Savings

When I look into ways to be better with money, making money work is something that comes up often, as well as ways to make money last longer.

So, savings are twofold. You can save money by not spending and you can save money by buying items for less. I am still a materialistic person. I recently kon-mari-ed my clothes, I HAD LOTS. I went through them and for each one I checked for that spark of joy, those that didn’t, I thanked them and they have been sent to Barnados Charity shop, to be joyful for someone else. For those that did, I carefully folded and placed them into drawers and the cupboard. This felt so good, but I also acknowledged that there was a lot of wasted money right there. I made a pact with myself to only buy items that are needed and I truely love from now on…I am already wavering on this. I need work trousers as I am down to one functioning pair, I need a new pair of leggings- I am down to one pair, we are off to Florida later in the year and I dont have a lot of hot weather clothes. I live in the UK its not that hot! So, some clothes are actual needs, some are wants and desires.

I went on to Evans last night. I am a plus size girl and its hard to get bargains. We live relatively rural and our charity shops dont seem to have any clothes for big lasses. I left the items in my basket, and this morning the three items in my basket are in the 24% off sale. I still like all three items as much as yesterday and my leggings are down from a tenner, so even better! Now, the other two items are lovely, beautiful, hot weather clothes- they may not suit me and I can return them if they don’t. Evans is pretty happy with that, but the fact I have waited instead of purchasing meant I got them with 24% discount, ergo, I have made a saving. I could argue with myself that not buying the items would be a better saving though!

I also found two pairs of trousers for work on Amazon for a great price, again, if they aren’t right, Amazon are pretty good about returns. One really bad thing, is that Amazon seem to be offering lots of plus size clothes for a great price. Noooooooo! My plan to manage this impulse to buy, is to leave items in my basket, see if I still like them, and then check if funds can cover it this month. If not, I will save them for later, when I have the funds!

As to the other part of saving (the not spending part) we currently use Santander and get 1.5% on the money in our current account. This is better than a kick in the teeth, but not great. I also have an M & S account, and have opened a 5% savings account. To get this rate, we have to leave the money for a year and can only pay-in up to £250 a month. This means in a year that account will be £3k and we will earn over £81 in interest. This is where that money will be working for us. Depending on my variable income, this money will either be entirely new savings or a mix of new and some other savings we already have. Making money work for us is a concept I am new to, and I am still trying to get more into this mindset, including investments etc. as well. One day at a time! 🙂

Money and Frugality

So, my relationship with money is interesting, sometimes I will deliberate for hours/days on buying something, other times it is in my basket and then winging its way to me with no thought at all.

I wonder, what it is about money and spending it, what makes me deliberate over buying item x but not item y. I have to admit, I love money, I love money shuffles- when on payday I go online to my bank and move money to different pots- once all bills have gone out I will then look at the little ‘pots’ of money we have. At the moment, we have Driveway, Holiday and Other, then whatever is left is surplus and can be used for our joint pursuits. This is all in one account so I keep a close eye on them. We get 1.5% in that account so its earning a little something at this time.

I have been looking into frugality recently- ‘sparing or economical as regards of money or food’ and ‘simple and plain and costing little’. These are two dictionary definitions of frugality, other views are about being tight, miserly and miserable. I recently discovered The Frugalwoods:

www.frugalwoods.com

These lovely folks have taken frugality and made it their metaphorichal bItch! I joined the challenge Uber Frugal Month Challenge, where you get emails from them every day over a month and you try to be a frugal person for an entire month. I decided it made sense to go from Jan payday to Feb payday, so far, I have spent £84 on starting this blog, not totally frugal, but hopefully I may be able to eventually make a little extra moolah as a sideline from this blog, therefore a possible start to more passive income. I have paid bills, this is something I have no choice over!haha. I have paid for one food shop so far, we do it on a week by week basis and I haven’t had to fill up the car yet. It has helped that I have done two 46hour weeks, so when I haven’t been working I have been too tired! I did walk to the shop and paid through the nose for bread and butter, oh and two cadburys cream eggs feel onto the counter as well- but I walked and any other shops I would have had to drive to.

One of our biggest spends is on food, we are only a family of two humans, yet we regularly spend about £80 a week on food and drinks, not including takeaways- we tend to have one a week- or if we go out for food. We have a lot of food waste, neither of us like cooking, so it can feel like a drag, or I may decide to cook and by that time the veg has gone off. We are trying to meal prep, but long days and hubby working away do sometimes mean we just can’t be bothered and will do processed easy meals. This a a two fold problem, one, it is not cost effective and two, it is not healthy.

We already shop at Aldi, we don’t tend to buy brand foods- I am still buying proper salad cream, though that is my only brand item!! This week I am going to make a vegetable pot pie, have made it before and it was soooo good. Also, can make it last a few meals, useful for when I am on long days as can take it in and hubby just heats his up at home. I will make this tomorrow. I am also considering stocking up on more frozen veg, as veg does seem to go off so quickly. Was thinking of cutting up a load of onions and then chucking them in the freezer for future use! Red onions are meant to be really good for gut bacteria, and Aldi only seems to sell frozen white onions. My food shop came to £85 this week, hubby got some bits for his car and I bought two cheap bottles of fizzy wine and creme de cassis- £6.99 a bottle but lasts a few weeks- so those will have increased the cost around £20, but need ot keep an eye on this and try to get the costs and food waste down!

Have you any ideas and tips for low cost food shopping?

Where it began…

It all began a long, long time ago…well, it wasn’t really that long ago! Hubby and I bought our first home in June 2011 with a 5% deposit- the other 5% was then ‘gifted’ to us by the person selling the house, meaning we had a 10% deposit. I didn’t really know much about mortgages, I knew the ‘gifting’ scheme was soon coming to an end as it wasn’t clear if it should be allowed or not, and I trusted our mortgage advisor had got us a great rate. We bought the property for £120k and were so excited! On the day we packed up from our prospective parents homes it felt surreal, at that time I had been working as a Nurse since June 2009, and hubby was working his butt off on minimum wage at an animal rescue. As we started unpacking, a guy walked past us with no top on, with ‘thug life’ tattooed on him, we just looked at each other and said ‘what have we done’?! Later, the attached neighbour invited us round to watch whatever fight was on and we declined, deciding to carry on unpacking- at 5am we were woken by the neighbour and his partner having a blazing row. My heart sank! We found out a few days later from the other neighbours, that attached neighbour was one of the reasons the previous owner was desperate to leave….

I loved our first home, we had a little balcony off the kitchen, a basement that lead into a small but functional garden, we bought a great kitchen and generally loved living there. Neighbour split with his girlfriend, he would be loud with music blaring, swearing at the TV and generally sharing his life with the street a couple of times a week, less so than when they were together. We also found out that asking him to stop with the noise would work, he would apologise and it would be tolerable, then the following week he would be off again. Actually a nice guy apart from the noise! I was working a lot of nights at that time and it did really affect my mood, I struggled to feel able to relax. He moved out and his dad moved in in 2012/13 and peace reigned. It was glorious!

In August 2011, we decided to go to our local rescue, just to have a look at dogs, it obviously would be too soon to adopt a dog having only lived together for two months…but that’s when we met Lady. A beautiful staffy mix, she was so skinny, she jumped up and lay across us at the rescue centre and we fell in love. We brought her home, but it turned out that Lady was reactive with other dogs- she could have dog friends, but any other dogs caused her to shout and bounce. So we started to think about finding somewhere less populated than our street to live, as children played out on the streets until it was dark, even at the height of summer. Plus the parking sucked.

In the time we lived in that house, we adopted another little staffy, Red, hubby started to work in the kennels for a sniffer dog company, we got engaged, married and went on our honeymoon, I changed jobs a couple of times (all within Nursing), hubby got promoted within the company and we decided to put the house on the market for the same value it was bought for in 2014. We SSTC, panicked as we couldnt find somewhere we loved. It had to be detached, or semi-detached but with the stairs against the adoing wall, not bedrooms (made that mistake before!). It had to have some kind of parking and a large garden for the dogs. We looked at so many houses, then this one came on the market. We were very excited from the pictures, it was even better in real life. Semi-detached, only spare room and kitchen is attached to next door, our right side is surrounded by fields, including our own mini field (we have .97 of an acre) and the house had recently been extended and decorated. Perfect! We proceded and once we had payed and instructed solicitors, our buyers found out that they didn’t actually have a mortgage and it fell through. Cue panic! We needed £118k from our house to cover all costs and 5% deposit on this house so we reduced the price. Had a further offer which fell through, then my dad and step mum saved us. They bought our old house as a buy to let and we bought this one! Took six months all in until we got the key! Well done if you have followed me so far! 🙂