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.


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 – 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

budgeting, getting things done, managEAble, trEAsury

I’m pretty impressed

My first day back at work yesterday and I felt a bit like the new kid on the block.  I felt I had almost forgotten how to do my job – but like riding a bike or driving a car you never really forget and once I got going again everything fell into place.

I must say that I was pretty impressed with myself after my good talking to the other day and I managed to get myself prepared for work the night before and everything went like clockwork and even better I managed a whole day at work without spending a penny.  I had taken a healthy lunch and snacks and after finishing on time I even avoided the temptation to sneak down to the shops or pop into Sainsbury’s and hover around the magazine section.

I was extremely tired when I got home and tea was a homemade and made up version of a Vegetarian Bolognese with Tacos rather than spaghetti.  I have found having a meal plan is very helpful and I must get back to trying to use up the store cupboard items especially as our bank balance remains quite low.  Since Christmas I have not been able to replenish the extra cash we had in there probably because I have spent quite a bit on organising items which do seem to come expensive.

I have been hunting for a plastic box or two to contain the extra wine glasses I have in case of a party.  I cannot keep them with the usual glasses in my cabinet as there are too many and I don’t want to get rid of them because in the event of a party they are so useful.  I have a space at the back of my corner cupboard – one of those spaces that you have to be a contortionists to get into and cannot keep anything in there that is used with any frequency.  So far the glasses have been stored in two cardboard boxes but I prefer to see the contents to remind me they are there so I have bought 2 different sized plastic storage boxes so far but was not very excited by the fit of either (I am far to much of a neat freak to hve just any old box –  I have to have the most perfect one) and then yesterday I tried out the most recent purchase of a Really Useful Box which is shallow and stackable from Rymans and BINGO I think this is the one although far more expensive than I wanted to pay!  My dilemma now is do I return the other boxes to the shops for a refund or use them for something else?

I was pleased though that our grocery bills are quite a bit lower and of course I am saving on the cost of extra magazines.  January we spent a total of £177.93 on groceries, cleaning products, toiletries and magazines – which I collectively call Housekeeping and Food an average of £45 each week for four of us (at the moment as my daughter and her partner are staying with us).  In February we spent a total of £340.34 an average of £85 each week.

The January bill was much lower because we had quite a bit of food left over from the Christmas period in the cupboards and freezer.  In February I also took advantage of the 3 for 2 offers on toiletries and used some of the coupons I had collected.  I do need to sit down and set a proper realistic budget for the Housekeeping and Food but that will have to be another day as at the moment the decluttering and organising and Big Spring Cleanup is taking priority.

Today I am preparing ahead for my sister’s wedding next weekend – did I just say that? – you see I am getting the hang of this preparation – normally I would have done this next Friday before we set off.  I have been packing my toiletries bag and labelling pots and jars.I have a few travel sized products that I have bought specially such as the deodorant and mousse but other items I decant from my usual larger size into travel pots and bottles.

I love these small pots that I have saved and washed after using the previous contents.  They are from the Boots Botanics range and contained different Body Butters.  Unfortunately you can only buy them in a set of three now rather than singularly as before but I did discover the same pots being used for the Boots Vitamin E moisturiser in their travel section.

These are two new products that I have bought in Boots to try – my hair tends to go quite soft and flat as it is very fine and I need a little bit of lift – what a shame there isn’t the same thing for my sagging skin!

And here we are all put together in a neat little hold all which was a present from my mum.  I haven’t used it before so will see how useful it is at the weekend.  I have still a few items to add to the bag but at least I have made a start.