Frugal Living – part 3

A difficult month money-wise, between last post and this. My budget did not go to plan either – money I wanted to save, I ended up touching. I did end up putting some away, but not what I originally planned. I suppose I should be thankful that I did put something away, because I wasn’t expecting it to happen.

Starting to freeze my bread

I know a few of my friends do this and just take out what bread they need. I have just started doing this myself now and it makes it so much easier for me, than I realised. I wish I did this sooner. I have been careful in the past when buying bread, to reduce wastage. But doing it this way, is much easier I have discovered and I totally recommend it.

Do you freeze your bread and only take out what you need?

My monthly phone contract

I ran out of internet allowance on the final week, so I had to buy an add-on. This did not help my budget and I hope to not do this on next month’s. I do use wifi, but because of where I was and what I needed to do, I had to get one.

No more cling film

Now I have no microwave, I don’t need to buy anymore cling film, when I run out. The remainder I have, I have had since last year because I hardly used it. I don’t know how much I have left, as I have not really looked. But I would not be surprised if I still had this box next year.

What I am not allowing myself to buy

You may remember the book review I did, “The Year of Less,” by Cait Flanders. I’m using one of her tips I have not used before and that’s creating a list of items I am not allowed to buy, because I have plenty of it.

What I have banned myself from buying:

  • Perfumes
  • Moisturisers
  • Shampoo
  • Nail varnish

I meant to share this in an earlier frugal living post.

If you liked this post, you can find past frugal living posts by scrolling either to the right, or further down, depending on whether you are viewing my page from laptop, or a mobile device, clicking on frugal living, under the categories.

Frugal Living – part 2

At the end of the post of, “Chit-chat June, with a bit of frugal living,” I talked about how I was looking at alternatives for my internet. I shared there, how I found having a contract sim on my mobile was best and cheapest for me. Although I still was in a contract for my  internet, I decided to cut my losses with them and end my contract early and change to do what I need to now, to save money in the long-term.
I was so glad to see the back of them, due to their no customer service that I have experienced this year, which was not like them, in all the years I was with them before. With saving money as well on top, I just did not want to wait till end of contract.
I sorted out my monthly contract sim for my phone and this is where I will do everything, saving me mostly £3.52 per month, if I compare to how I did it before. But sometimes £13.52, when I had to top my phone up again. So if you see some weird typos in my blog posts, then this is the predictive text on my phone and me not being very watchful. But hopefully, I will get on with it this way, it just will take me longer to write-up a blog post possibly. I have to get on with it this way. 🙂 (This post was started on my computer, but finished on my phone.)

My new diary from next year, will be looking like this.

 

I know this is a long way off, but I wanted to sort out a diary that I would use at home, that I knew would work for me. Each year, I would normally buy two. A very small one that would fit in my work pocket and then an A5 size for home and to carry in my bag, when out and, about and not at work. Both diaries would have the same thing in, but the larger one with a little more detail at times. I like a larger diary to write in, so buying a smaller one for work, has been needed.

Last year, I had to create a large A3 monthly view calendar, because I found that I was double-booking myself. To explain how this was happening, would make it a very long post, but to put it short, what I was reading, my brain was feeling a bit scrambled by. So I used this in conjunction with my home diary, while at home and it worked for me.
As I know that a diary where I can see monthly works best for me visually and by printing off my own blanks to fill in, I thought I would look for free monthly A5 size blanks to fill in.
I bought an A5 folder from Amazon and punch my papers to place it inside and this is what I will be using next year. As I will be using this, I have saved some money by not buying an A5 size diary. Also, because I will be using an A5 size monthly planner, I won’t need to create my own A3 size version anymore. The the only diary I will be buying, is my pocket-size one, for work.

Sold some books

I sold four books via an online website and made just under £9 for them. These books were what I bought when learning to drive and as I know I will never have any intentions of future lessons, or wanting to drive, even if I had the money, so I was happy for the money received on these unwanted books.
This is something I have felt for the last three months now, where I know in my heart I don’t want to drive.
This feeling came about after chatting with a friend when she asked me, would I continue my driving lessons, had I had the money to? Originally I said yes, but when I got home, the days and now months later, I realise more that I don’t want to.

Saving inners from cereal boxes

I started the last few years, the lazy way of using instant mash, when I wanted mash potato. But I realise that if I start to buy my potatoes again for mash, as well as boiled, it would work out better savings wise. But I am aware that even just with a small bag of potatoes I buy, that I don’t want to let the others go to waste. So I have started doing something that my friend Kathryn suggested in a comment on, “Frugal living – part 1” and that’s save the inners from cereal boxes. As these bags are like a greaseproofy type bag, they will be excellent to save my diced potatoes in the freezer, for future mash potato.

A little downsizing and attempted saving

So as I talked about in “Chit-chat June, with a bit of frugal living,” I did a little bit of clearing; selling my unused/unloved Casio keyboard and the cat carrier that is not likely to get used anymore, which I said why in a past post, so not repeating here.
My bookcase I was originally going to sell, I was told of a charity that may have my large dining table I was giving away for free. So after looking them up, as I have never heard of them before, I emailed them and shared them my links to the adverts I had going for both of these items and they were happy to have them. So these will be collected by this charity next week and I have removed the ads. Although I was selling my bookcase originally, I was happy for the charity to have it, if they wanted the table, so it would be worth them collecting.
I have ordered a smaller white table with drop down sides, from a local shop. Although smaller, it will do me ok. Even for study!
Although books taken off my bookcase have nowhere to go, I am determined that I will work this out, whether now, or later when I move one day. They are in bags, but I have put them in a way that I know where a particular book is. When read, they will be one, or two books I will probably no longer need, so you never know, I may do a book giveaway again, for a chance of a lovely reader who may like it. But I’m not promising anything.
Doing this little downsizing by giving away the two furniture items and having a much smaller table in place, (that will fit through my door on moving day,) will help to give space that I may possibly need, when I find the right one-bed property.

The attempted saving

I saved on quite a bit of money, by having a second attempt at cutting back the over growing Buddleia from a neighbour’s yard and my over growing ivy. I made the second attempt one evening, where I hoped the pollen count would be lower than in the day. But with how the weather had been, I doubt the pollen count was low and it was still warm outside. But I got it done in the end and suffered with the effects of the hay fever for the next hour. My asthma, although aggravated, I thankfully did not need my inhaler.

Now the bit where I mention attempted saving.
I have saved some, but not all of it as I would liked. I had to rely on dipping into it, because of the disabled bus pass I lost. I have walked home some nights from work as you know already and god, I knew about it the second night walking home this week and the following morning.
I obviously bus it down to work, but there is also some days I will have to bus there and back till I receive my replacement, because of other things going off.
Also with something else going off, that I needed to get info on, to make sure it was happening when I was told and other info, meant I had to pay, to eat out. But in the end, I am just not worrying about it. There has been other important stuff going on, that just gives me the fuck it attitude. In the end, I have still saved and with the frugal spending I have each week and knowing I have saved more than I expected there… well, I’m not going to tick myself off.

Chit-chat June, with a bit of frugal living

On 19th June, after reading the Metro paper, I learnt that the ban on the sale of products that contain plastic microbeads had come into force. I am so happy to read this and it could not come soon enough. It’s been a ban that has been a long time coming. These tiny pieces of plastic affect sea life and are lethal to the sea creatures. Plastic microbeads were totally unnecessary in our products.

Walks, dvd’s and books

Like the previous month; ‘Chit-chat May,’ I had my walks out, watching dvd’s and into a couple of books, as well as my study. With the walks out in the sun, I should be ok with my vitamin D.
Speaking of vitamin D, since this post; ‘A bit of Vitamin D continued,’ I have decided to take this tablet daily all through the year, rather than just the autumn and winter months I was originally going to do.

I have chosen not to get the new album

The new album of Ben Howard; “Noonday Dream,” I was planning on buying originally, after listening to the preview samples of it on Amazon, I have chosen not to. I do not like this one, as I did when I bought the album, “Every Kingdom.”
But after coming across ‘2Cellos,’ via someones blog and looking them up further to listen more, I have bought their album, ‘Score.’ I found them relaxing to hear and surprisingly, I had the money to buy it.

Looking for that new home

I continue to bid for council properties in my chosen area as normal, but with one exception and that is my gut instinct I was ignoring, I am now listening to; an area I used to keep choosing because it regularly came up, when nowhere else did, I won’t choose anymore.
The only exception I would possibly be in this area, if the flat came up on the very outskirts in the opposite direction a couple of work colleagues walk home to and because it won’t be right central in the area, where it has known to be a bad area. But as big as this area is, choosing only that very small area on the very outskirts, it will not crop up often.
But if I had to live there, then it’s there I would feel safer, on the outskirts and where I feel my life would stay out of work, to a certain extent.

I have ignored my original plans of not looking privately. After decorating my two rooms where I currently live, I planned to stick out for this year. (Unless something came up from council.) But I have now ignored my original plans because a flat I happened to see when looking out of curiosity at what was going, appealed to me. I tried to forget about what I seen, but after two weeks of not being able to forget about it, I queried. I gave them details they required and then I viewed the one bed flat. The flat was lovely and perfect size for me, but because the shared entrance was dusty and musty, it affected my asthma.
I also know that for my money, I would get a better flat one day than that one, so I will be patient and keep looking. I know finding one will happen one day, but I won’t rush when it comes private. Since looking at that one, I will have a 2 months break of not looking private, then after that, depending, it may work out where I will stick it out. But it doesn’t mean I won’t look now and again. 🙂

Job interview I had

I talked about in ‘Chit-chat May,’ how I had a job interview. I was not impressed with it, so I had gone to the interview in looking forward to possibly working for them, but left because I had mixed feelings about the whole thing and a concern. I won’t go into detail here of my interview and exactly what happened, but it is not the first time I have had an interview with the same large company. The difference is, because of where my job would have been, means a different place where interview was held and different people doing it. But it still lead down to the same thing and feelings. I did not get the job in the end, but I wouldn’t have accepted. I did get feedback from my interview, that I shall take on board because I know I did not do well in the interview.  The feedback ended on a positive note how they would like me to apply for certain jobs, so I emailed a couple of questions I originally had, which they answered back to, but I doubt I will apply for anymore with them.  I continue to look elsewhere, while having email alerts for any jobs that may come up with the company I currently work for.

Study

I have passed my second assignment and looking at questions for assignment three, I know I won’t have any problems completing. All I need to do is sit down and get stuck in, reminding myself why I am doing this course.

I sold my cat carrier and Casio keyboard

I am not in a situation to have a cat and it will be a long time before I am, but I am also realising that if I was in a situation where I could, I don’t plan to have another cat. I’m not saying never, but it could be a good few years, even when I am in the right situation. I am enjoying the freedom of going out when I can, without the guilt of leaving a cat home alone and no, I have no plans to have two cats. So I sold my cat carrier, as there was no point holding onto it for many many years, with the possibility of never having another.
But this won’t mean by not having a cat myself, I won’t think of cats. I would like to still help Cats Protection where I had Miley from and where I would have future cats from, when I can, by donating things that will be useful to them, like cat food for example.

I also sold my Casio keyboard, for cash to put to other things, when in the end I did not use it much. It was better selling for cash than keeping. I have space too, where I originally had it and feel relaxed by seeing that space.

I’m also selling one of my small bookcases, just to shrink a little bit more in furniture, with knowing how small some flats can be, from ones I have viewed on in the past.
It’s an oak effect bookcase, with extra deep shelves. I bought this originally from Argos some years ago, so for any friends who live near me, if you would like this, or know someone who would like one, I am currently selling it for £5. Buyer to collect.

A special month

This month as been a particular special month for me. I finally got to meet up with a couple who I have not seen for many years since they retired. Although we email occasionally and keep in touch since they retired from the old work place I once worked at, I have not seen them for many years. Finally, we met up and chatted over a cuppa and we hope to do it again. They are a lovely couple, who I will never forget.

Frugal living – Money

As I mentioned in “Frugal living – part 1,” I had to change the way I shop. (See that post for more, which when you are on that post, scroll down to “Changing the way I shop.”) This topic now follows on from that.
When it comes to money, although I have got by, I want to save, without dipping into my savings every month. So although I do budget and I write every month my income and outgoings in a book, it was time to re-evaluate, to see if there is a chance to save something every month.
Although I was strict with my budget when it came to bills and put some savings away where I could, after this, the spending on groceries and going out, I was relaxed on. I have been relaxed with this part the last couple of years or three, because just for once, I wanted to enjoy myself and not think about this part. But things now have to change, because due to my savings and how my hours go up and down, I cannot rely on council tax benefit or housing benefit. Currently, I have no help with council tax and only a small help on housing benefit, so I never count this part, because I cannot rely on it.
Now last month, I was able to save more than I expected and I did not touch any savings. But this was due to back pay with hourly rate going up and also a fair bit of overtime I did.
This months pay is different and I could see I will have had to juggle and I thought I would not be able to put anything in my savings this month, but I have, hence i was able to buy the album I mentioned earlier in this post. Any change by the end of the month from my ‘groceries and going out’ budget, also gets put away and saved.
By juggling, I won’t need to touch my savings and things will be tighter than expected, because I am counting for every single pound and penny again.
I am going to have to be inventive when it comes to going out. This is nothing new, it’s I just have not done this since my early 30’s. So this month and the following months are going to be different.
When I choose to go out this month, it will be parks and packed lunches, otherwise staying at home.
Going out in a cafe this coming month is going to be only once to most twice this month, if it involves eating out and not just a drink.

I’m so glad I get help with prescriptions, dental and spectacles, but especially my prescription and dental. Had I no help here, my health would have declined.

Seeing my income and outcome is a reminder to me that it’s not just if I want to save for the holiday, but to live. But until I find that perfect morning cleaning job, I will get by as I have done so far. Until I get that other job, there will be no holiday for 5 days next year, only possibly the odd day trip. But as long as I am inventive on my local days out, I don’t see this being an issue.

And when I do get that second job, if at any point my hours were 30, or more, they’d be no way I would claim WTC again. (Working Tax Credits.) As much as this is supposed to be a benefit to help people, it can also cripple you, if you have a lot to pay back in overpayments. I thankfully only have an amount of under £50 to pay back after my DLA stopped and my hours never changed, but I know of some that have to pay thousands and with my hours now varying, I could see this easily happening to me. There is no way I would give the tax people a chance to cripple me, because of overpayments on WTC.

Frugal living –  Looking at alternatives for internet

It’s a long while before I can leave my internet contract, but as I know I will put my notice in when time comes up because of their below standard service earlier this year, I have started looking around. From looking around, I see having the internet and home phone (because there are never ones without landline,) will not be an option, because of how expensive it has become. It seems for me, the best contract is who I am now back with, with my pay as you go phone.
But until I make my full decision, this month I have been seeing if what I do when it comes to using the internet and everything else, can be achievable with my pay as you go phone. While doing this, I am seeing if it will work out more, or less than the contract I see so far that is best for me, using Wi-fi when there is one.
I started this challenge on the first of this month and it will end tonight, so some of my posts have been created from my phone, as well as when I have either left comments on my blog posts, or when I read other people’s blogs. So if you have spotted some weird typos, before I spot them, then this is why.
As this post airs, I already know what the results are for me and it turns out contract is way to go.