Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Money!

A very uninspired title but it's all about money. Having our monthly chat about the budget, work, food, fun and the future we decided to do things properly. On Dan's saving scale of "nothing" to "push push push" we're currently closer to "nothing" and from this month are moving closer to "push push push". 

We're going to almost double the savings, the actual savings, not including the money we stick aside for specs, contacts, vet visits, car stuff etc. We want to feel as though we're saving, not just coast along with what we're doing now. 

We're going to do it the small way. There aren't too many big sacrifice-free savings so we're doing the small but beautiful things like switching mobile contracts, ditching the car, not having big days out, not eating out, getting more stuff done around the house, spending more time at the beach, walking for recreation etc. The truth is, once the money has been stashed then that's that, whatever cash is left is what we have so there's not much planning to be done. It's all just living. 

Monday, 29 April 2013

April Round Up

We spent all the money. On things, lots of the things were bottles of Stringers Dry Stout. Can't think of much else. We were also £90 under savings target as we gave £100 to the rescue we got the buns from, they need the cash. But then we had £10 in the bank so that's back in the ISA.

Erm, that's it! There's enough cash to buy bunny greens and milk if we need it but other than that the cash has gone. I'm doing a bit of a batch cook this afternoon to use up all the bits and bobs from the fridge and that's a thing. I'll be making veg pasties, a tagine thing, curry, lentil bol and maybe chilli if there's enough veg. 

Oh yes, I was very brave and allowed the stocks of toilet paper to dwindle. I usually panic when we only have two in stock and now we have none in stock. Ha! Staring danger in the face.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Outdoor Room

When we moved here the garden was a state, it still is. Father and Dan have chopped back all the shrubbery, so we've gained about 9ft extra width but the birds have lost lots of hidey holes. Last time they ventured out there Father found a silver birch we didn't know we had and many many many crocosmia (which is a bonus as I am after a retro garden).

We're now balancing the desire to have a nice garden with the lack of drive to spend time doing the work and the wish to spend as little cash doing it as possible. I'm not at a point where I want to grow things from seeds, we don't have window sills here so there's nowhere to have seedlings growing (thankfully, it would drive me nuts). I find it hard to buy bedding plants because I know I won't appreciate them for the short amount of time they'd be alive. Dan has very few opinions either way but he has an emotional response to alpines. So we have a lot of them.

We also have bulbs, bulbs are great aren't they? Inexpensive (we bought ours from Home Bargains), once they're in that's it, they just take care of themselves and they look great. What could be better? Alpines aren't the same as that but they do offer good value imo. You buy a tiny plant for a couple of quid, stick it in the ground with some stones then in a couple of months it's big enough to chop up to make another plant. Bargain!

We don't have much in the way of landscaping yet. When we started the alpine bit of the garden Dan found three big white stones so they offer a bit of excitement for plants to grow over but that's all for now. The compost bin building might happen next weekend so maybe Father will have his thinking cap on and make something from the assorted junk we have lying about the place.

Any frugal gardening tips are welcome, although as discussed I'm not at a point where I'm keeping old kitchen roll tubes or making cloches out of milk bottles!

Friday, 26 April 2013

What I Don't Like

I've been a bit negative this week, so here's a list of things I just don't like - 

yoghurt advertising - indulgent "me time" treat, I don't think so
cheese
the music and mythology of David Bowie
marathons
John Inverdale
the endless stream of people knocking at my door trying to sell me things
cats
crochet snobbery 
grammar/language change snobs 
pinterest (especially when concerned with grammar)
waiting
the inefficient nature of petrol stations

Thursday, 25 April 2013

My One Night Stand

With My Fitness Pal is over. And I'm glad, it wasn't great, or fun, or even interesting. It was very much the morning after the night before. 

So that's good. 

Grocery spend for this week is currently at a very low and respectable £15.06, I even bought some reduced things from the Co-op on the way back from having my wig chopped. It was all veg - take that diet tracker! We will for some reason be getting some cash back when the mortgage switch happens next week *hooray* aaaaaand that's about it. With just this weekend to negotiate we have cash in the bank, the weekend budget, enough petrol to get us to Widnes v Wakefield and back and enough petrol to get us to Clitheroe to the Craft Open at the Platform Gallery. Now if I can just avoid temptation at Byrnes I think we'll be ok.

Finally, congratulations to the delightful Rhys Hanbury for making the 27 man Exiles squad. You deserve it Rhys!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Micro-Managed To A Standstill

I signed up for My Fitness Pal. 

It is not my pal, it made me very sad. It made Dan furious. 

I don't think I'm going to be using it for very long. 

All this misery and sore buttocks for 0.6lbs a week. I don't flaming well think so. I'd rather not know then eventually discover my skirt was a bit less tight. No wonder people on diets are so miserable. Tracking and writing everything down doesn't make me feel in control (unlike a spending diary) it makes me think about food, food and more food. That's not a happy state of affairs. I'm like that episode of Father Ted where they all gave something up for Lent and Jack saw people as giant glasses of stout. 

On the plus side, it was free. In other good news I'm on my way to finding the £30 I need to make amends for not doing the Money Supermarket thing. Found 7p in my pocket, 3p on the floor, £1 in the window cleaning wallet and had £4.02 left over from the shopping budget this week. How much is that? 

In more bad news we've heard the news about My Bad Boyfriend. He's off to Oz, but not yet, so no sniffling into my hanky for a wee while longer.

Monday, 22 April 2013

April Menu Plan

We did the plan last night. Again, it's a simple thing. I know a lot of people have a problem with planning first because what you want might not be available or something else might be cheaper but I don't see that as a problem for planning. The plan is something that guides me towards what we're going to have. So if I get to the shop and the don't have whatever it is then I buy something that will do the trick. If we said we wanted tacos but find some wraps in the pantry then we'll use them - tacos is kind of shorthand for "something spicy involving lots of cumin, chipotles and beans. If a recipe has certain veg in it but other veg a cheaper then we'll buy what's cheap, it's not a big deal. Far from being regimented or there to scupper my creativity (not that I wish to have creativity where cooking is concerned) it frees me up.

Also, back on the diet thing as of yesterday. I'd already done 45 minutes exercise, had a shower and was ready to eat a banana by half nine so that's better than a kick in the face.

Anyway, here's the list, yep, we're going through a rice phase-  

1. snacky (me only)
2. pasta
3. curry
4. out

5. out
6. toasties
7. lentil bol
8. ratatouille w harissa potatoes
9. jambalaya/khao pad
10 curry
11 singapore noodles

12 stirfry w rice
13 gigantes plaki w herb potatoes
14 kofta w tabbouleh
15 l/o
16 tacos
17 curry
18 pizza

19 pasta
20 pilaf
21 moussaka
22 fajitas
23 chilli w l/o wraps
24 curry
25 beans and wedges
26 pasta bake
27 falafel, bulghur and whatever else is in the fridge
28 out
29 gigantes plaki
30 tagine 
31 curry
 



Sunday, 21 April 2013

New Phone, HOORAY!!!

I'm sure I've mentioned 87 times or more that my phone drowned in July during a downpour when we went to watch Widnes play Bradford at Odsal. Since then I've been using an old skool huge thing, so ridiculous it never leaves the house. 

Today I have a new, to me, phone. Dan's workmate is a total geek (as worked out using the official venn diagram) and has more technology than anyone else I am aware of. So now after the exchange of £20, bargained up from the tenner he suggested as a sale price, I have a new phone. Not that one, I have Dan's old phone - the one with the A key that sticks so it looks like I'm texting in some kind of Allo Allo Italian style, I like that about it. But it is small enough to take outside (even if I can't be trusted with it), has a battery life of more than 48 minutes and doesn't crash every time I view a picture on facebook. Plus now neither of us has to try to negotiate the whole "upgrade" thing when that time comes around in a month or so. 

By the way, I am a dweeb.

Diet Update

Not going well. Never mind.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Friday

9am

where am I? at home

what am I wearing? blue trousers, green top, walking trainers

what's the sky like? overcast but promising

what's motivating me? getting ready for a tramp out, the park, a fry up

2pm


what am I wearing? as 9am

what's the sky like? beautiful blue with plenty of sunshine

what's motivating me? Having the grand tour, oystercatchers, miles of sand, lighthouses

5pm

where am I? Booths!

what am I wearing? as 2pm but with grey converse on my feet

what's the sky like? cloudy blue

what's motivating me? beer and tomatoes

Thursday, 18 April 2013

30 Ways To Save One Pound

This is just about how I feel, not being negative about the competition in general or anyone who has chosen to take advantage of the free cash!

It's virtually impossible to avoid this competition at the minute. So I've been thinking about it and I don't have 30 tips. Not 30 tips that apply to me. We've all read the same tips over and over and they're great inspiration but if I want to stick my name on something then I want it to be about things I actually do, not just any old thing just for the sake of it. 

We don't shop enough to cut stuff out, there's so much stuff that we just don't do that we couldn't save money on them, like drinking water instead of pop, ditching the daily coffee, taking a packed lunch instead of buying one out etc. If we spend money on something it's because that thing has earned a place in our budget, some of it is money saving, some of it we can pay for because we've done the big money saving things. We buy in a very deliberate way, we don't carry a surplus of food, craft materials, clothes etc, no matter how cheap they are.  As I've said before, we don't do lots of the stuff that frugal types do and I'm not going to pretend I do for £30. 

I suppose folk might think I'm daft to blow this up out of proportion and turn my back on free cash. But this is about representing myself and if I'm not being honest about what I do here then why write anything at all?

Challenge - find £30 extra for the change jar in the next month.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Car, Kitchen, Bathroom

Along with the fully funded emergency fund we want/need to save up for a new car, a new bathroom and a new kitchen. We've had this car since 2008 so hopefully we'll have it for a few years yet - long enough to save for a new one. The kitchen was the cheapest of the cheap kitchen stuck in by the daughter of the previous owner for when this house was a rental - it's awful, I feel the cash draining from my bank account whenever I use the oven. the bathroom, well, other than the addition of a shower it's as old as the house, 45 years. It's in broadly feasible condition but there are a lot of cracked tiles, the bath has unattractive brown patches and it's just old and unloved. 

We won't borrow money for this kind of stuff so we have to save for it. Feels like a big task at the minute but I think we're just going to have to work on an every penny counts basis to get us there.

When we saved for our current car things were good, we used the cash from our debt snowball to pay for it so there was a little pain but not much. We lived in a cheap house and had a fair bit of cash sloshing about. We don't now. I think I'm being more than a bit optimistic to think these things will be done within 10 years but you never know, these things happen.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

I Am On A Diet

I'm not making healthy changes to my lifestyle, I'm not baby stepping my way to weightloss, I am on a diet. It's all pain. 

When I was fat starting to lose weight was alright. We had no cash so it was easy to give up the pub, chocolate bars, baking and all that stuff. It was good to learn to cook, there were a couple of failures but all in all it was ok. It was easy to get used to the smaller portion sizes, it was fine to try new vegetables and new ways of cooking. I'm sure I complained at times but because I was going from feeling so unhappy to being full of energy and joy it didn't matter. It wasn't good to start exercising. We had to walk because we'd taken the car off the road to save money and I didn't like it. I cried on the way home from the supermarket once. The supermarket was about a mile away. 

That was ages ago. We both lost weight, I got rid of 42lbs and Dan got rid of about 60lbs, we lived in a really healthy way, did a ton of exercise and it was natural to be that way, we were like that for about 4 years. Then Dan changed jobs and we put the house on the market. The exercise stopped and it hasn't really started again.

There have been many false dawns with this latest slimming thing. Ever since we moved here I've known I was piling on weight. The difference between when I lost all the weight before and now is that I could only see the benefit of doing it before whereas now I can only see the pain. I've been acting like a brat for the past 3 years and now I'm having a giant tantrum because I have a fat bum but don't want to do anything about it. Standing up is the hardest part.


Monday, 15 April 2013

Ironing and Ironwomen (no,not that one)

Am I the only person who is going the other way when it comes to ironing?

Other than going to the hairdresser v cutting your own wig I don't think there's much that stirs the passions to the same extent as ironing.

For my whole life I've been one of those people who thought ironing was a waste of time, I still don't get those folk who stick on the Coronation Street omnibus and open a bottle of wine and find doing a ton of ironing soothing. But I am really surprised at the way in which not ironing is some kind of honourable thing. It's just a task, it involves getting out a bit of equipment but so does hoovering or sweeping, it involves standing up, ok... but that's it. I can't really remember what my objection to it was. But already today I've read in 3 different places about how people who iron are dull and how not ironing your clothes doesn't make any difference.

We bought an iron in 2003 when we bought our first house, we returned it to Comet and got a fan instead. Then my mum gave us an iron she'd won and for the next 5 or so years it was used as a doorstop. For the next 3 years it was used once, to iron on the sticky strip thing when we had out new kitchen fitted. Then last year I started quilting. You need an iron to quilt. So, as the iron was on why not do a few shirts and stuff. When I did clothes looked better and nothing else changes in the world. I didn't become chained to the board for hours on end, my brain didn't seep out of my ears and across the floor, Dan didn't lose respect for me and fun things didn't go by the wayside. I  still scrunch clothes up in the shop to make sure I'm not going to be a crumpled mess by the time we get out of the house, and I'm not tempted by a pair of white linen trousers (I have issues with them but I should keep them to myself for fear of offending).

It got me thinking about other things. Dan and I were having a chat about something that was on Sky Sports News the other day about women and sport. I think part of the problem is it's that all or nothing thing again. We either iron everything in the house or it's not worth the 20 seconds it takes to get the board out and plug the iron in. Same with sport and exercise, it's seems to be either you wobble about with old ladies in the church hall once a week so you can eat cake or must be ultra gym obsessed person who eats nothing but chicken and rice and jogs 10 miles even in the pissing down rain. 

I think that alienates some women. It's not the same with men as you can have your game of squash, cricket, footie then have a drink and it's a social thing. There doesn't seem to be the whole punishment factor and the must do better than everyone else when it comes to men doing a bit (not openly anyway). The marketing of sport and exercise to women is alienating to some extent because much as they are admired, not everyone wants to have the body of Jessica Ennis or Christine Ohuruogu - it's intimidating and in my view sends out a message that if this isn't what you want, or isn't what you can achieve then it's not good enough. There's not enough about what exercise does for you over and above how you look and how it's ok to just do 15 minutes a day. Let's get rid of the all or nothing. 

I'm not bothered whether other folk iron their clothes or not but it's not a big steamy thing to rub in someone's face and make judgements about life and how they see the world. It's just a bit of housework. And while we're at it, how long does stuffing a mushroom take? All of a couple of seconds, what's the big deal? 

Sunday

9am

where am I? in the garden

what is the sky like? scary grey

what am I wearing? blue pyjamas

what's motivating me? feeding the noisy blackbirds, tea

2pm


where am I? in front of the tv

what is the sky like? blue 

what am I wearing? jeans, many grey tops, sandals

what's motivating me? football, hot chocolate

5pm


where am I? Near Burnley

what is the sky like? very grey, rainy, blustery (the usual)

what am I wearing? as 2pm but with black pumps

what's motivating me? roast dinner, the conversation game, going on a diet

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Making The Most Of Things

Recently I've been thinking a lot about making the most of things, appreciating what I have and all that stuff, but I realise that I don't.

Is is possible to really appreciate what we have? I know I'm lucky to live where I do, of course I see the faults of the house more clearly than I see the good bits sometimes but in terms of the area I think I'm a bit neglectful. It took us two and a half years to visit our local pub which is all of 4 minutes walk away. 

When we moved here I said I'd go to the beach multiple times a week. I don't. I hardly ever go. It's madness, but things take over and the attitude of "it'll always be there" is in my mind. We lived in our old house for 7 years and in the past 6 months we've spent more time exploring that area than we did when we lived there. For example, we used to drive through a village called Whalley every week when we went to the supermarket, only yesterday did we visit the Abbey. I didn't even know where it was until then. Same with Clitheroe, we went to the supermarket there every Thursday but we never visited the Castle, never nipped into Maxwell's even though we always said we would*, or The Platform Gallery, never saw the great stalls or the mobile barber (a converted mini bus) at the market. Never stopped in Chipping, didn't wander about Birdy Brow. Didn't even visit Gawthorpe Hall when we lived in Padiham - despite the fact it was about a mile from the flat and houses and embroidery exhibition. 

Because it's always better to go somewhere else. 

And now we live somewhere as flat as a pancake what do we do? Long to visit Longridge Fell, run around with the witches up Pendle and do a bluebell walk in Spring Wood. And we do. Maybe one day I'll get up Blackpool Tower...

*we have now been to Maxwell's and it's great! 

Friday, 12 April 2013

Love The Menu Plan

Reading a post elsewhere about menu planning made me realise I haven't given the menu plan a thought this month. I've just looked at the sheet and cooked. No quibbles, no wishing I was having something else, just easy and simple. Exactly as it should be. 

I guess it has become a habit. As Dave Ramsey says about the budget - I'm the boss of it until it's written down then it's the boss of me!

Thursday

9am

where am I? on the M6

what's the sky like? grey and rainy

what am I wearing? pink and orange vest, pink trousers, grey converse

what's motivating me? Shrewsbury, anniversary

2pm

where am I? The Three Fishes

what's the sky like? grey 

what am I wearing? as 9am plus a green jumper

what's motivating me? stout, escaping the rain, living on £53 a week

5pm

where am I? outside Poppy's sweet shop

what's the sky like? grey

what am I wearing? as 2pm plus purple cardigan, hat and waterproof jacket

what's motivating me? quilt backing and wadding, hot chocolate, spicy bean pasties, departure

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

When We First Met

This is nothing about saving money or any of that stuff. Tomorrow it is twelve years since I met Dan. There's nothing particularly remarkable or romantic about how or where we met but that's how good things happen sometimes. 

My friend was 21 that day and there was a big night out planned. I'd been at work since 7.30 that morning and was dead tired, my boss had gone out so after work I hung around talking to the manager of the hotel where I worked until I really couldn't wait any longer and still go on this night out.

So I went home, threw on any old thing, didn't have time for make up or too much primping, thankfully missed the shots of homebrew amaretto when collecting my friend and off we went to the pub (Keystones in York). That's where it began. I was introduced to two lads, one who worked with my friend and his mate. We did the usual "what are you studying?", "which college are you in?" etc. Then of course "where are you from?" and that was it. As soon as I said I was from Runcorn he said "Legoland". Turns out he was doing a Masters in Housing, of course you'd learn all about James Stirling's ill-fated modernist dream that was Southgate

Who can resist a person so interested in Modernism? 

We moved in together five weeks later and have only spent three nights apart since then - and miserable they were too. As for the friend, well, we moved in with her and her boyfriend too. It all went very very wrong and we haven't seen or spoken to each other for over a decade. We could probably laugh about it now but it's probably left where it is. Happy birthday for tomorrow Amy wherever you are. 

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

I Love To Hate You

Something that became very clear yesterday was that people love to hate certain things. In my case I seem to love to hate things that are good for me. 

Probably the only exception is my bad boyfriend. My bad boyfriend is called Gareth. I love him with all my heart and yet I know he's going to dump me and break my heart eventually. Anticipating when it's all going to go hideously wrong and I'll be left with nothing but memories of the good times and claims that I'll never love that way again is part of the appeal. 

Anyway, that's beside the point. Things I love to hate - 

finishing a quilt

exercising

cleaning things like the bunny pen, oven and blinds

having my hair cut

listening to radio phone-ins

getting out of bed

decluttering

hearing my mother in law talk about the charity she works for (oh the drama!)

anything to do with being cold

the fact that I'm going to have "Love To Hate You" by Erasure in my head all day

Monday, 8 April 2013

Sunday

9am

where am I? having a lie in!

what's the sky like? not visible

what am I wearing? large "Parks and Recreation t-shirt

what's motivating me? warmth, tea

2pm


where am I? Widnes

what's the sky like? cloudy grey

what am I wearing? many layers - jeans, converse, grey vest, red jumper, fleece, snood

what's motivating me? getting a seat

5pm


where am I? on the road

what's the sky like? still cloudy

what am I wearing? as 2pm without the fleece and snood

what's motivating me? a good win (58-24), Moomins, hunger, becoming an aunt (ha!ha!)

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Friday

9am

where am I? in the bathroom

What's the sky like? sunny!

What am I wearing? black dress, grey leggings, grey cardigan

What's motivating me? sea buckthorn shower gel, watermarks

2pm


where am I? in the living area

What's the sky like? very blue

What am I wearing? black dress, grey leggings

What's motivating me? warmth, bunnies, iced buns, new flowers *yay*

5pm


where am I? in the kitchen

What's the sky like? half grey, half blue

What am I wearing? stripy dress, flip flops

What's motivating me? clean floors, tofu, garlic, trimming quilt blocks

Friday, 5 April 2013

April Week One

The savings have been tucked away, the car has been filled with petrol, Dan is off to get his hair cut today, we bought the toiletries and some hay. That's it so far. I say "that's it", it's all the expensive stuff. But I prefer it that way, get those purchases out of the way first. 

Obviously I spent a ton at the supermarket, least said about that the better. But we're not going shopping next week, I've already bought everything for our day out next week *yay* and the pantry is full. The giant baked beans went down very well, was really easy and cheap as anything (I used half a shallot, a clove of garlic, squeeze of veg puree, about 1/3 of a tub of passata, a tin of butterbeans, some fresh parsley, pinch of cinnamon and some oregano). It was a good "feels like spring but is still very wintery" dish. There were no leftovers sadly.

This weekend should be low spend, Dan is still working through the thesis for our friend so that will take up a bit of tomorrow, there's some kind of chilli festival in Blackpool so we might walk up to that, even if we drive up it'll only be a few quid, there's some graffiti we want to take pictures of so it would be good to combine the two things. We're off to watch Widnes v Salford on Sunday but the cost of that is taken care of... so that's the weekend. Unless too much dry stout falls into our mouths we should be well inside the treat budget.

A quiet week really...



Thursday, 4 April 2013

Treat Budget

I mentioned before about our weekend treat budget and how it stops us going bonkers. It's £10 each weekend and even though things seem expensive these days there's a lot you can get for a tenner. We spend/waste (depending on your viewpoint) our cash on things like - 

beer 
tea and toast at our favourite cafe in town
a second hand game for the laptop or wii
a magazine and a bar of chocolate
music downloads or 3 cds for £6 from the cheapo shop
renting a dvd from the library (£2 but they often have 2 for 1)
going to the cinema (our local cinema is £3.50 for an adult)
watch the Saturday teatime football game at the pub
plants 
Fisherman's Friends
a pint before the rugby 
a bag of chips to share on the prom
toy for the buns
a round of crazy golf
donation to the art gallery or museum
parking if we go for a wander somewhere

Yes, beer is the recurring theme. 

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Boring Post About Grocery Shopping

I think I'm addicted to spending.

Yesterday I spent £54.55 on toiletries. Oh yes, that was including a £10 off voucher. Cripes. Then we went to the supermarket and I spent £72.99. £72.99! That is a lot of cash. Having said that I now have no spare cupboard space at all. 

Almond milk was on special offer £1 a litre instead of £1.59. Dan uses it every day so we bought 4 of those (that was all they had left), cereal was on offer so we bought 5 boxes, passata was on offer so I bought 3 jars. Pasta was on offer, wraps were on offer. All stuff that's on the menu plan and all stuff we eat every week. It was still a shock to hand all that cash over but I'm a happy kitten about it. The shop was very low on fresh fruit and veg though, I think the Easter locusts had been through and cleaned them out. 

The offers are on until the 23rd so I may stock up more, especially on the almond milk... Also available cheaper than usual laundry liquid and toilet rolls. They are tempting me... I've checked the price book and they're all proper deals (but I do wonder if prices will go up afterwards...). I'm not usually a stockpile person but some of these prices are too good to ignore. I promise I won't buy so much I have to make a coffee table out of cartons of milk though. 

For the rest of the week I will be a very cheap date. 

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Compromise

I've had trouble trying to eat a vegan diet because I don't like milk.

I've never been a fan of dairy products, I can't stand cheese and have eaten it maybe 4 or 5 times in my life, I'm not a fan of cream and don't really like milk, so giving up what little bit I do have should be easy. Not so and it's pretty much all psychological. Soy milk is too creamy for me and it's really the only thing that works in tea and coffee. I can cope with rice or nut milk on cereal or porridge but it just lacks a little something. Oddly my dairy loving Dan finds eating a vegan diet as easy as falling off a log!

So yesterday we had the conversation, how to compromise. How I'm going to compromise is to ignore the inconvenient truth of dairy farming and have cow milk in my breakfast tea and in my breakfast porridge. It's a small thing but it's a huge thing too. I don't want to do it really but beating myself up about being unwilling or unable to sustain that way of eating was making me unhappy. Particularly as we're only talking about one meal a day all other meals are simple.

I love animals and I think really, maybe we shouldn't keep pets. If the day ever arrives where no-one is cruel to bunnies and no more are abandoned or abused then I'll celebrate even though it would mean there are no more to rescue and love. It's maybe not ideal but if during my life I can make a a dozen or so bunnies happier than they would otherwise have been then that's good. The fact that it makes me happy is just an extra cute bonus!

I can use my local clothes shops and support a local business, I love to do that, but sometimes I just can't afford it when we have an outlet village at the top of the road. I just need to find the balance and use the local place when I can. I like to use the greengrocer but sometimes the supermarket has more local produce than they do... there's no right choice here, it's just make a decision and be happy with that. 

Every choice we make means a compromise somewhere - big or small and it means we tie ourselves up in knots and contradictions and it's ok. No-one is perfect and we shouldn't try to be. All we can do is what's right at the time.
I do what I can, I could do more with lots of things in all areas of my life but I do what I can and hopefully that means the world is a little bit better for me  having been in it. And if it isn't then that's the way it goes.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Totting Up March

Pretty easy to do, we spent every penny! Contact lenses, tickets galore, topping up the emergency fund after the vet bill, something to do with insurance, a big clothing blow out. It all added up to spending ever penny. We didn't do very well with getting extra cash into savings either, we were target +8% but I guess 8% is better than nothing at all. From next month there will be the addtional £50 a month going in from the mortgage saving (goodbye terrible mortgage lender, hello hopefully better one).

There is 38p left of the grocery budget which is also quite good going as it feels as though I've done nothing but eat recently.

We've made the decision to not buy anything else for the house this year which I think will reduce the cost of our days out as I am generally tempted to buy something cute to remind me of a good day. But you know, I have a camera so can take hundreds of photos for free! 

I'm warming to picnics too. We took one out with us yesterday and it was fine. We kept it simple so there was no faff, that's the only thing I don't like about picnics the half hour it seems to take to get things sorted. But it didn't take that long so it was ok and I was really glad of it yesterday. Plus the coffee was delicious. Well done to Dan as I had no input at all. 

This month is off to an inexpensive start as we've decided to not attend the rugby in Huddersfield today, we're going to listen to it on the radio. Our main expenses this month are - two, maybe three, rugby games two of which are petrol cost only, a trip to Shrewsbury for anniversary celebrations, a toiletries order aaaaand that's about it I think. As ever I am optimistic about hitting bigger savings targets but you never ever know!