being thrifty, decorating, drEAming, financial focusing, general chit chat, homestEAding, trEAsury

‘dolly’ mixtures…

It has been a busy week again since we arrived home from a long weekend at the cottage/caravan.  Work was particularly pressured this week but I now have 5 days off to look forward to with having the extra Bank holiday day on Monday.

Today I would normally have been cleaning but decided instead to tackle the pile of paperwork that has been breeding accumulated on the desk and get back on top of the finances.  I have a number of tasks…

  • Find a new mobile provider – (once again, as sadly Sainsbury’s gave up last year as a provider) and now Talk Mobile are pulling out of their pay as you go which cost me all of £20 a year!   I am not a phone user so not really worth me being on a contract and the best coverage at our cottage / caravan is Vodaphone.  Their pay as you go is expensive so I am looking for a cheap, cheap, and even cheaper contract.  OH has one that is only £7.50 a month with bundles or whatever but I am not sure I can get that deal now.
  • Decide how to switch my new pension investment  – finally our firm has enrolled onto the people’s pension scheme and I had the first deduction taken this month from my salary.  As with OH pension I want to invest in an Ethical fund but the first pay in is into the default ordinary one so I need to read up on the instructions of how to change this online.  Looking at the figures on the handout we were given at the recent seminar the Ethical choice is doing relatively well.
  • Check our bank accounts and savings and update them.
  • Check over the renewed insurance policy for the cottage – a job I hate doing but must be done.
  • Switch energy provider – Npower are now for the chop.
  • Filing – plenty of it!

Once the paperwork is done my next task is to decide what is going back into the newly decorated bedroom.  We have assembled the Ikea wardrobes which have been fitted out with shelving rather than hanging and will be my linen cupboard and also house fabrics and sewing projects –  this will take the strain off the wardrobe in our main bedroom.  We have also bought a set of drawers so I have to decide where and how to store the items I am keeping and what is to be displayed.  My granddaughter will eventually stay in this room so I want it to look appealing to her and have a place for a few toys.

I removed a bag full of soft toys when we cleared out the room – this little rag doll is the same age as my elder daughter – 37 years old.  I made her as a sample for a sewing kit manufacturer interested in selling toy kits when I worked for New Look Patterns in the seventies and eighties in Bradford – some bloggers may remember them as Maudella.  We were updating the toy section of the catalogue at the time and I had great fun designing and developing a selection of toys.

She has always been called ‘Dolly” and here she is having a leisurely soak whilst her clothes are in the washer.

 

 

Meanwhile bunny and Ted have been spruced up in the washing machine together with a few other ‘friends’.

I had to make the awful decision to send one or two to the charity shop to be loved in a new home – what is it about soft toys that makes this such a hard job?

When my mum comes to stay she has little room to pack lots of toiletries in her case and they make it heavy so she keeps a spare set of basic things at our house.  I have put them all into a little guest basket for her and added in a couple of towels, face cloths and scented soaps – looks much prettier on the shelf now.

 

We needed a new blind for the Velux roof light as the old one had rotted in the sun.  When we checked the price we found they are nearly £100 now for a ‘proper’ Velux blind.  We came across an ordinary blind reduced to £6 in John Lewis and it just happened to be the same width so OH managed to carefully remove the fabric from the new blind and fix it onto the winding mechanism of the old blind.  Brilliant  – what a bargain.

I shall reveal all soon – just not been able to take any pictures yet.

 

Have a great weekend – back soon.

budgeting, fEAsible, financial focusing, my goals, trEAsury

Financial Focusing update #13

My last day today focusing on the finances.  It is funny that I should end my updates on number 13 – unlucky for some maybe but I have potentially saved a lot of money over the last month with my bills and my task today is to revise my Housekeeping budget.

I have noticed on my travels that one persons Housekeeping is not comparable to another as they encompass different categories.  So that you are not in any doubt I will set out exactly what comes under the heading of Housekeeping in this household.

  • Car Wash (hubby’s company car)  -birthdays and high days as they say – usually in preparation for my mums visits.  Mine stays dirty most of the time.
  • Extra Cleaning Products – usually from Wilkos
  • Groceries / Wholefoods / Drinks / cleaning products
  • Lunch and Snacks at work – these are bought lunches – the cost of packed lunches would come out of the groceries budget
  • Medicines / Remedies / Supplements – anything to make or keep me well
  • Mobile Phone – hubby – only used at the cottage
  • Mobile Phone – me – emergencies
  • Parking charges (non contract) – usually on shopping trips and days out
  • Petrol – my car
  • Postage
  • Stationery
  • Toiletries and make-up

For 2013 this is how my housekeeping spending looked

Housekeeping Budget for 2013

A grand total of £5,220.26 or £100.39 per week

If you look at the Groceries and wholefoods this is the biggest spend at £3168.98 or £60.94 per week.  £10 over my original budget of £50.

So my challenge now is to reduce the amount for the total Housekeeping and this will mean identifying where cuts can be made.

Toiletries and Makeup

The total spend on some items is more of a shock than others – £521.84 on Toiletries and make-up when I only wear a bit of mascara and lip-gloss.  The rest is on beauty creams (though they obviously don’t work that well for the money!), shampoo, shower gel, body cream and cotton wool.  I always use the Boots money off vouchers and gain points so I wonder what the full amount would have been.  I like the products I buy so I can only use less and make them last longer or ask for vouchers as birthday and Xmas gifts.

Medicines / Remedies / Supplements

The other shock is medicines, remedies and supplements – now this category may contain some wholefoods in the figures as some items are on the same till receipt and I may not have split them out.   The total was quite a shock and even though Vitamins and supplements are quite expensive £11.85 a week is a steep figure to keep healthy.   The only medicine I buy is dissolving Paracetamol as I have some training in using Homeopathic remedies.  The biggest spend will be the supplements which will include my daily Vit D, Krill oil, EPA oil and Vit B12, because I am vegetarian and  Aloe Vera juice and Acidophilus for my digestion.  I do believe in keeping myself as healthy as possible and I am hardly ever off sick – I certainly haven’t had a cold this year.   The Thyroxine that I take is free on prescription for life because I will be dependent on it for life and keeps me from being Hypothyroid.

Petrol

My petrol costs me £8.29 a week – again I will only fill up when I have a money off voucher from Sainsbury’s.  I must read up on how to cut fuel costs I think there are certain techniques you can employ when driving to reduce consumption and I don’t mean coasting down all the hills although we have plenty around here.  So just like turning your oven off for the last 5 minutes of cooking I could coast the last 1/2 mile to our house LOL!

Lunch and Snacks at work

My lunch and snacks are actually less than I expected and with more effort I could reduce further –  I had already decided to take two and buy two meals at work each week.  The summer is easier for packed lunches as there is a constant supply of salad – this weather I just want soup.   (Yes I know I could make it myself and I do at the weekend but then we eat it!)

Mobile phones

I topped up my mobile with £20 in February and December – I didn’t quite make the year but maybe could stretch the December top up over this coming year.  The only reason I ran out in December was because I broke down and the very inefficient Jobs Worth at One Call Insurance took so long to deal with the situation.  Don’t they know I am on a tight budget LOL!

Stationery

Stationery – what can I say  – the lure of Rymans is just too much for a girl and all those seemingly insignificant items like display books, plastic wallets, pens and filofax diary inserts that I have purchased over the course of the year just add up.  It is my one weakness (apart from magazines but luckily they come under Leisure in my budget).

So my aim is to reduce these amounts definitely by 10% and hopefully by 20% or more in some categories.

How does this look in figures – take a look at the chart below.

Housekeeping Budget for 2014

The groceries work out at £50 a week and this year I will work on the start I made last year to meet this target.

In addition to this category we have, of course, all the other extra items such as cards and gifts, household contents, decorating, garden requirements, leisure and entertainment, books and magazines, crafts and hobbies and I will be coming to these but maybe not today.

So there we are January is well and truly over now and although I have not done every task on my list I feel my finances have had a good overhaul.  I will be carrying on throughout the year especially reducing the housekeeping which I will log on my blog rerouted.  I will also do occasional update reports but for February my attention will be on my next project.

Have a good weekend x