decluttering, drEAming, fEAsible, financial focusing, general chit chat, managEAble, organising, rEArranging, trEAsury

tackling the paperwork mountain…

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…

 

 

 

 

 

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!