Day 27

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I’ve not updated for a few weeks.

I’ve bought some more Christmas presents to put away as some of the things I wanted for the wee one were on sale.  I’ve got things hidden all over the house now.  When we went up the loft to put these in there we found rolls of paper and hundreds of unused Christmas cards and tags so that will save me from buying them.

I found details for an old savings account at the bank that we had forgotten about and there was £116 in it so we’ve had it moved out and closed the account.

So far this month I’ve paid £553 towards different debts.  If I can I’d like to pay another £100 or so towards one of my cards.  I can’t decide whether to pay off the one with the highest interest first and save some money on interest or to pay off the ones with the smallest balances first so that I feel like I’m getting somewhere.  My smallest credit card has about £800 on it just now so I might tackle that one first and then go for the highest interest one so that I at least have one off my plate.

We go on holiday in 4 weeks.  It is all inclusive in a massive resort and my friends were there last year.  They said that the only thing they paid for at it were al acarte restaurants where you have to pay to reserve the table.  If we maybe only go once in the week to one of those then we won’t actually need much spending money at all.  It’s Turkey we are going to so we need to pay £10 each for the visa to get in so that should hopefully be the only other expense while we are away.

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Day 8

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We needed cat food and my friend had said to go to this B & M shop.  Went there and they have the Felix pouches for half the price that they are in the supermarket!  I don’t know how this is me just finding out about this shop.  I also got some cleaning products for really cheap in it.  Flash cleaning gel for 90p which is almost £3 in the supermarket.

Forgot about having a Graze box delivered once a fortnight so that is now cancelled.  I’ve also cancelled the window cleaning.  We were having it done every 2 weeks and it cost £5 a time but I’ll do the downstairs ones and when I feel like the upstairs needs done I’ll ring and have it as a one off.

I walked down to the gym last night where I would normally drive.  I was dying when I came out and had to walk home but the thought of the saving kept me going.

I’ve spoken to my manager and for the next few weeks I’m going to work from home.  I will need to run in the office to pick a few things up but I will work it so that I am going in and can do my food shopping near there at the same time to save on petrol.

I was looking in my bathroom cupboards and the big cupboard outside in the hall.  I have 12 bottles of shampoo and about 100 moisturisers!  I just keep buying them!  I’m not buying any sort of toiletries unless it is totally necessary until they are all used up.  We run out of toilet roll all the time but have a stock pile of stuff we never use!

Day 6

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I am working from home today which is great because not only does it mean I can do cleaning in between work but I am also saving money on petrol.  For some reason my fuel bill has jumped about £20 a week but I work closer to home now.  It must be that previously I was always driving on the motorway but now I’m going through towns and villages so using more.  I am going to see if I can work from home more often as it will save me so much on petrol.  I work on my own and it is an internet based system that I use so I don’t see why it would be a problem.  It also means I could start earlier and fit more work in as I am often later getting to work when I have to drop the wee one off at nursery.  It is 5 minutes from home so I could be at my desk by 8.05am if I am working from home.

I took all of our old clothes to cash4clothes and got £15 which was better than nothing if we’d taken them to the charity shop.  I’ve cancelled Lovefilm as we have the movies on our sky package so that’s £9.99 a month saved.

I’ve noticed we do stupid things like fill the sink up to wash the dishes and then walk away and leave it.  By the time I come back through the water is cold so I empty it and refill.  We must be wasting so much hot water because of this so it needs to stop because every little helps.

Day 5

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We had a really busy weekend and I had friends from University visiting us.  It has ended up being quite an expensive one.  We went to the cinema on Thursday night, were out for lunch, dinner and drinks on Friday night and then a party last night.

Having said that I have had a few money saving/making things happen this weekend.

I did an inventory of what was in the food cupboards and then went to Aldi and bought everything we need for the week and it only cost £22.50!!  I couldn’t believe it!  A Hovis loaf of bread was 75 pence and they are about £1.10 in Tesco.  I don’t think that you could get all your ingredients in it but I will be shopping there from now on.

I discovered I have almost £50 in Nectar points on my card so I can use them for Sainsbury’s if we need to get food items from there.  I also have £38 on my boots advantage card so I can use that near Christmas or if I need to get make up.

I saw an offer for the bodyshop where you were getting 40% off and also cashback through quidco so I bought a load of sets and that can be the presents for all of my friends for Christmas so that has saved me quite a bit.

I’ve been through all our wardrobes and we have filled about 3 black bags between the adults and then I had 3 bags just full of baby clothes that are too small (don’t even know why they were still in the drawers).  I would usually give them in to the charity shop but I’m going to take them to that cash for clothes place and see if I can make a couple of pounds.

Going to my grandparents for dinner today so that saves us on a meal a week too!

Day 2

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Last night I made a list up of all the bills I pay each month and marked which were essential.  I then went through the process of deciding which non essentials I could get rid of completely and if I could reduce the costs of any of the others.  So I have done the following:

Have been paying about £12 per month too much to electricity account so have reduced my direct debit by that amount.

Rang sky and have cancelled some channels and been given an offer which means it is almost half price.  Phone contract with another company is almost up so may move to sky for that too if there are offers on.

I have a budget for Christmas which I save a bit each month for and I have decided to reduce that amount and everyone will just have to make do.  I have already started buying toys for the kids in the family when I’ve seen sales on so I’m already a good chunk through my Christmas shopping.

I had been spending about £40 on going to exercise classes.  I have just found out that if you receive a working tax credit then the local council give you a reduction on a membership.  I have taken one out for £20 per month with no joining fee and I can use it for everything offered at all sport centres in our area.

Our spend on food shopping is normally about £200 per month.  I usually order a big shop of about £100 from Sainsburys at the beginning of the month and then the rest seems to be bits and bobs while running in to the local shop which is ridiculous.  I saw that advert on tv for Aldi where you have to switch and see if you can save on your weekly shop so I am going to try that.  We seem to waste a lot of food too and I think this is because I buy in bulk monthly.  I always seem to either run out of milk or the milk is off because it’s sat so long.  I’ve contacted the local milk man and I am going to have 4 pints delivered during the week.  It’s slightly more expensive than it would cost for a pint in the shop I think but it means we won’t run out and it won’t go off.

I buy my lunch at work almost every day even if there are leftovers.  I must spend at least £20 a week on lunches.  I will start buying food to make packed lunches up with and make sure I take on every day.  This will be a massive saving.

I’m going to have a look and see if I can find any work at home roles to try and make a little extra money which would help.  PS.  My partner just thinks this is me trying to save us some cash.

Day 1

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Yesterday I realised I had booked a £1,500 holiday this year but I was about £17,000 in debt.

I considered cancelling the holiday but I’ve already paid more than half of it.  I weighed up losing the money we’d paid or saving what we hadn’t.  I think I need this holiday as a treat and then I can properly tackles these debts head on.

I was about to say that I don’t know how I managed to rack up this much deby but I know exactly how it happened – too many cards available to me and I was treating them like free money and only paying back the minimum.  I’ve got 2 personal loans, a payday loan, 5 credit cards, a leased car and a bill that’s just come in from my old council saying they overpaid me housing benefit more than a year ago.  It was this letter coming in that made me stop and think.

I have been promoted at work and I earn a good salary.  I have a little girl who is a toddler.  I have been constantly spending on things for her and not worrying about paying for it if I stick it on a credit card.  She goes to several clubs and we go and do activities together.  Her dad pays the minimum in child maintenance as he is self employed and claims he has no money.  My own partner knows nothing about the amount of debt I am in so this is now my outlet and my way of getting it off my chest.

I’m going to list out what I owe, what I earn and over the next few days try and come up with a plan to start clearing this.  I’ve been going through moneysavingexpert and there are some great ideas for saving money and paying off debt but I’m just not sure what will work for me yet.

So:

Tesco Loan:  6500

Tesco Credit Card:  1600

Aqua Card:  2700

Vanquis Card:  750

CapitalOne Card:  1500

Shout Card:  100

Car:  2500

Council:  360

Overdraft:  1250

I earn £30k per year and get about £220 every 4 weeks in tax credit as my daughter is in nursery part of the week and then £81 every 4 weeks in child allowance.  I get £100 per month in maintenance from my daughter’s father.