Financial Review of Weeks 13, 14, 15, 16 (I’m sorry for the delay)

Here’s the thing about working 7 days a week. Even when the 6th and 7th days of working total just 8 hours you find you lack the time to get everything done.

My Blog has taken the hit.

I will proceed with the financial reviews:

FOOD AND HOUSEHOLD SHOPPING

Pizza, Pasta, Pasta Sauce, Cookies, Bread, Milk, Yogurt 8.35
Super Big Tesco Delivery 114.34
White Bread and Cucumber 1.15
Juice, Cheese Slice, Pasta, Pasta Sauce, Garlic Bread, Cheesecake, Bag for Life 8.14
Carrot Chips, Corn on the Cobs, Onion Rings, Chicken Strips, Chicken Popsters, Cheese Pizza x 2 11.98
Potatoes, Orange Juice, Carrots, Milk, Popcorn, Raspberries 5.99
Flu Powder, Face Wipes, Moisturiser, Hand Sanitiser 3.85
Toothpaste, Floss, Shower Gel, Handwash 4.86
Toothpaste, Soothers x 2, Vanish, Allergy Tablets, Toothbrush 7.45
Greaseproof Paper, Coconut Water x 4 2.75
Toothbrush Holder 0.29
Rolls and Lettuce 1.75
Spray Oil x 2, Laundry Cleanser x 2, Toilet Roll, Bag For Life, Laundry Bag 11.34
Massive Pizza, Jon Pizza, Cookies 6.5
milk 1.09
tortilla chips, rolls, cookies, gum 2.74
Milk, Carrots, Bag for Life 1.37
bread, doughnuts, garlic bread, lasagne, cucumber, parsnips, bag for life 6.6
Sweetcorn, Cheese Pizza 3.5
Orange Juice, Ice Creams x 2 3.9
Aqueous Cream, Hair Remover Cream, Bath Foam, Body Scrub, Razors, Face Masks x 3 7.87
Sprite Six Pack, Fanta Six Pack, Orangina, Garlic Pizza Bread, Canneloni, Bread, Cookies, Bag for life x 2 11.2
Colour Catchers, Cotton Pads, Toner, Hand Cream 6.56
Chicken Dippers, Marmite, Chicken Breast, Mince x 2, Peppers, Onion, Boy Pies 19.86
Prawn Crackers, Yoghurt 1.85

TOTAL SPENDS = £255.28 (WEEKLY AVERAGE = £63.82)

We are already over budget for this month of April and still have a week to go so it’s not going that well.

DISPOSABLE INCOME SPENDING

Milk for work 0.8 WORK EXPENSE
Gum 1.5 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Easter Egg for Jon 4 GIFTS
Prawn Sandwich 2.2 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Pie Minister 17 SOCIAL
2 x Sets of PJs 34.05 CLOTHING
Apple and Banana 0.67 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Tupperware From Paperchase 1 HOMEWARE
Ale 4.5 SOCIAL
Burger and Tea 10 SOCIAL
Pizza 6.5 SOCIAL
Shonen Knife T Shirt 15 CLOTHING
Make Up 30 MAKE UP
Subway 4 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Ale 3.65 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
2 Pairs of Trousers, Exercise Tights and Top 24.05 CLOTHING
Let’s Eat Grandma Ticket 10 SOCIAL
Peach Green Tea Lemonade 3.35 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Chiropractice Groupon 23.95 HOBBIES – HEALTH
Food for Homeless person 4.28 GIFTS
Plastic Cutlery 0.75 WORK EXPENSE
Water and Mango Coca Cola 1.8 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Pint of coke 1.99 SOCIAL
Lipbalm 1.2 MAKE UP
Chewing Gum 0.45 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Sweets 3 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Train to Grangetown 3.4 TRAVEL (DAY TO DAY)
Paying Postage on an unstamped card 2 POSTAGE AND PACKAGING
John Lewis Gift Card 15 GIFTS
Chocolate Treats for Hedy 2.5 GIFTS
Money for the Nie-phews 20 GIFTS
Posting the Kids Treats 6.9 POSTAGE AND PACKAGING
Indian Takeaway 16 SOCIAL
2 x Flat Whites 4.8 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Tissues for work 0.39 WORK EXPENSE
Milk for work 0.75 WORK EXPENSE
2 x Beers 7 SOCIAL
Posting parcel to Chris 1.87 POSTAGE AND PACKAGING
Boots Meal Deal 3.39 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Kimono 4.99 CLOTHING
coffee and apple 3.15 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Five Guys Burger, Fries and Drink 12.15 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Donation to Ben 15 GIFTS
Cookies and Donuts for a homeless person 0.78 GIFTS
Milk for work 0.8 WORK EXPENSE
Boots Meal Deal 3.39 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Next Voucher For Tudor 10 GIFTS
2 x Books 9.98 HOBBIES-BOOKS
Manics Vinyl 20.04 HOBBIES-MUSIC
2 x Cocktails 8.45 SOCIAL
Five Guys for 2 25.45 SOCIAL
Ice Cream 2.5 SOCIAL
Gum 0.5 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Fixing Jeans 5 CLOTHING MAINTENANCE
Jeans 5.99 CLOTHING
Milk for work 0.8 WORK EXPENSE

TOTAL SPENDS = A LOT (£421.66/WEEKLY AVERAGE = £105.42)

I promise I will be better at blogging from now on.

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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).

 

I just bought a £128.23 Amazon order for £4.27

Hi everyone.

Like some sort of money saving squirrel I have been storing my voucher ‘acorns’ for the winter.

And today I decided to get started on my Christmas shopping and bought 10 of the Christmas budget presents (this includes some December and January birthdays).

I used the Amazon vouchers I had earned through doing things like surveys and using phone apps.

These are all the things I did to help reach this bounty.

PHONE APPS

Shoppix and Shopprize (ask me for a referral code if you want a boost) and my beloved Job Spotter made up the bulk.

SURVEY SITES

Valued Opinions and Pinecone Research

OTHER

Shop and Scan. I felt like I had won the lottery when I was selected for Shop and Scan.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of how you can make money for minimal effort. I will explain more in another post coming soon. Now that I am unemployed I have a lot of time on my hands.

 

Eventually is where I got

Had a half day at work today. I celebrated having extra time at home by doing something extremely exciting and dangerous.

I did a complete food cupboard inventory.

Whaddaya mean that’s not dangerous? A tin could have fell off the shelf and hit my foot!

As mentioned before I have food hoarding tendencies. There are a few reasons for this but it mainly comes down to the fact that as a teenager my family struggled with money and we would frequently be making the best with the very little we had.

Sure none of us exactly looked like we were starving (I blame the three different types of potatoes we would usually have at meals to fill us up), but our diet wasn’t great. I didn’t know what a butternut squash was until I was about 16! And I am relatively knowledgeable…

As a result of being scared that the food will run out I have some pretty bizarre ’emergency’ food items in my cupboard.

Like a packet of instant mash potato.

I have never in my life, not even as a child, eaten instant mash potato. I don’t entirely believe that it actually contains any real food in it.

And yet in my cupboard proudly sits a packet, for a ‘just in case’ moment.

I also seem to have a split personality when it comes to food buying, as I have the ‘foodie’ side of me that loves cooking, that loves ‘weird and healthy’ things like nutritional yeast and quinoa and loves stocking up the cupboards with exotic ingredients…

And then I have the ‘F***, dinner needs making and I’ve only got 5 minutes’ side of me that loves quick fixes like crumble mix, instant noodles, pizzas and microwave rice.

There’s not much I can do at the moment. I spend 3.5 hours travelling to and from work each day, meaning during the week I am out of the house for over 60 hours. This is the price I pay for having a job I love, which is fine, I would rather have it this way round then a job over the road that I hate, but it does mean I am time poor during the week. The week tends to be about ‘surviving’ rather than living.

I also have a boyfriend who, bless him, is a bit fussy as an eater. He has moved on from the childhood phase of eating rice, chips and ketchup for dinner and is much more experimental when you compare it to how he used to be, but we are still at odds with what we like to eat.

This is a list of what I won’t eat:

Meat (I eat fish)

Tinned macaroni cheese (yuk!)

This is a list of what my boyfriend won’t eat:

Mushrooms

Bacon

Eggs

Mayonaise

All fish apart from scampi

Lamb

Pretty much all meat really other than beef, chicken and pork sausages

Garlic

Anything too ‘oniony’

Anything too spicy

Most pasta dishes as they are too ‘boring’

Any nuts of any description

Spinach

‘Stinky’ cheese

I don’t want it to seem like I am making fun of my boy, as people are allowed to have specific tastes (not eating meat is a pretty specific taste, I could be considered just as fussy easily), I’m more explaining why it is a bit hard for us to find meals that we both like to eat. For instance most of my boyfriends strongest dislikes (stinky cheese, garlic, fish, pasta, mushrooms) are my FAVOURITE things to eat.

But enough is enough, and I have decided I am not going to do any large food shops until I have cleared my cupboards of all the emergency/just in case/weird and healthy foods that I have collected.

I have a few things I specifically want to tackle in my cupboards and they are:

Bread Flour

Dried Soya Mince

2 x tins of rice pudding

bag of mixed seeds

jar of molasses

dried fruit

that darn instant mash potato

all my dried lentils and grains

2 x tins of broad beans

and my 13 other tins of various beans/pulses (how the hell do I have that many when only one of us eats them?)

I am going to try and make some new, interesting and cheap dishes that both my boyfriend and I can enjoy (or at the very least I like and I can take in to work as lunch)

First up I think will be broad bean pate.

And maybe some stinky cheese on the side.

How to save money on your shopping

Ever heard of extreme couponing?

It’s the act of collecting and stockpiling enough coupons that you can get something ridiculous like £1000 worth of groceries for 6p, or even free.

There is a hit US TV series of the same name which will help give you the gist of what it entails.

I am nowhere near those leagues yet, but then again I am a baby in terms of my time spent extreme couponing. But through a few hours of work sat watching the TV I have amassed a useful amount of coupons for my shopping.

Basically I won’t be running out of yogurts and tea bags anytime soon.

I started doing this in the Summer of 2016 when I was temporarily unemployed. I didn’t want my boyfriend to ‘suffer’ in terms of not having a fully stocked kitchen filled with all his favourite treats, but I needed to be a bit creative with how I food shopped.

I am the sort of person who always has a stockpile of cards and stamps, and I love writing and receiving letters, so what I did was of little hardship to me. I can understand it might not be to everyone’s taste, but here is how I saved money on my food shopping.

Basically I wrote to companies I liked, explaining how much I liked them, and I received coupons in return to save money on my shopping.

Here are my top tips.

  • Never ever directly ask for a coupon or voucher, even if you are complaining about something and feel it’s fair. I think it is human nature (or British nature) to feel a bit put out when someone demands something for free. I recently complained to a major supermarket about a perceived injustice. The injustice was to the matter of 20p. I didn’t ask for anything, just clearly stated my disappointment. They sent me a £5 voucher.
  • Be creative. It would not be unheard of to send a company you like a poem about how great they are or draw a picture about their brilliance (or get a willing child to do so). I haven’t gone to quite these extremes as I am not that talented, but what I do is send Thank You cards (£1.49 for ten in Card Factory) and decorated the cards and envelopes with stickers saying things like ‘Fab’ and ‘Good Work’.
  • Be truthful and specific. Companies love feedback. If you say something generic like ‘You’re great’ that won’t really be good for them, but if you say something like ‘Despite living on a strict food budget and having to buy own brand or value products, we would never compromise on the brilliant taste of X Product and always find the money to buy them.’ They will be more likely to reward you for some information they can take to their directors.
  • Be selective. Don’t write to every company under the sun as not only will you most likely waste all your profit on the stamp costs, but you can’t guarantee how much, if anything, the companies will give you in vouchers. Also you should write to companies you genuinely love as if you get a £1 voucher for a product you only sort of like which normally costs £4 anyway, you won’t really be motivated to use it and would therefore have wasted your time and money on the stamp.
  • Don’t expect immediate results as big companies have lots of mail/emails to go through, but you will hear from them eventually.
  • If you choose to go down the email route make sure you put your postal address in the email as they may send you a voucher in the post. A voucher sent to you is better as with print off vouchers you will normally have to download a (free) bit of software to make sure the barcode scans, but some supermarkets can be funny about print off vouchers.
  • When you have obtained your lovely vouchers, don’t head to the shops straight away. Instead head to the website mysupermarket.com and check to see which supermarket is selling it cheapest, or doing an offer on it. If you have a ‘One Free Product’ voucher, then it would be worth checking to see if a supermarket is selling if buy one get one free, because that way you’d get two for free. Also if you have a £2 voucher for a normally £3.50 product, it would be worth using mysupermarket to see if a supermarket is selling it for £2, as again you would get it for free that way.
  • It would be best to head to a major supermarket to use your vouchers, I know Savers don’t accept vouchers.
  • In my experience it would only be worth writing to a supermarket if you have a complaint. I have sent many (genuine) praiseful letters to my favourite supermarket and whilst they have been thankful for the feedback, they haven’t felt the need to reward my praise.
  • There are two websites, Everyday Caring (Johnson and Johnson) and Super Savvy Me (P&G) that have vouchers available all year round for free for the specified companies.
  • One of my favourite websites ever is the Money Saving Expert website, and they also have a supermarket vouchers section. They also use mysupermarket to tell you if the voucher will get you the product for free anywhere.
  • Whenever you are going to a chain restaurant look to see if they have a voucher offer on their website (maybe for signing up to their newsletter which you can always unsubscribe from) or see if they have an app as that may also give you a voucher. I joined the Hungry Horse newsletter and got a £5 off £15 on food voucher, and downloaded the TGI Friday’s app this year to get a free appetizer.
  • I know you may be thinking “who has time for all this?” and be put off. I won’t lie, it will take time, but it doesn’t have to be a chore, just do it whilst watching TV. The main way to think about it is like this-based on your hourly wage, if it takes you say 3 hours to earn £25, then would it be fair to say it should take 3 hours of effort to save £25?

Now I will get into the admin side of things. For anyone who likes spreadsheets this will be heaven. For anyone who doesn’t…maybe find some other way of doing this.

I have two spreadsheets for my coupon collection. One is a Profit and Loss spreadsheet, which I will talk about first. This takes into account how much I spent sending the letter to the company (stamp cost plus 15p for the card and envelope) and what I got in return. When I first started this in the summer I didn’t receive a coupon from every company I’d written to, but I had made nearly £30 in coupons, £15 of which was profit. Sure that may seem like a small amount, but the cards and stamps I already had, so they could have been considered a sunk cost. Any money I saved during the summer of the great unemployment was of great benefit to me.

(I’ll admit it’s probably only a loser like me who loves spreadsheets that would go to this much effort)

The second spreadsheet is one I would definitely recommend having. It’s just a simple way of keeping track of how much the coupon is for, if there are any conditions for using it, and when it expires. You don’t want to go to all that trouble of collecting these coupons only to have them go out of date. This is a good excuse to acquire a pretty folder.

I have now imparted all my wisdom. I hope some of this may help you.

Once again I am saved by my stockpile

So this morning I was about to make breakfast when I realised we only had a small amount of bread left, which I would have to leave for my boyfriend as he would kick off if he had to have anything other than a sandwich for lunch.

Luckily I remembered that I often secrete leftover slices of bread into the freezer for such an occasion as this, so a quick route around and I had the two slices I needed for my breakfast.

Ok, so they didn’t match, but I can live with that.

Today will not be a NSD (I haven’t managed one yet this week) as a coffee date I had arranged with a work colleague for yesterday had to be rescheduled for today.

I am really looking forward to this, and not just because I will be allowed to have an illicit takeaway coffee as I will be with someone and therefore it will be a ‘Social’ spend.

No, the reason why I’m looking forward to it is because I had struck up a conversation with this colleague at the Work’s Christmas do in December and I forget exactly how it came about but I discovered she had been in quite a lot of debt before and had managed to clear it. So we had a happy chat (if you can call it that) about debt, 0% Balance Transfer cards, the Money Saving Expert website and yearly budgets.

I belong to a forum about debt and post on there, so I know that people in debt exist but it is nice to meet someone in the flesh who has been through it all, it gives me hope that I won’t fail and that I will smash the debt.

My old friend Mr Anxiety strikes again

Today involved a fair bit of spending-all from the approved categories.

£1.10 for Milk (Work Expense), £3.90 Train fare to friends house (Travel Day to Day) and a £2 donation to my Boss’s maternity leave present (Gifts).

The reason why I was travelling to my friend’s house is because she is the Vice Captain of the girls football team I am a part of and we were having a theory session.

I started off in good spirits but soon my mood deteriorated.

The trouble is other than the hostess who I have been good friends with for years, I either know everyone else a little bit or not at all. Some people are new and I don’t even know their names yet.

Some would see this as an opportunity to get to know people, but I am scared and intimidated by these girls. They are all lovely, some of them I have spent a lot of time talking too and we have even competed in the same running events, but I am shy and feel too scared to strike up a conversation.

Why? Well I guess the answer is I think very little of myself. Indeed I have often wondered how other people’s insults could ever hurt me as I don’t think there is anyone on this planet who hates me more than I do.

Ultimately I think of myself as worthless, and I find it hard to talk to people and to get to know them because I am scared that the more I reveal myself the more they will hate me.

I am genuinely puzzled when people say nice things about me.

I think this is the route of why I got into debt. Part of me was desperately trying to be normal and liked. Have nice clothes so that people wouldn’t realise I was weird. Buy a round of drinks so that people would like me. Get people good gifts so they might just give me the time of day.

Yes, effectively I was trying to buy people’s affection.

I do have a strong core of friends who I am almost completely certain do like me for who I am. My problem is I need constant validation just to believe it.

When you feel bad about yourself you search for a quick buzz in whatever makes you feel good, no matter how temporary. So maybe it’s better that all I did was run up a lot of credit card debt then get addicted to drugs or alcohol, but my vice is just as damaging and will have a lasting impact on my life for the foreseeable future.

Some days I feel good about myself, and actually my debt has given me a drive and a focus that I have never had before. Bizarrely the thing that makes me happiest is my debt because I am obsessed with saving money, getting the best cash back deal, comparing price per gram across different foods and seeing the debt decrease month after month. I love everything about my tackling my debt, I just wish I didn’t have to be in this situation.