Financial Review of Week 6/52 2018

Hello all.

I am off work ill (again) which has finally made me realise I need to stop being so proud about not having had to see the Doctor since August 2017 and instead will have to go.

I realise my anxiety in the past has made me a bit of a hypochondriac and I didn’t want to waste any of the NHS’s money with my silly problems but the now persistent since the start of the year nausea, stomach cramps and retching have got to go.

And, no, I am not pregnant.

I am feeling a bit sorry for myself and anxious about letting my employer down which is counter productive to helping a painful stomach so I am trying to relax, but typically I am feeling the need to be some sort of productive, so let’s catch up on here.


I did a lot of little shops this week, and most of them were in Sainsbury’s, a store I typically don’t go into as the prices make me angry, but I had received lots of ‘Triple Nectar Point’ vouchers and I am trying to build up enough points in case Sainsbury’s do their Spring Double Up Deal (they cancelled it last year, but in the Autumn when they did it I scored these bargains).

Coleslaw, Cheesecake and Beetroot Shot £2.79

Baking Potatoes x 2 £0.63

Ketchup and Cucumber £2.30

Milk, Couscous, Beetroot Shot, Baguettes £4.19

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Pizza’s x 2, Gin and Tonic Cans x 4, Milk, Honey x 3, Tortilla Wraps, Sweet Potatoes, Pasta, Baking Potatoes, Frozen Berries, Greek Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Carrots, Parsnips, Bread, Rolls x 2, Eggs £25.23

The-Biggest-Box-Of-Rice-Krispies-In-The-World (1.1KG!!!) £2.68


(The Rice Krispies I bought because the 1.1KG box was cheaper than the 510g Box).

(I am now a bit addicted to Beetroot Shots).

(The honey was on special offer, that’s why I bought 3 of them).



Magazine and Newspaper £7.89

Race for Life 10k entry £14.99


Bag for life, Costa Coffee, Chocolate Bars x 3, Cheese Sandwich £4.70

Donation £2 

(Both the above were to a Homeless Man).


2 x Drinks £6

Veggie Burger, Chips and Tea £8.05


Return Bus Ticket £3



Not the most expensive week I have had, but I am on a much lower income so I need to be careful.

Officially I am not on a No Spend Year anymore, so I can buy things like Magazines now, but I still feel guilty, even though I love them (It was Women’s Health Magazine, surely that’s better than buying … OK or Heat or something, right?).



Financial Review of Week 3/52 2018

Hi everybody!

So it has taken me over a year to figure out a way to make these financial review posts look ‘pretty’.

I was thinking of looking at copyright free stock photos, or getting the boy to design some graphics for me, and last week it came to me, simply take a photo of what you bought that week.

I am sorry for being so stupid.

Let’s crack on.


Milk and Halloumi £3.09

Pizza, Sponges, Frozen Sweetcorn, Frozen Broccoli, Mango Chutney, Butterbeans, Chicken Fillets, Meat Pies, Frozen Berries, Orange Juice, Cornflour, Breadcrumbs, Milk x 2, Lemon Juice, Parmesan, Honey, Bread, Naan Bread, Mozzarella, Poppadoms, Self Raising Flour, Greek Yoghurt, Hand Gel, Cheese Rolls x 2, Parsnips, Celery, Apples, Lettuce, Carrots, Tomatoes, Cucumber, Eggs, Aubergine x 2 £26.59 

Vitamin C Tablets x 3, Face Wipes, Chapsticks x 2 £6.74

3 Baking Potatoes £0.93


The great things about this weeks food shopping is that we have a voucher for £5 off a £30 spend in Lidl, so our big shop was planned around that.



Bus Ticket x 2 = £2.60


Milk for work = £0.50


2 x Cards £1.18


2 x Drinks £7.30



I am hoping today will be a NSD (No spend day), and if so then I have met my target of 10 for the month.

I wish you all a pleasant Sunday, take care all.



My Top 15 Own Brand Products From Tesco

Disclaimer: The prices I quote are based on the price I paid when I most recently bought the product, so they may have changed by now. Also this post was entirely made by me and is not affiliated with or endorsed by Tesco in any way. I just merely wish to share the love I have for these products with other people.

Hi Everyone,

As you all know I am a big fan of ‘own brand’ products. In fact I would go as far as to say I am an own brand snob in that if a cheap own brand version of a product is available I will nearly always buy that.

In celebration of the BBC TV Series ‘Eat Well For Less’ being back on our screens (although it does end this week) here are my top own brand products from Tesco.

#1 Tesco Chocolate (Various Types)


Let’s start as all good things should start with chocolate.

Tesco have various different types of own brand chocolate bars available, including some fruit and nut versions of this type and also an economy brand which is even cheaper then these. But I choose this bar as it is supports the Rain Forest Alliance and also it gets big bonus points as unlike some cheap chocolate bars it doesn’t contain Palm Oil.

The milk chocolate is lovely, the white chocolate is very sweet, and the plain is perfect for a deep decadent hit and it is what I usually use in my chocolate recipes.

RETAIL FACTS – 75p for 150g

#2 and #3 Tesco Everyday Porridge Oats and Tesco Skimmed Milk Powder


Why did I put these two together?

For the simple fact that in my house they are always together.

I got this tip from Jack Monroe’s second cookbook where they explained if you mix milk powder with porridge oats and then add boiling water to a bowl of the stuff then BAM – instant porridge (no need for those fancy ass ready made pots).

So I tip both the milk powder and the porridge oats into a cereal container, give a mix and BOOM – instant porridge. When I use porridge oats in my baking it is always from this pre-made mix so I get a creaminess from the milk powder as well.

There is simply no need to spend loads of money on porridge oats.

RETAIL FACTS – Porridge oats 75p for 1kg, Skimmed Milk Powder £2 for 340g.

#4 and #5 Tesco Anti Bacterial Wipes (Lemon) and Washing up Liquid (Lemon)


Another dynamic duo. I chose these products as I have this belief that you should always buy cleaning products in a citrus scent as citrus fruits are usually used in old style cleaning methods, so I believe you get extra bang for your buck.

Speaking of bang for your buck, the prices of these are some of the best I have found.

RETAIL FACTS – Wipes 120 for £2.50 and Washing up liquid 740ml for 70p.

#6 Tesco Everyday Value Low Fat Cottage Cheese


I chose this because I want to highlight the difference between marked up products.

There is a certain brand of ‘Healthy’ Cottage Cheese that is about £1.20 for something like 63 calories per half container.

This is admittedly more calories…it contains 64 calories per half container, but it is 64p.

I think I can live with the extra two calories per tub more then I can live with the near double mark up on the other product.

It is great in my Macaroni Cheese.

RETAIL FACTS – 64p for 300g.

#7 Tesco Healthy Living Tikka Masala Sauce


One way to bring down the calories in our Indian ‘Fake Aways’.

RETAIL FACTS – 89p for 400g

#8 Tesco Everyday Mushy Peas


Cheap and tasty, better than Morrison’s own brand equivalent. An easy way to one of your five a day.

RETAIL FACTS – 20p for a 300g tin

#9 Tesco Everyday Passata 


The boy refuses to eat pasta if it is not drenched in a disgusting sugar and salt enhanced ready made pasta sauce, but I can sneak this past him. Another one of your five a day.

RETAIL FACTS – 35p for 400ml

#10 Tesco Tomato Puree


Perfect for pasta.

RETAIL FACTS – 50p for 200ml

#11 Tesco Soya Mince


This is another great product that is always on my monthly food shop. High in protein, tastes fantastic, the boy (who is a meat eater) will happily eat this without complaint, and a bargain price.

RETAIL FACTS – £1.75 for 454g (There are frequently multi buy offers though)

BONUS ITEM – Tesco Dried Soya Mince also is a staple in my cupboard, it’s something like 400g for £1.90, and the 400g makes up about 1200g, so bargain bargain bargain.

#12 Tesco Gold Coffee Refill Pack


Despite the fact I drink something like 10 cups of coffee a day, I am not a snob with roasts and things like that.

This is lovely though. And it comes in a handy refill pack which not only is cheaper but cuts down on it’s carbon footprint in terms of less lorries and the road and all that.

RETAIL FACTS – £4.15 for 300g

#13 Tesco Cocoa Powder


Perfect for baking, perfect for smoothies, I use it all the time.

RETAIL FACTS – £1.99 for 250g

#14 Tesco Healthy Living Mayonaise


Love mayonaise but don’t want to turn into a human vat of it?

This is only slightly more calories per table spoon then a big brand ‘lighter then light’ mayonaise, but a darn sight cheaper.

RETAIL FACTS – 75p for 450ml

#15 Tesco Tinned Chilli Con Carne


The boy, who has zero interest in cooking, needs simple things he can heat up when he has painting class (by the way, ‘the boy’ is how I refer to my boyfriend, but I realise I have made him sound like a 7 year old). This keeps him happy and out of trouble.

RETAILS FACTS – £1.50 for 400g

So there you have it, my favourite own brand products from Tesco. I plan on doing one for Morrisons as well as I am a supermarket slut and will shop nearly anywhere for the best deal.

October 2017 Accounts

So I got into debt in October. I have paid the debt in full, but I’ll explain how it happened.


(A quick recap. I do my monthly expenses posts based on the full calendar month, but my accounts posts run from payday to the day before the next payday).

WAGES £1215.03

PRESENT £50 (My dad sent me the money probably because he felt sorry for me)

SAVINGS £1.15 (Yes, that was the total of my savings)

SEALED POT £4.58 (This was one of those money tins that is hard to open)

TOPCASHBACK £20 (For switching energy suppliers)


TOTAL = £1297.73


Now time for the less fun bit.


Excess Food Budget Spends £51.67 (Seriously went over last month)

Expenses Post September Payday £47.09

Expenses Pre October Payday £313.58 

Bills £1142.50

TOTAL = £1554.84


MONEY IN (£1297.73) – MONEY OUT (£1554.84) = -£257.11

So I got into £257.11 of debt last month. This was the excess spends on my credit card I referred to in my previous post (see here if interested). I have paid that off in full now, so I am back to square one.

No more additional debt, just the horribly big underlying amount.


October 2017 Spending Review

Hi Everybody!

(I always begin these posts with ‘Hi Everybody!’ to try and attract attention for the posts which historically get the least views)

So time for an analysis of how my disposable income was spent in October. This is what I was calculating on my spreadsheet at 11.50 pm yesterday.

GIFTS £37.68

The majority was gifts for my work colleagues, a birthday present for a friend and a few treats for my parents.


Ok, so if I am doing a ‘No Spend Year’ I think it is fair to say that has been truly scrapped and it is fairer to call it a ‘Low Spend Year’.

This is high, and a lot of it could have been avoided. But it did include £34 on bra’s after it transpired I have been wearing the wrong size for somewhere between 3-6 years. I think you can forgive me for that.

By the way ladies, do get your breasts measured professionally. I have the happiest breasts ever now that they are safely and comfortably encased in a bra that support and fits and I don’t have to pull up the straps every 30 seconds.



Not bad, but all of those journeys could have been avoided if I had been less lazy.

HEALTH £10.67

Travel insurance to see Queen in December and gum, lots of gum. (Gum has been classified as a health expense because I have increased thirst due to my medication and chewing gum helps with that).

SOCIAL £130.16

Not bad, well actually it is a lot of money, but I had a good time.


Going to see my parents ‘daan sarfff’ (Down South, but in a south coast accent) and going to see my sister in Norwich (I don’t have that accent). This could have been a lot higher but I decided to get the coach to Norwich as it was only half the cost of the train and would only take 8 hours….

TOTAL SPENDS = £400.91

So, disclosure time.

About 5/8ths of that spending was put on my credit card. I have paid that credit card in full, but I had slipped into the habit of buying things when I didn’t actually have the money to buy them.

I am a bit scared of this, so didn’t put the food shopping on the credit card either like I have been doing recently as I don’t want to be reliant on it. I may put it somewhere safe at home.

When I applied for the credit card I set up the direct debit to be paid in full each month as I knew that if I did fall into bad habits that would force me to keep on the straight and narrow. It works a bit like a charge card.

Next up will be a post about my October 2017 accounts, so I have warned you.


Financial Review of Week 43

Hi everybody!

Well it is only three days late, here is the financial review of last week.


(Quite frankly an indecent sized) Pizza £3.65

Milk, Cheese, Toilet Roll, Bread, Bag for Life £5.96

B I G Online Morrison’s Food Shop £55.96

TOTAL = £65.57

This is reasonable, unfortunately the Boy may have run amok whilst he was at home alone what with me being away and I will come home to find receipts for all sorts of fancy crap.




Tea and 2 x Lime and Soda’s £3.40

Curry Night £10

Supplies for visiting family £14.22

Water and Chocolate £2.67

Train to Brighton £6.90

Tea and Cake £4.30

2 x Glasses of Wine £7.90

TOTAL = £49.39

Not bad considering payday happened. That usually causes me to bend the plastic friend.



5 x Bus Tickets £5.60



Cardigan (It is BEAUTIFUL though!) £4.99

Sandwich £1.50 (The sandwich was not beautiful)

Coffee £1

Sandwich £2.50

Coffee £1

Roll £2.30

2 x Sandwiches £3.20

Coffee £2.30

Coffee £2.59

Money Wise Magazine £3.95 (In theory it should save me money, right?)

TOTAL = £25.33

Am I Joey Tribbiani? I seem to eat a lot of sandwiches.



Lots of gum £6.46

Travel Insurance £2.23

TOTAL = £8.69



2 x Tea and a Coffee £6




Ok, so you know what I was saying about my spending not being bad?

Yeah, I screwed up.



Be Prepared to be Bored…6 Month Expenditure Comparisons

I decided that on the 1st of April 2015 I would start keeping a thorough spending diary. I said that this was because it was the start of a new tax year but really it was because I hadn’t had the idea in January.

I never expected to keep it up, but I did. And since that date not a single purchase has gone unnoticed.

I decided for sh**s and giggles to do a spending review at the end of September 2015, which sounds like I had given it a lot of thought but really it was because I hadn’t actually kept track of the spending in any formalised way, I had just shoved the receipts in a folder.

And then I decided to divide the spending into categories as by that point I had fallen in love with spreadsheets (they still remain one of the loves of my life).

I won’t bore you with gory details, but let’s look at some stats concerning my disposable income and food/household spending.

APRIL 2015 – SEPTEMBER 2015 TOTAL SPENDS = £3105.35

APRIL 2016 – SEPTEMBER 2016 TOTAL SPENDS = £3670.45

APRIL 2017 – SEPTEMBER 2017 TOTAL SPENDS = £2856.16


So this means…

Average spend per month (on food and fun times) in April 2015 – September 2015 = £517.55 

Average spend per month (on food and fun times) in April 2016 – September 2016 = £611.74

Average spend per month (on food and fun times) in April 2017 – September 2017 = £476.02

So compare this year, the ‘no spend year’ to the first year I started keeping records and my spending has decreased by £41.53 a month (or just over 8%). This is a saving of £249.18 during that time period.

Compare this year to last year, when I went off the rails during my four months of unemployment, and my spending has decreased by £135.72 a month (just over 22%). This is a saving of £814.32 during the same time period.

So for all my struggles with money, for all my cheeky contraband purchases now and again, for all my blog posts that begin ‘I have 72p to last me until payday’ this is clear, hard evidence that my sacrifices have been worth it, that I am making great strides towards paying off my debts, that I am doing well.

Can I get a pat on the back now?