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Hurrah! Embarking on a money saving adventure.



  • davenport151
    davenport151 Posts: 647 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Photogenic Combo Breaker
    Hi Mudangel. Hows it all going? Did you get the promised run in?

    My money saving went as far as applying for a 'bite' card - this is 20% off at certain station eateries so as we are often travelling and the summer hols are coming that should be useful. Also go a few advance tickets for journeys coming up. Saved a few quid there!
    Back on the trains again!

  • *mudangel*
    *mudangel* Posts: 119 Forumite
    edited 13 July 2012 at 3:08PM
    Hi davenport! Yes, I did get the run in. In fact, quite a few runs in. Glad to hear that you're still doing well on the money saving front. Great how those savings add up. :)

    Hope everyone is well. It's been a long while since my last update, but I’ve been very good.

    Frugality is starting to feel more of a habit and less of a novelty now, which is obviously a Good Thing. I heard a phrase on the radio today – something to do with Terrance Conran. “I have money to spend, but none to waste.” That is a useful motto.

    It’s been a slightly more expensive month than I had hoped – I’d budgeted for the husband’s birthday and that cost a few quid at the beginning of the month. I hadn’t budgeted for having to take both pets to the vet (on the same day!) and that costing over £130. Borrowed back £100 of the money in savings, because it could have been an uncomfortably tight month if I hadn’t. Pleased to say that I’ve managed to save more than I anticipated and I think I can put that £100 back now and maybe a bit more, so I’ve done very well this month so far. If I end the month on target, I should have not misspent around £600 this month – I originally wrote 'saved', because I’m including the money I’ve paid out for life insurance and the pets' vets bills – which hasn’t exactly been saved, but has been usefully used. Saved would have been a bit untrue!

    Account with First Direct should be up and running in a few days, subject to my sorting out ID. Need to get a solicitor to certify my driving licence or passport – doing that on Monday and it’s free! Have asked to have NO overdraft facility whatsoever – if I don’t have it, I won’t use it. I love the idea of only spending money which is wholly mine to spend. (Well, with the exception of the mortgage.) Loving the sound of the regular saver account and the £100 for switching. Bit nervous of switching from a bank I’ve used for the last 12 years, but we’ll see how that goes.

    In other news, work is still dreadfully busy. I’m doing a fair bit of running, so that’s keeping me happy. House is looking lovely! I’m going to do a deep-clean now I’ve decluttered a lot.

    Ah, and a quick Zoopla check indicates that our house is worth considerably more than I thought. Not sure how reliable these things are. Thinking that we might be able to get a larger house a bit quicker than we thought. Have made a list of things I’d like to get / do to improve where we’re living. Comes to about £2k if we do end up doing / buying it all. Includes odd little things, like fitting dimmer switches, getting some better storage etc. Not things which HAVE to be purchased, but will make the house a nicer place to be and an easier place to live. Have budgeted a little bit of money each month for things like this, because as well as saving, improving what we have is important.

    And Mr Tescos? I don't see him much anymore – maybe once a week. I don’t miss him. And I certainly don’t miss him sucking the money from my bank account. :)
    Just bought a new house with the help of this site! :D
  • davenport151
    Hey Mudangel - great to hear of your successes. I've been reading up on the Fiscal fast thread (still catching up as there's quite a lot to read but very interesting in changing your attitude to spending! Its encouraged me to see Mr T's less often too. Well done on the decluttering too - sounds like you've really done well there.
    Back on the trains again!

  • *mudangel*
    *mudangel* Posts: 119 Forumite
    Hola! Hope everyone’s well.

    Another good week of saving and thrift. However, I’ve been really slack on putting my expenditure into Spend Diary – in truth, I’ve not really done it at all this month. I will start to do this again, because it was helpful to look back on at the end of last month. This month, I’ve a clear idea of where my money has gone which is a vast improvement on how I was before. Gone are the times when I used to dread checking my bank balance and shake my head over the big gap between what I thought I had and what was actually there. Ugh!

    Oh, I tried that budget calculator thing last night on this site. I think I must have slightly miscalculated because even if I put a minimum of £300 into savings each month, it still wind up with an underspend of £455. Lovely, but a bit overly optimistic. If I’d stuck with Spend Diary, I could have been a bit more accurate. Anyway, will take a bit more time over it and re-attempt. On a really good month, I could probably save £700+ a month, but there will be plenty of times when I can’t.

    I think I should be able to stick another £40 in savings before payday. Determined not to dip into the overdraft, so will hang on until I’m sure no unexpected expenditure might come my way. I’d rather hoped to have received a cheque for £46 from MusicMagpie which hasn’t arrived yet. Anyway, another £40 will bring my savings up to £600.

    Feeling very relieved with this summer’s childcare arrangements. I had been anxious about this, because with the work project on the chances of my getting time off are slim. I was in the same position last year and in August alone I spent around £900 on childcare. Total killer! Anyway, my mum has retired and is able to have daughter every day apart from Wednesdays and Thursdays. She only wants £60 a week, so that’s a massive saving. The Wednesdays and Thursdays I am sure husband and I can work something out between us. Besides, it would be totally unreasonable (and, I think, not legal) of work to not allow me any time off – have got 23 days holiday owing!

    Speaking of all things work, husband’s got a new job! He’s delighted because it’s a step up for him and takes him away from a job he’s not particularly enjoyed. It’s not a vast amount more money – about £2k, but it all helps and he should be very happy.

    So, that’s my news. It’s all going well and I’m on the right track with everything. My payday target is to stick at least £500 into savings, which means I’ll finally have over £1k saved. This is something I’ve never achieved before, so will be giving myself a huge pat on the back and thanking everyone who has encouraged me on here! Just knowing that people are reading this has kept me motivated.

    Have good weekends, y'all! :)
    Just bought a new house with the help of this site! :D
  • *mudangel*
    *mudangel* Posts: 119 Forumite
    And, in addition to the above, just found out that First Direct current account has been approved. So that's nice! Once everything's through I can start the business of switching all my banking, then set up a regular savings account and then finally start thinking about an ISA or somesuch. Happy days! :)
    Just bought a new house with the help of this site! :D
  • *mudangel*
    *mudangel* Posts: 119 Forumite
    Good things today! Got all the First Direct stuff through, so account's open now. Once money's going into that account, I will sort out the regular saver account and aim to stick £300 a month into that.

    Also applied for ING cash ISA. Was going to hold off and go with Santander, but means putting in a minimum of £2,500. Might take a fair bit more scrimping and saving until I'm at that point!

    So, that's all rather pleasing. By end of August, I should have a nice £1k emergency fund (which I should add more to, really. I'm aiming for enough to replace the car or get us by for a time should hubby or I ever get made redundant.), £300 a month going into regular savings earning 8% AER (for 12 months, anyway), and whatever I can feasibly afford getting stashed away in the ISA.

    And I'm still being really frugal. You know what's really weird? When looking ahead to payday, I most look forward to what I can save and not what I can spend.

    This site messes with your mind. In a very good way. :)
    Just bought a new house with the help of this site! :D
  • *mudangel*
    *mudangel* Posts: 119 Forumite
    edited 27 July 2012 at 1:59PM

    Bit of an update and all is well with me and my dough.

    I did a brave thing over the last couple of weeks and finally checked my credit reports. I had dreaded doing this – about 9 years ago, I got in a right pickle with my finances. Got things sorted over the next few years, but haven’t touched credit since and have always been stupidly head-in-sand about what CRAs may have to say about me.

    Glad I checked, as there are no CCJs, missed payments, people running up credit in my name or outstanding credit bills – I wouldn’t have expected there to be any, but you know how you worry about the unknown. In fact, reading through reports in detail, it looks like the only negatives against me according to both Equifax and Experian is that I’m not currently running any credit accounts, nor have I had any for some years. So, that’s a big relief and means I can move on with life and know what I need to do.

    I’ve applied for a Capital One card (and I think been accepted, but I seem to be awaiting confirmation – I’ve certainly not been rejected) to try and build up some nice credit-worthiness on my reports. I detest the idea of using a credit card, but I’ll set up a direct debit to pay it off in full each month and not use more than 30% of the balance. Went straight for the credit building cards which I felt certain I’d be accepted for rather than potentially end up with a load of credit checks showing on the reports if I got rejected for the ‘nicer’ cards.

    It’s funny how both Experian and Equifax seem to hold pretty much the same information about me, but where Experian rates me as ‘fair’ (just a few points off good), Equifax has me as ‘very poor’ – the latter seems a bit harsh! Still, nice to know that the score doesn’t really count for anything and that creditors don’t even see that. I’ve not looked at Call Credit, because they don’t seem to be widely used. I will do this though.

    Can honestly say that I don’t think I’d have had the guts to check my reports had it not been for this website. I’ve been so worried and seemingly without cause. It’s enormously empowering to know what is said about me and it’s great that there were no surprises. So, another big thanks to this site for encouraging me to face facts and take back the control of my finances.

    A good credit record could be crucial to buying a new house. Current mortgage is in my husband’s name – when we looked at adding me, the application was rejected because I have a dependent – despite the fact that it meant two salaries going in. Ho hum! So, I pay my share of the mortgage into husband’s bank account. Anyway, if when we buy our next place I do need to be on the mortgage, it’d be pretty awful to get rejected over a bad credit report owing to a skeleton in the cupboard of which I wasn’t aware.

    July’s been a great month for saving. Looking through my expenditure, I seem to have spent £206.36 on things other than regular bills. So that £184.36 includes Tesco (and all groceries), taking rat to the vet (took the cat as well, but that money came out of savings and then got replaced – if I include that, I spent about £300 for the month), entertainment, bits for the garden and some transport. I say some transport, because I definitely paid out about an extra £15 on bus fares which I failed to record. Slap wrist.

    Target for August is to RECORD MY DARNED SPENDING PROPERLY AGAIN. I’ve got back into the habit, but need to maintain it. It’s nice to think that my non-bill expenditure is £300ish, but I can’t be 100% sure because all I’ve got to go on is Natwest statements. Before, I had also noted cash spends and while I don’t remember making any, I’m quite sure I must have done.

    I also need to get a new Clubcard. The damned iPhone app doesn’t scan most of the time.

    Sorry, that was all a bit lengthy and garbled, but it’s going well.
    Just bought a new house with the help of this site! :D
  • *mudangel*
    *mudangel* Posts: 119 Forumite
    edited 3 August 2012 at 11:05AM
    Phew, well that week was comparatively pricey.

    We went away to take part in a major running relay event last weekend and I knew that would set me back a few quid. Multiple off-road 10k laps – hilly and exhausting! Had to stock up on a fair bit of food and necessities – including sun protection which cost £20! (Hey, I use P20, because I’m pale and it stays on even when I sweat during running – it’s a big bottle and will last ages.) Then there were petrol costs, because it was about 150 miles away. So, all that cost me around £65. Then, I ended up buying a back-up pair of running shoes which cost £56.xx. This is pretty cheap for these, I normally don’t see much change out of £70. Thought I’d get by with the shoes I had, but my feet were killing me by the end of my first 10k lap.

    So, that lot meant that all my ‘pocket money’ for non-essential spends has been wiped out. I’m allowing myself around £100 a month for this, which I think is fair. I’ve bought plants for the garden, paint and suchlike in previous months. Had planned on putting a new light fitting in the bathroom this month, but that can wait until next month.

    I’ve sat down and worked out exactly what I can spend between now and payday without dipping into savings. It works out to just over £9 per day, which barring emergencies, is going to be more than enough. I’ve set myself a challenge of spending no more than £5 per day. Been looking at some the grocery challenge thread and I’m all motivated to get involved. Suspect I may have to do a fair bit of cycling to supermarkets, because I want to save money on petrol. There’s a Budgens and a Waitrose a few miles away. Guess which one I’ll be going to?

    Ooh, and I’m in between banks, so I’ve got money in First Direct and Natwest at the moment. All my saving money is in Natwest (aside from a little bit in the ISA and regular saver to get both accounts up and running), just in case direct debits and standing orders don’t quite work out as planned and end up going out of Natwest. I’d feared having access to all my money before, which is why I gave my mum wads of cash to look after for me, because I thought I’d dip into it. Can proudly say that I’m not even tempted now! I’ve mentally committed myself to saving, so completely trust myself not to dip into those funds. :)

    Have been good with noting my spends, so I’m pleased to be back on top of that.

    Still no word on Capital One card, but sounds like lots of people apply, are none the wiser as to whether they’ve been accepted and then the credit card turns up. Here’s hoping, eh?

    In other news, I’ve been out running almost every day and that makes me happy. Work’s still an absolute nightmare, but taking that bit of time out to de-stress and enjoy the outdoors puts a big smile on my face. Besides, need to get every penny out of the running shoes.

    Challenge for the following week is to start cooking again, because I’ve been a bit rubbish and busy. Perhaps I’ll freeze up a shedload of soup this weekend, cook the family a big old risotto, bake some scones and the like. Plenty of ideas after looking at the grocery challenge thread.
    Just bought a new house with the help of this site! :D
  • *mudangel*
    *mudangel* Posts: 119 Forumite
    edited 10 August 2012 at 9:47AM
    Hola! Still slogging on with the saving and really enjoying it.

    Week’s expenditure (I’ll start adding this each regularly, then I’ll be more likely to keep using Spend Diary):

    Groceries - £39.28 (high)
    Transport inc. petrol - £18.61 (okay)
    Leisure – £3.60 (low)

    Total: £61.49

    Have had a few no-spend days, but groceries has come out higher than I would like. However, cupboards are well stocked and I’ve been doing a lot of cooking. And, when I consider that nearly £10 of the spend was wine for when family came over, it’s not so bad! Also, I’ve been doing most of the shopping this week, other weeks my husband does more of it.

    Leisure has been very cheap – took daughter swimming. She loved this and we’ll definitely do it again.

    Transport is okay. About £15 in petrol and the rest is bus fare. I could bring this down further by cycling, but that’s been hard to juggle with childcare and very early starts at work.

    I’ve found a further saving to make. My daughter attends weekly maths lessons. This costs about £92 per month. Lately, I don’t think she’s been getting on as well with the sessions as she might. Looking into things, there’s a local Kumon group. That’ll only cost £55 per term. There’s a £35 registration fee, but if she starts in September, there’s an offer and I don’t have to pay for this. So, if all works out, that’s a further £37 saved each month.

    Just to compare my spending now with my pre-MSE spending, I just totted up how much I spent in May 2012. Wow. No wonder I was always skint by the middle of the month! I won’t bore you by breaking it down too much, but here’s rough figures for the month:

    Tesco: £234.14
    Cash (dunno what this went on): £155
    Non-essential spends (i.e. clothes, Costa coffee, eating out etc.): £544.80

    Total: £933.94

    Oh. My. Lord. Bearing in mind that my essential spending (mortgage contribution, bills, childcare etc.) was then about £700 and I earn around £1,600 each month… Well, it’s hardly a surprise that I’d always end up in my overdraft.

    Actually, Tesco got less than I thought. What’s really noticeable about my non-essential spending is how much of it is a few quid here and there. The vast majority of spends are less than £10. Really shows how it all adds up. I’ve never thought of myself as a big spender, but I can’t deny than £544.80 is big money to me.

    This weekend should be a cheap one, though I’m going to a party tomorrow which will require a birthday pressie. Well, the lady doesn’t want presents, but contributions to a Just Giving cause – we will put about £15 towards it.

    If the weather’s nice, might have a little BBQ. My nephew’s coming round on Saturday night and Sunday. He’s only 3 and my daughter adores him! It’ll be lovely to have him over and he’ll be a very cheap way of keeping my girl entertained! :)

    Ooh, noticed the blackberries are starting to ripen near where we live. We’ll probably go out and pick some, then make a crumble. What a lovely, thrifty way to spend an afternoon.
    Just bought a new house with the help of this site! :D
  • davenport151
    Hi Mudangel - glad to hear its all going well. Yaay! i've noticed the ripening blackberries.

    Love the comment on Mays expenditure ' Dunno what this went on'

    Money saving really changes your outlook on spending.
    Back on the trains again!

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