Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Monthly spending

Last month I decided that I was going to keep a record of my spending for the month. I recorded every last penny on the sheet of paper. My financial month runs 25th-24th as that is when I am paid. I can tell you that I spent  a grand total of £1641.29 pence. This is absolutely every penny that went out of my account; all the direct debits, childcare, rent payments, food, treats, clothes we needed etc. The biggest chunk of my out goings was the rent and then childcare. We had lots of treats through the month not all expensive, but as it was a half term week during the month we did have extra expenses. I also bulk bought some meat to fill the freezer. I still managed to save £300.

I am going to keep a record this month again. I am expecting the outgoings to be in different areas this month as I won't need as much food, but I do know that Dylan's school bus pass is due to be paid for at the end of this month and I paid my 6 monthly water bill last night. There won't be as many treats this month as there are no school holidays. So where I save in one area I will pay out in another. I am aiming to save at least £300 again.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Food glorious food!

Last night I had a very smug proud mummy moment! We were eating dinner when Dylan said something along the lines of "this weekend has been a fantastic food weekend"
We have had some very nice meals. On Friday we had our Friday staple of homemade pizza, on Saturday we had KFC in London bought with some lottery scratchcard winnings the children's nan gave us for a treat. KFC is a firm favourite with my two and we were not let down it was cooked perfectly (for once!). We all really enjoyed the meal. The cake I made has been going down well. Then on Sunday we had Steak and chips in Dylan's case, mash in mine and Stephanie's and vegetables for us all. The steak is an extravagance I normally wouldn't buy, but the butcher gave it to me in part of my mass meat buy bargains. It was delicious. Then tonight we enjoyed a chicken curry made in the slow cooker. For lunch today we had some of these;

These are uncooked, rising ones. They will go in the oven before work in the morning.

I made some bread rolls yesterday and snipped soe ear shapes using scissors to make them look a little like Easter bunnies. I can't remember where I saw the idea- sorry! As soon as they were cool enough both children snaffled one each and declared them "much better than any shop bought breads"
The fact that they have been so enjoyed I have had to make another batch tonight to replenish the stock for our packed lunches this week!

The only problem I can see with all these complements and enjoyed meals is that I forgot to take pictures to share any of them!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Sealed Pot Sunday Update


This week I withdrew the money left over after all bills had been paid/accounted for. The money left was used to do the shopping and for our days out we have enjoyed this past week. The coins left in my purse are off to the sealed pot. The £5 note I have left is in my purse for this weeks float. I don't need to do any shopping. I have bills I need to pay but these are done via the bank. I need to fill the car for the months travelling to work etc,order some flowers for Nannygran's funeral and renew my rail card I have found code online to renew for £20 instead of £28 so a saving of £8 before the savings we make of our travel with the card win-win!! Apart from that no spending required. I like the idea of 'no spend days' I keep hearing on other thrifty people's blogs about them managing no spend days. I am going to aim for a total of 10 in March to see how I get on. I think this added challenge will help me to stay on track and support me in my saving plans.

Friday, 22 February 2013

How arwe your new years aims are going?


I have spent a lovely half term week with my little family. I have got into a little routine where I stay in bed doing my school paperwork until the children wake and come and find me. This is working out well. I still have loads to do but it's like the ironing pile- there is always some lurking somewhere. The urgent things are done the rest will come together soon enough.

  • to finish decorating/ making our home our own
    I have spent at least an hour a day trying to work on our home. The kitchen is complete, I have now began the decluttering of my bedroom in preparation of painting. At some point in the next few weeks I hope to be able to begin this. I have the paint ready, I want to paint it white and I have enough white from painting the kitchen so I won't need to spend out on this :-)
  • to save for the future
  • I have been saving and currently have £550 saved in total. Monday is payday so will be adding more once bills are paid.
  • to enjoy more family fitness
  • Dylan and I continue to go to the gym/for a swim on weekends. We have been out walking this week and have spent a whole day on the allotment this week. So lots of exercise. This weekend we are planning a day in London and a day on the allotment.
  • frugal- I want to make what we have go further
  • We have been making the most of my English heritage/ national trust memberships and have had a couple of frugal days out with these, taking lunch with us. We have lived out of the freezer since Christmas. Today I went shopping I have completely filled the freezer with a trip to the butchers. I got chatting to one of the butchers as Dylan asked me to buy a rabbit to try so I asked how he would recommend cooking it. I ended up getting some absolute bargains as it was 5pm and they wanted to shut up shop. I did spend £90  but I have got about 3 months if not more meat in my freezer now. I have a pork joint (cut up as it is large), steak, braising steak, stewing lamb, stewing steak, lamb steaks, chicken breasts, rabbits, mince meat, sausage meat, and something else I forget. But loads and loads of meat which they gave me for mostly half price if not heavily discounted. I was also told when I want to buy more to go back at that time as they will do me deals again :-)
  • to fix things- I have lots of things around the house that need mending/ altering that I haven't got around to doing.
  • I fixed the door on the cupboard I no longer use in the kitchen, Stephanie now has it in her bedroom for her crafting kits/supplies
  • to finish things, I have several craft projects started 2013 is the year to finish things off.
  • I'm still working on Stephanie's crochet blanket, she started off wanting it to be a lap blanket, she now wants it as a bed blanket like mine. So will take a little longer than planned

    So how are you getting on with any aims/goals you have set yourself?

    Wednesday, 20 February 2013


    Today has been a fairly relaxed day. We started slowly with Stephanie crafting and me doing some school work. We then went to a country park Stephanie rode around the lake (sort of!) on her bike, we need to practise on non-flat ground more.
    We then played in the park a little Stephanie seems to be getting to that grown up self conscious stage where they want to join in with others but no longer feel able to just wander over and do it :-(

    We had a wander through the wooded areas and decided to do our best tree poses.
    On the way home we popped to the shops to get Stephanie some new trainers and popped into the coop looking for these

    I promised at the beginning of the week I would buy some to try. I must say I am disappointed I much prefer creme eggs/galaxy eggs in fact an of the other varieties than these. I won't be buying them again.

    Today is Change The World Wednesday the challenge set this week by reduce footprints is to buy your weeks shopping selecting only products which have 6 or less ingredients listed in them. This is very thought provoking I *think* I do this especially when cooking from scratch. When I go shopping at the weekend I will let you know how I have got on.

    Tomorrow we are off out with my sister, niece and nephew to a favourite castle not too far away. We will be taking food with us for lunch, Stephanie made the cookies this afternoon to go with our sandwiches and fruit. I will put the lamb casserole in the slow cooker before we leave so dinner will be ready when we get home.

    Tuesday, 19 February 2013

    The big reveal!

    I have mentioned a few times recently that I was working on a large project, today is the day that I show you what it is!

    Acouple of  'before' shots

    I'm not sure why I haven't got any more to show you properly- possibly because I really didn't like the kitchen before- it was cluttered and cramped.
    Then with a little bit of this;

    I know have a much more pleasant looking kitchen-
    The flowers and candles usually sit on the table but Stephanie is busy crafting!



    These curtains are brand new in the pack and gifted to me by a family member who changed her mind about using them. They were ever so slightly too big so I turned the hem on one to the correct length and one curtain is enough to go across my back door.
    I took all of this out of the kitchen and found it freed up a whole cupboard which has been deployed for use elsewhere in the hous
    We have so much stuff we don't need/use I can see a couple of bootfairs needing to be done come the summer.
    I was planning on making a blind to go on the window with the 2nd curtain from the pack, but I think I am going to leave the window as it is. I have wanted to move from rented to mortgaged property for  a while. The estate I live on isn't all that nice and yesterday afternoon an awful crime was commited right outside our house involving a friend and neighbour. I am now more determined to save and get us out ASAP. So I am leaving the 2nd curtain in the pack for a new home when I get that deposit saved. I have saved enough to buy a new sofa however I have decided to begin my 'get a mortgage' savings using that. The sofa I have will last a few more years yet.
    Total cost for the kitchen revamp was;
    curtain pole £6.99
    primer £10.95
    tin of gloss £10.00
    total cost £27.94
    The emulsion for the walls was swapped for an excess tin I bought when I painted the hall a few months back- I lost the reciept at the time so couldn't refund but was offered an exchange.

    Monday, 18 February 2013

    1st day of half term

    I have begun the cooking I have planned for this week. I have made;
    Marble cake
    Veg soup
    tomato base sauce ( I use it for pasta, the beginning of curry/casserole etc)
    Meatballs in tomato sauce

    I have a question for you, I still have half of this pumpkin I can't remember the variety. I have made soup with it already what else do you do with your pumpkins?

    I have had quite  a busy day it began at 5.30am when I woke up and started my organisation for next term at work. I wrote this last Friday to help me get everything done;
    Yep, another list! I took a bag of paperwork up to bed with me last night as keep waking uncharacteristically early so thought I might get an early start.
    I managed to work still snuggled up in bed and get 3 items ticked off of my list :-)
    An hour and a half later I was downstairs and started today's chores with the ironing- the children were still in bed. Then I did some work on my large project I really think I should be able to show you it tomorrow- just the last finishing touches to go.
    We then spent most of the day on the allotment testing out the new battery powered strimmer and emptying the compost bins- half way there more to do on Wednesday.
    A lovely start to our half term!


    Saturday, 16 February 2013

    Catch up

    A little follow on post from last night. The crochet blanket update I tried to show but the phone wouldn't load

    I'm grateful to the support I recieved on here to help me to get this started and to the crafty compostwoman for sending me a booklet on crocheting.

    I am working on a larger project at the moment as well, I don't want to say any more on that yet as I need a couple of days to finish it off. I am excited on how the end results should come out and don't want to spoil any of it.

    Today Dylan and I took my nephew out for a couple of hours. We had great fun running/ chasing/ exploring and puddle jumping

    My nephew had great fun being a big boy and copying everything Dylan did.
    Now I must go I have a cake in the oven, am trying out a new technique a colleague told me about.

    Friday, 15 February 2013

    busy busy

    It seems a very long time since i posted. Lots of things to share, no time to do so!
    This has not been helped by a cold which has had me exhausted for the past fortnight, some sad family news, lots of work and a large project.
     I will share some of these things very soon but for now take a peek at the blanket, I havent had time or energy to do anything requiring concentration so crochet has been perfect;

    hummpf! for some reason blogger is not letting my upload pixs from my phone, will have to show you tom when i  can be bothered to sit at the laptop.