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

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

Money Wise Talks 27/01/2022

This week has been an absolute whirlwind!

From being paid my first months salary at my new job, to the realisation I forgot to give them my P45 and was then taxed at the emergency tax rate to then being offered an interview for the promotion I applied for!

My nerves are a wreck lol!

Anxiety is through the roof.

Anyone else feel like this or is it just me? Life is so UP and Down isn’t it?!

The plan was – be paid for the month so I could see what the minimum was I would take home after tax, national insurance and my student loan payments were deducted. When I saw that I’d been paid so little, I checked the tax code that had been applied and BOOM – Emergency tax code – and an extra £300 gone 😦

I then spent the next hour pausing standing orders to our ISA’s and the payments to the sinking funds. Luckily by doing this I have found the £300 needed to make the other payments on my fixed bills like rent, utilities and credit cards.

I’m such an idiot lol.

I have now given my employer my P45 and they have confirmed it will be all sorted for February. I hope I’m given the money back next month so I can make double payments to the ISA’s and sinking funds.

Just before I started typing this blog post tonight, I received the most wonderful news that I have been invited for an interview for a promotion at my new job. I know I’ve only been there for a few months but believe I would do a brilliant job in that role.

If I did get it, it would be a huge payrise and my debt free date could even be brought forward! Ekk exciting!

The worse that can happen is I don’t get it. But at least I will know the interview process and will be better prepared next time.

I’ve been trying to cut our variable expenses down even further and managed to save an extra £124 a year by reducing the number of times I go to the hairdresser over the year. When I go the hairdressers I don’t have anything fancy but like to get my roots done as soon as the grey starts coming through.

  • Going every four weeks means I’d go 17 times a year = £31.00 x 17 = £527
  • Going every three weeks means I’d go 13 times a years = £31.00 x 13 = £403
  • The saving difference = £124!

I know using box dyes would save me even more, but I find they don’t go well with my curly hair, so this is the next cheapest option. I stopped having my eyebrows tinted and waxed and my nails done so am happy to leave the roots to the hairdresser. It makes me feel SO OLD when I have grey hair and unlike others who look trendy and cool when they allow the grey to come through, I look washed out and aged.

No Alcohol Update

I’m 27 days alcohol free! Whoohoo.

I’m not a huge drinker anymore, probably because I hardly go out but if I had a bottle of my favourite from Asda every week it would cost £5.99. This saved over four weeks is £23.96. It’s only a little saving but it all adds up.

Over the year that’s a whopping £311.48

I have no plans to stop drinking for a whole year though. I stopped for a year in 2018/2019 and although I felt great and saved loads of money and calories, I don’t want to do it this year. And hopefully with covid restrictions easing off I can finally get out, see some friends and have some much needed cocktails.

No Spend Month Update

It’s not going too bad, I started the month quite strong (as everyone does) but have become a little more relaxed as the end of the month approaches. It’s always the way isn’t it.

So far I have:

  • 15 days No Spend
  • 7 days In Budget Spend
  • 5 days Out of Budget Spend

The 5th Out of Budget spend was today! But in my defence, it’s a treat for me and my mum. An expensive one lol. Half for her birthday and half for just wanting to do something special with her. She may read this so I’m not going to put anything on here about it until after the event lol!

For February, I am not going to do a No Spend Month, but focus on the number of no spend days and to only use cash. My budget for the next four weeks (until payday) is £50 a week which will cover our food and petrol. My mums birthday will be a separate expense. When I remember to go to the bank this week, I’ll be drawing out £200 in cash and will split it into weekly pots for food and petrol.

Other things I’m going to do to GET BACK TO BASICS are:

  • Take my cards out of my purse and phone wallet.
  • Meal plan – I’m going to try and do this for the month instead of the week to see if that makes a difference

What I’ve Spent this Week

£11.96 Just Eat, takeaway

£6.99 Car Wash

£15.99 Hello Fresh

£24.15 Morrisons Food Shopping

£18.49 Home Bargain, Cat Food, sinking fund

£31.00 Hair, sinking fund

£10.00 Morrisons Petrol

£42.00 Clarks, daughter school shoes

£2.99 Superdrug, leave in conditioner

Total £163.57

I’ve spent this week on things I wouldn’t usually buy, like a car wash and Hello Fresh. I paid for a car wash just because I ran out of time at the weekend and didn’t get chance to do it. It desperately needed it done as I couldn’t even see the number plate it was that dirty lol! I’m not going to beat myself up about it though. There’s just not enough hours in the day to get everything done is there?!

Hello Fresh was something I tried for the first time as a friend had a voucher to get some money off. I’m really enjoying the different meals we are having but my daughter is not a fan. It’s a nice treat but not in our budget to have every week. Great news though, Hello Fresh give you the recipes so I can cook any favourites anytime I like!

The shoes are from Clarks and are always super expensive. I’ve tried other cheaper brands but they just don’t cut it and I end up replacing them more often. So the cost you originally save, you end up spending anyway on extra pairs. I always think with shoes, buy cheap buy twice but that’s only my view. If you know of any other cheaper brands that don’t fall apart, please let me know as I’d LOVE to save some money on shoes.

Thanks for reading and for all your comments. Have a great week!

H

Money Wise Talks 20/01/2022

Why does it always feel like there are 9 million days in January! Payday can’t come soon enough!!

I guess that’s the downfall of being paying monthly, you have to wait to be paid!

As you know, I have just gone permanent at my main job and will be receiving my first months pay this month. Once I have received it, I’ll know exactly what the bottom line is that I’ll be bringing home and I can start planning on exactly where my money is going.

I have my debt free date set for July 2023 but this is dependent on £800 a month being paid off debt so I need to make sure I can afford this much. I am 99% sure I can, as I’m on the same salary as before when I worked on a temporary contract but I like to see the actual figure first.

Now I’m on a permanent contract I can also do overtime on a Saturday which is DOUBLE TIME!! Whoo-hoo!

I have done the overtime for the last two Saturdays as well as doing the courier work on Sundays and IT WAS A LOT. I know I want to be debt free and want to buy a property but I don’t want to spend the next year completely exhausted. And I want to spend some time with my daughter whilst she still wants to spend time with me before she hits the dreaded teenager years!

So, I made an absolutely huge decision to NOT DO COURIER WORK ANYMORE!

I wrote down a list of pros and cons and decided it was a better choice all round to stop.

Pros – Overtime

  • More money
  • Work from home
  • No cold/wet/windy days
  • No having to drag my daughter out of bed
  • No dragging myself out of bed
  • Daughter doesn’t have to be bored
  • No wear and tear on my car

Pros – Courier work

  • I liked it
  • Exercise

One of reasons I wanted to carry on with doing courier work was for the most part I really enjoyed it! I would rave about it each week on my Instagram page and still think it’s a fantastic job to do especially as a parent and the struggles around childcare. Whether that’s being able to find work only during school hours or find childcare outside school hours, it’s bloomin hard work! For me, being a courier ticked all those boxes.

I always did it on a Sunday, mainly because Sundays you make the most money per parcel and I gave myself Saturday off. I have always worked full time in the week doing my main job so courier work was extra to help me pay off the debt quicker. I took my daughter along and never worried about childcare – it was perfect.

But now I’ve been given an even better opportunity and a chance to make some extra money, working from home, whilst nice and warm so of course I’m going to take it!

I will miss courier work, but onwards and upwards.

I have just found out there isn’t any overtime on this weekend (it’s usually on 3 times a month) so for the first time since August last year I have the WHOLE WEEKEND off!

Not going to lie I am definitely looking forward to having two lie ins and spending some quality time with my girl.

No Spend Month Update

It’s going well in terms of the number of days I am NOT spending. So far this month I have only had two days where I have spent outside of the budget. The first time was a swimming bag for my daughter and the second was on a deposit for the holiday I have booked for me and my daughter to go on.

12 / 20 no spend days

6 / 20 In budget spend days

2 / 20 Out of Budget

I had planned for no holidays until I was debt free, but I had also planned to be debt free in December 2021 which clearly didn’t go to plan.

Having yet another year of no holidays just made me feel so flat.

I think it’s really hard to be motivated for years when paying off debt. And that’s what it’s been for me. I started to focus on paying my debt when I had £35,907.04 in 2019.

The fact we have yet ANOTHER YEAR AND A HALF to go before the debt is paid off, I decided I would get us a small holiday abroad booked this year. Therefore I am pleased to announce we are going out of the country for a whole day! 😊 😊 😊

Yes, you heard it right! A WHOLE DAY!

I have wanted to take my daughter to Lapland for a few years and looking at the prices around Christmas for a 3-day break, you’re talking £2500! And that was for half board only! I know I said I wanted to go somewhere amazing and I’m sure it will be, but £2500 for 3 days is insane.

I just can’t justify it.

Therefore, I have compromised. We are going to Lapland but on a day trip instead. It’s probably going to be the longest day of our lives as everything will be jam packed into the day, but I can’t wait.

We are going to have a husky sledge ride, see igloos, reindeers, the ice hotel, have lots of snowball fights and of course see the real Santa!

The cost is £1385.11 and that is with £200 off. It includes airport parking and insurance.

I have promised myself this will be cash flowed and will not go near the credit card. I have already paid the deposit of £176.91. The next amount is due April with the full amount paid by September. My plan is to pay a little bit off each month so by the time September comes it will be fully paid. That works out at £151.15 per month.

The TUI app has a countdown on it’s app, so I know we have 331 days left until we go! Ekk Exciting Stuff!

I can’t wait. My girl is growing up so fast it’s scary, so I want her to go before she gets to high school and the Christmas sparkle starts to disappear.

It’s made me realise, you don’t have to put absolutely everything on hold whilst you pay off debt. And as long as it doesn’t affect my debt free date of July 2023, I’m actually happy to spend a little on us making memories.

No Alcohol in January Update

This is going absolutely fine with 20 days of no drinking. I’ve had the odd craving, probably caused by the fact there is still alcohol in the house and when I see it next to the fridge, I want one lol! But other than that, not bothered at all.

I do have a catch up with friends in the diary for next month where cocktails will be had so I don’t plan to continue with the no alcohol challenge but I have enjoyed it and will do it again.

What I Have Spent This Week

£55.98 Pet Food

£34.00 Remote Control

£30.00 Petrol

£70.42 Food

£28.47 Takeaway

£176.91 Holiday deposit

£11.96 Takeaway

£102.73 Tax Bill

Total £510.47

Blimey, I’d not realised how much I’d spent this week. Quite a lot when you see it written down like this instead of looking at a banking app.

Petfood is covered by a sinking fund which I pay £50 a month into. This covers our two cats and dog for all their food, treats, toys etc…. I always buy the pet food in bulk as it works out cheaper and lasts longer.

Petrol was within the normal weekly budget of £30.00.

Food was over the usual budget of £30 as I decided to try some new things on top of what we usually buy, just incase we don’t like them. I am also in the process of getting some money back. I use an app called Shopmium, where products are listed are either free or have money off. Once you buy the product, you scan the receipt and the product and complete a review of what you think the product is like. After a few days Shopmium pay’s you through PayPal. I should receive £5.40 back for products I tried this last week.

If you fancy signing up to Shopmium, here’s the link https://www.shopmium.com/uk/referral/ek5c5v it’s completely free and if you use my referral code you get a free pack of pringles (the big tub!) Just enter this referral code: EK5C5V.

Our remote control broke, so I had to buy a new one. I couldn’t believe how expensive it was, but I wanted to get the exact same as the one that had broken as I hate trying to work out technology. It wasn’t until I realised that I bought a remote control you can talk to that then I realised why it was so expensive! My daughter however thinks it’s amazing!

A couple of naughty takeaways this week, one because my parents came over on Saturday to help me so I of course fed them with the most gigantic pizza ever! 18 inches of pure cheesy amazingness!

Final Exciting News

I have applied for a promotion at my new job! I know I’ve only been there for a few months and have only just been made permanent but I feel it’s a perfect job for me and thought, just go for it! What’s the worst that can happen?

I mean, if I got it, I’ll finally be back to the same salary I was on when I worked in finance in 2014. Also, it will have an element of providing training to others which I’ll love as I still have a passion to teach! If I don’t get it this time, I’ll definitely try again. That’s one of my yearly goals – GET THAT PROMOTION!

Hope you all have a great week, let me know if you use any of the trackers I make. They are free to download here. I would really appreciate anyone’s feedback!

Thanks for reading

H

Money Wise Talks 13/01/2022

Welcome back to another weekly Money Wise Talks!

Thirteen days into the New Year and my motivation is still pretty high, how about yours?

This month I am doing a No Spend Month and I have been recording:

1) Days I don’t spend

2) Days I spend but within budget (e.g. food and petrol)

3) Out of budget spends, basically things out side of the budget. 

So far, I have 9 no spend days, 3 days where I’ve spent in budget and 1 day out of budget. The spend out of budget is when I bought my daughter a swimming bag for school, so not a naughty spend, but not a planned one either! At least it’s not a takeaway anyway lol!

I am also doing a No Alcohol Month in January, which I’ve made a new tracker for (as always, the trackers I use are made by me and can be downloaded here for free). Tag me in them on Instagram when you use them, I’d love to support you!

This month so far, I can confirm NO ALCOHOL HAS YET BEEN CONSUMED.

I must advise though, I’m not a huge fan of drinking on my own and thanks to covid my diary is pretty empty so these days my consumption of alcohol is much lower. I still have those days where I want to reach out for a glass of bubbly when unwinding and have had a few urges so far this month. But I’ve been very good, so far 😊

I set my goals for January in last weeks post, but a few days ago I decided to add a new one which was to build up my Emergency Fund to £3000. I did some what pluck this figure from the sky but as my car costs in 2021 were in excess of £2k, I thought £3k would give me a bigger piece of mind. It’s great that I don’t use my car for my main job anymore, as I work from home, but I do use it for my courier job (second job) so it’s really important to keep it on the road.

I already have £500 in the Emergecy Fund. I could have paid it towards my car repairs and the credit card but when the £’s kept adding up, I just put the full car repairs amount on the credit card and left the small balance in the emergency fund.

You’re probably wondering why I haven’t used the rest of my emergency fund. My current emergency fund is a Help to Save (HTS) account, so if I withdrew it, I’d lose the bonus which is 50 % of the balance at the end of the term, so it’s amazing really when compared to other saving accounts paying 0.01%. I plan to continue my regular monthly payments into the HTS account (£50 is the maximum you can pay in each month) and then put the rest in a cash ISA.

I plan to have my Emergency fund completed by March 2022. This is because instead of overpaying on debt, I am going to put all spare funds in there. Here’s my new emergency fund tracker.

AND I have been given the opportunity to make extra money at my new permanent job! As I’m now a permanent member of staff, I’m now eligible to do overtime, so I immediately signed up and completed 8 hours last Saturday at DOUBLE TIME!

I did 4 hours in the morning, had a lovely afternoon with my daughter and did 4 hours after I dropped her off at my parents. I am hoping to do overtime every Saturday as long as it’s on, because it’s such good money! I don’t even mind working 7 days for a while because I know it will get me to my goal quicker.

It’s even made me think I can bring my Debt Free Date forward from July 2023 at the rate I’m going but we’ll see!!

All this ‘work’ hasn’t allowed much time for reading but I’m not going to try and do too much. There’s no point in putting pressure on myself when I’m doing so much anyway.

I did want to do record my first YouTube channel vlog this month and it’s coming, I promise!

I started to film it last Friday but then found so many excuses to why I couldn’t use it – the light was too dark, I look so tired, I feel silly, no one will watch it anyway so I ended up deleting it! I think the ‘other’ Heidi was definitely trying to sabotage me. I think I’ll be fine once I do my first one. Like I was when I did my first reel on Instagram – that was hilarious!!

What I have Spent This Week

£15.50 Daughters swimming bag

£30.07 Petrol

£43.96 Birthday and New Home present (Birthday Sinking Fund)

£3.05 Greggs

£6.00 Funsters

£11.00 Tesco food shopping, cover in full by Tesco vouchers (not included)

Total £98.58

I knew my food costs would be low in January and that’s because we are still eating through the huge shop I did just before Christmas where I spend £250! And with my food and petrol budget being £30 each a week, the other costs like the bag, Greggs and Funsters just came out of that instead of other money. So in my mind I’m still in budget.

This week I found out loads about shopping apps, like Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Asda. If you download their apps onto your phone and you forget you points card, they can scan your phone – I never knew this! Also, when I downloaded the Tesco app last week, I saw I had £11.00 of vouchers ready to use, which was fab because I usually have to remember to go online and print them off. It was so easy to use aswell (I’m not being paid to promote Tesco’s app, I just think it’s great!).

Let me know you think about shopping apps in the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

H

Money Wise Talks 6/01/2022

Happy New Year!!

I absolutely love the start of a New Year! The Christmas break for us is usually quiet and although we try and see friends and family (when covid allows), its usually just me on a night time and I love it!

Well, it’s something I’ve gotten use to anyway. I usually spend that time catching up on films and Netflix, doing jigsaws, reading, thinking about what the future holds and planning my next move. If you know me personally, you’ll know I’m ALWAYS planning. I can’t help it and do secretly love it 😊.

This last week I wrapped up 2021 and starting planning 2022.

I have set my goals for 2022 and made them SMART. If you need some help in settings goals, I have a post that may help you – Setting goals.

I’ve have also set my monthly goals for January, which are;

  • No spend month in January
  • No alcohol for January
  • Read/finish reading one book
  • Post six blog posts
  • Post first YouTube Video

I have not set a goal for paying off debt this month only because I am going from weekly pay to monthly pay so don’t want to over pay to much to debt and then leave myself short. I am also not 100 % what money I will get until I have my first pay check either.

I spent a little time over the Christmas break looking at reducing my outgoings and cancelling any subscriptions we don’t use anymore. This week so far I have cancelled;

  • Amazon prime subscription £7.99
  • Swimming lessons £25.00
  • Reduced Sky from £90 to £55 (this was by the removal of Disney plus, HD, Sky Cinema and Box Sets as my contract was up 1/1/2022)

I have saved £815.88 so far this year just by reviewing my subscriptions!

I urge everyone to do this at least every year and every time a contract comes to the end. You can save a fortune just by making a few phone calls and/or cancelling some payments.

I still want to look at broadband so that’s my plan for this next week.

Both the No Spend Month and No Alcohol Month are going GREAT with nothing spent or drank so far this year!! Go check out the trackers that you can download for free and join me!

What I Have Spent This Week

£12.26 Subway

£2.42 Food shopping

£30.01 Petrol

£35.00 Boots Hairdryer

Total £76.69

That’s a much better week compared to the weeks before Christmas. There’s nothing like the start of a New Year to get those motivation levels up!

And yes you’re reading right, my shopping bill was only £2.42 this week because I received £40.00 food vouchers from school. I will do another post about this in more detail, just incase it helps anyone else. But until then, if you have any questions you’d like to ask me, please put a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer them.

I replaced the hairdryer that blew up just before Christmas. I was going to use my points I’d earnt at Boots and a voucher and annoyingly I completely forgot to use them. I didn’t have the face to go back in and return it to buy it again as the voucher was only for £5. I was kicking myself though, £5.00 is £5.00 at the end of the day. The hairdryer was the cheapest in the shop but the diffuser looked as good as all the other ones, even those priced at over £100 and when I tried it out, it didn’t disappoint!

I also had Boxing-day off at my courier job but was back to it on 2 January 2021 with a nice and easy 80 parcels.

80 parcels = £80 (gross)

I’ve had some lovely messages on Instagram from people who have started to deliver for Hermes off the back off my Instagram posts and reading my post about ‘A New Side Hustle – Being A Courier’.

I only work on a Sunday but it’s something I really enjoy. I love the fact I can take my daughter with me so I don’t have to worry about sorting childcare. I download her a film, take some snacks and a colouring book and she is happy as she could be for the couple of hours I deliver for. And I use all the money I earn from this job towards my debt.

Being a courier is just a perfect job for any parents, especially single parents that may have childcare issues outside of school hours.

Let me know what your goals are for this year.

Have a great week!

Money Wise Talks 30/12/2021

In a flash that’s it – Christmas is now over!

It’s almost the New Year and soon we’ll be back to school and work.

Christmas this year has been the happiest I have been in a long time. Even though my hair dryer blew up and the oven door broke lol.

Since I left banking and a career I loved very much, I have drifted around whilst getting a degree but never really settled on a job I liked. I thought teaching was the answer, especially as a single parent. I mean all those holidays that teachers get and not having to find childcare outside of term time for 13 weeks a year, really sold it to me.

However, teachers don’t really get those holidays or anything close. To be honest, in the nine years my daughter has been born and since I became a teacher, I have never worked so much in my life. I was so unhappy. Don’t get me wrong, I am a hard worker, always have been but when you chose a career thinking you will get more time with your kid to find you have no time for them, things had to change.

Last Christmas, I was a teacher, unhappy, stressed and spent no time with my daughter.

This Christmas, I’m no longer teaching and I’ve found an amazing new job. Even though I only had one week off instead of two, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it! I didn’t forget to move the Elf on the Shelf once, I’ve spent time with my daughter, my parents, my stress levels are zero and life is just bliss.

My advice to anyone out there that’s unhappy in their job, please look into changing it. No job is worth your health. Even if that means having to go back to school. I left banking and started a full time course at university when my daughter was two years old. It’s easier than you think to study when you have young children. I found it more difficult as she got older.

Confession Time!

I did NOT need to buy my daughter more presents for Christmas!

There I’ve said it! If you remember from my Money Wise Talks 9/12/21 post , I spoke openly about feeling guilty that I’d not bought her enough because as her presents are getting more expensive there was less to open. Stupid really, but it’s so hard to ignore those feelings that tell you you’re a bad parent! If anyone has any tips for me, please let me know.

What I ended up doing was buying her some clothes to bulk out the number of presents she received. I would have bought her clothes in January anyway because she has out grown hers so I thought I would bring it forward to satisfy my feelings of not getting enough.

This is something I’m going to work on this next year because I know I’m a good mum. In fact, I am the best mum I can be. It’s just annoying that occasionally my feelings make me think otherwise.

Goals for 2022

I have set my goals now for 2022 and have a post on setting ‘End of Year Goals if you need some direction.

I have decided I need to be more specific in setting my goals, especially when it comes to getting out of debt. For the last few years, I have always said at the start of every year, “I’ll be debt free this year” and it’s not happened. Probably because I had no plan of how I was going to get there. Maybe, unconsciously I didn’t really want to find out the actual debt free date knowing it would be so far away in the future and that it would make me feel deflated. What I found out this Christmas though is how deflated I was by not knowing.

After crunching the numbers, my debt free date is July 2023.

I feel sad that it’s so far away, but this is based on my current income and being able to pay £800 off every month. If I get the promotion I am planning on going for in 2022, I will be able to pay more. Fingers and toes crossed I get the promotion, I can increase my payments and can bring that date forward!

What I have spent this week:-

£35.78 B&Q (Pots and compost)

£15.44 McDonalds (two trips)

£22.30 Just Eat (Curry and Pizza)

£12.34 Marks & Spencer (Bedding)

£16.00 Dunelm (Bedding)

Total £101.86

For Christmas, I asked for some kitchen things, a true sign that I’m getting old. I still can’t believe how excited I was to find a yellow bread bin and funky dinner set from Sainsbury’s that I’d had my eye on since the Summer. All this excitement made me want to finish the kitchen off so I popped to B&Q to get pots and compost so I could replant the plants I have in the kitchen. I also received a £100 Marks and Spencer voucher so treated myself to some much needed pillows and bedding. I’m ashamed to say I’ve had the same pillows and bedding for 16 years and they have definitely seen better days! Frugal living or just gross?!

I put them on my bed last night and the pillows were so plump, it was like being in a hotel. I also treated my daughter to a new duvet and pillow set – Hers was only 2 years old but had fairies on, which apparently is for younger girls now 😊

A couple of naughty takeaways just because I couldn’t be bothered to cook. We still have lots of food in the house from the huge shop I did a few weeks ago, so we will be eating that first before we go for another weekly shop. Apart from fresh bits for my daughters’ lunches when she starts back to school. But I’ll be doing a meal plan Saturday for the following week.

I will do a separate post to go through my 2022 goals, but I have decided not to do a no spend year. I will continue to track my expenses daily and aim for 25 no spend days in January.

BIG NEWS –

Ahhhh I’m so excited and very nervous to announce, I am going to start a YouTube channel for The Money Wise Mum!!

This will start in January 2022 and will be to document the rest of my ‘getting out of debt journey’. I’m hoping this will give me the last push I need. You can subscribe here so you don’t miss my first and probably very awkward post.

July 2023 seems so far away so I need to make sure I stay motivated.

I hope it helps others too. I know watching my favourite You Tubers blogging about their debt pay off journey has helped me. It can be daunting having so much debt that you feel that there is no way out of it, especially as a single parent. But there is a way, it’s just usually a long and tiring one.

But we can do it together.

We got this! Here’s to a fabulous 2022!

And Happy New Year!

H