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, 9 December 2012

Colds, Debts & How Have I Saved Money Recently?

Hello & happy weekend everybody, I hope you are all well.

I have been poorly this week - I caught a cold and had to take Thursday & Friday off work.  I was in bed till gone 1pm both days just zonked out.  Luckily we had some Day & Night Nurse capsules left over from hubby's cold so I didn't have to fork out for more medicine.  I started to feel much better yesterday and today, although still blowing my nose for England, I am just about there now.  Back to work tomorrow!


Anyway whilst off this week, when awake, it gave me plenty of time to think about my financial status, study my Excel spreadsheet and generally muse about stuff.  I may go about £650 - £700 overdrawn by Spring, which is really not great.  However some good news is, that total also includes debt payments which will pay off completely the 0% credit card I took out at the beginning of 2012 to pay for much needed new double glazing in three rooms.  So I won't have paid a penny interest on those which was always the plan.  The other 0% card I had was a Virgin card to pay off a previous overdraft.  The plan was to get the overdraft paid off then stick rigidly to a budget to prevent going overdrawn again. 

Well that failed. 

SO...the Virgin card still needs paying off and here I am with another overdraft which is worse than it was before!  Not the plan at all but lesson learned.  I'll pay it off by mid Summer and now I just accept that I will be overdrawn and I just have to claw it down bit by bit. 

I am trying to think more long term rather than panicking short term so now I need to just keep calm when I see my overdraft rising and know that come summer, the credit card balances will be gone and it will start to get better thereafter.  I need to keep my eye on the prize which is "this time next year".  This time next year I WILL be debt free again and this time next year I will be finally on top of my money issues.  I will.

With all this in mind I should now have the motto 'Every Penny Counts' tattooed on my eyelids.  

There is No Spare Money

Every penny I spend now just takes me further into my overdraft so every penny spent is a conscious decision.  So I am trying to be positive about all the ways I can try and keep things as low as I can.

Money Saving Efforts This Week

Being ill meant not going out anyway but even if I had been OK I'd planned not to spend any unnecessary cash.  And I achieved that.   I am making use of www.spendingdiary.com and find it really useful.   I love the reporting tool which shows you how much you've spent say on "social" or "groceries" should you set up those groups.  An eye opener.

This weekend thankfully has been fairly windy and mostly dry so I have managed to get a lot of washing dry on the line or just about dry so that they either finish off on radiator racks, or in the case of some larger items, only took about a third of the time they usually do in the tumble dryer.  The washing I have mostly got done overnight so it's much cheaper electricity.  Some of the tumbling I did later at night too when the meter clicked over to the lower rate.  So that's helped.


I submitted meter readings on Friday and I do owe Atlantic some money. I recently went over to Direct Debit to get cheaper rates.  We used to pay for what we used quarterly but seeing the difference in the rates it seemed madness not to start a DD again especially as I could choose what monthly rate to set.  However the first payment didn't come out till 1st December and I last paid a bill in September.  So there's a shortfall now and the next bill is due the end of this month.  I can see I will no doubt have to pay an extra bit to cover it all then hope that thereafter, the direct debits will cover future bills.

We have gas central heating and a halogen heater.  There is no fireplace or woodburner and we're not able to install either in this house, so we're stuck with the above.  The only choice we have is to be cold and minimise having the heating on.  Today that's not so bad as the temperature got up to about 8 degrees C outside and the sun was out - and it made such a difference.  With jumpers on, it felt alright.  Heating is completely off and won't come on till it's dark.  It'll stay on till about 9pm then go off till getting up time tomorrow for an hour.  Then it'll be off all day till dark again.  The house is freezing when we get home but we'll just keep the door of the living room shut, put the halogen heater on the first 400w, make sure no gaps in curtains and that room heats up fairly nicely.  It's not feasible to have the heating off all the time otherwise I would!  It's due to get down to sub freezing mid week here and the cold snap will last a few days at least.  We have to do what we have to do when it's like that but needless to say fleece sofa blankets & hot water bottles come out at night!


I bought a big bag of potatoes in Aldi on Tuesday and other fresh vegetables and have managed to make it all stretch through.  I haven't needed to go out for anything else.  Today's lunch was roasting left over red onions cut into fat wedges, three parsnips chopped into fat sticks, half a butternut squash cubed up, four diced potatoes and the remains of a garlic bulb split into peeled cloves, all smothered and mixed up in three tablespoons of sunflower oil mixed with: two tablespoons of water, a tablespoon of white vinegar, half a teaspoon of caster sugar and two teaspoons of various dried herbs.  I roasted these for 35 minutes (stirring once or twice) and roasted a pack of veggie sausages half way through.  Veggie gravy made with the water from cooked frozen peas from Aldi and a twist of black pepper.  It was really tasty and hubby loved it.

We've still got loads of potatoes left which we'll use to make a delicious dish called Egg & Potato Bombay and we'll have that with Approved Foods basmati rice, probably on Wednesday.  We have everything else for evening meals Monday and Tuesday so tomorrow evening, I will do an inventory of what we have in the cupboards and will make a frugal menu plan for the rest of the week/early part of next week and shop accordingly for the fresh items, bread etc in Aldi on Tuesday after work. 

Cash Only

I use a credit card for petrol and some other purchases i.e. online once a month stock up purchases (I am collecting Avios points as one day I am determined to fly abroad again!) but I have made the decision to try and be cash only now for grocery shopping and other necessary spends.  It's obvious what I have been doing thus far has not really worked:  I clearly haven't learned from my own history.  So time for something new.  The last few grocery shops have been cash only and it really focuses your mind.  You're doing mental calculations all the time to make sure you don't go over budget and everything that goes in that trolley or basket is needed and, where possible, the best value you can get.  My utter delight last week in Aldi when I realised three things I needed were in their "Super Six" offer and the week before that the bread had 30% off marked price as did the mushrooms I wanted.  I was so chuffed

Cutting Back

I have changed my mobile phone provider to a SIM only deal now which is saving me about £5 a month (I use data downloading otherwise I could save more).  I have cancelled my LoveFilm subscription which is another £5 a month.  That's £120 over the year.  Worthwhile!

I am not going out once over Christmas.  I have not even bought any Christmas food or nibbles and don't plan to until perhaps the week before and then it won't be much.  I have one night out planned in January (tickets for a local gig already bought last year) and that's it.  For 2013.  Seriously it is the only thing in my diary and I am not going out of my way to add anything else because there just isn't the money.  Over the Winter months I don't think this will be too much of a problem.  But come the Spring I will be bored, depressed and ready to throw the towel in so this is when I will need to be creative and get my social fixes one way or another. 

I will be going through my wardrobe shortly to plan what clothes go together and make myself wear things I have bought but ignored.  (Why do women do this!!?)  I may have to get rid of some bits & bobs which I just don't feel comfortable in as it will give me more space and just help bring other items back into focus.  I do not need to buy any more clothes.  I haven't actually got that many as I am quite good at 'culling' but there are still things I don't make use of when I should.  I have actually customised a couple of tops recently to make them more 'wearable' whereas before I would have just stuck them in a charity sack then probably gone out and bought a replacement.


Last but definitely not least, I need to keep a sense of perspective.  I am still 'richer' than so many people.  I have a roof over my head, I have food & clothing, I have a phone I can pick up to call friends & family, I have clean running water at my disposal.  I have a job.  I might day dream about winning the lottery and not having to go to work (not going to happen as not spending money on tickets right now!!) but really I am grateful.  The job will help me dig my way out of this mess.  And it's not even a massive mess.  I have been in a worse financial mess by probably 8 times as much so....I can do this easily can't I?

If you have read all this and got to the end - well done!  And thanks for sticking with my rambles.

Bye for now...I am off to listen to a football match on my cheap little radio which costs less than a penny to run an hour!  Frugal entertainment indeed.



  1. Glad to hear that you are feeling better. Good luck with all the planning for 2013. Jx

  2. Wow! You really are prepared and ready to achieve your goal aren't you? Thats brilliant I really hope it all works out for you Good luck xxx

  3. Sounds good to me ... there's nothing like a good old think...I always think it gives me time and space to get my act todether.
    Any chance you can ebay some of the unwanted clothes etc ..its how I paid off my credit cards ... ebays everything that wasn't essential ..paid off the debt in dribs and drabs but it worked.

    Well done x Vicky x

  4. I agree with Vicky - stick everything you don't want on Ebay, then use the money to pay back your cc.

    You've done very well in planning how you are going to get sorted - you'll get there I'm sure.

  5. I have read to the end, and I'm impressed with your determination. You can and will do it. Keep on keeping on with your money saving, every penny counts. Best wishes. Ilona