This Wonderful World of Purchase Power: Financial Review of Week 8/52 2018

Ahem.

I spent more on Thursday and Friday on personal spends then I have in some months. In fact it is very easy to say I spent more this week than I have in some months.

It was all stuff that I needed, and also included The Boy’s birthday present, but the thing was I couldn’t really afford to buy any of it, so I put it on my credit card, reasoning that I had about 6 weeks before the next statement and therefore next due date to find the money. I figured I would do it in instalments.

But it turns out that I have such an aversion to owing money that yesterday I paid the card in full, even though none of the items had cleared yet so my account will be in credit first.

It may mean that I have to not have any fun until I have money again, but I’m glad my debt is cleared.

Let’s get down to business.

FOOD AND HOUSEHOLD SHOPPING

Milk £1.10

Bread, Cookies, Garlic Bread, Chilli Spices x 2, Spaghetti Bolognese Spices x 2 £6.10

Milk, Margarine, Pizza, Baguettes x 2, Pasta Sauce, Crisps, Baking Potatoes, Stew Pack, Apples £8.96

TOTAL = £16.16

Now let’s move on to the B I G spends.

DISPOSABLE INCOME SPENDING

WORK EXPENSES

3 x Cartons of milk £1.79

NON ESSENTIAL FOOD

Jacket Potato and tea £6.70

Coffee and Biscotti £4.15

GIFTS

Sweets for a work colleague £0.75

The Boy’s Birthday Treat Number 2 £63

BEAUTY 

Hair cut and tip £25

Hair Mask, Special Hair Brush and Hair Clips £7.72

CLOTHING

Running Trainers £108.05

16 Pairs of Pants/Knickers (4 x 4 packs) £20

Dressing Gown and Slippers £22.50

SOCIAL

Baguette and Wedges £4.15

Comedy Gig Tickets £6.50

Indian Takeaway £16.10

HEALTH

Dentist appointment £14

TRAVEL (DAY TO DAY)

Bus Ticket £1.60

(Let’s add up this scary amount of money)

TOTAL DISPOSABLE INCOME SPENDS = £302.01 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

TOTAL COMBINED SPENDING = £318.17

The funny thing is we are now £1.31 over the food shopping budget after doing the weekly shop, and I knew we only had a little bit left so I was saying to The Boy I wanted to restrict our spending to just the essentials. The Boy, who has plenty of money began ‘It’s great that you have a food budget and that you do all this, but….”

‘You don’t want to be deprived because you have lots of money’ I said.

‘….Yes’

Now, in order to try and claw back some self respect from you all, I will go through my ‘wombles’.*

10% Discount on the Running shoes = £12

Multi Buy savings on the Hair Products = £1.25

Free Biscuits that The Boy has brought back from work = £1.25

Using vouchers I had earned on the Dressing Gown and Slippers = £22

Watching a film for free at the Cinema through volunteering = £7.90

Total savings this week = £44.40

So it could have been a lot worse.

*Womble = Saving money, getting money off, or getting something for free. Based on The Wombles, a UK Children’s TV show about furry creatures who ‘make good use of the things that they find’ (that is a line from their song, yes, they had a song).

 

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Losing Weight the Frugal Way Part 6

In the last week I have officially lost 1/8th of a pound.

Hmm.

It may have had something to do with the Indian Takeaway The Boy and I had last night. And the 1.5 cookies I had.

So I could read it as I have lost more, but a night of excess undid the work.

The thing is, I have been very good, my running training has picked up to the next stage, I attended my first exercise class in about 4 years (this is a big deal for me as I am afraid of exercising around other people in a group setting due to my fears of being laughed at) and for the most part I have been following my calorie goal.

Was the takeaway worth it?

Yes.

Especially because I tried a different main dish to my usual, which made me feel like it was all worth it.

I know myself. I know being good is not something I can achieve 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I need ‘treat’s’, I definitely do not need them every day, no one needs them every day, but I need them every once in a while.

The old Flo, the old stupid Flo, who wasted all her time and money at things like Slimming World would have been devastated if I had had a bad week with them, and would have fallen into a vat of self despair and probably binge eating.

Now I just think, well, I’ll push myself a little harder at the gym this week and be a bit stricter with my calories. I mean, a bad week was going to happen at some point by the law of averages, just because I had a bad week it doesn’t mean the weight is now stuck to me and can never be removed no matter how hard I try. That’s silly.

I am feeling so good about my body right now. It may have only been a stone (I have about another 4 to go before I reach what is considered a healthy weight range for my height of 5 ft 7 inches) but I look noticeably slimmer, I look better, especially with my new hair (see how swishy it is! This haircut earned me a wolf whistle from 2 young scamps on my walk home from the hair dressers).

flo pic 2018

So this week hasn’t been particularly frugal, nor has it involved much weight loss, so erm, sorry about that.

On the plus side I did a 4 mile jog/walk thing this week. It took me 60 minutes but it was the most powerful I had ever felt on a ‘run’. I felt invincible. I think I really experienced the runner’s high then.

I feel in love with my life right now. Yeys!

Financial Review of Week 7/52 2018

Hi everybody,

I would like to thank all my followers, old and new, for reading, cheers!

Let’s see how I foolishly wasted wisely invested my money this week.

FOOD AND HOUSEHOLD SHOPPING

IMG_7496

Ice Cream, Milk, Golden Syrup £3.84

Milk, Wash Tablets, Orange Juice, Cheese, Frozen Sweetcorn, Apples, Rice, Prawn Crackers £14.92

Poppadoms £1.45

IMG_7498

Coconut Water x 4, Pizza x 2, Naan Bread, Poppadoms, Cookies x 2, Pilau Rice, Quorn Pieces, Quorn Mince, Baking Potatoes, Agave Syrup, Greek Yoghurt, Cucumber, Chicken Fillets £16.16

IMG_7497

Laundry Cleanser x 2, Washing Machine Cleaner £2.97

Beer x 3, Milkshake, Chocolate Treats x 2 £6.50 

Bread, Beetroot Shots x 2, Cayenne Shot £4

TOTAL SPENDS = £49.64

DISPOSABLE INCOME SPENDING

HOBBIES – HEALTH

2 x Magazines £8.40

Sports Watch £5.99

Race for Life Pretty Muddy £20

Magazine £4

Resistance Bands £3.50

(Total = £41.89)

POSTAGE AND PACKAGING

Stamps £7.80

GIFTS

Thank you cards £2.98

The Boy’s Birthday Treat Number 1 £30

TRAVEL (DAY TO DAY)

Taxi £2 (The Boy gave me £5 towards it)

Bus £3.40

HOMEWARE

Memory Box £2.49

SOCIAL 

Meal out with The Boy £20

CLOTHING

Work Trousers £5

Exercise Trousers £8

NON ESSENTIAL FOOD

Coffee £2.70

TOTAL DISPOSABLE INCOME SPENDING = £84.37 

TOTAL COMBINED SPENDING = £134.01

Losing Weight the Frugal Way Part 5

I have lost my first stone!

Ok, so I stood on the scales about 3 different times on various parts of the bathroom floor as the floor is uneven and I was trying to get an accurate reading, and maybe I stopped checking the levelness of the floor after I got a scale reading that confirmed I had lost my first stone…but if the only person I’m fooling is myself surely that is ok?

Hmmm.

The trouble is, I am keeping a bit quiet about it. Yes, I am posting about it on a public blog under my own name, and I have demanded that The Boy makes me another certificate marking my achievement, but I haven’t told any friends or work colleagues yet.

This is because since summer 2016 I have gone up and down and round and round the scales between about an 18 pound difference.

From 16 Stone to 14 Stone 10 Lbs.

That may be the first time I have publicly declared my weight, so please don’t judge me.

I started this weight loss adventure at 15 Stone 12.75 Lbs.

On Saturday, my official weigh in day, my weight was 14 Stone 11.25 Lbs.

I have lost over a stone in about 5 weeks.

More impressive than that (to me) is that I am training to learn how to run again, and the training plan I am following asks me to train/run 4 times a week.

Since starting that training plan I have not missed a single session.

I have to fit it around my life, and sometimes it has been tough, sometimes I do my ‘run’ on the treadmill at the gym rather than the streets, but I have done every single one.

But I am still keeping quiet about my weight loss, apart from with The Boy and all you guys reading, because it won’t be until I have lost that magic 19th lb (and weigh 14 Stone 9 Lbs) that I will feel the ‘curse’ is broken.

I am so glad I have lost this stone, because I cheated and booked a hair cut for Thursday, and didn’t want to cancel if I hadn’t lost the weight. My hair cut is my reward for losing a stone. But it is sort of being frugal because I am going to a beauty training college, and I haven’t had my hair cut in over 2 years so I think it is a necessity more than anything else. My split ends have split ends (sorry for being gross).

Now, onto the running.

I wanted to run the half marathon that takes place in my home town each October, but I couldn’t afford the entry fee.

The Boy rang me on Thursday after I had been to the gym (go me!).

‘Hi Flo, do you still want to run the half marathon?’

‘Yes, but I can’t afford it’

‘Well, this is your lucky day’

The Boy then proceeded to tell me that he had gone to sign up for a free place through his employer at an open event. He works for one of the Universities in our town. It was there he found out they had many free spaces going, and they were available for:

Staff

Students

Alumni

and…

Members of the public.

All I have to do is raise a set amount of sponsorship, which is the rather achievable £200.

The Boy and I are obviously being very mature about it and have decided to have a competition between us to see who raises the most money.

The bonus point is we could choose between 2 of their charities, and whilst both were worthy, we opted for the Mental Health charity because of my experiences.

So that is another frugal bonus, and a rather good ‘womble’ because I also got a free T Shirt and water bottle.

I am now Walk/Running 5K, and today was my Personal Best of the year at 41 Minutes 40 Seconds.

In more frugal news I bought a sports watch on Amazon using my vouchers which cost me just £5.99 after discounts.

The thing is, what I think is working for me, the reason why it is all going well, is because I am just doing it.

By which I mean, normally I overthink things to death, or I have an all or nothing approach and believe if I am not running 5k all the way on day one then I am a massive failure and waste of space. Normally I push myself to unrealistic targets and pick up an injury and then stupidly carry on until I really hurt myself and have to take 3 weeks off by which point the sofa has become rather comfy and pizza is very tasty.

I am being so sensible, and I am not doing anything with any fanfare or fuss. It’s not a case of before where I was like ‘I HAVE BEEN TO THE GYM, LOOK AT ME, I AM GREAT, I SHALL HAVE A BEER AS A REWARD’.

Instead I am just going to the gym, because….crucially…I want to.

I can see myself in the mirror, and although I still have a large belly and haven’t seemed to have dropped a dress size, there is definition to my stomach. They aren’t abs, they are my ‘fl-abs’. And I am very proud of them.

I am still drinking alcohol (in moderation), I am still eating treat meals (in moderation), but I am being healthy most of the time.

In regards to my running training, I have already repeated one week because I didn’t feel ready to progress, and I am going to do the same with this week’s training. Before I would have felt like I was being weak, now I know it is the reason why I am getting stronger.

I wish I knew what the secret was, because then I could market the hell out of it and pay off my debt very quickly, but I think it can be summed up with a famous sports brand’s slogan.

JUST DO IT.

Losing Weight the Frugal Way Week 4

2 weeks for the price of one in this blog post.

Over the last two weeks I lost 3 lbs on the 3rd of Feb, and a further 1 lb on the 10th of Feb. I knew my weight loss would naturally slow down as my body adjusted to the increase in exercise and decrease in high calorie foods but it was still slightly sad to have only lost a pound, but that is better than a gain.

I am doing really well at the gym, I am genuinely enjoying it, but it comes at a price. Long time readers will have noticed a decline in blog posts from me, and I haven’t been on my favourite forums for weeks, I have had to strip my life of the excess, not just in terms of food but in terms of keeping on top of things.

I work, I go to the gym, I try to do my 4 times a week Couch to 5k training, I do housework, I watch wrestling at times, I have regular baths (baths are such a treat for me as I usually only have time for a quick shower) but this leaves little room for browsing the internet, which I guess is fine? I mean if anything had to be cut it would be that, but I would like a little more free time to read and to write.

The panic is, and I am getting a little off topic from weight loss now, that I pretty much need to get a weekend job. Not in that it would be a good idea, or that it would help me clear my debt quicker, but I am only earning 15p above minimum wage, my income is less than £1000 a month, and I have increased my expenses by £50 a month with my gym and personal training.

Things are tight financially.

I need to buy new trainers, my current ones are 2 years old (nearly), but I don’t have the money. I need to pay back my sister £70, ideally by her birthday in April. I don’t have that either.

And Queen are touring the UK again.

But I am already struggling with my health and weight and ability to keep on top of everything and that is without a part time job on top of a full time job!!!!!

The other worry is I currently have the time, admittedly at the expense of chilling on forums, to dedicate to exercise and batch cooking and cooking from scratch.

If I get a part time job I am scared I will put the weight back on.

I survived (for the most part) doing a No Spend Year in 2017. I can clearly commit to a year long challenge, I could in theory do it again.

But a No Spend Year is a removal of something. Getting an extra job is an addition. I don’t think my life can take any more additions.

But time is running out. My goal is to be debt free and fat free by my 30th birthday.

Yes, it is more than a year away, but I have £4000 (nearly) of debt, and I am at least 3.5 stone overweight still, minimum.

I have a long way to go and things are difficult.

 

Financial and Personal Review of January 2018

Hi Everyone!!!!

So it is now mid-February, so I think I can safely say I survived January, let’s look at how well I survived January, financially and personally.

Long time readers of my blog will know I do financial reviews of my spending and accounts each month, but I have decided I will reflect on how I have developed on a personal level, or something like that.

FIRST OF ALL MY DISPOSABLE INCOME SPENDING……

WORK EXPENSES (Milk, Coffee, Things for my Desk) = £7.08

HOBBIES – BOOKS = £13.98

TRAVEL (DAY TO DAY) = £26.70

CLOTHING = £51.13

SOCIAL = £44.35

HOMEWARE = £17.51

GIFTS = £8.18

HOBBIES – HEALTH = £4.50

TOTAL SPENDS = £173.43

Not bad, I think it is clear I need about £200 as a disposable income each month, just to cover all my expenses.

JANUARY 2018 ACCOUNTS

I also like to look at my money in versus my money out each month.

Let’s have a gander.

MONEY IN

Christmas Present Money £120

Wages £144

Loan £750

TOTAL = £1014

MONEY OUT

Bills £674.15

Expenses post Dec payday £55.55

Expenses Pre Jan payday £147.13

TOTAL = £876.83

MONEY IN – MONEY OUT = £137.17

So I was in profit in January, of sorts. I did have to borrow money off The Boy, so I was not really in profit, but at least I didn’t spend more then I had.

PERSONAL REVIEW

In January I posted 2 Recipe posts.

I had 13 No Spend Days.

I (think I) read 2 books. I know I read 1, which was Dave Ramsey’s ‘Total Money Makeover’ , I sense that I read another one but I can’t remember what it was. Either way I need to read more.

I went to the gym 8 times and had one personal training session.

I believe I had 4 days of illness, boooooo!

I ‘wombled’ £197.76

I lost 8.625 pounds.

A good start to the year, but I want to do better.

 

 

 

Flo’s Gra-Yes-La*

*The title is my idea of humour, sorry.

I saw a lovely recipe for Granola in Gizzi Erskine’s ‘Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts’ which I have taken out of the library. The main appeal of the recipe was that it used dried apple and I had most of a bag of them left and they ‘technically’ expired…in November. So it was probably about time to use them up.

I didn’t have all the ingredients that Gizzi used, so this is my version, but I did use her cooking method, so give a clap to Miss Erskine.

If you have never heard of Gizzi Erskine, then do check her out, she has fab recipes, presented good shows on healthy eating and she responded to me on Twitter years ago, so she is nice as well.

FLO’S GRA-YES-LA

INGREDIENTS

150g Dried Apple, cut into small pieces

200g Porridge Oats

75g Pecans, cut into small pieces

100ml Honey

30ml Rapeseed Oil

1 tsp Vanilla Extract/vanilla bean paste

50g Mixed Seeds

25g Milled Flaxseed

1 tsp Cinnamon

METHOD

Add the cinnamon, oil, honey and vanilla extract to a bowl and slightly mix.

Add all the dried ingredients APART FROM the dried apple, and mix together.

Spread the Granola mix out across two baking trays, thinly.

Cook for 20 mins at Gas Mark 2 then add the dried apple and cook for a further 10 minutes.

TOP TIP – STERILISING JARS

Something as pretty as this shouldn’t be stored away in a tupperware, but I generally don’t use Kilner jars anymore, but wanted to for this.

I pulled the kilner jars down from the top of the cupboard where they had been for many a yonks and whilst you should always sterilise your jars, I knew it would be extra important now.

I washed the glass jars in very hot, soapy water. Then I rinsed them, placed all three in a roasting tray and when I took the granola out to cool from the oven I placed the jars in (so they were in at Gas Mark 2).

Leave inside the oven for about 20 minutes, then take out and leave to cool.

Fill with your lovely granola.

IMG_7494