Well Hello There!

I’m still around and doing my best. So much has happened in the past few months; I lost all of my focus on everything but kept plodding away at creating our own personal slice of freedom.

So far, we have made £1500 worth of overpayments to our mortgage. When I look at how much comes off the capital with each monthly payment that equals roughly 15 months! 15 months closer to our goal of completely owning our house, 15 months closer to my goal of being able to step back from working my fingers to the bone and enjoy life more! My next overpayment date is coming in January, what a way to beat the winter blues.

On a not so good note, The Princess had a tumour on her nail bed, which had to be removed. We decided to go all in and get a dental done, walking away with a slightly teeth grinding (pun not intended) bill for almost £400. She has her own savings account so it wasn’t too painful, and my husband did put in some cash too but it has depleted my spare cash down to pretty much nothing for a while. That’s okay though, she’s happier and not in pain so we can live with scrimping and saving! I’m starting to think that we must be getting a frequent flyer discount at the vet as they charge us very little for follow up visits. It’s always worth a box of Roses and a friendly disposition!

Also, my Grandfather passed away. It had been very difficult for us due to some family drama which I will not go in to here, but I went totally spiralling out of control for a while. I had rediscovered the Paypal pay after delivery option, which is great for getting the food for our foster hound, but not so great when you’re having an out of control spending spree. My bank account is now clear of all Paypal payments, but I’m having to very carefully budget for the next few months to be able to do all the things I want to do. I’m grasping on to my last shreds of control like a drowning woman, but I know that they are what will get me through.

Speaking of which, control is what’s getting me through. So many unpleasant and traumatic things have befallen us as a couple in the past months that I truly felt my life was spiralling out of control. I’ve gone from being truthfully calm and settled, to a seething pit of rage, to trying to get on the road to being me again. An important part of that has been regaining control of the two things in life I should always be able to control – what goes in my mouth and what comes out of my purse.  I’ve not spent an unbudgeted for penny this month! I know! Who could believe it? And part of that has been not going to the supermarket three times a day to fritter money away on snacks and god knows what else. (I appreciate it seems not far on in the month but my month starts on payday!)

Well, we’re being whipped around by Storm Desmond – no rain here yet but the wind carried me swiftly down to the post box and back and the dogs may end up in Kansas next time they go out. Stay safe!

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Officially Mr and Mrs Aspiring Frugalista!

Hello there! In the midst of wedding preparations I’ve neglected my little blog something chronic. Well, the wedding is now done and dusted, I’m curled up comfy cosy in a Motorhome writing this post and contemplating the torrent of name changes I’m going to have to undertake!
 
 I’d like to share with you some of the ways we had a truly frugal wedding. I appreciate that it’s not for everyone, this doing it for under £500 lark, but it worked for us. We couldn’t justify spending a huge amount of money on one day when there’s so much that needed to be done in every day life. So, here goes (nothing I have linked to has been sponsored, just the choices I’ve made!):
 
 First of all, the clothes. My dress came from Lindy Bop. They do have a bridal section although I chose a bright blue number, for £30. Their dresses are beautifully made, I normally buy them for any occasion where I need to look smart. They also have a Made in Britain range, which can’t be bad. This dress will do double day for my work Christmas party this year too. I borrowed a petticoat from a dear friend of mine, otherwise that would have been nearly the cost of the dress! Mr AF bought a suit for job interviews, and wore that. To us, a suit is a suit. Well cared for it will stay looking smart for a long time, and he didn’t half look handsome! I think his suit, shirt (a two pack!) and his tie cost about £80 from Matalan.
 
 Secondly, the actual ceremony. There was nothing we could do about the cost of the licenses but I had found out previously at most registry offices do a midweek, early morning ceremony for not very much money. Neither of us have much in the way of family, so we opted for this with my parents as witnesses. Including the certificate it cost £50. The ceremony did take place in an office but… When we spoke the vows it was as if there was nobody else and nothing else in that moment. I’m glad we did it this way, although I appreciate that it really isn’t for everyone. But the option is there!
 
 Our cake, which is ridiculously delicious and moreish, was made by the fair hands of my dear mother. Can you make the cake yourself? Is there someone in your family that would? Perhaps they would do it as a wedding present to you. And if you get married like I did, a slice of cake sent to people to let them know seems to go down quite well!
 
 Our photographs were done by a family friend. He didn’t ask for any money although he did such a good job and stayed with us for so long that we have given him something. Do you know anyone who enjoys photography? Or anyone who would photograph your wedding in exchange for being able to use the photos in the portfolio? This one could be taking a chance though, so please tread cautiously.
 
 So, I’m going to get back to our honeymoon now! I will be back soon with another post, now life has settled down again. I really am learning to roll with the punches!
 
 

Gradually getting there… Over the Christmas season no less!

Things seem to be going almost suspiciously well at the moment.

My plan to focus on healing my bingeing has had a positive impact on my body as well as my bank balance. My money is never spent on big ticket items, just a pound here, a fiver there, all day, every day. So stopping that trickle has made a big difference.

I’m also 3lb lighter! I am following an eating plan, which although not the most frugal of weight loss methods is proving to be very effective for me, to give me a break from food and food decisions. £8 a day is a lot, don’t get me wrong, but it’s less than I was spending on binge foods.

I have committed myself to doing at least 15 minutes of exercise a day. Not a lot, I know, but it’s enough to get me moving every day but not too much to be intimidating myself with. I’ve been doing free exercise videos on YouTube (Leslie Sansone is a goddess, and anyone struggling to get moving should check her out) cast onto our TV with a Chromecast (more about that in another post).

The odd thing about my spending is that gift money is never frittered away. I still have gift cards in my purse from last year because I want to buy something special with the money that I really, really want. The money I fritter is money that I worked hard to earn. It’s almost like I think to myself that I earned it, so I should be able to spend it however I like. That’s all well and good but when it ends up not being money I’ve earned but money I’ve borrowed from the bank, it causes a problem.

All of my Christmas shopping is complete and done within budget. My £50 a month direct debit will carry on going into that account and will cover presents all year. My newest budget takes into account every worst case scenario in a five week month that can occur and all of my standing orders have been adjusted accordingly.

Time to get real, time to focus on living and not just on spending every penny of my hard earned money!

When you just can’t commit to any more

I’ve said here before that I am very much an all or nothing person. Currently (well, a few days ago) I was actively trying to be frugal, lose weight, get active, work, live, and do all that other gubbins.

It all started to crumble around me, so I sat and had a word with myself, wondering how I could figure it out.

The one thing that ties a handful of my commitments together is binge eating. Binge eating costs me a lot of money; it makes me gain weight; it stops me from doing a lot of things.

So by focussing on my bingeing, perhaps the other commitments will start to fall into line gradually. I have never seen anyone about the way I eat; it embarrasses me too much. This is a take-a-deep breath post really; I’ve not really admitted this much outside conversations I have with myself when I’m alone in my car. So, I’m not claiming to have an eating disorder but I do have a disordered relationship with food.

I can eat upwards of 1-2000 calories in a single binge, binges can occur usually twice but sometimes three-four times a day. Bad days have been known where I would consume probably 5000 calories a day. I eat my feelings, I eat my boredom, I eat just because it’s a habit. I eat alone in my car, or when Mr AF isn’t here, or if he’s gone to bed early.

It costs a lot of money to do this, and makes me incredibly unhappy. When I finish the month with no money and half a stone heavier than I started it, that feeling spirals downwards.

I am on an eating plan currently to try to address some of the bingeing issues, and I am very proud to say that I am on my fourth binge free day! Each day like that is a big celebration for me. I’m starting to feel a little more in control but I am aware that I have a long road to travel. It feels nice that my debit card isn’t getting friction burn from being in and out of my purse constantly. My skin is clearing up gradually and my weight is stable.

I felt that everything in my life was falling apart really, that I couldn’t cope with anything. It seems almost funny now, that when I picked the thread apart it was really only one issue causing the others to collapse.

I even took a jumper back for a refund because I realised that I just didn’t love it enough.

Let’s see where it leads.

A Train of Thought

This week has been trying, to say the very least.

New work hours threw me out.

Blindingly bad headaches. One of which I have right now.

Mr AF trapping Millie’s tail in the back door, necessitating surgery, bandages, tablets.

Oh and a sexy little chest infection to boot.

Do you ever feel that some weeks just conspire against you? I’ve gained weight this week too, which just really put the cherry on things. I like to be in control and when one bit spirals out of control, I let go of the rest too. I really need to get out of this all-or-nothing mentality that has every goal I have in its grip.

So, my aspiring frugaldom has gone a wee bit awry this week! I have £20 and some shrapnel in my current account (all bills are paid thankfully) and £60 in my groceries account to last two weeks. I’d like the grocery money to stretch to two shops which is distinctly possible, but it’s not the end of the world if I go a little over as payday is on the second grocery shop day. The money has gone on thoughtless frittering, ‘treats’ that I thought I deserved (and probably also explains the poundage I’ve gained’. I was adamant I was going to pay for a month at the gym but I’ve decided that can wait for another two weeks. Running in the dark hasn’t done me any harm so far!

I’m following the couch to 5k program at the moment and I was up to week four before my chest infection hit. With no small amount of trepidation I tried to run yesterday and after a coughing fit decided to wind it back a week, so I’m working on week three again. I don’t feel like I’ve lost anything though as despite the coughing I still put in my best pace yet. I’m lucky enough that my Dad invested in proper gait analysis and running shoes for me (hyper mobile joints and an old knee and hip injury made this a sensible course of action) so running now doesn’t cost me anything. Well… I call it running. It’s probably closer to a bouncy walk.

So, this week’s to do is basically, get back in control and try not to spend any damned money. Keep running. Keep going, keep trying.

The Real Cost of Cheap Food

My grocery budget is often the thing I find it easiest to cut back on.
 
 I’m not so sure I want to do that now.
 
 I’m currently watching the Channel 4 Dispatches programme ‘Supermarkets: the Real Price of Cheap Food’. I know these programmes are set up to provide shock value and a lot of the things I knew anyway but…
 
 I grew up in a farming community and I should know better, but I was moved almost to tears by the impact that supermarket promotions have on farmers. It’s made me determined to find a good green grocer or a market stall to buy produce from. But is even the produce there ethical? I cannot afford local farm shops, that’s for sure. I grow as much as I can myself.
 
 I know my few pounds a week won’t stop the big guys from ripping off their suppliers but maybe I can find a pocket that it’s better off in.