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Baby Budgeter
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# 1
greenlogo
Old 11-03-2005, 10:01 AM
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Lightbulb Baby Budgeter

Hi All,

I'm fairly new to the boards, having had a lightbulb moment as part of sorting out my finances to buy my new flat. I move in at the end of april so I'm feeling a bit in limbo for sorting out my overall budgeting (as all my fixed costs will be changing dramatically really soon) but I'm getting really excited about preparing for my new life - saver rather than spendthrift .

As part of the preparations I'm trying to cut down my non-fixed costs to a sensible and sustainable level and this is where you guys come in - I've been trying to work out the best way to control my spending and I've got a few ideas, but I'd like your thoughts on them and any other hints that you think I could be doing with.

I'm going to give myself a budget of 40 a week for everything, which I'll get out on a saturday and then I'll put my switch card away in a drawer.

I spend 13.50 a week on bus fares
2.25 a week on milk at work (1/2pt a day)
and hideous amounts on rubbish.

The week I'm on late shift I have to get a taxi home, so I'll up the budget by 30 in that week to cover those.

Should I keep an "emergency tenner" in my purse? I think I can be "good" and not spend it .

Is 40 a reasonable amount of money to be looking at? I'd rather be generous with myself in the beginning as I tend to be a bit "all or nothing" and I don't want to set myself up to fail.

I do already bring breakfast and lunch to work every day as the canteen is awful , but I also have two evenings a week where I go out straight from work and I'm guilty of spending a fortune on takeaways those nights and I also tend to sleep in and get taxis a lot more than I should - I've realised that's costing me nearly 300 a month so I'm determined to stop...

Thanks for reading and being a great supportive board... I'm off to dig through the archives for more inspiration
Pre O/S: what's a vitamin? Does it begin with the letter e?Now: I'm not eating any of that pre-made rubbish...
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# 2
Queenie
Old 11-03-2005, 11:21 AM
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greenlogo - check out the March Challenge thread for foodie ideas which could save you money on your budget. Also the Now and Then threads (we've had two so far, ) and see how others have made changes to their behaviour/spending/attitude ... both those threads are full of wonderful ideas that would be a great starting point (Highligthed and underlined words are links to the threads suggested)

HTH
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Last edited by Queenie; 11-03-2005 at 11:24 AM.
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# 3
Austin Allegro
Old 11-03-2005, 11:35 AM
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Greenlogo, welcome.

I'd suggest looking at the following to cut your budget back further:

Bus fares. Does your bus company operate any kind of season ticket or bulk ticket buying scheme? Could you forsake buses and walk instead or get a bicycle? I reckon the maximum walkable commute for a fit person is 3 miles each way and 6 miles on a bicycle. Any more than that becomes a real chore.

Why are you having to buy milk at work? By my reckoning you're paying 90p a pint which sounds excessive. Could you bring milk in from home?

As for eating out after work, I get round this making something like pasta, rice, etc and taking it to work in a plastic box. When work is finished I heat this up in the office microwave, eat at my desk while surfing the net/reading the paper, and then go out. It means you have to eat early (about 5.30) but it saves having to pay for restaurants, takeaways etc
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# 4
elona
Old 11-03-2005, 11:54 AM
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Have a look at the slow cooker threads - if you know you have a great curry or casserole at home that is warm and ready to eat then it could reduce temptation.
"This site is addictive!"
Wooligan 2 squares for smoky - 3 squares for HTA
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# 5
greenlogo
Old 11-03-2005, 3:20 PM
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Thank you for all your responses

Queenie - Thanks for the links The Now&then in particular are particulary inspiring - and I can't wait until I've been doing this long enough (like more than a week...) to post myself.

Austin Allegro - The journey's just over 5 miles, but I don't have a bike at the mo (and nowhere to keep it) so it'll need to be the bus for the moment (I'm also horribly unfit, but that's changing). I'll need to look into a weekly ticket, I think it's around 10. I'll do that on the internet right after I've posted in fact, and get it tommorrow if I can

I buy the milk to have with my breakfast - usually about 4hours after I've left the house - and I've no access to a fridge so I'm not sure how I would transport it in 1/2pts and keep it from going manky - I would LOVE some suggestions for that as I begrudge giving the canteen any money at all.

I should just bring in a "double lunch" for the days I'm going straight out. brilliant idea, thank you!

Elona - I'm already lusting after a slow cooker, my current rental flat is just too small for one (my work surface consists of the top of the fridge...) but I've asked for one as a housewarming pressie when I move at the end of April - I can't WAIT
Pre O/S: what's a vitamin? Does it begin with the letter e?Now: I'm not eating any of that pre-made rubbish...
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# 6
Xbigman
Old 11-03-2005, 3:25 PM
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Instead of buying milk at work, take a thermos flask of it. They keep things cold as well as hot.
Regards


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# 7
greenlogo
Old 11-03-2005, 3:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xbigman
Instead of buying milk at work, take a thermos flask of it. They keep things cold as well as hot.
Genius - thanks I knew posting here was a good idea. I'll try and find a cheapo thermos over the weekend - pound shops or Asda probably. I'm not sure where I'd search on here for ideas on that kind of thing.

And I've found out that the bus company do a 4-weekly ticket (from date of purchase) for only 38 - even if I do 2 weeks worth of lates (no busses, HAVE to get taxi ), and go to see friends (slightly cheaper bus fare!) twice a week after work I still save 1.70 - and if I buy online I save a further 5% which is fantastic! I need to order it at least 5 days in advance and I'm going on holiday in less than 4 weeks so I'll get the 10 day ticket tonight on the way home - and then order the 4-weekly one from the internet for when I go back to work. Actually having the ticket will make me get the bus rather than a taxi .


I'm planning to join the April challenge when it comes too, and I feel like I'm doing a my own mini-challenge now in preparation THANK YOU!
Pre O/S: what's a vitamin? Does it begin with the letter e?Now: I'm not eating any of that pre-made rubbish...
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# 8
Galtizz
Old 11-03-2005, 3:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenlogo
Genius - thanks I knew posting here was a good idea. I'll try and find a cheapo thermos over the weekend - pound shops or Asda probably. I'm not sure where I'd search on here for ideas on that kind of thing.
Wilko's do them cheap.

If your flask is likely to bounce around in your bag I'd recommend buying a metal on. I bought a glass one (couple of quid cheaper than a glass one) and it lasted about 2 weeks until it smashed so I have replaced it with a metal one now.
When life hands you a lemon, make sure you ask for tequilla and salt
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# 9
Queenie
Old 11-03-2005, 4:02 PM
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Galtizz is right, I bought two small metal one's from Wilko's for my boys to take soup to school for lunch - I think the small one's cost either 2.49 or 2.99.
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# 10
Austin Allegro
Old 11-03-2005, 4:12 PM
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You could try using powdered milk. Keep a box at work and just make it up as and when you need it. That would work out cheaper as you wouldn't need to buy a flask and you wouldn't waste any milk you didn't need.

If you don't have enough storage space for a bike, you could try one of these!

www.strida.com
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# 11
Js_Other_Half
Old 11-03-2005, 4:49 PM
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You could always buy some flexible frozen gel packs from Matalan or similar, and wrap your lunch and milk with them? I hate milk that isn't ice cold too.
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# 12
Cullumpster
Old 11-03-2005, 4:55 PM
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I know you obvioulsy have to get a taxi (i have that problem too sometimes) but is there no-one else going that way that you could split the taxi fare with ?

Also have you tried putting a note on the bulletin board at work to ask if there is anyone that lives near you that could bring you into work?
Even if you offer petrol money oof say 5 a week at least your saving 8.50 on a weekly bus ticket.
Loving living in south Wales apart from the cold weather
Baby is now 6 Thomas the tank engine is no more and it is now he's discovered the nintendo wii.
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# 13
elona
Old 11-03-2005, 8:43 PM
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If you are anywhere near a Boyes shop they had an offerof a vacuum flask for about 4 BUT with two insulated and lidded cups with it. Put milk in cup with a couple of ice cubes and then when it is empty rinse it and use for a hot drink as well.
"This site is addictive!"
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# 14
greenlogo
Old 11-03-2005, 10:01 PM
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Cheers everyone

Galtizz & Queenie - Humph no Wilco's north of the border, but thanks and it gives me a ball park to aim for when I'm looking up here, big thanks for the heads up over the glass/metal, I'd not have thought of that.

Austin Allegro - I've used powdered milk in tea before and it was ok, but I drink the stuff at work and I don't think I could bear it! The foldy bike is cool...maybe for my birthday

Js_Other_Half - do Matalan have those really wee ice packs? It's a great idea, I've got a lunch box with an integral frozen lid thing which is fab, but it'd be good to keep my fruit and yogs and stuff cold too.

Cullumpster - I know there wasn't anyone who came this way at the same time as me last time (I'm in a very small dept and we do a different shift pattern from everyone else), but I'll definitely try asking around again especially for late shifts. Even if we just shared a taxi it'd make a HUGE difference

elona - I'm not near a Boyes store, but I'm intrigued by the two separate cups - would one be big enough for yogurt? I'm sure if they're for sale somewhere then I can find them here too.

I've bought a weekly ticket for the bus and I've written down on the back how much I would have paid without it - I think that can count towards this months pin money (next month it's my reality and therefore not pin money ).
I'm in the middle of going through my freezer (brr!) to work out what I need veggie wise to make dinners next week without buying more than I really need. You're right Elona, this site IS addictive
Pre O/S: what's a vitamin? Does it begin with the letter e?Now: I'm not eating any of that pre-made rubbish...
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# 15
elona
Old 11-03-2005, 10:09 PM
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If it is any help I think the flask is by Aladdin - and the cups should be big enough for yoghurt- even with chopped fruit in it?
"This site is addictive!"
Wooligan 2 squares for smoky - 3 squares for HTA
Preemie hats - 2.
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# 16
greenlogo
Old 11-03-2005, 10:37 PM
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Cheers Elona I'll see if I can find that near here then (I've already put a couple of friends on the case )
Pre O/S: what's a vitamin? Does it begin with the letter e?Now: I'm not eating any of that pre-made rubbish...
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# 17
Js_Other_Half
Old 12-03-2005, 12:18 PM
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The flexible gel packs are only 1 or 2 in Matalan - not sure if they were a seasonal thing or not. Matalan often do insulated lunch bags very cheaply too.
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# 18
tiff
Old 12-03-2005, 2:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Js_Other_Half
The flexible gel packs are only 1 or 2 in Matalan - not sure if they were a seasonal thing or not. Matalan often do insulated lunch bags very cheaply too.
They also sell those gel packs in Woolworths.
A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. - Dave Ramsey
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# 19
greenlogo
Old 12-03-2005, 4:24 PM
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I haven't managed to find a flask that fit in with my (now) strict budgetry requirements but I did find an insulated lunch bag that I'd bought ages ago and forgotten about along with three non-drippy lunchbox bottles so I'll try with the milk in there. I might need to get hold of the little cool pads (esp when it gets a bit warmer) but I'll try it and see and keep looking at the same time . Maybe freezing the milk and taking it out the day before might work when it gets warm?

Having the weekly bus ticket has meant that I've spent much of today on and off busses in search of much cheapness. Instead of Morrisons (which I loathe anyway..) I made the trip to the farmer's market (the meat's slightly more expensive, but it's ALL meat, no false economy with water and fat and the taste's robust enough to work with pulses and things to make it go further) and my mince is now bagged up in sensible-for-me portions in the freezer, then another bus to Somefield for milk and bits; home to drop things off then walked to aldi (healthy exercise for the day!) and picked up oil, tinned tomatoes and Fruit. Then back on the bus and I've joined the library so instead of spending a fortune on magazines as a saturday night "treat", I've picked up the cheapest TV paper (I have a shameful addiction to "c-list celebrity" articles.. ), somefield's free mag and five books which I'll enjoy a lot more/

I've also started a spending diary so everything I've bought is written down (with the 50% extra free and Market "knocking off the pence" discounts written up for pin money). I'm trying to bemore price savvy too - trying to remember the prices of things I buy often for comparison, and obviously it's all written down now too

I've written down the equivalent bus fares I've saved (and am feeling very smug anyway as I've not resorted to the taxis) by using my ticket (so I can be very smug by the end of the week...)

I've gone through my bank statement for the first time EVER and discovered that the AA have taken extra payments out for an insurance policy I'd cancelled - v long story, but I'm being re-credited 214.20 which includes 5 for the inconvenience and my phone calls. Now that I'm not just randomly using switch, but am withdrawing regular amounts at set times and am budgeting cash this should be easier.

So am feeling really pleased with myself thus far, if utterly knackered , and looking forward to planning out my weeks meals properly (rather than just ish in my head)
Pre O/S: what's a vitamin? Does it begin with the letter e?Now: I'm not eating any of that pre-made rubbish...
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# 20
TAZ
Old 12-03-2005, 5:37 PM
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if your still lookimg for a flask, checkout the local garages they sometimes have things like that to buy at a special price with a minimum spend on petrol, this may seem stupid to you as you don't buy petrol but its worth asking cos a lot of the garages will sell you them anyway just to chear stock.
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