortgage broker)
  • House insurance- £paid in full, approx £114 a year
  • Credit Card- £110 minimum payment (often pay some more)
  • Car Insurance- £26.64

Discretionary Spending-

  • NSPCC and Dogs Trust- £13.67 (I want these to continue)
  • Vodafone- £14.39 (I own my phone outright)
  • Account fee- £5 (we used to earn more back than this, but at the moment we are barely earning to cover it)
  • Zoo- £13.75 (we can discuss if we wish to keep the membership going or not)
  • RCN- £23.70 (This is my insurance for nursing as well as a magazine- could stop the magazine though)
  • TV licence- £154.50 a year
  • Groceries- £90 per week :0 (Between £75-90 on average)
  • Fuel- £80 a month-ish
  • Takeaways- £15 a week on average
  • Hair for me- £10 haircuts once every 4-6months, hair dye £5.50 every 3 weeks
  • Current monthly saver- £250, 5% account, ends soon
  • Clothes and miscellaneous c- unsure what these costs are!
  • The dogs are both on medication-Meloxaid, Desmopressin (we buy from a human pharmacy) and supplements- youmove cheap version, I am unsure of costs as all paid seperately and adhoc! Recently needed x-rays for younger dog so big cost. No insurance as both dogs are rescue with issues so would either be uninsurable, or a ridiculous cost. We have always paid for everything they need outright
  • Dog food- they are now raw fed and we are still trying to get the feeds correct so unsure of costs
  • We eat out but not that often- we went away this month to Glasgow, so spent a lot more there than usual when at home
  • I will sometimes buy lunches for work, these can cost around £5 and I work three days a week
  • I rarely go to McDonalds , Costa or other but can find some months my use increases- last month for example
  • Hubby pays for Amazon Prime and Netflix
  • Internet- something like £18- hubby pays for this from his account
  • MOT and Service- £170ish depending where we go!
  • Adhoc Chicken costs, they don’t need a lot and we buy food as needed,we paid the big costs outright- their home!

Step 4-

What can we get rid of? Well, its tough. I guess that is the point. The Zoo could be dropped, I will work out if we have made use of the membership or not this year and base it on that. Will require a discussion with Hubby, who is working away the next few nights. We do need to work out the costs for the dogs, medications, food, appointments three monthly for reviews etc. Our dogs are our children, they need medication as they both have ongoing conditions that without medication would be life affecting. We get Red’s Desmopressin from the Human Pharmacy, we have to pay for his prescription then pay for the meds, this is still cheaper than it used to be getting them all from the vets! We don’t eat out often, but have a weekly takeaway, we both dislike cooking so it is nice to know that once a week we get something lovely to eat with no effort! Perhaps this can be something to reduce in the future, please?! I am unsure if we can stop the TV Licence, I mean, I could easily not watch the BBC channels, but am unsure how it all works these days! That could be a nice saving!

We could look at the Life Insurance, I am fat, therefore I make it more expensive. But I think that our mortgage broker went for the best deal for her, rather than us, thats fine, she is great with mortgages and I am happy to help her get extra commission, but really we should be investigating this ourselves now! I could look at my mobile phone plan and see if I can get it cheaper. Internet is a new deal and I am sure it was the best we could get- our connection is shocking! I feel haircut costs and hair dye costs are perfectly acceptable, I am 32 with many greys that I am not ready to embrace yet! I will look at moving our joint account, we used to earn good interest when we had more cash in there, but now its in a 5%saver so not helping the current account. Fuel is what it is, I don’t use my car ridiculous amounts, we have a very efficient joint car, and Hubby has his truck. I have no issues with his truck! Could do with being more prepared with work lunches and helping myself as I do 12hour shifts, this would benefit two fold. Clothes are a non budgeted buy whenever thing, I really need to address this with need not desire! We are not ready to stop netflix or amazon yet- sorry UFM!!

Step 5- Substitution

I will be honest, can’t really think of substitutions at this time. I mean, I buy Options hot choc which I love and is cost effective. I love wine and other alcoholic beverages- perhaps I should look into trying to brew my own stuff? I could definately make a version of creme de cassis with blackberries from the garden, missed that this year though. I have started to try and grow veg, my rocket is still doing well and it is almost Winter, but I struggle to grow other things! Another must try! We have chickens, they are ex batteries so laying is hit and miss, that is fine, we just wanted to save them so they didn’t go to slaughter! Will ask my stepmum to help me with foraging I think. I am not conviced about barter and trade at this time!

Step 6-

Reduction of Discetionary Spending- accidently covered this earlier! Except grocery shopping is something we really need to work on! We are upping the mortgage cost, this is because we are on a great deal and want to pay it down more, ultimately helping us!

Step 7- Insourcing

I mean, we don’t outsource often. We paid professionals to do our driveway, much more time effective and a fantastic job comparative to what we can do. Same with the car, we will use a mechanic and ask around for quotes to get a good deal. We paid a gas man to check the boiler when it was playing up. I want to pay a cleaner but Hubby says no! Recently we made shelves ourselves, this was a great example of insourcing. We need to paint and redecorate some rooms, I would like to outsource these jobs but will probs end up doing them with Hubby. Some things are worth trying yourself, but others we need to think about the skill level required and the time constraints we both face.

I am exhausted, this has made my brain hurt to be honest! Will continue on the next steps after my next shift at work!haha.

Author: aimingforthegoodlife

I am a 32 year old who is trying to find the balance, of only living once, and not wanting to be in debt forever! I do struggle with materialism, and love holidays and adventuring! This blog will be a bit money saving here, spendy spendy there I think! Looking for the perfect balance!

4 thoughts on “Uber Frugal Month Homework, Step 2-7”

  1. Here are my thoughts on your spending, for what they’re worth:
    Life insurance
    Do you need this? Do you have any dependents except for the dogs and chickens? Do you have any debt – I can see that you owe money on a credit card. Could your partner pay this if you weren’t there? Can your partner pay the mortgage and all the bills each month if you die? My partner and I don’t have any life insurance as we don’t have children and if one of us were to die the remaining partner could pay the household bills on their salary.
    Are you sure about overpaying so much on the mortgage when you are making minimum payments on the credit card? What is the interest rate on the credit card compared with the mortgage? I would be inclined to pay off the credit card before you overpay more on the mortgage. In the long run it should save you money.
    Account Fee
    What is the account fee for? For banking? Really? You need to move to another bank.
    Takeaway alternatives
    Try making double the quantity of meals. I am not sure what your typical meals are, but things such as chilli, curry, lasagne, shepherd’s pie are good examples of where you can make enough for four and freeze half. Then you can just put it out to defrost in the morning and when you come home from work boil some rice or a few peas and carrots. I also keep frozen pizzas for emergencies which we would have with salad leaves and dressing. They cost £5 for three pizzas at Tesco – much cheaper than a takeaway.
    Amazon prime
    Is this really worth it? Do you need next day delivery? If you’re cutting back on spending you shouldn’t be buying much from Amazon anyway.
    Mobile phone
    Mine is an Alcatel and costs me £9.99 with Carphone Warehouse.
    Hope that’s given you a few ideas to discuss with hubby!


    1. Hi Sam, thank you for taking the time to look over my spending, lots of fine tuning to go! We have been having the same discussion re life insurance, it is just us and the dogs, and we could afford it alone, but would be very tight. Hubby does like the idea that if one of us died/got terminally ill, we wouldn’t have to worry about the mortgage anymore, but can also see how it could be irrelevant! It is on the hit list of probably cancellations!

      The credit card is 0% until the end of 2020, I am good at ‘Tarting’ cards, so will transfer it over to a 0% card for transfers at the end, therefore not spending any money on interest, unlike the mortgage! The minimum payment is quite a chunk of money at over £100 a month (comparitive to other cards, so reassuring we are not scraping a tiny bit off a month), and on months I bring home a little more I will be sending more over 🙂

      The account fee used to be well covered by the cashback and 3% interest we got on the account, this is no longer the case, so we are definitely looking at finding a new account!!

      With regards to the takeaways, we have agreed to go two weeks, we dislike cooking and are only just adequate cooks, so a takeaway is really enjoyable and pleasant! But we do need to get better at cooking and meal planning, it is so easy to go out and buy easy things instead of cooking! I read about the emergency pizza at the frugalwoods too, and have now got them in the freezer, great idea!

      Prime is useful as we use it and netflix to watch TV, listen to music etc as well as next day delivery, for the £6.86 a month, at this time it is worth it, hubby has also paid a year in advance so nothing is coming out of the account until a year is up!

      Will look at other phone contracts, tend to shop around every now and then, as I own my phone outright, vodafone doesn’t tend to try and tempt me often!

      Thank you so much! 🙂


  2. I’d be interested in a post on how you manage your credit cards. I am using a 0% card for stoozing at present, but now sure what options there are when they start to charge interest apart from paying off the balance. Would lovely to hear how you avoid interest charges.


    1. I ‘tart’ my cards, that is how moneysavingexpert referred to it, not sure if they still do anymore! Basically, just before my 0% is up, I will apply for a 0% card which I will then transfer the whole card onto, ergo, not paying interest! I love MSE’s page about cards, they will soft credit check you and give you a percentage chance of getting the cards you are looking at, which means you are applying knowing the chances of acceptance. Doing this, we have rarely paid interest on cards. Until last year, we didn’t need 0% spending, but when we realised we did, I applied and got that card. The other cards previously were in hubby’s name, and after he has paid his truck off his, he will no longer have a credit card unless we feel the need! It has worked well, and I hope it will continue to work well until I clear the latest debts!haha


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