Hello and welcome to my blog. I've been getting some thoughts & feelings, exasperations and the odd happy moment down on the blog which helps my sanity and, I hope, provides a little entertaining read for you for a couple of minutes!

Right now I am mostly concentrating on getting through a rocky financial patch which I really hope will be cleared (all being well) by the end of Summer 2013. In the meantime I need to concentrate on continuing to do well in my "new" job (actually got it in Sept 2011 but it still feels new!) and living my life as frugally as possible.

Thanks for stopping by and if you leave me an encouraging comment, it'll make my day. :-)

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Last Night a Spreadsheet Saved My Life...

If you're of a certain age you *will* have replaced the word spreadsheet with "DJ", right?

OK so perhaps that is a bit dramatic but last night, a spreadsheet shocked me to the core, made me feel sick and very very stupid.  However after waking up this morning and having remembered what I saw last night, I still felt stupid and a bit sick but also grateful to have had a wake up call and change direction once and for all.

Now if you have read my blog for a while you will know that I have been pretty bad with money in the past.  I am no angel now but I am a hell of a lot better than I was.  But I can get tempted and am prone to relapses from time to time. 

I find life too dull if I am not seeing or experiencing things, learning something about a new place, socialising and generally being out there.  These don't have to be fancy high faluting things and I haven't been out of the country for three years now (and the last time was on honeymoon and in a free chalet owned by an in-law....they also paid for our Easy Jet flights to get there as a wedding present!) and there are no plans to go abroad any time soon either.

A day by the sea with a bag of chips will do me fine if I am with good company and can wander around seeing stuff, appreciating architecture, watching the world go by etc etc.  I am sure you know what I mean.

I do also have a bit of a penchant for clothes shopping.   Charity shops are fine by me, high street shops and the John Lewis sale, also fine but these days I am well aware that the former option is more suitable for my budget!  And it doesn't happen very often.  So I have come some way.  But up until last night, I still felt like I was missing out on something that I couldn't put my finger on.  A strange feeling.  And also, if I am completely honest, I have made so many bad choices with my money.

Last night - completely rock 'n' roll for a Saturday I know - I was setting up a new spreadsheet for incomings and outgoings, to see me into 2013 and indeed to the end of next year.  I like to be able to forecast and plan for annual bills of course.  So, whilst doing this I open up last year's spreadsheet to get an idea of some previous gas bills.  Then I decide to look at my general expenditure and how my overdraft compared then and now.  Then I got really curious and opened up spreadsheets going back to 2009 and that's when the nausea started.

My GOD.  The money I have wasted is unbelievable.  It's shocking and embarrassing.  In 2008 - 2010 I was working as an Account Manager for a software house and I earned good money, some months some seriously good money.  And still I was overdrawn through ridiculous purchasing choices.  Clothes I bought at full prices which I gave away not long after because they were "not quite right".....beauty treatments I have long since learned to administer myself.......make up I thought I needed but used hardly ever (now been binned or also given away) and also, grocery shopping in Sainsburys or Tesco when there was an Aldi within easy reach of my house but I thought it wasn't good enough or so I thought, which was utter crap because I'd never even been in there so how could I even think that?   

So although I have been shuffling along in a certain direction anyway (and it is the right direction I have to say) I now feel like I have had a complete kick up the arse. 

Absolutely no more spending on clothes for a very long time unless absolutely necessary.  I must use what I already have.  Clothes rediscovered, reinvented, repaired & re-dyed or whatever is needed, where possible.

Groceries shopped for as cheaply as possible and I will make food inventories every week to see what I can make with what I have.  No buying anything even if it is cheap unless I actually need it. 

Socialising....I will still spend money on socialising.  There's no way I won't.  But I am going to be as picky as hell and as frugal as possible.  My days of hard partying were over a long time ago so there's no danger of slipping back into that kind of spending again.  I'm not going to feel guilty about the odd drink out with a friend or lunch with my husband once a month in a pub.  When I have seen the amount I have wasted on other stuff, the minuscule budget I have for staying sane is peanuts.

Beauty treatments....I'll continue doing what I do and enjoy it.  Some women feel it's a life essential to have someone else file their nails or wax their bikini line and maybe I did once too, but not now.  There is something very satisfying about a home administered facial, making your feet soft & pretty and such like.

Happily I could start to take direct "action" today.  I found a top I bought back in 2008 (one that did make it past the first month of being purchased!) which I have had good wear out of.  I noticed there were several little holes appearing along the hem line...tiny little ones that you only see if you hold it up to the light.  I considered putting it in a charity bag but then got needle and thread out.  Luckily the top is a black & white pattern, quite random, so I was able to stitch up all the holes and no-one will notice.  I should get another year out of that top I am sure.

I also got a shortish wrap dress which I wear as a top from time to time with only a certain pair of trousers and used wonder web stuff to "take it up" a couple of inches.  Now it's suitable for wear with all my jeans and other trousers too.  I am so chuffed and asked myself why I didn't do this before?

To all the naturally frugal people out there, I know they may well be laughing at me or thinking what a simpleton I am.  But I'd just like to say, we're all good at different things.  And sometimes people's journeys start later or take longer with different twists & turns than others.  We're bombarded on an hourly basis of every day with obvious and subliminal images of what we should look like, what we should be wearing, where we should be spending our time when we're not at work even what we should be drinking and some people are more resistant to it or parts of it, than others.

I've taken a massive turn this weekend after seeing what is the equivalent of a huge lit up road sign and I feel happier.

Thanks for reading - and hopefully, not judging.

Lots of love.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Giving Up Not An Option....

Evening readers.  Thank you Enid & Ciaran for your protein suggestion recently.  Unsure if you would have seen my comment in response?  Basically I thanked you very much but said I am vegetarian so I don't eat meat or fish.  I wondered if there was a veggie equivalent that might work though!   Feel free to suggest anything, I am open to suggestions.

Well things feel like a long hard slog at the moment.  Weight going in the wrong direction even though I'm trying.  Overdraft going in the wrong direction...even though I'm trying.  Ever just feel like someone up there just doesn't like you?

I made a saving of over £30 on my home insurance recently....brilliant.  Only for the next day a tyre needed repairing as a screw went straight through the middle of a rear tyre (which was new last summer and has barely on miles on it).  Fair enough not as expensive as a brand new tyre but annoying nonetheless.  You could argue that the home insurance saving paid for that, yes that is definitely one way of looking at it but I had been ecstatic that it was going to be a big £30 chip away at my overdraft.

I was cycling to work to save money on parking AND get some exercise....the rain won't stop coming down now and if it does I have a bad back through other exercise I did trying to be healthy!  Great.

And a million other niggly bits that have happened, that I won't bore you with, but suffice to say I feel deflated.

But I know.....you just have to carry on don't you?  Tempting as it is to throw my hands up in the air and say "Why the hell do I even bother?" I know that'll result in things really sliding downhill. I guess I am just feeling a little down and wishing that something encouraging would happen to give me a boost.

TTFN I think I will go off and browse some blogs for some inspiration.

Fingers crossed for a better post next time peeps!


Monday, 9 July 2012



Well the good news is, the cold has gone.  It did take it's time to fully bugger off, but bugger off it finally did.  About the middle of last week I suppose. 

The bad news is....I did my back in again at the end of the week.

I have to say it was probably all my own fault.  I wasn't lifting a box from the waist as per above.  Actually I did a free home work out last Wednesday, using the wii fit and Just Dance and I went a bit bonkers without a proper warm up, no warm down and no stretching afterwards.  What a complete IDIOT.  Anyway the next day I felt like, well, I'd done a work out (I also cycled to work and back) then by Friday things started to feel a little uncomfortable in the lower spine area.  Come Friday night I really knew about it.  But decided to do all the housework anyway to get it out of the way for the weekend.  This included washing kitchen & bathroom floors.

I'm so smart aren't I?

So anyway you can probably guess how Saturday & Sunday went can't you?  I am 41 but felt about 91, seriously.  I could barely lean forward at the sink to clean my teeth and leaning over the bath to wash my hair was an adventure to say the least.

Anyhow after many hot water bottles, pain killers, stretches and shifting of positions later, it is on the mend now.  Oh, I managed to give myself a blister from a very hot water bottle too, to boot.  Doofus.

Anyway it's getting there now, I can at least move more freely and I went out for a half hour walk at lunchtime with a colleague/friend for some free exercise.  My back feels better if I am moving around actually.

So, lesson learned.  Exercise is clearly bad for you!  Only kidding.

Well I weighed myself tonight, convinced that I was going to be a bit lighter.  I have been so good recently in that I have cut portion sizes down, I have resisted lots of in between meals snacks (a previous downfall) and I have been more active than I have been in a long time.  Uh UHHHHHHH computer says NOOOO.  Apparently I have put ON two pounds since last weigh in 5 days ago.  Well thanks a bloody lot. 

The answer is definitely not to give up and push a box of white chocolate chip cookies into my face to cheer myself up, I know that.  The answer is not to stop being active or go back to the bigger portion sizes.  I know that too.  The answer is to be thankful that tonight I am still able to wear a pair of size 12 jeans I bought in a charity shop about 3 years ago and be thankful that my waist size hasn't increased.  It's still under the national average by about 2 inches. 

However my doctor thinks, even after looking at me and seeing I am not particularly big, that it wouldn't be a bad idea to lose a few kilos.  I am 5' 7" and weight 12st 7.  That is officially overweight. And tonight - I've shown I am even going in the wrong direction, after a week of being especially good & active.   

If I had stayed the same weight I could maybe accept that.  But to put 2 pounds on in less than a week?  Oh and yes I do weigh myself at the same time of day as I know that can affect things. 

It's annoying!  I am so annoyed!  REALLY ANNOYED.

I'm off to sulk.

I hope you're all having a better evening than I am!

Bye for now.  Sleep well. xx