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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Change is A’Coming

This past time of radio silence has been tumultuous in the AF household. Mr AF’s job was a victim of a downsizing company, and I crashed my car into a ditch. We’re both standing and dusting off, but it’s the start of a long road, I feel.

After finding out about Mr AF’s job two things happened. I frittered away a lot of money. I seemed to have this odd reaction of ‘oh crap. Can’t spend on whatever I like soon…better spend now’. I’m disappointed in myself at this reaction but it was almost a knee jerk thing. I still haven’t achieved my first finance goal (be solvent without borrowing from other accounts) but as February to March payday is a short month I’m planning on achieving that goal in the coming month. I’ve already borrowed from another savings account this month which is why I can’t achieve the goal.

The second things that happened is that I devoted a huge amount of resources to paying off my debt. Just under half of my wages at the moment, to get it paid off as quickly as is feasible. So instead of May being my DFD, March will see me free of debt (aside from the mortgage) and also with a holiday paid for (booked before the situation with the job became apparent and not costing us a whole lot). This is the part of my reaction that I’m proud of. This part of my reaction will allow me to cover the whole of the household outgoings without breaking a sweat without digging into any of the redundancy payout.

Next time I’m going to talk a bit about the various things I’m doing and we’re doing to help make things go a little smoother.

On getting back into the groove

This month has been somewhat spendy, but reduced by using vouchers etc.

But I’m still not back in the groove, which is annoying me. Knowing that I don’t have a credit card payment to make next month has made me lax, and that’s not a good thing. I still have a considerable debt to pay back to my mother and although she is fairly relaxed about it, it is still a debt and debt is now no longer a part of my life plan.

I am one of those people who are constantly either making or looking for purchases that will fix my life. They will get me organised! They will stop me from overeating! They will make me exercise more!

In reality, the only answer and solution to all of my problems comes from within, but those solutions take more work to pull out of the bag. Most of my purchases are either comfort eating/shopping or these kind of things.

My purse is locked away.

My meal plan is in place.

All of the errands I need to run this week are sitting in a carrier bag in my car. No missy, you don’t need to take your purse out to produce ID, you just need the actual ID itself. My brain likes to play tricks on me in these kinds of situations.

I’m about to go downstairs and work on next month’s budget, getting the
rudimentals in place so I can fill in everything I have inevitably forgotten as I go along.

I’ll share it on here in a few days, to keep me accountable.

Wish me luck!

The not so triumphant return…

I am finally feeling a little more myself, although I will never stop missing my sweet boy I am now able to look beyond that pain and see life again. I know some will not understand the pain I have been through in the last month or so (I have heard a chorus of ‘it’s only a dog’ already) but to me it was a very real loss and to be honest, my life will always be missing a piece.

Onto other things…

Although I have not royally stuffed everything up, I have been in fritter mode. My purse accompanied me everywhere and we all know what happens when I do that. £2.50 here and there mounts up; at least if I had been spending extravagantly I might have something to show for it rather than a bank account running on fumes and a few extra lbs on the scale. Meal planning went out the window in favour of as and when meals; shopping lists went a similar way so when I marvelled at the fact my weekly shop only cost me £25 or so I hadn’t realised I had forgotten half of it and bought loads of stuff that I didn’t need. Cue more trips to the shop. Fritter fritter fritter.

On the positive side, my debt is no bigger – my ‘institutional debt’ sits at £265; this will be paid off in 8 days. EIGHT DAYS PEOPLE!

Yes, I am a tad excited about that. One by one my manacles of debt are dropping off.

Another positive – we went on holiday and the cards were not touched, all expenditure was cash and a week’s holiday on approximately £145 is not bad, n’est pas? I could have cut that right back but the holiday did us good, and to be honest I don’t feel bad about that level of spending at all.

So, going forward…

I’m sticking to my diet. This is the final push to get the last of my weight off and I am NOT going to give up on myself. This also has a sideline of stopping the fritter-y snack-y spends.

The purse is being locked in the filing cabinet. I have no spend requirements whatsoever coming up, I don’t need it.

Meal planning is back! I’m ready for the week going forward and am going to sit down tomorrow and plan next week’s meals. In addition to this I’m going back to click and collect shopping, although I do have a Sainsbury £20 off £60 online shopping voucher, so one of my shops will be delivered :)

Time to get out of the mire and get back into the lifestyle I want to lead!

Taking Your Eye Off The Ball

Usually, when I take my eye off the ball, that’s when it hits me in the face and makes me sulk.

Well, that’s what happened last week with money!

I’m very much an emotional spender (and eater for that matter) and when I don’t feel very well, my purse accompanies me everywhere. My debit card must have friction burns from the amount of times it has been in and out of my purse this week!

My eye has now been superglued to my budget spreadsheet, which has been updated (oh THE SHAME!) and is 100% truthful about how much I messed up this week. But there have been a lot of positives –

I have paid myself back the money owed from my savings pot that I borrowed last month. This wasn’t included in my debt figure but was on my mind, as this savings pot is due to be used for it’s intended purpose next month so I didn’t want it to be short.

I’ve paid an extra £30 over what I was intending to pay to my interest free card, making it into a sexy round number. Round numbers please me. I’m very tempted to pay a little extra to it to take the balance under £1000 but I am going to be sensible and wait until the day before payday, just in case.

I’m still in the black! No other debts have been racked up and I’m starting to see a light at the end of my tunnel. Mr AF has spoken to me about helping me to clear one of the debts which was built up paying the vet bills for our dog, which will bring that one down even faster.

I guess the moral of this blog post is that in the beginning it is difficult to relax; in the beginning frugality isn’t necessarily your natural state. It certainly isn’t mine. But if you want to live below your means, debt free, savings in the bank, you can’t give up when you slip. Be honest with yourself, pick yourself up, take stock and carry on. It will be worth it in the end.

If you slip on a step you don’t go on to throw yourself down the stairs, you recover and carry on!

Payday…it’s been and gone

That most blessed of days, payday, has been and gone. Standing orders have sent my money here, there and everywhere and a money blunder has left my contingency fund, wistfully named ‘spare cash’.

Lesson learned folks, don’t online bank when you’re tired.

Basically I have four debts to service; two are interest free, one a moderate interest rate and one overdraft whose charges are about to rocket. The plan originally was to clear the overdraft, make minimum payments on everything and to move anything left from the debt fund over to the moderate interest rate debt. Good plan, yes?

The blunder came when I was making the payment to the moderate interest rate card; instead of entering the amount I wished to pay, I entered my debit card security code and paid £150 too much, taking me down to a £60 contingency for the month.

Oh crap.

Well, on the bright side, at least the money went to my debt rather than into a black hole where I would never get it back. I’m seeing the silver lining in this and hoping to clear this card this month through my newly acquired frugal habits!

Check back next time for my frugal experiments with the grocery bill!