drEAming, general chit chat

drEAming…back to normal

Back home, safe and sound now and back to work too this morning.

Tonight it felt like last week and the snow never happened – all melted away and everything quite calm.  Yesterday we journeyed 250 mile through parts of the country that had experienced heavy snow and the only road that wasn’t cleared was the one we live on – the forgotten cul-de-sac, forgotten by the council as they never send a gritter or snow plough down here.  As we live on a hill and can only get out by going uphill most residents have to park their cars on the road going down to the village when it snows – it is safer and usually more passable.

It wasn’t easy getting back into work today – I spent more than an hour alone reading the emails waiting in my inbox – most of them about the weather and who had struggled in and who was working at home and the offer of a free breakfast butty from our employers to the ones who had braved the snow.  I was very surprised to find the auditors had decided to call off their visit last Tuesday – they were put off by the threat of snow so after all that hard work preparing before my week away we have to wait now until after Easter.

After work we headed to Sainsbury’s to do the weekly shop – the vegetable aisle was quite bare in places, no cabbage, cauliflower or courgettes, the suppliers having difficulty providing the goods because of the snow.  I took advantage of a few grocery items on offer and stocked up on fresh eggs and bread – have you noticed toilet rolls are becoming much smaller, when I came to put them away tonight we had an old one at the back of the cupboard it was both taller and fatter than this more recent equivalent.

The second item we listed on eBay, the curved shower screen, has now been sold and waiting collection so on Thursday my first day off we will be listing a few more items – DH has already written the information ready for me to proof read and then we will have to decide on a price.   I don’t think this time round I will take that much notice of the eBay suggestions on price – I think we could have got a little bit more than we did for our goods given they were brand new and discontinued so very useful for the people who have bought them to be able to get hold of them – I know we have been in this position ourselves trying to find something that has been discontinued so I am more than pleased we have been able to help these buyers out.

We arrived home yesterday to only two letters after over a week away – that must be a first.  Usually we can’t open the door – though a lot of the mail waiting on the mat can often be junk.  We assumed that the postman probably hadn’t got round with the snow – we were probably right as today we had a flurry of mail.  Amongst the usual kind of business letters – my annual tax summary, annual pension statement, new terms and conditions for our banks etc (so plenty of bedtime reading) I had been sent a £5 reward voucher from Wyevale to use at their garden centres and a 20% off Neal’s Yard voucher code – so I can use this to buy my next lot of face cream and serum (one of my indulgences – I only hope it is working, but how would I know what my skin would be like if I used something else?  I can hardly compare unless I use different creams at the same time on the different halves of my face – but that sounds far too complicated for me!

Well my cosy bed beckons and I need my beauty sleep just in case the face cream needs a lot of help to rejuvenate my ageing skin.

Back soon x



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?