I am not used to working Thursdays now so it was a bit of a long week for me last week waiting until Friday for a day off work. Due to the Birmingham visit on Tuesday I had to work on Thursday which has recently become my cleaning day – so no cleaning done. Dilemma then when I woke up on Friday morning – do I clean today instead or do the paperwork that is normally designated for Fridays.
The paperwork won!
It is a sit down job and I was quite tired by Friday morning so cleaning seemed far too energetic and I had a ‘ladies who lunch’ date with my friend which I knew would break up part of the day.
Surprisingly my desk was reasonably tidy and I got stuck in. First job was to write a to do list – I now use Todoist as I can’t install Microsoft works on the Mac – it was the closest program to the one I had but not as good and I refuse to pay to upgrade to the premium service. The list seemed never-ending in fact so long that even if I retired tomorrow I feel sure I would not get to the end.
So then I did a shorter version to capture the really urgent tasks but it still looks a bit daunting.
Having assembled a frightening list I then made a note of any upcoming appointments and put reminders in my diary. I also checked the September birthdays and made a mental note to see if I can find suitable cards from my supply to save me buying any more. I have more than enough blank cards in my craft cupboard and just need to find some time to make some and this would be a good economy as I spend far too much on cards over a year.
Then it was down to bill paying – the plumber for the recent radiator leak (yes I know more water problems), the roofer (who has done a small repair for us to prevent a future leak) and Yorkshire Water for our water bill (it seems a little ironic that we have to pay so much for water when we seem to attract more than our fair share of free water into our lives in the form of leaks and floods!).
Whilst online transferring the payments I did a quick check of our bank statements to assess our situation. We have of course spent quite a bit on paint and new furniture recently for the bedroom we have just decorated – I didn’t set a budget as such but I always know when something is more than we should be spending. The wardrobes were our dearest item and then the drawers and the small bookcase but the two blinds were very reasonable at £16 and we made the wardrobe door handles. The duvet cover with pillowslips only came as a pack of two at £32 making them £16 each, the fleecy throw was £4 and a few picture frames at £3 or £4 each. Everything else we already had.
Within our usual day-to-day spending there is always room to economise more. The dearest item by far this week was the petrol we bought for the journey to Birmingham. My neighbour has recently been sent three Sainsbury’s 12p off petrol coupons, I go there every week and they have not sent me or OH any – so feeling a trifle miffed about that.
I am however still taking packed lunches to work so saving a good £10 a week there even allowing for the extra food on the weekly shopping bill. I have a £20 gift token for Boots so I will wait until there are offers on the brands I use or put it towards a new hairdryer – mine stopped working one day recently, the same week as the iron died on me!
We have just changed gas providers from Npower to EDF for a cheaper deal – the electricity is already on a reasonable fixed rate and with our BT line we pay up front for the year which is cheaper and try not to go over the hour with our calls which are free for the first 60 minutes – difficult when you have 2 daughters, a mother and a sister (and not forgetting my brother) who all like a long chat. I will just have to start keeping the timer by the phone and cut them off after 55 minutes!
As I can’t reduce most of the bills any further I can only look to the housekeeping and transport costs – food, petrol, cleaning and toiletries to make more savings.
Over the rest of the weekend I extended sorting the paperwork to a mammoth session of decluttering and streamlining the files in the office. I am not sure where the mountain of paper came from to throw out but the files are so much lighter now. There is far too much paper to shred – I can’t put it in the recycle bin as too much sensitive information so we will take it on holiday with us to Scotland and have a bonfire at the cottage.
So after my sorting out session everything is in order and up to date, I even managed to set up the log in account for my new workplace pension. We have always preferred the ethical funds for OH’s pension where we have been given a choice and it has performed well over the years so I was pleased to find I could choose an ethical one with our workplace pension provider. I am not sure I will accrue very much between now and retirement but I won’t be refusing the ‘free’ money paid in by my employer and the government as every little helps!
My next job is my heap (I exaggerate not here) of magazine cuttings – I am not sure why I find such a pleasure in hoarding articles and pictures torn from magazines. I spend time neatly filing them into folders – all subjects – gardening, craft, health, decorating ideas, recipes etc but now I have a whole shelf full of files dedicated to magazine cuttings plus the heap waiting to be filed.
I realise I have a problem and as an example of how chronic my addiction is I have articles on health issues I don’t even suffer with…well not yet anyway! I have more diets than I could possibly try out and more craft ideas than I would even want to attempt – after all why would I want to crotchet a hot water bottle cover really when I can’t even crotchet! In my perfect life I might consider it but when it takes me all my time to go to work, shop, cook and clean a crotchet hot water bottle cover is probably on the end of my do to list. (Just checking I did add this on to the end of my list!)
So I am resolving to be ruthless – my OH is not convinced – he knows me and my cuttings well! Watch this space…