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

Money Wise Talks 28/04/2022

It’s been quiet this week and I have welcomed this with open arms!!

Life can get so busy can’t it?

The other day I was listening to an interview that Warren Buffet did that had been recorded and put on You Tube and it really got me thinking. He was sat in front of a group of college kids and said to them that he was (hypothetically) going to give them each a brand new car, but the only catch was they would only have this one car their entire life. He went on to explain that obviously if you are only going to have one car your entire life you would have to look after it pretty well for it to last the whole of your life. And you need to look after it now not when it started to get old as that would be too late. He went on to explain that this is how we should see our health. If we don’t have our health, what do we really have? Great analogy isn’t it?

Ever since I heard this I can’t stop thinking about it. All the times I have put my health last to get an extra shift in, meet a deadline, get another job done in the house or just put myself last and someone else first. Not some of the time, but most of the time. It’s no good is it?

I know I’m not alone here and this appears to be our culture but why do it to ourselves, there must be another way!

I’m sure most parents would agree, but you get used to surviving on little to no sleep and being stressed. Even when the children are away, you still worry about them.

Even before I had my child though, I preferred to work flat out over resting, sleeping and eating well. The only thing I did then that I don’t make time for now is the gym.

I definitely need to start prioritising my health and sleep. I just need to find the right balance.

Anyway, lets talk finances!

I’ve been paid and depressingly not been paid what I should have down to HMRC – Thanks a bunch! For some unknown reason, HMRC incorrectly put me back on an emergency tax code which resulted in me paying tax at 20%. When I looked into it on the HMRC portal, I could see that they changed my tax code in February 2022 to 1275L (This is currently the amount for basic rate tax payers and means you get the first £12,750 of your annual earnings tax free and then anything over this taxed at 20%). But then for some reason, they changed it to BR (Basic Rate) from 6th April 2022 😦

Urgh, give me a bloomin break!

Basically, I paid just under £600 in tax – bye bye overtime earnings. I mean, I know they aren’t gone forever and I should get it all back next month, but I hate waiting to be paid as it is and now I’ve got to wait even longer (patience was never a strong point of mine lol!)

Looking at it positively (we have to don’t we?), next months wages should be amazing, as long as something doesn’t mess up again.

Looking back over the debt repayments I have made in April, I paid a nice round £500 off. Not as much as I’d have hoped but better than nothing. And that wasn’t just minimum payments but a small overpayment to. I have also put money away this month to cover future house costs and have now managed to save the full amount of £1332.30 for the solicitor. Next bill is the stamp duty, which I should have by the end of next month. I worked out the stamp duty to be approximately £1200 but just need this confirmed by the solicitor. Once this is saved up, I need to save for a new lawn and beds.

I don’t plan on buying alot of new things for the house, but I need to downsize my bed from a king to a double as the rooms are smaller and my daughter needs to move out of her cabin bed to a single/small double.

What I have Spent This Week

£10.38 Macdonalds

£20.00 Retirement Gift

£57.86 Food and Party Food

£4.00 Cafe – drinks

£40.00 Turf

£2.75 Diet Coke

£5.95 Retirement Card

£3.85 Parcel Tape

£0.80 Pay Pal refund

£8.06 Birthday card, present and balloon

£54.96 Football boots, shin pads, football socks and boots bag

£14.34 Birthday cards

£40.00 Meal with the girls

£7.84 Morrisons

£60.86 Petrol

£6.85 Post Office, special delivery document to solictors

£9.45 On the road snacks

Total Spent £347.95

We have a couple of things on this last week resulting in some extra spending. We threw a surprise retirement party for my parents who have finally both retired now – I’m so jealous lol!! I am so happy that they can both enjoy the next part of their lives after working so hard for so long 🙂

My daughter started football after school so I had to but her the kit. So glad I was helped by the football Mums and Dads in store because I had no idea what I was doing lol!

I had a lovely meal out with the girls, which was super overdue. There are four of us and we call ourselves ‘The Gossip Girls’ on our WhatsApp group lol! Three of us were celebrating promotions and the fourth was celebrating a few huge milestones in her business. Two of us are currently buying properties as well. We are all so happy. 🙂 I love seeing my friends succeed. It makes me feel really warm inside.

I’ve not heard about the promotion yet, only that the process is still ongoing so fingers crossed I hear soon.

I’ve got something else bubbling away too. I swear my minds never stops!

That’s it for me this week. Take care

H

Money Wise Talks 21/04/2022

I’m back after another loss in our family. RIP Grandad.

I completely lose focus when people die. Not just focus but everything. All my motivation and even things I am working so hard for just get lost in the grief. It’s so sad to be sad.

And in all that sadness, I feel embarrassed to say that this year for me personally has been my best yet. With a new job, new career and some of the most amazing news that I’m going to share with you very shortly, I feel guilty to be so happy in my own life when it has been cruelly taken from my brother and grandad this year.

I know life goes on. And that’s whether we want it to or not but the last few weeks instead of writing my blog I reflected on happy memories of us and just how lucky I am to be alive, even on the most darkest days. I must try to not take life for granted when it doesn’t go my way, or is challenging.

But now I’m back and I want to say how much I’ve missed it! I won’t keep you waiting anymore …

The news is …. I’VE BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!

I’ll just let that settle in a moment 🙂

I have finally bought a house. Yes I’m still in debt (and have more now :\) But let me tell you, this house is my dream house. New area, extra bedroom, a downstairs toilet, big garden without the 90 degree angle, it’s a NEW BUILD and the icing on the cake is it’s in the same area where my parents are.

Ever since finding myself as a single parent ten years ago, I’ve wanted – no actually I’ve yearned to move back to the area where I grew up. Where my most precious memories are. Where my friends are. Also, my parents moved back to the area last year and this only made the feeling towards moving back there even stronger.

And it’s happening. I’m still in shock. All the worry I had about paying all my debt off, then saving (probably for years) enough for a deposit and then wondering if I’d still get a mortgage when I’m knocking on the doors of 50+, has now all vanished because it’s happening! I plan to do a detailed post about the property journey so I will go into all the nitty gritty details there, but yes folks. Dreams do come true.

I’ve never bought a new house before, but let me tell you this – choosing kitchen units, worktops, carpets, flooring and tiles is the most exciting thing I have ever done – even if it has meant the debt has increased!

That’s the only bad thing, the debt has increased. Not just because I’m going to be getting a mortgage but I’ve also borrowed the deposit. All these details I will put in the property journey post. At the moment, I have stopped overpaying on my debt so I can pay cash for the mortgage arrangement fee, solicitor fees and stamp duty. And once I have been in the new house for a few months and can see what my new bills will look like, I can review my budget and start overpaying on the debt again.

Don’t get me wrong, I still want to be debt free and this will remain my focus until the debt has been paid off. As I’ve now got the house of my dreams, the next thing on the bucket list after being debt free is to focus on increasing wealth so I don’t have to work till I drop! This is starting to feel more doable even though it seems a long way off 🙂

Of course I have taken thousands of pictures of my new house being built. My friend made me laugh when I kept sharing the weekly update pictures as she says it’s like a pregnancy but for a house lol! The new house could be built as early as June, with a potential move in date of 30 June 2022…EKKKK! The packing has started and I am LOVING the decluttering opportunity! We have been doing a weekly trips to the charity shop and tip and Vinted and FB Marketplace sales have started to increase too.

I set some goals for April 2022: Make £100 selling things, £10 weekly food challenge and a no spend month. As the month as gone on, the no spend challenge wasn’t happening as I was having to pay left right and centre for house stuff, then the £10 food challenge went out the window because I just didn’t give myself the time to focus on it properly, as I’ve been spending every breath either working overtime, packing or DIY in the house I’ll leaving! It’s never ending, but I’m not stressed because I’m too excited!

I will continue with the £100 challenge from selling things though as it aligns with my current focus of making money and decluttering and have made £30 so far – only £70 left to go. I need to list a few large items to FB Marketplace in the next few days so hoping they are sold by the weekend.

What I Have Spent This Week

£31.46 Cinema

£45.21 Tesco food

£12.17 Macdonalds

£0.87 Car park

£6.15 Texaco

£19.68 Tesco beer and breakfast

£73.77 Petrol

£139.96 Sofa covers 🙂

£8.98 Washing line props and stick on house numbers for wheelie bins 🙂

£5.58 Morrisons- brown packing tape x 2

Total £343.83

Looking at what I’ve spent this last week and considering it was half term, I don’t think I did too bad. The cinema was a half term treat and included the tickets, parking and snacks. We only had one takeaway which as you know, is pretty bloomin amazing for me!

We went my brothers farm a few hours drive away so I put a full tank of petrol in. Petrol prices have come down a little since I last bought a full tank. I also bought beer and breakfast as a thank you for him putting us up. These weren’t eaten and drank together by the way! My daughter and I love it there. It is so peaceful. Watching the sheep dog Jim working his magic with the sheep had us all staring at disbelief in his ability to manage all those naughty sheep so effortlessly. It was amazing.

I have told myself not to go mad and start buying everything new for the house – It’s definitely a challenge! However, for a while now I’d planned on getting covers for the sofa as my parents gave me their old sofa which is lovely and so comfy but the colour is completely wrong for our living room. So I have ordered some navy blue sofa covers. Hopefully this will break up the cream and look lovely and homely.

Finally, my last bit of news is I have gone for YET ANOTHER promotion! I know what you’re thinking, “She’s only been in this new job two months”, and you would be right of course. Don’t get me wrong, I love my current job but when I saw the advert for the promotion I just couldn’t not apply. I have all the experience across all my career and think I’d do a great job so though, why not just go for it!

I mean, this year is turning in to the year where everything I’ve worked so hard for is coming true so why not this too! It’s more money – £8k a year more and let’s face it, with this new house and extra debt I’ve taken on, I bloomin well need it lol!! When I think about whether I should go for opportunities, it always brings me back to – What’s the worse that could happen if I don’t get it? … and you know what, absolutely nothing. If I don’t go for things I believe to be out of my reach, then I’ll never have them or find out what it’s like to have them.

So my advice is GO FOR THEM ANYWAY!

I should find out this week if I get shortlisted so will keep you all updated – Wish me luck! Hope you all have a good week.

H

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