Money Wise Talks 31/03/2022

I’ll start off with a reminder … Take meter readings for your gas and electric today!

Why you ask?

According to Sara from Debtcamel on Instagram, energy prices are due to go up tomorrow for 22 millions households in Britain by about 50%. But by taking a meter reading today, you can save yourself some money. Sara also recommends you to take a picture of the meter reading as proof.

This means that all of your energy up to now will be charged at the lower rate. Head over to her page Debtcamel for further information and loads more advice!

I was paid last week and I can confirm ALL the missing money came through! I’ve never picked up so much money in a single month ever and not going to lie, I did spend a good few days just looking at it lol! 🙂 I haven’t done the usual and sent it into sinking funds and savings just yet as I may need it for the *bleep*.

I so wanted to share my news with you all today but I’ve still not heard anything with the *bleep* yet, apparently it will be tomorrow now.

The savings challenge I had been doing to pay the MBNA card off has now been completed in full! Whoopie! One card paid off and two left to go. This tracker can be downloaded for free on my blog, under the ‘free printables‘ section.

I also paid off a whopping £801.61 from the debt this month which has now brought the debt outstanding figure to £16,426.77. It’s not where I want to be but at least it’s going down … for now. The *bleep* is going to change this, but it will be worth it I’m sure.

I feel like I’m scraping around for funds all over the place! My focus for April will be selling more clutter, listing items on Vinted and going through the loft. I have some big ticket items like a bike and a Barbie dream house which I will have to sell through FB Market place, but everything else is going on Vinted. You know how I feel about FB Marketplace, but it does have it’s place for those bigger ticket items. Check out an older post of mine which compares Vinted, FB Marketplace and Ebay.

I’ve also started the ‘save 1p a day’ challenge which I spoke about last week. I was going to make my own little tracker but then came across a fantastic one from SkintDad, which you can download for free from his blog. Here’s the link to his blog. Any change I get I will cross off on the tracker and will keep separately in a pot. Although this 1p challenge is meant to last a year, I’m just going to do it until it’s complete, whether it takes me less than a year or more, I don’t mind.

In April, I am also going to try and do a food shop for £10 a week. So this will be for me and my ten year old daughter and won’t include pet shop, toiletries and cleaning products. Not sure how hard it will be but I’ll post my day to day journey over on my instagram, The Money Wise Mum if you’d like to follow me.

What I have Spent This Week

£3.50 Car park

£17.66 Cinema snacks

£31.17 Cards and balloons

£69.38 Pizza hut

£30.35 Ninja warrior

£17.08 Morrisons

£5.50 Car parking

£56.66 Arcades

£2.20 Boots pharmacy

£81.37 Petrol

Total £314.87

Can you spot the missing item?

NO TAKEAWAYS!! Actually I still can’t believe this, but we haven’t had a takeaway since the 18 MARCH!! Which is a whole 13 days!

Now if you’ve been following me for a while, you will know I love takeaways and we usually have at least two a week. But the want has just disappeared recently and I think it’s because of the *bleep* and the serious need to save money like I’ve ever saved before in my life. Finally, something has become more important and has made me stop. Hope it continues.

Of course within my list you can see Pizzahut but that wasn’t a takeaway, it was a pre-planned meal for my daughter’s birthday, with her friend and my parents. I paid for it as it was my treat. In fact, most of the spending this week was on my daughters birthday, such as; cinema snacks, Ninja Warrior, Arcades (never again) and car parking for the cinema trip. We saw ‘Dog’ with Channing Tatum, swoon … I didn’t even mind sitting on my own, one row back and in the corner lol … thanks girls!

The other car parking was for the trip I took into the office for the first time. It so so strange to be in a room with other people. I couldn’t believe how easily distracted I was with people talking and although it was lovely to see everyone, I definitely prefer being at home.

The food shop this week was £17.08 and I just bought the only things I needed to allow me to do 3 full meals a day for the week along with some snacks.

Petrol was £81.37!! I was shocked when I looked at the pump. This was to fill the car up from empty. I’m so glad the weather is getting a little nicer so we can start walking to school and back and reduce the use of the car.

I also notice my national insurance had gone up this month by about 165 % … it just makes me wonder where we’ll all be this time next year. Worrying really. Have you notices this with your national insurance? Let me know in the comments below.

Anyway, I hope and pray I will be able to share my ‘Good’ news with you all next week.

Have a great week,

H

Money Wise Talks 24/03/2022

Wowsers! What a week!

Not going to lie, but I’m on cloud 9 at the moment. Everything, and I mean everything this year is falling into place… amazing job, better salary, better work life balance and potentially a new *BLEEP*!

Sorry, I still don’t have the *BLEEP* 100% yet so I’m still keeping it under my hat. It is costing me serious amounts of cash though, even now before everything’s been confirmed. It’s making my anxiety levels hit the roof! All this money just passing through my fingers like water.

However, on the flip side of that, my general spending is so low right now (must be the fear of getting further into debt that is scaring me) and I’m on fire with no spend days and just general spending! I definitely should have done a no spend month this month!

I spoke last week about getting back into doing money challenges as I feel these really work for me and over the last week I’ve been thinking of things I can do. This is my plan

  • Save 1p a day challenge
  • Eat for £10 a week challenge – and see how long we can go for
  • April no spend month

I’m going to make the trackers for these and will upload them and let you know when these are available via my Instagram account.

Save 1p a day challenge

Pretty obvious what I need to do on this challenge but I am going to save all the money into a jar and not touch it until the challenge is up. I already have a jar where I keep my 1’s and 2’s so will use these as part of the challenge. I’ll get these counted tonight and will share the start of the challenge tomorrow via Instagram and then weekly on this blog.

Eat for £10 a week challenge

I want to only spend £10 a week on food for me and my daughter. This will cover 7 breakfasts, 5 school packed lunches, 5 lunches for me (I work from home), 2 weekend lunches and 7 dinners. This does not include toiletries, cleaning supplies or pet food. I’m sure I can do it, but will need to meal plan and be creative with the food I already have in my cupboards. To be honest, I want to get rid of so much out of the cupboard and I’m hoping by doing this, we can eat through some of the food that never gets eaten.

April No Spend Month

After a month of huge spends because of the *BLEEP* and my daughters 10th birthday, I need a reset and a no spend. However, my daughter is off for two weeks in April so I am going to set aside some cash for that. I also have a meal planned with friends at the end of April and I’m not missing that either. However, the rest of the month there will be no spending on;

  • Clothes
  • Toys
  • Takeaways
  • Food outside the weekly budget

You may be wondering why I’m still prepared to spend money in the half term and to go out with friends and I want to explain that I don’t want us to stop doing the rare things that we enjoy. It’s just not the point for me or the reason I do these type of challenges and no spend months. For me, it’s to get out of the habit of careless spending. I mean if I was out every weekend with my friends, well that would be another matter but I’m not. And I don’t know about you, but getting four friends together that all have children and some having husbands well it’s a task in itself. So when we’re all free and want to see each other we go for it. As for my daughter, this is her childhood and I want to spend the holidays with her making memories and if that means saving a very small part of my income for these times, well that’s what I’ll do.

I think it’s important as well, if you’re on a debt pay off journey, like I am and you’ve been on it years because you have a single income or whatever other reason, you need to have some elements within the journey that you look forward to. For me it spending time with my daughter and not saying no all the time and seeing my friends every now and again. Yes it may take me a little longer to pay down the debt but I want to live as well as be debt free.

What I Have Spent This Week

£10.18 Macdonalds

£6.34 Asda

£1.40 Co-op

£7.63 MoonPig

£15.87 Morrisons Food Shop

£31.00 Hair

£10.00 Cash out

£23.97 Cinema for 3

£10.92 Vet

£18.49 Trampoline pole

£33.00 Ninja Warrior

£200 Daughters birthday present – New bike

Total £368.80

Total spend on food was £33.29 which isn’t that bad at all, and that includes the takeaway. The cinema, Ninja Warrior and new bike I have paid for by pulling £300 out of savings. So although my emergency fund will have decreased, my debt hasn’t increased which is perfect. I hope to pay that back in dependent on what my salary comes out at for March. I’m hoping for great things from my salary this month so I better not be disappointed.

The trampoline pole was a replacement part from the damage to the trampoline in the recent storms. I was surprised at how easy it was to fit. Let the free entertainment continue 🙂

Moonpig cards were just because I left it to late to post someone’s birthday card. I thought if I did it via Moonpig it would get there for the next day so that’s why I was happy to pay the higher price. Anyway, it turned out it still got there 3 days later and late so I would’ve been better just buying cheap and posting it myself. I’ll know for next time!

Hair was just the usual root top up for me. This is the cheapest I can get my hair done for as I don’t have it blow dried, it’s just left wet. Last year I used to go every 3 weeks because I hated the sight of grey. Especially when it went completely white during lockdown and our hairdressers had to close. However, by me going every four weeks, it saves me an £124 every year! Amazing really that these small changes can add up to so much!

This time next week, I should know if the *BLEEP* is going ahead so I’ll of course let you all know on here all the ins and outs. But until then, have a great week.

H

Money Wise Talks 17/03/2022

It was my Nana’s 90th birthday at the weekend and she had a lovely party where we all got together again. It was nice to see the family under better circumstances following the death of my brother and us all attending the funeral a week last Monday.

We laughed and cried together and reminisced the old times when the people we love very much were with us.

It was a 4 hour drive to my Nana’s and back, which although was worth it – the petrol costs were out of this world!

That coupled with the ‘new’ gas and electric bill going out on Monday of £146 made me wince. I know we are all in the same boat but putting everything up at the same time when people are stretched is just horrendous. Although I have debt and a single income I feel incredibly lucky I have money left at the end of the month and can make overpayments on debt, some people aren’t that lucky and I’m generally worried about what our situation will be like by the end of this year. It makes me feel really sad.

I dug out an old smart meter box that was installed a few years ago to see if I could try and keep a handle on what the daily costs were for gas and electric. It does install a little dread when you put the kettle on and see the pound sign start to increase. That being said, I’ve heard both positive and negative things about these smart meters and although I can’t tell at this stage whether it’s a good or bad thing to have one but it is making me more mindful. For example, seeing the sun out today made me think about getting a load of washing that could dry outside. I mean, I know this stuff isn’t going to make me a millionaire but every little helps doesn’t it?

I decided the other day to have a little mission and try to find different things to cut back on with the cost of gas and electric going up and below is what I tried and what tips people gave me;

  1. Wear fingerless gloves in the house. Great for anyone working at home on a laptop.
  2. Wear leg warmers. I actually love this and embrace my inner Flashdance. 🙂
  3. Wear a dressing down.
  4. Use hot water bottles when at your work desk, on the sofa or in bed.
  5. Wear a woolly hat indoors. This really keeps you warm!
  6. Extra blankets and/duvet on the sofa and/bed.
  7. Turn all plugs off at the wall apart from the fridge freezer (and internet, if you need it for work).
  8. Close all doors.
  9. Use draught excluders.
  10. If your freezer is not full, fill it with cardboard as it runs more efficiently when full (tip from someone who used to work for a utility company).
  11. Turn the thermostat down in the day and have on for 30 minutes to an hour when family is all together.
  12. Make tea in a flask to save putting the kettle on every time you want a drink.
  13. Don’t use the tumble dryer or dry your clothes on a hanger until 90% dry and finish it off in the dryer for the last ten. minutes. This is great for keeping towels and other things fluffy and soft.
  14. Batch cook so you make a number of meals in one go, to save using the oven or cooking every night.
  15. Meal plan so you can have days where you don’t use the oven at all.
  16. Wear more layers.
  17. If you have a duvet that fits together as two parts, separate it and put a duvet cover on each part and this traps the air between the layers and can keep you warmer.
  18. Swap the electric tooth brushes for battery ones or non powered.
  19. Tuck curtains behind the radiators.
  20. Put curtains up over doors.
  21. Turn off radiators in rooms you don’t use.
  22. Use energy saving bulbs.

What I Spent Last Week

£42.41 Takeaway for 4

£8.87 Macdonalds

£49.46 Petrol

£45.00 Faulty wiring on car indicator

£71.96 Petrol

£3.60 Vinted refund

£15.00 Jellycat Toy

£16.23 Cat litter, cat biscuits and sweets

£45.99 Dry dog food

£10.00 Cash spent on food shopping

£10.00 Next – tights for party

£62.00 Next – Dress for party

£15.00 Cakes for Mothers Day

Total £395.52

Extra expenses due to petrol and the party but only £70.00 put on the credit card for my dress and tights. I plan to pay that off as an extra payment when I get paid next week. With hopefully a little more too.

Takeaways were down this week as well which is great. I have decided to do only have one a week, although last week I did two which was down to circumstances as opposed to me just being lazy. I have decided that we will go for a Macdonalds on Thursdays as it’s usually a late finish due to a club my daughter goes to.

£121.42 spent on petrol to include 400 miles round trip up North and a 500 mile round trip down South! I was given some money towards petrol which I used on the food shopping and to put even more petrol in.

£45.00 on faulty wiring on my cars indicator. 😦 … after I paid £100 for tyres last week. Hope this car isn’t going to cost me loads again like last year!

£3.60 back to a customer on Vinted. They weren’t happy with what I sent, apparently it had a small hole in which I’d not noticed. To be honest I had sold them in the week my brother died so my head was all over the place and I clearly hadn’t checked them well enough. It’s certainly not my style so I refunded it immediately, told her to keep them and apologised profusely.

£62.22 on pet food (plus a small bag of sweets for the chilc). I tend to buy anything relating to the pets in bulk so it’s good quality food at a cheaper price. Same for cat litter and cat biscuits.

£15.00 Jellycat for a toy for my daughter. She had an outstanding school report after me attending a parents evening and I said I’d get her something as a treat. I also spent £15.00 on cake treats for Mothering Sunday! A close friend who is a chef and has his own business makes these incredible edible flower pots and they are so cute and taste amazing! We had them last year, so when I saw he was advertising them again, I knew I couldn’t pass on them. Will show you the pictures when I pick them up.

Finally, I have something up my sleeve that is so big that’s it’s going to blow you all away! But I can’t tell you yet because I don’t want to jinx it – sorry for the huge carrot dangling moment. I can let you know in a week or so even if it falls through. What I will say is this a dream for me, one I have been manifesting for years, with the universe pulling what can only be explained as so many strings, so if it pulls off, I am going to be ecstatic, shocked and grateful. Keep everything crossed for me 🙂

Hope you have a great week,

H

Money Wise Talks 10/03/2022

I feel like I’ve been away for ages, but it’s only been a few weeks.

Time has stood still since losing my little brother. And the motivation to do anything disappeared entirely.

Grief is a crazy thing isn’t it. One minute your eating a bag of crisps, next minute your crying into them. And I still can’t believe he’s gone. Taken far too soon at 34 years. Life is really cruel.

It’s made me feel abit like I want to go ‘YOLO’, but I know I’ll be undoing all the good habits I have been building, abeit not perfectly but with definite effort on my part.

In terms of my money, I’ve not been tracking it and feel it has got out of hand. However, I have not used my credit card at all and even cash flowed two bald tyres on the car.

What I have Spent This Week

£15.80 Hobby Craft for World Book Day

£3.50 Next T Shirt for World Book Day

£17.40 Tesco

£13.61 Just Eat – Takeaway

£3.00 Drinks

£17.30 Just Eat – Takeaway

£100 Two car tyres

£0.87 Car Parking

£10.38 Macdonalds

£5.99 Football

£20.00 Donation to Epli

£10.18 Macdonalds

£60.36 Morrisons

£10.00 Cash (just in case cash – still got it)

£42.65 Petrol (to drive to funeral 250 miles away)

Total £331.04

It’s definitely as bad as I thought. My absolute worse habit at the moment is takeaways. If I’m tired or down I have zero energy to cook so always, and unfortunately more often than not, reach for a takeaway. I’m not going to be to hard on myself after what our family has just been through, but it is one of the things I’d like to do better on for the rest of this month. I’m not going to say we won’t be having any takeaways because that won’t happen, but I think trying to have just one a week at the most would be a good start.

I’ve nearly paid off my MBNA card now with two lines to go worth a total of £156.74. It doesn’t feel like it’s taken me that long to pay off now looking back when I started it in October. Once this is paid off I will keep it free and available for when my Barclaycard comes off the balance transfer rate at the end of the year so I can transfer the balance across for 0%.

With Barclaycard, I currently have a total of £5299.51 not at 0% and £6151.36 on 0% so when MBNA is paid off I’ll be putting everything I can at this to clear as much as possible off the £5299.51, so when the other amount comes off 0%, I can hopefully transfer the lot onto MBNA for 0% again.

Having a plan for my money now I’m earning more definitely needs to be my main focus now and intend to pick myself up and make it a priority again.

Thank you to my readers that have stuck with me whilst I took a few weeks off from writing. Your messages and support has not gone unnoticed and I am entirely grateful to you all.

H