Money Wise Talks 17/02/2022

This is turning out to be one of the best weeks!

I won’t keep you waiting ….I GOT THE PROMOTION!!

I found out yesterday and am still smiling ear from ear. I just can’t believe it! I am so very proud of myself and proof that if you work hard and DON’T give up, you really can get what you want.

As you may know, I left teaching last year. It was such a hard decision because I’d not only left a great career in banking to pursue a career in teaching, a career I thought would be best as a single parent … LOL! But because after leaving the bank, I’d then gone on to do a full time degree in biology and a one year teaching degree. All when my daughter was only two! Let me tell you, it was bloody hard work!

So four years of hard work to then decide teaching wasn’t for me. What a nightmare. But after months and months of not seeing my daughter and being so unhappy I knew I had to leave. I had no idea what I was going to do and was working at an agency at the time just to make a bit of money. I wasn’t earning much though, just a minimum wage. I’d not been on minimum wage since 1998 so was feeling pretty low.

That’s when I decided to go back to banking. It was a career I’d done for over ten years and I enjoyed it so why not. But what role to do? Whilst I was pondering what role I wanted to go into at the bank, a friend of mine told me about a job going at an organisation she’d just started to work at. She said it was perfect for me with my previous experience of banking and teaching. I looked at it, liked what I saw, went for it AND GOT IT.

I started with an agency but worked for the organisation and smashed through my training. I really enjoyed it. I worked from home, wasn’t on minimum wage anymore and only worked for 37 hours a week. I had never had so much time off in my life lol! I loved the extra time with my daughter, no commute, no paying breakfast club or doggy day care. It was a dream. AND I LOVED IT!

I knew this was the place for me and after a small interview I was successful in gaining permanent employment on 4 January 2022. Now I was a permanent member of staff I could work overtime, which was double pay. OMG – This meant I could give up my courier job which I had been doing the last 18 months in attempt to pay off the debt quicker.

My daughter was made up! No more freezing mornings in the car driving around delivering parcels. Secretly I miss it, but I do have to think of her aswell.

Pretty much as soon as I started working for this organisation, I had my eyes on the next role as I thought it would be perfect for me. It still had an element of case work which I love doing but then you also looked at the more complex cases and training new starters. I thought this role would encompass all my skills into one. But then the doubt starting setting in and I starting thinking about whether I should consider going for a promotion when I’d only been there officially 2 weeks (by the time I’d put the application in). “Stuff it”, I thought, “what’s the worse that can happen?”.

So I applied, had the interview last week and got it!! I’m still in shock but can’t wait to start my new role.

And it’s £6000 more a year – that’s £500 a month! WOWSERS!

What will this mean for my debt pay off journey? Hopefully it means I can bring my debt free date forward from July 2023 but I haven’t worked it out yet. I have an idea of what my new monthly income will be and will be soon redoing my budget to maximise the time so I can debt free sooner.

As you know for February, I haven’t really set many finance goals. I knew this month and next would be expensive so wanted to take the pressure off myself and this has resulted in me spending millions (in my eyes).

From Spa days (mums present) to giant vet bills to half term, this month has been an expensive one! And a naughty one with most being put on the credit card 😦

What I Have Spent This Week

£10.30 Takeaway

£9.98 Macdonalds

£149.45 Vets

£10.73 Birthday cards, valentines card and gift for daughter

£35.28 Morrisons

£310 Spa day

£16.00 spa breakfast

£32.97 Dinner, cinema and snacks

Total £574.71

WOW! Told you it was bad!

Even without the usual analysis I do with my weekly spend, it easy to see that I am spending too much on takeaways. It’s also obvious I am going out a little more with my daughter and family and friends which I’m not going to beat myself up about. It rarely happens and these last few weeks it seems to have come all at once.

I just can’t wait to know what my bottom line is that I’ll be bringing in so I can redo my budget.

I usually run my budget month by month as it worked well when I was being paid weekly from the agency, but now I am being paid on the 25th every month, I think I’m going to run my budget from 25th to 24th. I’m also going to rejig what I put into the sinking funds which should allow enough in them that they cover the costs like the vet bills without them being put on a credit card.

I also need to think about whether I want to continue the focus on the emergency fund or spread amount over the next 12 months. I have saved £750 in the emergency fund so far, so only have £2250 to go. This is saved into the Help to Save (HTS) account at £50 per month and then the rest into a cash ISA. By the end of the year, I’ll have put another £500 into the HTS, which leaves me needing to put £1750 into the ISA. If I split that into payments from the end of Feb to end of Dec it works out at £160 a month. (1750/11=159.09). Or I could just focus on putting £1750 into the ISA now and leave the debt overpayments until it’s done.

I don’t suppose it matters either way, but I feel I need to get back to paying off debt again and I need the emergency fund building before my car dies. Maybe I’ll do both! Will let you know what I decide next week 🙂

Have a great week

H

Money Wise Talks 10/2/2022

Do you ever have one of those weeks where the whole week goes by and you have absolutely no clue what you’ve done or if anything has happened?

Well, that’s been my week!

I’ve had the all important two day interview for the promotion at work. Still don’t know how it went. I think most of it went well. I made a couple of errors on my written test 😦 and my mind went completely blank when answering one of the questions but the rest went ok.

Did I give my best?

I think I did, but on reflection I’m thinking I could have done better. Urgh, hate the wait but I should find out next week.

But I want the job. I really really want it. No, I don’t just want it, I need it.

I really can’t go another year or so paying off this debt before I do anything else with my life. It’s so boring!

Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way!

I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel going full pelt and getting nowhere.

I don’t like being a negative Nelly so will try to look at the situation rationally.

I think that I’m feeling so impatient because I have gone from weekly pay to monthly and therefore I have to wait the whole month before making any dent in my plans. That’s the obvious reason anyway. I think I’m also feeling flat because I’m not overpaying on my debt. It’s weird that it makes me feel like this, but if I’m not overpaying on the debt it makes me feel physically sick. It’s like I’m choosing to be in this current position forever.

In January I paid £529.73 to debt. The majority of that is minimum payments apart from a couple of extra payments to the MBNA card.

My side hustles in January came in at £379.22 (£375.22 from courier work and £4 from Vinted). Not bad but did include the extra parcels I delivered in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

February Goals

For February, I decided to have a rest from financial goals and focus on getting more sleep and exercise. I still want to track my no spend days as I’d made a new Owl No Spend Tracker to try out. However, I can confirm that this last week has been shocking!

I did join the council gym though. I know it’s an extra expense but I really need to start going for my health. Since I’ve stopped teaching and working from home, I literally just sit around on my laptop all day. Also, I’m not getting any younger and don’t want to be someone that starts looking after themselves before it’s too late and damage is already done. I managed to get a rolling monthly gym membership so can cancel anytime I like. It’s only 22.99 per month, which is pretty cheap in comparison.

Emergency Fund Update

I have a total of £750 in the Emergency Fund now against a target of £3000, so only £2250 left to go!

Not paying the council tax this month helped me to put a little extra in. I’m hoping I’ll be able to pay a good chunk of cash in there on payday too.

TMWM Energy Experiment

With the huge hikes in energy bills this year, last month I decided to do a little experiment to see if I could reduce my energy consumption and see what that would look like in pounds saved.

Part 1 :-

The first part of the experiment, which ran for 31 days from 4 January 2022 to 4 February 2022 was just to see what my actual usage was for gas and electricity from our normal daily life.

Part 2 :-

The second part of the experiment which runs from 4 February 2022 to 4 March 2022 will be where the heating is reduced, plug sockets are switched off at the wall and not left on standby, lights are always turned on and lots more.

When the experiment is complete I will compare usage of gas and electricity between the two months and see what difference (if any) it makes to my bills. I will do a full post on this because I will include all the amounts and costs I currently pay on my gas and electric – will keep you all informed!

What I Have Spent This Week

£19.76 Gym membership for Feb

£35.11 Morrisons Food

£10.20 Tesco snacks

£1.79 Morrisons – cheese!

£103.00 Vets

£65.00 Petrol

£90.00 Meal, drinks, taxi there and back

Total £315.86

Vet bill was due from the dog having a consultation because she was limping :(. Luckily it was nothing serious but she was given an anti-inflammatory to help. She was also due flea and worming treatment. This was put onto the credit card, as I only had £80.00 in the vets sinking fund. I’ve also got both cats due their boosters, flea and worm so this is going to be an expensive month and will all be going on the credit card.

Anyone else have sinking funds but still not got enough funds to cover things!

Just going slightly off topic here, but my daughter and I were in a pet shop at the weekend picking up some bits and she asked to have a rabbit, gerbil or hamster and I said no. Being the animal lover I am, I have always said yes but my mind seemed to work a little differently this time and I started to think about the long term costs of having a pet and not just about how lovely it would be. We spoke about it and discussed food costs, toys, costs to get them looked after if we went away and also vet bills. It was such a grown up conversation, and not just for my daughter, but for both of us! And ultimately, we both decided it was for the best we didn’t have anymore – I mean we do have 1 dog, 2 cats and 2 fish!

Petrol costs of £65.00 but this was for a full tank. I was fed up of going every week so I think this should cover me until I get paid. I think I will change the weekly budget for petrol to monthly just to save time. I hardly use my car now which is great so going monthly should work.

First night out of the year with a girl friend from uni! I was so excited to be out after 7pm and have a catch up. We ate amazing Mexican food and drank lots of passionfruit martini’s and even though it cost an absolute fortune, it was worth it! I was even home for 11:30pm – I’m such a lightweight!

I’m off out again next week with my ‘Gossip Girls’ with dinner and a cinema date. I can’t wait to see them! Although I won’t be spending close to what I spent on Saturday!

You know as I’m writing this blog post, I’m seeing a common theme of spend, spend, spend! I guess this what happens when you stop the focus. I think sometimes it’s needed though, as it can be really restrictive. I mean, I’m still on my journey towards debt freedom but also want the balance of having a life. Hard isn’t it. Especially when you’ve been on the same, boring journey for so long. February and March are usually expensive months for me anyway as I have my mums and daughters birthday and then there’s mothers day. So, I’m going to give myself a break and stop being so hard on myself.

Hope you all have a great week

H

Money Wise Talks 03/02/2022

Welcome to the first Money Wise Talks of the month!

Considering I am usually very motivated by the start of a new month and love reviewing goals from the last month and setting new ones, this month I’m not feeling it at all.

I’ve been thinking of taking a month off from setting goals and maybe how I feel at the moment is a sign that this month is the right time to do it. The journey of me paying down debt has taken a back seat whilst I build my emergency fund to £3000 (a figure that came about after me paying just over £2000 in car repairs last year). I have saved £650 so far and have £2350 left to go.

I am hoping my wages in February will have my overtime and the monies back from when I paid emergency tax in January and then I can look to pay a large amount into the emergency fund. My plan was to have £3000 saved by the end of March 2022.

At the end of January I totalled my debt up and it stands at £16,666.85.

The debt has still reduced since December, but only by £28.57. Which although is pretty disappointing, I have spent on my card and it was expected.

I had some good news this week and started to receive weekly amounts in from child maintenance service (CMS) again. These stopped completely last year so it’s nice to see them again. Unfortunately, I am unable to rely on them as they are so sporadic, so don’t include them in my monthly income figures. I am currently using the money that comes in to pay down the MBNA card – which I am pleased to report is nearly paid off!!

In this last week I have sent two payments of £78.37, so have been able to colour two lines 🙂

And I only have £391.85 left to pay on the MBNA card before it’s paid off in full!! Although, since December interest is now being applied so it may be a little more than that. It won’t be much though.

The No Spend Month lost a little momentum by the end of the month and I ended up having another out of budget spend. That being said, I had a total of 18 no spend days which isn’t bad at all.

For February I have made a new Owl No Spend Days Tracker which looks to track days of no spend and spend, instead of it being based around whether I’ve stuck to a budget or not. Clearly, I’ve not started strong but I hope to have 20 no spend days.

You can of course download it for free :). Let me what you think of it in the comments below.

I successfully completed Dry January, yippee but have no current plans to have another dry month yet lol! Let me know if you’re doing a Dry February. You can use my Dry For …. Tracker for free

What I Have Spent This Week

£7.76 MacDonalds

£35.00 Dog Groomed

£11.00 Single Duvet

£57.47 Daughters Coat, gloves and head torch

£20.68 Desserts

£8.46 Present for party and birthday card. Photo frame for us.

£ …… Morrisons

Total £139.38

Absolutely no idea what I spent in Morrisons for food and petrol! This is due to me using cash and not keeping the receipt. As soon as I get home, I scan the receipt into a receipt scanning app and then bin it. This WILL definitely be a learning point for me to take forward this next week.

My daughter was in desperate need of a new coat and gloves so I bought them from Mountain Warehouse. I love buying from there and they had a 70% sale on which was even better! We also picked up a head torch for her camping trip she is due to go on in September. They will soon have a kit list and that will be one of the items, so my plan is to get something off the list each month so it’s not a huge expense.

My daughter also went to her first birthday party in two years! It was so nice to see her socialising with friends from school. I never spend much on presents and managed to pick up a lovely stationary set for £3.99, a pop it key chain for £1.49 and card for 99p. All those gifts looked alot more expensive than they were anyway!

The £20.68 I spend on desserts was ridiculous! However, in my defence I am starting the gym and a new healthy eating regime so wanted one last blow out before I did that – Lol, how my mind works sometimes makes me howl!

Finally, I have my interview set for Monday and Tuesday – it’s over two days! Monday is a written test and Tuesday is a mentoring exercise and then the panel interview. So the next time I write my Weekly Money Wise Talks, I’ll be able to tell you all about it. I really want this job, so I hope I get it 🙂

Hope you all have a great week 🙂

H