Friday, 14 June 2019

A Semi Finished Project

Amy came but did she have anywhere to sleep?

If she'd come just a month earlier the answer would have been a resounding NO!!!  That was definitely A Project.

By the time she came I'd used a rich mix of decluttering, dash-and-stash and disguising stuff and she was met with 

But I have to be honest, dash-and-stash had been quite important so quite a bit had to go back so it now looks like this.


There's still a lot of stuff but each of those boxes contains a single UnFinished Object so I can now finish a few and maybe have the room looking a bit more like when Amy came than how it looked before she said she was coming.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Reporting back

A little while ago I posted about receiving an offer from Amazon Prime.    I did as they asked and streamed a film and last Thursday I got the promised code.  It's a useful deal for me - there are some things which I  get from Amazon regularly, especially stationery which I need when I work.  The deal was only for items which are sold by Amazon so it doesn't include items just sent by them.

This seems like a good time to mention something else which I use regularly, namely Icebox.  This is an extension which sits on my Chrome browser.  When I choose something on Amazon the button for putting something into my basket now says, "Put it on ice".  The item sits in my Icebox for  a day and then, if I still want it, I can order it.  There are ways to bypass the icebox but it's a bit of a faff so I don't often do that.  Usually I just wait a day and order then.  Sometimes I change my mind so that's a saving!  

Monday, 3 June 2019

Money in May

Definitely a 'fessing up post.  I really haven't done very well.

I have only managed to set aside £280 rather than the £400 I had hoped for.  My monthly average is still well above £400 this year so I'm not despondent, just disappointed.  

Food purchases have been a lot higher at £165, way above budget.  In my defence I have to say that a friend is arriving today to stay for a few days and part of that expenditure has been putting a few goodies in the fridge, freezer and liquor locker.  I've also booked and paid for some activities for us although she will pay me her share when she arrives.

The killer for the budget has been paid help, always necessary for me.  My cleaner comes every other Thursday but that meant she came three times in May.  I've needed a lot of help in the garden too.  It is in employing help that disability becomes very expensive!  £235 expensive!

May has also been a very sociable month.  I go out for lunch with several groups of friends and in June, July and August it is often difficult to organise dates so May gets busy.  

Thank goodness for a new month! 

Monday, 27 May 2019

Variation

One kind of post I read with avidity is when the blogger does a round-up of thrifty things she has done that week.  Most of the time I'm just ticking the ideas off in my head as stuff I do already, but sometimes there's a thought I've never had before.

I'm not about to start doing posts like that but I thought that a variation might be a themed collection of how to save the pennies.  You know the sort - how to cut the supermarket spend, how to economise with water etc.  So here''s my first stab at this - how to reduce the cost of laundry.

First and foremost in my list would be to do as little of it as possible!  My great ally here is aprons.  My apron goes on almost as soon as I get up so my "good" clothes are kept cleaner.  I like a good big apron that wraps most of the way round me..  The one I've got on at the moment has very visible bleach splashes on it - thank goodness I was wearing it or I would have ruined a tee shirt!

My other two allies are my eyes and my nose - used clothes are checked and sniffed and if at all possible are put back on hangers.  That's a safer bet in winter rather than in summer but it definitely reduces the wash load.  (I realise life might be a lot more complicated if there are children in the household.)

I chose a washing machine with very good ratings for both energy and water usage.  I can wash at 20 degrees (that would be about 50 Fahrenheit) and can do quite a short wash or a half load.  I rarely use laundry powder or liquid as I have an Eco Egg which is supposed to cost 3p a wash but I reckon mine will last for a lot longer than it's supposed to.  (It was only £16.13 when I bought it in November 2017.  I've just changed the pellets for the first time and I've got enough pellets for two more changes.)  I don't use fabric conditioner but I've found my clothes have been softer since I stopped using laundry powder.  

So far as I can I air dry my stuff.  I narrowly missed injuring myself when I fell last time I pegged my sheets on the line so they now have to go in the dryer - I'm not happy about that but personal safety is important.  However, both bed linen and towels are half dried naturally to cut down on dryer time.  For the rest it's either the clothes line or my clothes racks.  

I'm sure I must have missed things and I'm even surer that you, Dear Reader, will have more ideas on how to cut the cost of laundry, so it's over to you.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

A Quick note for Amazon Prime users

I live in a very rural area and Amazon Prime is very useful to me for deliveries.  However, within my membership are various other "benefits" of varying degrees of usefulness.  One of these is Amazon Prime Video which I have used twice in about five years,

However, this morning an offer popped up - watch at least five minutes of a film or TV show on Prime and you'll get a £5 Amazon credit next month.  I've got a film running now without any sound (not actually watching it but only you know that!) so I'm hoping I'll get my credit.  As this is costing me nothing apart from a little electricity it seems like a good idea.

If you are a Prime user it might be worth logging in to Amazon to see if the offer is available to you.

Monday, 6 May 2019

BOGOF!




I record all my income and expenditure so I have a pretty good idea of where the money goes and sometimes how I spend isn't as pretty as it could be.  

In some ways I am very good.  My food waste is minimal.  I check the fridge and take a shopping list with me each time I shop.  I've reduced my monthly spend by 15% over the first four months of this year (compared to the same months last year) but I know I could do better.  

My big downfall is "bargains".  You know, BOGOFs (Buy One Get One Free), yellow stickers, special deals and the like which tempt me away from my list.  I usually eat the stuff but it's really not a good way to shop.  The cupboards and fridge become jammed up and I can't see what is in there.  Often too the deals are on products which are more expensive than the items I would normally buy.  

Another silly habit is being careless about portion sizes.  I cook far too much.  I don't throw it away - I was a post war baby and I learnt from an early age to eat everything on my plate - but to be honest it's just as wasteful to eat food I don't need and don't even mention the other sort of waist!

I'm sure other people have their own danger areas but them's my two pennorth!  

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Auditing April

Each month I do a review of various things including what I've written about on my blogs, how active I've been, special days out and, of course, how the finances are panning out.

Well, first of all the good news.  I have again smashed my target of living below my means by £400.  I've been doing a little paid work recently and I sold over £50 worth of stuff on eBay so that has helped.  

Then there's the rest.  Groceries were £127 which is way over my target of £100 but I honestly don't think £100 is enough so I've revised my target this month to £120.  I don't want to live on lentils: cooking and eating good food is pure pleasure. 
Not so good was my motoring budget.  I did 945 miles in the month.  I've been doing sick visiting, bereavement visiting and marriage preparation interviews but I really can't see why I have done so much motoring.  I have now Taken Myself In Hand.  

I've been watching the Smart meter monitor doing its thing in the kitchen.  I've fiddled with the timer on the boiler (I may do a post about that soon) and I'm whittling away at my gas consumption.  As yet this has had no impact on my day-to-day finances as I pay by monthly direct debit and I haven't fully paid for my winter usage.