Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 2nd Mar 17, 11:10 PM
    • 101Posts
    • 141Thanks
    Cherry takes the reins
    • #1
    • 2nd Mar 17, 11:10 PM
    Cherry takes the reins 2nd Mar 17 at 11:10 PM
    Hi everyone.

    I'm hoping I can legitimately post a diary here as I'm in the blessed position at the moment of my only actual debt being my mortgage, but I've had a huge change in my circumstances recently and how I manage it will have a big impact on our finances.

    I need to talk things through, if only with myself, and motivate myself with small money savings and accountability. For the last few years I've not kept an eye on money but I work and DH's pay has gone up so we've had enough and a bit to spare and I've got lazy with some and wasn't mentally able to face other aspects. Now that I'm in a much better place mentally, I want to take the reins and be deliberate about what I spend. I need to start facing up to this right now because we are covering costs for my Mum's estate until probate is settled. I know this isn't legally necessary but we can pay ourselves back from the estate once the paperwork goes through and I don't like the estate to be building up debt (which oddly is possible).

    A bit late tonight to launch into details about the estate so I will give a brief explanation of other financial stuff. DH and I have a couple of joint accounts and a mortgage. We have an aging car which needs to be replaced soon and is essential (DH's work and transport for a disabled relative). We are also going to a family wedding abroad in July, and have paid accommodation and air fares but there will also be car hire, food, sundries and some of the clothes still to buy. DH's income is the larger and pays all the utilities, holidays, fuel and etceteras. Mine goes into the other joint account and pays the mortgage and food, which gives me a lot of pride . I also pay for contact lenses, some donations which I don't want to stop, my phone contract and, temporarily, costs incurred trying to sort Mum's estate.

    The breakdown of where my money goes (pcm):
    Mortgage: 282.24
    Donations: 120.00
    Contact lenses: 22.00
    Phone 8.40
    Amazon Prime: 7.99
    Food for 4 adults 80.00 (pw) (approx. 347 pm)

    Roughly 1,000 pcm (variable due to overtime)
    Bank £3 (if I get my wages transferred regularly)

    This month and possibly next I have lots of extra fairly hefty outgoings in terms of travel, paying a cleaner, insurance etc. that are all to do with Mum's estate. I will, as I said, get these back from my eventual inheritance but meanwhile I want to tread carefully and of course it will decrease what I inherit. Duh.

    To encourage myself I'm keeping this diary and would love to hear from others as I do so. I can't always see things clearly till others give input.

    Action I can see I need to take:
    Get my wages paid directly into this account so I always get that £3!
    Cancel Amazon Prime - cancelled 7/3/17

    Little MS things I've managed today:
    Started this diary
    Taken lunch to work - overnight oats
    Mended a favourite cardigan so I can wear it in daylight
    Put myself down for 3 extra shifts. 2 of these particular type of shifts pay for a journey to work on Mum's house.

    Forgot DH had an evening meeting so went for the quick-cook supermarket pizza which isn't best use of food money when I could have been using stuff up.
    Far too tired after a late night and an early shift, to go for a run. I know that's nothing to do with money but for lent and my waistline I'm doing C25K.
    Last edited by Cherryfudge; 07-03-2017 at 10:53 AM. Reason: Update
Page 3
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 19th Mar 17, 10:15 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    Hi Velvet! *Waves* Weekend is going fine thanks though I've been at work.

    NSD today
    • Bobarella
    • By Bobarella 20th Mar 17, 1:53 PM
    • 10,113 Posts
    • 64,766 Thanks
    Your train drink story reminded me of the time I was taking a long train journey, Paddington to Cardiff! And the only coffee on the train came in a tea bag!!! Completely foul...
    Debt neutral 27/03/17 from £40k in the hole 2012.
    Roadkill 17 £52.30 2016-£62.28 2015- £84.20)
    RYSAW17 £1475.90 2016 £2,535.16 2015 £1027.20
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 20th Mar 17, 10:09 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    Bleargh! (As Snoopy would say).

    Well done on surviving that one intact Bobarella.
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 20th Mar 17, 10:24 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    It's been a work day but I did some shopping first.

    Housekeeping (non-food) £5.98
    Food £8.07 - tins and greengrocer. There wasn't time to go to the supermarket, that's supposed to be tomorrow.

    Had to be in a coffee shop for work and managed not to buy anything.
    Finished up yesterday's tin of tuna for work tea tonight instead of a cooked meal.
    Treated the guinea pigs to melon rinds. They love them!

    No run (for about a week ) but a couple of miles of brisk walks and half an hour spent pushing someone in a wheelchair so I have had some exercise.
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 20th Mar 17, 10:38 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    I am not doing too well with food planning and as I mentioned recently I'm on a slightly lower food budget this week so I'm going to use this space to try to map out a dinners menu for the next few days. (If I think someone might read it, it becomes more real, somehow).
    Tues: Toad in the hole with ratatoille - need to buy all ingredients, feed four.
    Weds: Savoury crumble at work - need to buy mince, feed just me but freeze some too.
    Thursday - take overnight oats (breakfast) and salad (lunch) as I'm on early shift. Need to buy a tin of peaches and some salad items. Dinner: Mackerel with cous cous & veg, feed two. Need to buy fish.
    Friday: Corned beef hash & beans? Need to buy corned beef & beans, feed three.

    I might have to revisit some of this to work in stuff we already have but at least it's a start.
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 21st Mar 17, 11:41 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    Today (actually yesterday) was a day off - I think I needed it. Had a lie in and didn't do much most of the day. It was freezing cold out, gorgeous sunshine interspersed with strong wind and hail. I stayed in till gone four.

    Made marmalade
    Made macaroni cheese with ham & peas - double so I have some for work.
    Bought tinned peaches instead of frozen fruit for my overnight oats.
    Found £5.50 in supermarket vouchers which we'd forgotten to open in January.
    Scrounged around and found poly-pocket files for DS so he doesn't have to buy any.
    Went down a brand in coffee - how long this will last I'm not sure but I won't know if I don't try.

    Magazine £3.40
    Food £17.29

    This covers all my food and some of the family's till close of play on Friday - apart from mackerel for Thursday and bread. How come I missed bread?! DH says he's motored through his share of the food money, helping out DS2 who is an impoverished student. I am going to have to rethink Thursday's meal (tuna pasta I guess as we have the ingredients) as there's only £2.29 left of my share of this week's food money.
    We won't starve but clearly need to shape up a bit if our spending on food is going to obey us rather than the other way around.
    The positive side of it is: surplus sausages in freezer from tonight's meal - will help feed DS2. Big bag of oats for DD and me, and possibly some flapjacks too. Plenty of salad - DD will eat most of it but I'll try to have some too. Lots of eggs and baked beans for a couple of weeks.

    Yes, I bought a magazine when I've just bought four books but that's a different budget (or none: I don't really have a 'fun' budget). No piano lesson this week so that's £10 not spent.
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 23rd Mar 17, 2:50 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    Yesterday (cold and wet) I was a bit downcast over not having put any extra towards the mortgage, with only a few days to go to the end of the month. We still have the big insurance payment to go out of that account, though, and I don't want to risk OD if I've somehow got the sums wrong.

    I was going to go for a run and decided to shave my legs, as one does... where did I put the shaving gel? A search ensued, no gel, didn't realise how much clutter had been sitting in my room looking invisible. Then the weather changed and became highly unsociable so instead of running I made small inroads into the clutter mountain, which had made me aware I need to show progress there too. (Found the gel today in with the spare shampoo. Go figure).

    The most positive thing I did before heading off to work was to save some groceries from extinction: using stuff I already had in I made four little pies to freeze and take for work dinners and a banana cake (yes, another of 'em). I got all work meal stuff together including some cereal bought for DS which he never touches - so a 'freeby' breakfast for me this morning. Yesterday's tea was mac & cheese from the other day, lunch today was overnight oats.

    So yesterday: NSD

    Today was supposed to be an NSD too but I accidentally bought a coffee. Oops. It was nice though and perked up my flagging energy, so not such a bad thing. £3.80

    I've been at work so not much opportunity to do stuff around the house but I'm just deep-conditioning my hair then I'll wash and trim it (it's long so it's easy to do it myself). Then I'll go and make inroads into the garden... it needs TLC.

    And in bigger financial news: the Probate office has emailed me to say they've got the application and I can now do an affirmation and move onto the next stage of sorting the estate.

    Also - and this applies to N account not the one I deal with - DH is replacing the car (necessary for work).

    Me... I'm dreaming of getting a greenhouse, digging a pond and building a hen coop. Not in the near future, though. It would just be nice someday.
    Last edited by Cherryfudge; 23-03-2017 at 3:21 PM.
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 23rd Mar 17, 9:40 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    I'm all of a jitter this evening and I can't pin down why.

    My hair is now treated and trimmed (for free ) and feels better for it.

    I didn't manage much of the gardening I'd intended but I did plant a pot of spring onions and rescued three cloves from a superb bulb of garlic with the intention of growing them. My green fingers extend only to houseplants and herbs but I can manage a few soft fruits and I keep hopefully trying with outdoor stuff. Glad I don't have to feed my family from the garden but I hope this might be the year I break through and grow something else.

    The house is in need of housework so I cleaned out the guinea pigs, tidied the kitchen a bit and have put some laundry away. I feel as though I ought to stay in tomorrow (no work) and make inroads but maybe I should go shopping as I've noticed some of my work clothes are getting worse for wear and I'd also like one or two things new for a hen weekend at the end of this month. I think jeans will do for the daytime stuff but I'd like a fun keep-fit type top for one activity and maybe a pretty top for an evening meal. My 'pretty' tops are a bit mumsy and go-to-comfortable and I feel like having a breath of fresh air. You guys will have to hold me answerable for getting rid of as many items as I buy (if I do).

    There will be a train fare to pay if I do this little trip (can't get the lift with DS2 that I was hoping for: he's on nights).

    DH is doing research into that insurance bill - it truly is out-of-proportion huge! He's found one that covers a year for the same as we're due to pay for 6 weeks. My fault really but emotionally I couldn't face looking into it while I had Power of Attorney and as the other person with PoA did nothing unless told they had to, well, nothing got done. I was so totally the wrong person to have PoA but in the long run it's those of us who had it who take the loss, so at least Mum didn't suffer from it. I was glad I was able to manage everyday stuff for her so she had nice little treats and stuff like that as well as the care from the nursing home. Anyway... doubt we can get away with changing insurers this close to the end of the month but maybe we can... very glad of DH's help because I really can't get my head round some of the stuff he's helping me with. I'm bright in some areas but this ain't one of them.

    I have been doing a short course through work which deals in part with goal setting. I did the test for that section last night and got 70% - much better than school marks but much less than I usually get on this type of test, and I think there is material in there that might help me not to do my rabbit-in-the-headlights act, so I'm going to go back in there and make proper notes. May not be the best thing to be doing late in the evening but I know I'm struggling to find what to focus on right now and an hour of study (applied to my wider life not just work) then a bath and bed might help.
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 24th Mar 17, 7:00 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    So I redid that section of the course last night and retook the test - this time I got it all right and eventually went to bed in a considerably better mood.

    Today has been a spendy day:
    train fare £8.20
    lunch /coffee / cold drink £5.20 (Oops. Forgot to organise a sandwich).
    clothes shopping £46.99
    toiletries £1
    powerbank and charging cable for my phone £11.50

    MS stuff done:
    planted my garlic.

    DH has done a lot of phoning and found we have to give 30 day's notice but after that can change the insurance provider - phew.

    I also managed a run, albeit a short one.
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 25th Mar 17, 8:58 AM
    • 101 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    I've paid twice as much tax as I should have!

    A letter from HMRC came this morning... I wonder how soon the cheque will follow?

    If it comes early in the week (if...), then I might just be able to clear it in time to add to this year's mortgage overpayment.
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 25th Mar 17, 9:55 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    How much for food for 4 adults?
    I didn't personally spend today but gave the rest of my food budget to DH to get the weekend shopping - we are £14 over budget this week, but as we've been under for a couple of weeks, maybe that shows we weren't too far off?

    How much is reasonable for four adults, two of whom are in their 20s and need a lot of calories/healthy stuff? In addition two of us work shifts and either grab food on the go (DS) or cook ahead and take individual portions to work (me). We are allowing ourselves £80 a week but it's tough. We have the money to allocate if necessary but it seems high to me. Been on the Old Style board getting more ideas.

    A temporary massive saving as DH went to collect the car he was supposed to be buying but came home without it as they couldn't produce all the paperwork. We are still looking for another to replace our aging wheels. The good news is that although DH will be travelling more for work, they've asked him to use a work vehicle as it's cheaper than putting in mileage claims. Of course that will save on wear and tear on our car too.

    I managed not only a run this lunchtime (glorious - sunny spring day but not quite too warm to run) but also dug out DS's ancient Wii and started my (almost equally ancient) weight loss/exercise game up again. I'm shattered now and have more than compensated for calories burnt off with calories found in the cake tin, but it feels good. No formal exercise planned tomorrow as we're going on a walk.

    Well, I'm off to bed as we're losing an hour's sleep tonight.
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 26th Mar 17, 9:54 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    NSD today (unless you count allowing DH to buy me a coffee).

    No formal exercise but I walked to church & back (about 15-20 mins each way) and in the afternoon we took a picnic into this glorious spring weather and went for a very energetic walk. DD took her fitbit and we clocked up 10,000+ paces, some of it on a very steep slope - so while I'm still a bit ache-y from yesterday and tomorrow will have new aches in different muscles, I am loving feeling so healthy - apart from the muzzy head I had most of the day, which I've been trying to solve with a lot of hydration that has probably helped a bit.

    I made a big pot of chilli for Sunday dinner this evening and it went down well though even on the low setting my slow cooker boils things as if it's going out of fashion.

    We had been a bit concerned about my FiL who didn't seem well this morning but he's perked up after a good sleep this afternoon so maybe I can blame changing the clocks.

    I'm going to have a look at a menu plan for the coming week, though as DD and I will be at the hen weekend from Friday, it won't be typical. I can't remember if I said but menu planning went astray when I started working shifts and for a long time these were unpredictable. Nowadays things have settled and it occurred to me that I could do a 6-week rotation which would cover the days I can cook for the family and some others where I can leave meals for them in the fridge or freezer. They can all cook for themselves but it costs less if I do it!

    I think I'm going to increase my share of food money to £40 a week. Yes, that's £520 a year but maybe I won't spend it all, and it will be good if I can save up for special ingredients or good bargains from time to time as well as head DS2 off before he tells me yet again that we've no food in the house. (We have, he just doesn't fancy it).

    This week's menu from my sketched-out 6-week plan looks like this:
    Mon - pizza (we are going to a quiz with pizza buffet)
    Tues - curry (make extra for freezer)
    Weds - Breakfast for dinner (sausage, bacon, beans, mushrooms, mash or alternative)
    Thurs - soup (make extra and leave for DH as I'll be at work)
    Fri - don't know as I'll be away
    Sat - meal out
    Sun - don't know as travelling home.

    That's about it for this week: I'm giving some thought to budgets but I haven't made any decisions apart from the food one..
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 27th Mar 17, 5:14 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    Early shift today and been on my feet since it finished so I'm weary.

    My tax refund arrived and I headed down to the bank straight away and got it paid in. I then checked how much I can overpay on the mortgage before incurring charges and to my surprise, as we are no longer on a fixed rate, I can pay as much as I want! Well, depending what I have available to pay in, of course, but it's nice to know I don't have that to worry about - though if we can't sell all or part of Mum's house in the reasonably near future, it may be worth considering a fixed rate again.

    Spends today:
    Food 7.72 (out of my new £40 share of the food budget)
    Clothing £10 (Including the perfect top for Saturday's meal out for only £3!)
    Toiletries 4.41
    Medical 0.95
    Book for DD's project 2.49
    Due to spend 16.00 between me and DH for this quiz & pizza evening later.

    MS stuff:
    Wombled 17p
    Took lunch to work
    My garlic is starting to grow!

    Think that's it for now, I'm off to browse the forums.
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 28th Mar 17, 10:43 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    Oh dear, the spending bug is back. I've been to the solicitor's to sort out the next stage in the probate process and managed to get hoovered into a couple of shops.

    I also logged into the various accounts and made an overpayment on the mortgage although we're not at the end of the month and there's a payment still to come from that account. I only paid over some that I knew we could afford. Then later I had a stroke of inspiration with the other bank and made a transfer to the neglected holiday savings account - our plans to go to Australia one day now have roots! It's still in savings so I'm not counting it as a spend. We could put it towards groceries if we wanted, which we can't do with a mortgage overpayment.

    DH bought dinner so that doesn't fit in this diary.

    Solicitor 7.00
    Bits for DD's project 10.53
    seeds for the garden 3.04
    Piano lesson 10.00
    Mortgage 42.53

    MS stuff:

    Um... well the mortgage overpayment will save money in the long term. Other than that I can't think of anything.
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 29th Mar 17, 10:55 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    My 100th post...

    Supposedly a day off but I had to go to work for a 2 hour training session. I've fitted in a run and a meeting (non-work) this evening too but I'm still less tired than I have been recently.

    Spendy weekend coming up as DD and I head off for the hen do, the DSes go to the stag and DH is hoping to go off on a long journey and come back with a new car (one he fell for a couple of weeks ago and has another chance to buy). Yes, we can afford it but the N account looks deflated! However I've been reading diaries and am inspired to make those small savings add up to something significant. I still want the mortgage paid off early, and beyond that, I want to make overpayments to my pension, which has suffered from far too many unpensioned years. It seems better than just letting the money accumulate in a current account, provided we keep a reserve for emergencies.

    A couple of financial positives: Dh said to me the other day that he sees what I mean about it being worthwhile to overpay the mortgage! That's after years of 'I don't think it's worth it' which I think was because he doesn't like knowing how much we have, not helped by his online banking not working. The bank seems to have got mixed up about this - apparently they say they can't reinstate it till the Executors' Account goes live (i.e. once probate is granted), but it's currently nothing to do with that account - it's the day to day accounts he's been using for years. Incidentally my online banking for those same accounts continues to work just fine. Someone has their wires crossed somewhere, but while I can manage the accounts and it's hopefully only weeks now till the new account gets sorted, and DH has enough to stress him at the moment... I'm letting that one lie.

    The other positive is the big insurance payment has gone out of the N account not the H one, where I'd kept the money back from overpaying the mortgage for this purpose. This is because the car money is already accounted for and the probate documents are winging their way to Leeds and we can see an end of this process on the horizon. It means I can think more about overpaying that there mortgage!

    MS stuff:
    cheap curry using basic sauce & store/freezer ingredients for tea
    Wombled 7p

    Food 9.33 (had to get some basics but dinner was cheap).
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 29th Mar 17, 11:06 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    Another mortgage overpayment made. Just in case I can't get online banking for some reason in the next couple of days... at least I know I've made good progress this month!
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

185Posts Today

1,510Users online

Martin's Twitter