being thrifty, fEAsible, financial focusing, managEAble, my goals, to do list, trEAsury

Financial Focusing update #2

 My task today was to look at all the money that has accrued by way of Vouchers / Gift cards / money owing / reward points and store returns still to do and then have a quick sort through all the coupons I have collected to see what might be useful.

This is how I store my coupons and vouchers  – I use one of those clear plastic A6 size envelopes.  I also have one to keep my receipts in for those items I am going to return or exchange.  They are small enough to drop into my bag and this way they are all in one place.

Coupon Holders

 A quick round up below of what I would term credits and rewards to come

Gift Cards / Reward Points / Monies to bank

  •  Wallis Gift Card                                        £8.95
  • Debenhams Gift Card                              £5.00  valid until Jan 31st
  • John Lewis returns                                   £119.00
  • Xmas Gift Money to bank                      £55.00
  • Lottery Scratch Card winnings            £1 (from Hubbies stocking filler)
  • Gardening Token                                             £5.00
  • Morrisons Miles Voucher                      £5.00
  • Tesco Vouchers                                         £7.50
  • Owing from brother                                  £15.00
  • Reward points Sainsbury’s                    £ 81.64
  • Reward Points Boots                               £23.59
  • Total                                                               £326.68

 Wow £326.68 is a nice little sum – I will get free groceries for a week or two by using my Sainsbury’s reward points and I can use the Boots points for toiletries needed.  The Tesco vouchers I will hang on to for the Double up exchange and with the Wallis and Debenhams cards I will get either a birthday gift or a treat.


Store Coupons and Vouchers

  • M&S reward card  – buy 2 more greetings cards and I will get one free
  • Points and money off various products at Boots
  • 20% savings at WH Smiths
  • 0.81p off next Tesco shop by 8th Feb
  • 0.24p off next Sainsbury’s shop
  • A free cup of coffee / tea from my local garden centre

My Sainsbury’s Double Nectar points coupon expired today but I need to spend over £90 to qualify so sorry Mr Sainsbury I will not be spending that much in your store for the foreseeable future!

So far this January I have spent

 Groceries – £99.83

– we are in week 3 now so that is £33.28 weekly average.

 Lunches at work – £16

–  I work 4 full days so I am going to try and buy 2 lunches and then make 2 to take with me.

 Supplements –  £18.47 (Inc £2.50 voucher)

–  I bought Aloe Vera juice for my digestion and Effamol capsules

 Stationery – £12.07

–  I invested in a roll of wrap paper reduced to £1.80 for birthdays this year.  I also found a small magnifier to keep in my purse – very useful.  I bought a triple pack of Pritt stick on offer £1 each and a pack of A5 laminating pouches.

Computer items –  £14.50 Ink and £7.35 Mouse

 – Black printer ink  (run out) and a small mouse for my laptop computer from Wilkinsons

Entertaining –  £16.24 on drink -1 rum, 1 Vodka 4 x diet coke

                              £33.75 on food and nibbles.

  – At the weekend we entertained a couple of friends who we couldn’t see over the Christmas break and this came in a little expensive.  I know they like Vodka and Baccardi and coke so we had to stock up in case they asked for this.  Unfortunately they decided to stick to white wine and just the coke this time!  No doubt the spirits won’t be wasted.  I didn’t have time to make any food myself and had to rely on the supermarket party type food – not a cheap way to buy.   However, it did provide us with lunch and dinner the next day and we managed not to open the rum and Vodka and drown our sorrows on the overspend.

Generally I would have preferred to have had a completely No Spend month but for the things I did buy I shopped around for a good deal and used offers and vouchers where possible.

How are you doing with the January spending?

PS  Thanks to Dar over at An Exacting Life for your very helpful chart it is just what I needed to ensure we come out of our freezer predicament without poisoning ourselves – after all who wants to make themselves sick!

mEAndering, out and about, trEAsure

Here, there and everywhere…

Well that was a longer break than I had expected did you wonder where I had gone…buried perhaps under a mound of shopping?

This is just a recap of my mums visit starting with…

Day 1 – Thursday

I met my mum off the train on Thursday after work at 4 o’clock and then we hit the town.  Unfortunately M&S had to close their doors early due to the effects of a power failure that afternoon.  Next door Boots who had a promotional evening event underway and had also been affected had managed to reboot one computer to allow customers to make a purchase.  After a little wander around the town we went into the Kingsgate shopping centre and ordered two Cheese and Tomato toasties from the restaurant in House of Fraser just to keep us well nourished for the rest of the evening.

It was the first late night shopping and pretty quiet so it was nice being able to look around without the crowds and we decide on a few little things suitable for granny to give to my two daughters at Christmas.  When the shutters came down at 8 o’clock we moved round to the ‘big’ Sainsburys more or less across the road but we took the car.  Here we piled the trolley with tins of biscuits (my mum buys a tin for everyone at Xmas!), a little food shopping and the bottle of Whiskey for my Scottish hubby.

All done there we drove home at about 9.30 and so ended Day 1.

Day 2 – Friday

I was reluctant to leave my bed this morning but needs must and Meadowhall was awaiting our presence.  We left home at about 10.30am arriving an hour later to trundle round and round the car park waiting for a space – the full sign was an overstatement.

After fuelling up with a hot chocolate we began at Debenhams and tramped along the mall visiting our favourite places along the way dodging the crowds who all seemed to be going in the opposite direction to us!  I bought a few basic clothes for work while I had the chance and mum checked out the warm winter coats, new pyjamas and boots – but not to wear all at once – although this new trend of wearing your pyjamas and onesies out in public during the day was evident everywhere and although I thought it quite strange part of me thinks how comfortable and cosy!

When hunger struck we lunched at M&S which was quite slow and unexciting but a shorter queue than some places.  By 6pm I felt I had stood in every queue going and my spine had fused together but Mum who is nearer to 90 than 80 (shhhhh I musn’t give her age away!)  was still going strong even after more than 6 hours solid shopping and still looked as fresh as a daisy.

On the way home we stopped off in Holmfirth and had tea at Compos Fish and Chip restaurant.  Mum had the pensioners special and me just chips and beans and a hot cup of tea.  I even debated whether or not I dare take my boots off under the table but don’t worry I resisted!

We then popped into my brothers for an hour for a catch up chat arriving home at about 8 pm just in time for Poirot.

My mum always likes me to log on to Facebook when she is down as she feels quite left out now that the rest of the family can message one another but she doesn’t have a computer.  So I tried to explain emailing and posting on Facebook to her and after a short tutorial she managed to send messages by both means to a startled family to prove she was still capable of learning something new in her old age!

And with a new achievement on board there endeth Day 2

Day 3 – Saturday

Up bright and early and after a hearty breakfast we set off with hubby as chief driver today into Derbyshire.  We had decided on Ashbourne stopping off in Tissington for lunch.  I haven’t been to Tissington for a while as it is always so crowded in the summer months and in fact parking is restricted to 2 hours.  Even though the weather was cooler it was nice to wander around without the crowds.

Tissington Village 2

Tissington Cafe

Tissington Hall

Tissington Hall is in the middle of the village and dates back to 1609 – it is a cute 2 story hall with a flat roof and large architectural chimneys giving it a rather unique silhouette against the overcast skyline.

We took the little alleyway path up to the Churchyard beyond the old metal gate.

Churchyard Tissington

St Mary’s Church dates back to Norman times and was probably built around 1100.

Tissington Church

Inside are many tributes to the Fitzherbert family and there is a beautiful richly coloured stain glass window beyond the alter.

Inside Tissington Church

We walked past some of the lovely cottages

Tissington Village

This one had an amusing sign in their garden

Weeds for sale

and eventually we came to a little old-fashioned Sweet shop.

Sweet Shop

Sweet Shop door

Inside was every sweet, chocolate and caramel imaginable – it took the three of us ages to make a selection.  I had chocolate covered raisins, my mum had chocolate covered Brazils (her favourite) and hubby chose a chocolate covered marzipan log.

Inside Sweet Shop

Ashbourne Nov 2013

Next stop Ashbourne a lovely little market town with a number of independent shops and the cutest department store I have ever been in called Bennetts – from the outside it looks like a tiny shop and inside it opens out into many different rooms over three quite creaky floors and a beautiful wooden staircase in an atrium.

Christmas Pudding Bauble

It was here that I spied this years Christmas tree ornament a cute Christmas Pudding glass bauble.  I like to dress my tree with a mixture of old and new baubles some go as far back as belonging to my grandma and every year I add a new one.

After afternoon tea at Dillons we fought our way through the crowds that had gathered around the square for the tree lighting and headed back to the car returning home via Stockport and Cheadle to pick up the other spotlight light fitting for our craft room.  Arriving home at about 8pm.

Getting progressively more tired now there endeth Day 3.

Day 4 – Sunday

Definitely dragging myself out of bed now to make my mum her early morning cup of tea in bed.  Living on her own this is a treat for her. After breakfast we drove up to Masham stopping at my daughters shop Birdhouse Interiors for a little more shopping.

Photo: It's Wednesday! New Wednesday window for you x

  The shop changes from one week to the next as the furniture on sale comes and goes.  The window now has a tempting Christmas display.

We lunched at Johnny Bagdads Cafe on the main square and eventually said our goodbyes and took mum home to Yarm.  We returned home and after the long drive back we just collapsed on the settee for the evening!!

We spent the following 5 days recovering and then headed up to Scotland for a week away – no phone – no TV and minimal shops!


Home again now  the Christmas preparations must begin if I am going to be ready on time – how is everyone else doing?

I have so much catching up to do with everyone’s news  – I feel like I have been away for ever and certainly missed everyone. x