Money Wise Talks 26/05/2022

Life is just a rollercoaster isn’t it?

I think I may have said that before. But it really is, certainly an emotional one anyway.

This week I have exchanged contracts on the house and have a completion date of 30 June!

I still can’t believe it. Literally, 3 months ago I had no idea this was going to happen and yet here we are. We are so close to moving into our new house. A brand new start for me and my daughter and I just can’t wait.

All I need to do it try and keep the anxiety at bay. It is trying to wreck my feelings of happiness by making me feel scared about taking on more debt. Urgh, mental health sucks. Just when you feel like it’s all coming together BOOM … it’s there pulling you firmly to the ground.

And it’s so strange because I am just so happy. This house is the exact house I wanted 3 years ago. I went online, saw this house, requested a brochure and stuck it on my notice board. I looked at it every day and when I was told I couldn’t get a mortgage because I hadn’t been teaching long enough I took it down. So when the opportunity came to buy this exact house, in the area I wanted to live, on the estate where my family is, how could I say no?

Obviously, after being told I couldn’t get a mortgage, I thought I would have to do it the long way; be in employment for a year, pay the debt off in full and save a £20k deposit. I was happy with that and accepted it. But it hasn’t happened like that. I got the call to say the house was available, my name was a the top of the list and I had to make a decision there and then if it was going to be a yes or a no as they had a list as long as their arm for people who wanted it. At that time, I had no deposit, no mortgage offer and I’d only been in my current job 3 months. Would this be enough?

A couple of calls made and I rang back and said yes let’s do it. I still wasn’t sure at that time if I would even get a mortgage! I was on tenterhooks waiting for the bank to say yes and I was so relieved when they said yes.

Since that day, the last few months have been a whirlwind. The house is now legally ours. The move is getting closer. And as exciting as it all is, my anxiety is through the roof! I am taking on an extra £11500 worth of debt (deposit), my mortgage and life insurance is increasing, I need to pay for building and contents insurance and as it’s a new house, I need a lawn, blinds, light fittings and curtains lol …. All I see is huge EXPENSES!!

Is it worth it? HELL YES!

But I can’t sleep. I look at my bank account several times a day. I look at my budget each night, sometimes just staring at it (not sure what this achieves). I’m checking the news and researching ways to reduce bills until the early hours of the morning. It’s fair to say I’m becoming obsessed. I come out with a stress rash on my neck when bills hit the floor and I’m checking plug sockets are off around the house like someone with OCD. It’s no joke.

I’m hoping this is a small period of intense anxiety I’m going through, as this is such a big event in my life and after I’ve moved in it will stop.

My friend and I were talking the other day about anxiety and I was talking about how money makes me anxious and especially with what’s going on currently with the increases in living costs, it makes me feel like I’m not in control. None of us are. We can do all the cutting back we like but if inflation is hitting the poorest families up to 14% how do we cope with that?

The government are bringing in extra measures to help people on benefits and pensioners which is a fab idea but what about the people who are just over the benefit cap – like me? I feel like a carry a huge weight around being a single parent and only bringing in one income. It’s all down to me. The weight is sometimes so heavy it feels like its crushing my chest.

So I work as much I’m allowed and it allows me to feel like I’m doing all I can. We can only do this can’t we? In a way I’m quite lucky my employer makes us sign the Working Time Directive so we are unable to work more than 47 hours a week, because if they didn’t, I work even more. I still work 7 days though. I feel like I can’t stop now either. Not whilst the country heads to a recession and costs are increasing even more.

I know I’m not alone in my thoughts and I am well aware that I am better off than others out there. I understand that it’s a privilege that I can afford my bills, food, pay off debt and save abit. But unfortunately, I still feel worried about it all.

With all the research I’ve been doing, I plan on lots more blog posts coming your way. I have got a few in the bag that I am just finalising and when I’m on holiday next week I hope to make them live. I really hope you find them useful so make sure you subscribe to my blog (it’s free to do so) so you won’t miss them 🙂

What I Have Spent This Week

  • £10.66 Macdonalds
  • £7.10 M6 Toll
  • £2.89 Road Chef
  • £1.65 Coop
  • £6.86 Post Office
  • £3.89 Maccies
  • £4.09 Morrisons
  • £2.85 Coop
  • £39.18 Morrisons food shop
  • £49.53 Petrol
  • £10.00 Cash
  • £9.05 Newsagents
  • £5.29 Shop
  • £11.09 Snacks

Total £ 164.13

I had some extra expenses due to extra petrol to attend my Grandads funeral and accidently took a bloomin toll road!! Couldn’t believe I did that, I even got off the toll road and then Google maps put me back on it! I was also naughty and picked some service station snacks and a Macdonalds breakfast :). The other bits seem snacky again, just like last week, although last week I spent more, so it’s definitely going in the right direction.

This week I’ve been paid and my budget is done for the next month. My challenge this month is just to stay in budget and not spend outside it at all. Especially, as I could be moving soon and need the money for that and not snacks!!

I’ve been thinking about doing this alot and have finally made my mind up but I AM GOING TO START THE YOUTUBE CHANNEL I set up in January, The Money Wise Mum YouTube Channel and I am going to vlog about my journey too. I feel this will be the one thing that keeps me on track and as I find some YouTube channels so inspiring, hopefully by me sharing my journey it will help others too.

So, in my first YouTube I will be bearing all my budget, income and expenditure and hope you will all join me online and subscribe 🙂

Have a great week! Thanks for reading, Heidi x

Money Wise Talks 19/05/2022

9% inflation! This is a 40 year high!

A recession is on the horizon that’s for sure. Is there anyone out there that disagrees with me?

Now is the perfect time to start looking at your budget, or setting one up if you haven’t got one. Stop spending more than you earn, build up an emergency fund and try and pay down as much consumer debt as you can (that being credit cards, loans, store cards etc). Tougher times are coming, I can feel it.

The worse thing to do right now is ignore the signs and bury your head in the sand. I would even go so far and say, don’t take any more debt on right now if it’s already a squeeze. We just have no idea how much the cost of living is going to increase throughout this year.

These are the increases that we have been hit with so far this year (some of these amounts may be specific to me)

  • Water 19% increase (Own calculations)
  • Gas & Electric 165% increase (Own calculations)
  • Council Tax 5.8% increase (Own calculations)
  • National Insurance 1.25% (From 12% to 13.5%) (Source Sky News 2022)
  • Petrol 32% increase (Compared to a year ago – Source RAC, 2022)
  • Food increase (variable)

Most of you will know I have just bought a house and although it is within my budget (just), I’m still anxious and worried that it will put pressure on my finances. One of the only saving graces I have is that I opted for a five year fixed mortgage so I know my payments will stay the same for the next five years. If you are on a variable rate you may want to look at some fixed deals or speak with a financial advisor to see if there are better products out there that will limit the possibility of an increase.

An increase in inflation could also mean the Bank of England increases the base interest rate again which means an increase in borrowing and credit cards.

So, if you have a credit card, unless you’re on an interest free deal this will mean you pay more interest and less off your overall balance meaning it will take longer to pay off. I wish I had the opportunity to clear mine in full but right now, the balances are too high to make a huge dent in them. All I can do is keep at it with the small overpayments I can afford to make and hope I can absorb any future increases.

I don’t usually focus my blog posts around what’s happening in the news, but last night I saw something on the TV about the inflation rate and it then played on my mind all night. I didn’t get to sleep till after 2am only to be woken up by my senile cat at 5am. Bloomin Knackered! This is one reason why I don’t like watching the news before bed as it just plays on my mind. It did make me curious though to what was going on. So today, I took the opportunity whilst on a long car journey to find out as much information as I could. I had four hours in the car today so I exhausted as many news channels as I could which talked about the increases in the cost of living, inflation and recession. Although I feel pretty knowledgeable now, it hasn’t elevated the sense of worry.

But I know I’m not alone.

It has created this need in me to know more though, in the hope that the more I know, the more time I have to plan my survival. I think that’s what it will be for a lot of us now. Just surviving and making sure we come through it. Seeing people on the news today talking about missing meals and not being able to put the heating on made me realise I am luckier than I thought. But that doesn’t mean I should be complacent. I know I can tighten my belt a little further so that’s what I’ll do. I can’t wait to get into the house now and see what my new bills will be so I can do a new budget. I feel like this will be the only thing I can do that will allow me to take back control especially when I have no control of what is happening in our external environment.

What I have Spent This Week

  • £2.60 Post Office – Parcel tape and wrap
  • £51.00 Next – New house things
  • £20.00 Cash
  • £22.47 Home & Bargains – Cat food and sweets
  • £5.09 Macdonalds
  • £38.22 Asda (Food shop)
  • £7.85 Costa Cafe
  • £2.80 Newsagents – Sweets
  • £2.50 Next – Sweets
  • £33.10 Dinner out
  • £3.13 Home Bargain – Snacks
  • £9.35 Co-op – Wine and sweets

Total £198.11

This last week has clearly been a week of snacks, eating out and just generally splashing out hasn’t it! And yet, only spending £198.11 is pretty good for me in comparison to the last few weeks anyway. I had a one off cost to get my daughters passport renewed and I couldn’t resist picking a couple of things up for the new pad – kind of inevitable as the excitement grows lol!

But the good news is, that all of these items can be cut back.

I get paid next week so am going to change up my budget for the entire month, well payday to payday. A week before payday, I’ll set my goals around what I want to spend in each area of the budget so I’ll know what I’ll be spending on X, Y, or Z. If it’s not in my budget, I won’t be spending. I think this will help eliminate a lot of my mindless spending on snacks and will help curb the overall spending each month.

Unfortunately, this month I have had to pay £210 for the annual car tax and £123.80 for a penalty notice so that’s all my planned monthly savings gone from May wages which would have gone to the house :(. Trying not to worry about the new costs for the house is hard when it needs so much, like a new lawn, blinds, light fittings, beds etc. And unfortunately, I’m not allowed to work for more than 47 hours a week in this job so I haven’t got the ability to make any more money either, apart from my 10 hours of overtime every weekend. I guess I still need to go back to that drawing board!

Let me know if you have a great ideas in the comments below.

Thanks for reading, Heidi x

References

Money Wise Talks 12/05/2022

Another week done. Which means another week closer to moving into the new pad! 🙂 EKK!!!

It’s amazing how quick life goes isn’t it!

I have a potential date of completion on the house as the 30th June, which is only 7 weeks away!. It still doesn’t feel real that I am FINALLY buying a new house. It’s exciting to think I will be back on the housing ladder after coming off it 6 years ago – A decision I should have never made by the way. Hindsight is just wonderful. I always remember someone telling me years ago, that it’s really hard to get back on the housing ladder if you come off it and they were totally right. I have clearly ignored that advice, not just once but twice!

I swear I will never come off it again.

The first house I bought in 1998 was a 2 bedroomed semi detached house for £36,000. I sold it after a relationship breakdown a couple of years later for £39,000.

In 2004 I bought a similar house again, but on my own :). It was a two bedroomed semi detached for £96,000, I sold it in 2016 for £98,000. If I wanted to buy this house again (as this is the one I’m living in now), I would have to pay over £125,000! Holy cow – if there is one thing I can take from this, it’s property is like shares, do not sell when they don’t make you a profit and most definitely buy with the intention of keeping long term (unless you’re flipping off course :))! I know property is different to shares as it’s where you live and you may in the future need to change where you live. But if I’d have kept hold of that property from 1998, I reckon it would be worth about £145,000 now (according to Zoopla) and I would have been mortgage free in a few years – Now that would be sweet!

Ah well, everything happens for a reason I guess.

So I heard back from the promotion I applied for and guess what, I didn’t get it 😦 Maybe I was really pushing my luck going for two promotions in four months especially when I only started permanently with the company in January this year lol – God loves a trier though right?!

Never mind, at least I tried. I have asked HR for some feedback so I can work on any areas of development ready for when another role is available. I’m still loving my job and team so it’s not like I’m desperate to run away from them!

Nothing much has happened on the financial front this week. I guess that’s the problem with being paid monthly, you have to wait a whole month for anything to happen! I really can’t wait to get into the house though and redo my budget. I feel like my budget is all over the place at the moment as I have frozen all payments into the sinking funds until I have enough to pay the solicitor, stamp duty and the essentials like beds and lawn in cash. Once I have this sorted, I will redo my budget so I give myself the available funds not just over pay on debt but to buy other bits for the property. I also need to factor in paying the deposit back that I have borrowed.

I was thinking, as the deposit is £11500, to try and pay £1500 as a lump sum before I move in. As when I move in my bills will be tighter. Not sure though, they are all just thoughts at the moment.

What I Have Spent This Week

  • £21.06 Macdonalds (twice)
  • £4.19 Pets at Home – Fish food
  • £4.50 Next T Shirt
  • £7.00 Co-op snacks
  • £6.85 Newsagent – snacks
  • £35.00 Hair
  • £91.01 Petrol
  • £39.83 Morrisons Food
  • £31.10 Marks and Spencer
  • £6.05 Costa
  • £6.85 Post Office
  • £11.00 Wilko
  • £9.35 Pharmacy
  • Total £273.79

I feel like it’s been an expensive week this week and this is not helped by the two Macdonalds we had and the extra snacks we bought. Fish food, hair, food and petrol are general expenses I pay for every month apart from the fish food which is every few months.

The T-shirt I bought from Next was a huge saving as my daughter wanted me to spend £20 on a T- shirt that had a sunflower and Ukraine flag on for Ukraine day at school. Using any excuse to make something I obviously said no lol I’ll make one instead 🙂 It turned out pretty good aswell! All I did was buy a plain white T-shirt from Next and used my printer to print a copy of picture with the sunflower and flag off. I placed it underneath the front of the T-shirt and using fabric pens, I traced the picture and coloured it in. My daughter was so pleased with the result and it saved me £16.00 so I was super chuffed with that.

The Marks and Spencer cost was a couple of Summer school dresses I bought for my daughter. I don’t usually shop in there, but they were out of stock in Asda and I didn’t want to wait for the order as it had been super hot this week and she’d been too hot at school bless her.

The Post Office costs were me sending more ‘signed for’ documents to the solicitor for the house 🙂 and the pharmacy costs were from me no longer being eligible for free prescriptions 😦 apparently I earn too much now (I wish!).

I’ve had some rubbish financial news this week though. First I had a letter saying that I had unlawfully obtained free dental treatment when I wasn’t eligible and have to now pay a £100 fine and £23.80 for the cost of my treatment. I could have sworn that the tax credit exemption certificate covered the year and as mine was sent out last April 2021 I thought I was good till April 2022 – apparently not. When I double checked the certificate they sent me, I saw that the expiry was October 2021. I have emailed them to explain what’s happened and asked that they show some compassion and reconsider the £100 penalty fee but haven’t heard back yet. Fingers and toes crossed that they accept it. I have no problem in paying for my treatment or prescriptions but generally thought I was exempt :(.

I have also lost £134 on some sofa covers I ordered from the internet from https://www.lovesweetstyle.com/. I wouldn’t usually slate a company on social media but need to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else. DO NOT BUY FROM THIS COMPANY!

So I ordered some sofa covers and although they were lovely, they didn’t fit quite right and didn’t feel that great on the sofa as my sofa is leather and they kept slipping and moving when you sat on them so I decided to send them back. I went to their website and it says if you want a refund you need to email them, which I did. When they emailed back I noticed the email address was Chinese. There were no indications from their website that this product came from China. In the email, they were a bit apprehensive about agreeing to a refund but finally agreed saying I would need to send the parcel back tracked and send them the tracking number. I packaged the parcel up and took it to the Post Office who told me it would be £94 BLOODY POUNDS to send it back.

I was shocked! Why would I pay that?! The Post Office lady advised me to check with other courier companies to see if I can get it any cheaper, which I did but at 4200kg in weight, no other parcel company would quote me. So I’m stuck with it.

When I went back on line to investigate the company, I came across the reviews and they were awful. I just wished I read them before I bought. I’m so annoyed with myself but there’s not alot I can do about it now other than try and sell them on. This will have to be taken as a steep learning curve and I will never be buying anything outside of the UK for any value again.

Has anyone else experienced like this before? Let me know in the comments below.

Anyway, not wanting to end on a low – I have sold a few more things on Vinted this week and my balance is up to £25.50 so far. It’s not huge, but I like that it is making a difference to the declutter and making us tiny savings at the same time 🙂

Have a great week, thanks for reading, Heidi x

Money Wise Talks 05/05/2022

I am going to sum this last week up as being just bloomin exhausted!

Last weekend, my parents and I spent the whole weekend decorating the house from top to bottom, doing the garden and sorting everything out so it will look amazing when the estate agent takes the photos for it to be sold.

I’ve also been staying up late following up new crazy ideas or trying to be creative with my budget.

It’s like trying to get blood out of a stone. The fact of the matter is – I NEED MORE MONEY!

And the hours upon hours of me trying to think of ways to get more cash, I think it’s taking a toil on my health. I can’t explain it properly, but the need to earn more is so strong I can’t stop pursuing it. It’s like I’ve become obsessed.

The promotion I went for, I unfortunately didn’t get. I thought I had all the relevant experience to do the job, but I didn’t even get an interview 😦 … sad times. I have asked HR for some feedback though so hopefully I will receive that soon and can work on any areas of weakness within my application. It could be as simple as they want me in my role for a little longer than 8 weeks and of course I would completely understand that! Maybe I was pushing my luck a little two far with getting a permanent position and two promotions in four months 🙂

I am happy to stay in my current role though and work for it. Hopefully after a year there will be another position I can apply for at manager level. Unfortunately it does mean I am now stuck on this salary, which although is pretty good, it doesn’t help me in getting rid of the debt any quicker or paying off the new debt I will have shortly following the house purchase.

So back to the drawing board I go.

The truth of the matter is, I want to earn at least two full time incomes and I’m only one person. If I get one income for working say 40 hours a week, then I’d expect two incomes to be working 80 hours. Well, that’s impossible – sorry not impossible, as I’ve done it before pre-kid, however I’d probably end up really poorly and I would definitely not see my daughter, family or friends.

I just need to think of something.

I have shares which are set up to pay out a dividend income. However, I’m only earn pennies in income at the moment. This has always been a longer term income producing plan. And as it happens, I’m not making massive contributions to my Stocks and Shares ISA, just £25 per month as I’m saving most of my money for the house.

I have my blog, but this is also a longer term income producing plan and is still only earning pennies. Maybe I should get back into writing for my blog and researching areas I want to write about. I do enjoy that. Maybe I could combine my finance knowledge with my teaching experience and come up with SOMETHING where it would satisfy my need to be entrepreneurial and I’d potentially have the chance to have uncapped income.

I have thought over and over again about doing YouTube, but held back if I was going for a manager job. Maybe I’ll will consider this again. It would mean getting it authorised by work and that means telling people at work about my blog. I’m not sure how I feel about that because I like to keep things separate.

Do you have any money making ideas? Please let me know in the comments below.

And this is what I stay up for – my mind just won’t switch off!

Decluttering Update

As we are packing to move, the decluttering has become more intentional and we now spend each weekend at the tip, at a charity shop or listing things on Vinted or FB Marketplace. I have had some great wins with FB Marketplace this last week and sold a bike for £80, a barbie dream house for £80 and a few more bits on Vinted totalling nearly £20. I was so happy that the Barbie Dream House and Bike sold they took so much room up. Apart from the money I’ve made on Vinted which will be paid into my account, the cash I have received for the items I sold have been put in the pot for the 1p Challenge Sheet from Skint Dad. Still a long way to go though, but look at how colourful it is 🙂

You know how much I love a coloured savings challenge!

I had a little target to make £100 selling clutter in April, and although I only made £89.50 (as the rest was made at the start of May), I am still super happy with the result! I get at least a couple of Vinted sales a week so instead of cashing them in each time, I’m going to leave them until the end of the month.

Goals for May

The only goal I have for MAY is to SAVE as much as I can. I am hoping and praying that my wages for May has all of my tax back and I will have a good chunk of savings by the end of the month. I have paused the rest of my savings goals for now, including sinking funds as I plan to use all the money for the house if needs be. I have kept back £500 as an emergency fund and will continue to build that back up with £50 a month deposits. I’m also still investing £25.00 a month into mine and my daughters Stocks and Shares ISA’s.

House Costs

I am currently writing a detailed blog post on moving house, but as it is unlikely to be finished until I move in, here is a list of the costs of the house so far;

  • Mortgage fee £320 paid
  • Solicitors fee £1332.20 – paid £800 – £532.20 left to pay (Saved in full)
  • House Reservation Deposit £500
  • Stamp Duty £1219 (Saved £835 – £384 left to save)
  • Savings for new lawn £500
  • Savings for new beds £600
  • Savings for new blinds £500
  • Deposit £11000

As you can see, I’ve still got lots to save and still got lots to pay for!

What I Have Spent This Week

£10.38 Macdonalds

£74.48 Asda – Food and drink

£9.00 Halfords – Body Filler

£29.00 B&Q – Paint

£29.37 Morrisons – Food

£22.00 B&Q – Paint

£10.60 Library – overdue fines

Total £184.83

You can definitely tell we had a weekend at home eating and decorating! As I mentioned before, my parents joined us at the weekend and worked their fingers to the bone to get the house ready for the estate agent this weekend. So all those jobs I’d been putting off for years were done. I laid a lawn and painted the garden fences whilst they blasted through the house and painted all downstairs, stairs and landing and fixed anything broken!!

Obviously I fed them lol so that’s why my food bills are much higher this week. But other than the decorating costs and food bill, I think I’ve been pretty good this week. I’m annoyed at myself about the library books going overdue, I really to get my stuff together and stop forgetting to renew them or take them back!!

Looking forward to having a more relaxing week but you know what I don’t think it will be – It never is!!

Hope you all have a great week, thanks for reading, Heidi x