Hazelnutty's recover and rebuild plan for a happier, simpler life!



  • Hazelnutty
    Hazelnutty Forumite Posts: 706
    Fourth Anniversary 500 Posts Name Dropper
    edited 28 July 2021 at 9:36AM
    Hi all
    It's payday, yay! So here's my monthly review and forward plan:

    July report
    • Food £331.60/£280 [OK, not great. We have a weekly Oddbox of wonky veg that's more expensive than buying from L1dl but not sure that's the main issue. Only 2 big shops of £60-ish each, the rest is little top-ups. I will be able to increase the food budget in a couple of months, but still good to diagnose where the extra spends are coming from]
    • Non-food £45.62 [This budget is pretty stable and I usually spend around this so all fine]
    • Ents £145.51/£150 [Again, all fine. Glad I managed to treat DD to an afternoon out on this, swim most weeks and get the odd coffee within budget]
    • Fuel £50.16/£50 [16p is my not being sharp on the trigger at Tesco lol! Fuel due to stay low as I won't be commuting until the new year, and Scotland trip to see Mum is budgeted for this month].

    Other goals:
    • Complete Coach Jeff's runs: Jeff is my Garmin Coach coach and I've stuck to his plan so that's a tick!
    • Submit my article for publication:  just waiting for colleague's comments, so I'm giving myself a bye here
    • Beat 10 NSDs: nope, but I did get 9!
    • Do 'Cows of Cambridge' and two other long walks: cows done, rest not  :|
    • Swim weekly: 3/4 aint bad (and booked in today)
    • CC under £750: big win here £610  o:)
    • Boot sale: done!
    Overall, I'm pretty pleased :smile: £15.26 in TTs went off the CC too.

    I'm lucky in that XH is a high earner and just does the gov.uk child support calc once a year. I've never had an issue with him paying and we generally have a strong relationship. He earns more than double what I do so knowing his payments are coming in means I can factor them into my budgeting without worrying (so all figures reflect that additional income, plus the short-term boost my Dad's giving me).

    August plan
    Pot shuffles and payments:
    • Last big push to my main savings account done
    • £915 sent to virtual pots (this is higher than usual as Dad's safety net rebuulding money fell twice this month). I've boosted the uniform pot as I have about £300 to spend  :#
    • Use Prolific earnings and TTs to chip away at the CC in half-square (£30) units. Decided not to BT when the 0% is up in April so this and increasing payments to my Mum are my MSE priorities
    • Min payment to CC increased to £240 (3 full squares on my grid)
    Other goals:
    • Complete all Coach Jeff's runs and do the 5k at the end
    • Swim weekly, including in Scotland
    • CC under £700
    • Read or listen to an audiobook every day
    Have a good hump day everyone :smiley:
    Choose kind:)
  • Sun_Addict
    Sun_Addict Forumite Posts: 19,653
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Happy payday. I still have one more day to go. Looks like you had a good July budget wise and some great plans in place for August. You’re very lucky your ex is a good payer and you have that relationship. I’ve read so many horror stories on these diaries of unsupportive exes. I used to live close to Cambridgeshire as a child, we lived in Eaton Socon. I can remember going over the border into St Neots for shopping. 
    Christmas Savings 2023 £426.48/£600 September NSD: September Surveys 1p Savings Challenge no 72: £445.28/£667.95
  • Hazelnutty
    Hazelnutty Forumite Posts: 706
    Fourth Anniversary 500 Posts Name Dropper
    @Sun_Addict Yes I definitely am although it shouldn't be a high bar! It definitely makes life easier to keep things amicable although diplomacy does take quite a bit of effort sometimes on my part. He's needed the odd nudge to understand and support DD as his and his partner's comments and attitudes can be quite hurtful, but generally it all works ok. I really feel for those parents whose lives are a constant battle with exes as it must be exhausting.

    I'm struggling workwise to focus, think I just really need a break! I've been quite spendy the last few days and am pretty sure it's  connected to that. I've bought a few bits I only kinda needed, like a new running belt and a swimsuit, and some I definitely *didn't* need but just wanted as retail therapy! So far I can cover this extra spends from my 'guilt-free' pot, so maybe I should let myself off, although I also need to draw a line under the spending now!

    Off to Scotland to see my Mum next Monday. Booked an afternoon tea for OH, DD and me on the way as they have a vegan alternative for DD. It's a bit of an indulgence (will cost me a third of my monthly ents budget) but it'll be a nice stop-off on a long journey - plus we're not going on hols this summer. Food budget should also be underspent this month due to the trip so am not too worried. 
    Choose kind:)
  • beanielou
    beanielou Forumite, Ambassador Posts: 86,451
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Mortgage-free Glee! Name Dropper
    What part of Scotland are you coming to?

    I am a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on Mortgage Free Wannabe & Local Money Saving Scotland & Disability Money Matters. If you need any help on those boards, do let me know.Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any post you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button , or by emailing [email protected]. All views are my own & not the official line of Money Saving Expert.Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.**Credit card debt free 30/06/10~** MFW. Finally mortgage free February 2021**** "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.***Fall down seven times,stand up eight*** ~~Japanese proverb.It starts with you, it starts from now. *** It is ok to be me.*** ***Keep plodding*** Out of debt, out of danger. ***Be the difference.***Weight loss. ** 2 stone 7 lbs.***
  • foxgloves
    foxgloves Forumite Posts: 10,319
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Ah, now @Hazelnutty..... the Top-Up Shop aka the very work of the devil when one is trying to adhere to a sensible grocery budget. We only very rarely need to do them these days.... mostly if I decide to 'do something' with a glut of garden produce & need an ingredient for a chutney or sauce or something. Back in the Spendy Years, I was a shocker for top-up shops. We all know the drill - call in for milk & eggs, come out with a £20+ basket including treats & magazines. Then, as I neither meal-planned or wrote shopping lists, I'd be back in 2 or 3 days for another one, & invariably after work so feeling tired & hungry would also drive what was going into that basket. I've wasted a stack of money that way. At least it's in the past now, I suppose. 
    F x

    "For each of our actions there are only consequences" (James Lovelock)"For in the true nature of things......every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold & silver" (Martin Luther King Jnr)
  • anjyeah
    anjyeah Forumite Posts: 240
    100 Posts First Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper
    I am loving the monthly review and forward plan! :star:
    How are you finding Prolific? I am in the process on checking if it's something doable (and rewarding) for me. 
    My Debt Free Diary: Virgo In Pursuit
    Debt-Busting Progress: 2020: £13,200 | 2020: £9,200 | 2021: £4,900 
    2022: ongoing 
  • Hazelnutty
    Hazelnutty Forumite Posts: 706
    Fourth Anniversary 500 Posts Name Dropper
    Hello diary friends! It's been too long :smile: It's been a difficult few weeks - we did make it to Scotland (@beanielou it's the Borders, although we did pop into Edinburgh for the day too) but I just crashed. I think the ast 18 months just hit me hard as soon as I stopped. I ended up having to take some extra days off work and pull out of a big funding bid as I just didn't have the capacity :disappointed: Definitely the right decision though. I worked half days last week to ease back in, which helped.

    @foxgloves lol, yes! We sweep browse past the YS zone and end up with extra-strong garlic bread or some such, then round the corner to the bakery section bargain bin, then check the Coop offers and it's 50p off crisps... 

    @anjyeah thank you! I'm about to post for Aug/Sep :smiley: I've found Prolific really the only worthwhile survey site, at least for someone who can't do the daily checks and clicks on the others. A couple of months ago, I ended up with a £25 Zoom focus group :smile: It is very up and down though. I've done best when I've kept the page open on my 2nd screen so I can pounce when a survey pops up! But mostly I just have to take pot luck.
    Choose kind:)
  • Hazelnutty
    Hazelnutty Forumite Posts: 706
    Fourth Anniversary 500 Posts Name Dropper
    August report

    Food: £273/£280 [TBH thought I'd be way under with Scotland trip but hey ho]
    Non-food: £44/£50 
    Fuel: £99.89/£100 [Squeaky :lol: that included driving to and from Scotland so happy there]
    Ents: £266/£150 [Eek! This is holiday time so I transferred £50 from the Hols pot to offset this massive spend, but it's still waaaay over. I will be increasing Ents spend as I go into the next phase of my plan]
    TTs: £14.06

    OMG uniform purchasing has been brutal! I shuffled quite a lot to my pot for DD to cover it and I still have a couple of things to get!

    Other goals
    Coach Jeff's 5k plan: all runs completed!!!! Yay - 11 weeks, 3 runs a week, tick! 
    Swim once a week: 3/4 [Fine as the only week I missed was crash week]
    CC under £700: tick! £641
    Read/audio book every day: tick? I didn't really track this in my journal but I *think* I did.

    September plan

    I have sent:
    • £350 to my Mum as new monthly repayment 
    • £810 to virtual pots
    • £750 to external savings (now named Freedom Fund!)
    • £110 to Nutmeg
    I've also increased the food and ents budgets

    Monthly goals
    • CC under £700 again
    • Overall spend under budget (i.e. I'm not going to sweat it if one goes over as long as overall spend is there)
    • Run 3x a week, including parkrun or equivalent 5k once a week
    • Swim once a week
    • Journal every day, even if it's one sentence
    • Try a Headspace thing 3 x a week (I have a free subscription for a year with my health insurance)
    • Try the yoga and pilates workouts on Garmin and see if they help
    • Make better use of Vitality rewards (just bought half-price running shoes to replace my elderly pair and hoping to get a free Nero later today)
    I'd also like to start learning BSL but maybe that's one to start in October!
    Choose kind:)
  • Hazelnutty
    Hazelnutty Forumite Posts: 706
    Fourth Anniversary 500 Posts Name Dropper
    A couple of other updates I forgot:

    I took at look at the remortgage situation (my 5-year fix ends next Nov so will be aiming to sort this out next summer). I reckon my balance will be around £134k. If I did a straight remortgage it'd be 20 years but I'm thinking of getting this down to 17 or 18 years, maybe even 15 :smiley: As I'm already mid-40s this is probably not a bad idea and interest rates are pretty low rn.

    Also just switched gas and electricity via Quidco, so £40 cashback (along with £24 from home insurance and £60 from Nutmeg) should be coming my way in the next few months, which'll boost the CC repayment nicely. I should also get a good amount of credit back from my current provider as they gave us a goodwill payment for terrible customer service.

    It all sounds pretty good but it does still smart a bit to go round to XH house and see the lifestyle he can live. I don't regret the decision and I don't want any more money from him, it's just hard sometimes to see a kind of ease of living that's out of my reach - eating and drinking out, nice stuff at home, holidays and social life etc. I'm generally happy and grateful for what I do have but hard not to have the odd slip!
    Choose kind:)
  • Hazelnutty
    Hazelnutty Forumite Posts: 706
    Fourth Anniversary 500 Posts Name Dropper
    The bad news: completely mucked up my budgets this month so set myself up for a fail on one of my goals :grimace: Managed to forget 3 100 mile+ round trips this month (two birthday-related and a wedding), which royally blew both petrol and ents budgets eek! I've done a bit of rejigging but not managed to completely fix this.

    The good news: the trips all went really well, and in some ways that properly family time is more important than the budget, as long as I keep everything on track in the grander scheme of things. I've also completed the first line of squares for paying off the M&S card = £600 down :smile: A small but welcome HMRC refund helped and I'm back on the Prolific wagon to see if I can make some further in-roads. 

    And the naughty: I finally gave in to months of temptation and ordered the portfolio version of my journal. Will have to be my last treat for a little while. Can't wait for it to arrive so I can set everything up. OH is wanting to get the massive !!!!!! hedge taken out of the garden (it is ma-hoo-sive and hated by neighbours as much as us and we can't keep it under control) and I really want to get the bathroom done, so a bit of forward planning on the house will be happening in new journal.

    Choose kind:)
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