being thrifty, trEAsury

A huge sigh of relief…

Our audit is over and we are off contract notice which means we will all keep our jobs…phew!   Now I just have to catch up on all the work that didn’t get done because of the work for the audit and the endless meetings it involved.

On April 1st we are expected by the Legal Aid Agency (formerly the Legal Services Commission) to use completely new forms and have completed all the necessary training to cope with the many changes that are being implemented.  Of course we have a bit of a rush on at the moment because for those on benefits or a low income they can still get a divorce on Legal Aid up until the 1st April after which clients of any means will have to pay privately unless they are being subject to abuse and violence.  So if any of you were thinking of getting a divorce act now LOL!  Child care cases which are sadly on the increase will continue to be publicly funded.   I think the next few weeks are going to be a jumble of no-one knowing what they are supposed to be doing!  I am glad we will be having a rest from it all at Easter.  Oh and did I mention we are moving rooms within our offices that in itself is no easy task.  I am not sure if I will like my new view on the other side of the building but at least I think I am in with a chance of having a desk by a window.

Having finished work late again tonight the shopping at Wilkinsons and Boots did not happen and I will have to try again tomorrow.   In a way this worked out well as I arrived home to find a letter from Boots enclosing 8 vouchers with either extra advantage card points or money off.  The bad news was  I also received the Council tax bill!  That has increased by £33.68  about 2.4%.

I rearranged my hair appointment due tomorrow after work until after Easter mainly because my hair has not grown a lot and it will roll the cost over into Aprils spending.  I also forgot to take the plant food to work but I did remember to take some of the Leek and Potato soup which saves about £3.00 a day on lunches, in fact  I haven’t even opened my purse since Monday night.

All of these little spending cuts add up over time and help to keep the bank balance healthy.  Today was my pay day it is always on the 20th of the month and my better half gets paid at the end.  Due to the credit crunch my income has not seen any increase since 2007 and my husbands salary was cut by 25% in 2009 which is a big drop and there doesn’t seem any hope that it will be fully re-instated this year unless the economy improves.  However we have lived through three previous recessions so no doubt we will weather this storm too.  It hasn’t come at the best of times as we are trying to build up our savings ready for retirement which is looming on the horizon.

So with our bank account struggling after Christmas (or rather I was struggling with our bank account!)  I needed to stretch the money in there to make sure it would see us through to the next pay day on the 20th.  I just made it in February with about £5 to spare and I have  checked online today and the balance in our general account before my pay went in is £78.83. So a big improvement.  My next step is to stretch out our budget even more and increase this amount each month until my pay isn’t touched until the 1st of the following month so I need enough of a balance in the account to last us for the days between the 20th and the 31st. My eventual goal is to cut our spending enough to build up a surplus amount of money until we are  a wage in hand and therefore living off the previous months wages.

Bill Folder

From our general account we have a standing order at the beginning of the month to transfer money into a second account which we call our ‘bill’ account.  We add up all our known bills for the year after looking at last years figures and add on 10% for price increases and a further amount for contingencies, breakdowns and maintenance then divide this by 12.  We then transfer a twelfth every month.   This money is never touched for anything else so we always know our bills will be covered and paid on time and if anything breaks down we can afford to replace it just like this month with the two showers and a monitor screen.  Of course any surplus not used from one year is rolled over to the next.

My five tasks tomorrow (lets hope I do better)

  • Visit Boots, Wilkinsons and the Pound shops
  • Ring Mum and write to Mum in law
  • Put in 1 load of washing
  • Return books to Library
  • Post Anniversary card to my sister

How are you doing with your spending plan so far this year?

being thrifty, budgeting, trEAsury

Money Matters

On the budget side I am doing very well and spending very little during the week which is helping to rebalance my account after the heavy Christmas period.

I am continuing to shop at home in my cupboards – I haven’t bought a single hand wash since December thanks to the many I received as presents.  My only problem is I will never use all the matching hand cream.  I have been able to use tokens to buy as much as possible to restock things I have genuinely run out of and need and made use of any reward points and vouchers I have collected.

We continue to wade through the mountain of biscuits and chocolates received at Christmas and needless to say these items will not be replaced when gone as I expect we will be on a diet!

I watched Superscrimpers on TV the other night and tried one of the suggestions for getting the remains of the cream out of a tube and I have to say that a) it does work and b) I was shocked at how much cream remains in these tubes even after I have done everything to squeeze out the very last drop.  If you didn’t see the programme – basically you cut the end off the tube about 2/3rds down so that you can access the inside easily and then use this section as the lid…simples!

Before and after

During the rest of February and the beginning of March I aim to do a big Spring Clean of the house and use up the box full of cleaners that I have acquired since clearing out my mum in law’s house and this should free up some much-needed cupboard space.  Although I tend to use Ecover or green products I could not bear to throw away so many unused or partly used cleaners as it seemed such a waste even if they are not very environmentally friendly.  My house should certainly sparkle when I have finished.

Not surprisingly I have spent quite a bit on storage and organising products this month but mainly so that I can continue decluttering and re-organising my office / craft room and get it finished as soon as possible while I have the momentum and time.  Most of the things I have bought have been from Muji or Partners but disappointingly neither store have had sales or offers on the items I have wanted.

However, I was thrilled to find that the Muji drawer organiser trays that I bought, which come in different widths, fit my Ikea Alex drawer unit perfectly and even though it seems quite an extravagance to fit out a whole drawer at once I am thinking of it as a long-term investment as not only do they look good but are extremely versatile.