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

being thrifty, trEAsure, trEAsury

My little Treasure Trove…

When we were up in Scotland at our cottage over the bank holiday I went to all my favourite places in our nearby (only) town.  They are predominantly independent shops that have been there since my hubby was a wee lad.

In the stationers Moodys I bought old fashioned Cash books – I use these for my day to day shopping and tracking expenses…

and Sweet cases ready for Christmas when I hope to make some more chocolates for presents.  They have some pretty coloured ‘Christmassey’ foil ones and some stylish plain black paper ones.

From the hardware store Reids I found these clear Christmas craft stamps in the sale and thought I could probably use them to make some cards or gift tags – reduced from £11.50 to £4.  Too much of a bargain to pass over.

On the way back home we called at the Tebay motorway services and I found a book on Places for Afternoon Tea – just right for a stocking filler for mum or part of a food hamper for my little sis for Christmas.

I also found these grow your own Cosmos pouches which I thought would be lovely for my two friends birthdays in October.

And this beautiful paper which is quite thick like handmade –  I thought I would use it to make little present bags.

We also called at Tesco where I bought one of their cards for a £1  – I have so many September birthdays at work and I know I won’t get to make any cards at the moment. The special ‘This is a hug…’ card is for my colleague and best mate at work who goes in to have her mastectomy on Wednesday morning.All in all I arrived back home with a nice little treasure trove and felt extremely pleased with myself.

Is anyone else thinking about Christmas yet?  I generally use this period to gather bits and pieces together as I see them but try not to think about it too much until much nearer the time otherwise it would spoil being able to fully enjoy the Autumn season.

mEAndering, out and about, trEAsure

Just a perfect day

On Saturday we had a lovely day out in Shrewsbury the weather being unusually dry and sunny after a week of never-ending rain although there was still that nip in the air.

A view of the Dingle in the park

We had lunch in the Good Life in Barracks Passage off Wyle Cop – one of our favourite vegetarian restaurants which we first discovered in the early seventies and their varied menu and quality of food is as good now as then.  If you like vegetarian food and are keen to try things like Nutloaf (the walnut and rice is the best) accompanied with a whole range of different salads then I can recommend this place.  I don’t have a picture although you can Google Image it and this is their website address –  www.goodlife-shrewsbury.co.uk.

Afterwards we visited my mother in law in her care home and had a lovely day together.  Before we set off for home we had a browse in Paperchase and Vinegar Hill and then found an independent stationery store called Write Here on the high street – find them at  www.writehere-uk.com.

Browsing amongst  the cards and stationery products, which is one of my favourite pursuits, I suddenly came across and fell in love with my new purchase – let me introduce you to the Lamy Logo.

When I went into the shop I didn’t even know I wanted a fountain pen but in the end I couldn’t bear to leave without one!  I would normally prefer the finer nibs but after being able to test drive a medium, a fine and an ultra fine I settled on the medium as this was the one that allowed the ink to flow on the page and didn’t feel scratchy.  The sales person  had the patience of a saint as I tried to decide between the selection of finishes, nibs and ink colour – it was already 5.30 on Saturday afternoon but he was as attentive as if I was his first customer and nothing was too much trouble.  So thank you very much Mr Write Here – I hope I didn’t make you too late for your tea and by the way if you didn’t realise before I absolutely l o v e my new Lamy it fits perfectly into my filofax pen holder. Ink pens are so much nicer than ball point or gel pens and I am convinced I make better notes!

Just a perfect end to a lovely day.