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  • FIRST POST
    • cookie9
    • By cookie9 18th Jul 14, 12:09 PM
    • 742Posts
    • 3,697Thanks
    cookie9
    30 small steps
    • #1
    • 18th Jul 14, 12:09 PM
    30 small steps 18th Jul 14 at 12:09 PM
    Hello. After making OP here and there and being on track life has thrown me a few curveballs. I am now married and have a little boy which has lead us to converting the loft. Savings have paid for half but the remainder has increased the mortgage by 30k hence the diary title. I want to make some small OPs whilst I build up my emergency savings.


    Small steps taken: Cost reduction
    1. Switching power off at plugs and switching lights off. Not sure if this has had a major effect but EON have reduced my monthly payment so must be helping.
    2. Switching to low energy light bulbs.
    3. Menu planning and sticking to it. DH fairly good natured about this although is missing meat.
    4. Not buying new clothes for myself. Alas was doing well but have been tempted by sales and bought new jacket for work.
    5. Free days out. Lots of walking and visiting parks.


    To do :
    1. Haggle with BT re broadband.


    Small steps taken. Making money.
    1. Make OP with money made from tutoring.
    2. Sell unwanted items from loft.


    To do:
    1. Write more reviews so can cash in points.


    Small steps taken: Mortgage
    1. Considering paying for new bank survey to reduce LTV and get a better deal.
    2. Have set up OP of 50 per month.
    MFW 91 op 2014 410/1000
    MFW 91 op 2015 4051/4000
    MFW 91 op 2016 4040/4000
    MFW 91 op 2017 812/4500
Page 10
    • cookie9
    • By cookie9 23rd Jul 17, 5:12 PM
    • 742 Posts
    • 3,697 Thanks
    cookie9
    Well today has been a number crunching day. I had been working out how we need to save for school fees and also what our pensions will look like when we hit 60/67. We would like to be able to eat out and do some travelling when we retire so are looking at how best to improve our pensions.

    We have no child care to pay for in August so that saves us some money. I had a glitch in my no new clothes rule as realised I have no summer trousers so bought some which are smart enough for work but can be dressed down for holidays.

    After spending a lot on takeaways I realise that we need to freeze some nice healthy meals so they can be defrosted in an emergency rather than reaching for the phone for takeaway. Luckily DH is up for this and has promised to make a big batch of his super Bolognese.

    With the money set aside to OP the mortgage at the end of the fixed period we are now below 150k mark which is great news.
    MFW 91 op 2014 410/1000
    MFW 91 op 2015 4051/4000
    MFW 91 op 2016 4040/4000
    MFW 91 op 2017 812/4500
    • Viking_mfw
    • By Viking_mfw 23rd Jul 17, 5:35 PM
    • 120 Posts
    • 524 Thanks
    Viking_mfw
    Love the title and the idea of small steps, cookie9.
    • cookie9
    • By cookie9 26th Aug 17, 7:24 PM
    • 742 Posts
    • 3,697 Thanks
    cookie9
    Holidays and being MFW do not make for good partners. With the pound being so weak eating out was more expensive and even going to the local supermarket to buy food to cook was a bit more than home. Not helped by our " We are on holiday so let's treat ourselves" attitude. Although I am enjoying a glass of our very nice wine bought in duty free flying home as I type!

    Although food on holiday was expensive we did eat well and healthily so I want to try to keep this up. The tomatoes on the garden aren't quite ripe yet and the lettuce has gone so may replace that and get some spinach too. We have a few nice fruit bowls in the house so encouraging the family to snack on these when they are feeling peckish and also using them as desert too. Thinking ahead for returning to work/school and packed lunches and going to try to create fruit snacks in advance eg peaches, melon and nectarines cut up and put into snack containers in the fridge a couple of days in advance so less prep. Although DS can't take nuts to school I can so I plan to experiment with frozen peanut butter and jam sandwiches. Although not the most healthy of snacks it will give me some energy to last the day and will be a good emergency back up for the days when I am rushing to get out of the door in time.

    Despite the over spending on holiday I have ben fairly MFW at home as have done some DIY myself rather than get the experts in. Kitchen has been repainted and I have fixed the bathroom shelf. DH finally persuaded me to get a cleaner in for a deep clean of the kitchen. Wow. It was well worth the money as it looks brilliant now and freed up my time to get a lot of other things done. Sometimes it is a balance of spending money but gaining time.

    On the subject of time saving my capsule wardrobe worked so well on holiday I am going to try to adopt a similar scheme for my work clothes so save time thinking about what to wear. I am quite organising as I put out my clothes the night before but I am aware that my wardrobe is packed full of clothes so it is sometimes hard to see what is there. Less stress happier me is my new mantra.

    Hope everyone has a good bank holiday and some sunshine!
    MFW 91 op 2014 410/1000
    MFW 91 op 2015 4051/4000
    MFW 91 op 2016 4040/4000
    MFW 91 op 2017 812/4500
    • cookie9
    • By cookie9 9th Sep 17, 5:42 PM
    • 742 Posts
    • 3,697 Thanks
    cookie9
    Time for negotiating. With my current gas/electricity coming to an end soon time to make sure I switch to the best deal I can. Hopefully with the new double glazing we will use less energy this year. Today it is quite wet and cooler so I have had to put the dryer on for a bit to make sure DS has clothes for tomorrow. Tomorrow I will start checking prices and get ready to call suppliers.

    Tomorrow is also my menu planning day. I do feel I am in a bit of a rut with my cooking but when I am busy I just revert to the meals I know everyone likes and will eat. Tonight it is pork fillet stuffed with spinach with green beans and potatoes. Fruit for the adults and wee man can have jelly with his fruit. In an effort to be healthy fruit is our desert most evenings although we are having apple crumble tomorrow as it is Sunday.

    Mortgage OPs are still small steps but it is nice to see the figures dropping. This year's target should be met and the emergency fund has been built up too despite it being a bit of a lean year. It is good to think about how much time I have taken off the mortgage even with my small steps.
    MFW 91 op 2014 410/1000
    MFW 91 op 2015 4051/4000
    MFW 91 op 2016 4040/4000
    MFW 91 op 2017 812/4500
    • cookie9
    • By cookie9 7th Oct 17, 12:55 PM
    • 742 Posts
    • 3,697 Thanks
    cookie9
    Well gas and electricity successfully switched. I just need to get my meter readings in. I also managed to negotiate some money off the house insurance although these savings do not off set the road tax I had to pay this month. Running a car is expensive but we do need it. At least DH only has a little amount to pay for his motorbike.

    Priorities have changed for the time being in the Cookie house and for now I am cutting back on OP and concentrating on emergency funds. I want to make sure we could cover the mortgage and school fees for 6 months rather than just 3. I am happy this is the right decision for now. I have made reasonable OPs to date and have money in my T*sco 3% account which I will use to OP the mortgage when the fixed period ends next year.

    On the spending less side of things I still need to watch our food bill. I plan to sit down and try to work out a meal plan for a month including batch cooking and freezer food. Wish me luck. I struggle with ideas for a week so this will be a real challenge. I did treat us to the Dine In for 10 offer and got the whole fresh chicken so it will feed 4 of us with left overs for soup or sandwich filler. Alas the tomato plant has given up the ghost but at least we did get some very tasty tomatoes for a while.

    I plan to get some Christmas shopping this week and already have ordered some stocking fillers. My credit card has stopped gift vouchers for spending on it but fortunately I managed to cash my points in for some gift cards so that will help with Christmas. Time to switch to using one of my other cards to get some cash back/vouchers. Will look at Martin's tips to see which card is best.

    Better get cracking on the meal planning!
    Last edited by cookie9; 22-10-2017 at 4:58 PM.
    MFW 91 op 2014 410/1000
    MFW 91 op 2015 4051/4000
    MFW 91 op 2016 4040/4000
    MFW 91 op 2017 812/4500
    • daisy 1571
    • By daisy 1571 9th Oct 17, 12:59 PM
    • 266 Posts
    • 3,278 Thanks
    daisy 1571
    Well done cookie, you are doing well, good luck with meal planning - I find writing it down for the week, noting any changes then doing same again for the next few weeks. By then you will have a month or 5 weeks worth of your normal meals and you can either repeat or mix up the meals ad infinitum. Leave the odd space for new recipes and incorporate these in if they are good,

    Daisy xx
    "Never save something for a special occasion. Every day in your life is a special occasion" Take hold of every moment by anon

    The difference between what you were yesterday and what you will be tomorrow is what you do today
    • cookie9
    • By cookie9 22nd Oct 17, 4:57 PM
    • 742 Posts
    • 3,697 Thanks
    cookie9
    Having a break with a cup of tea and my laptop as been busy all day. Up early and sorting out shopping before heading out on a playdate with wee man. He and his friend had great fun building a den in the woods. We are lucky the weather is still nice enough to play outdoors.

    Hoping to sort out the freezer and fridge this week and do some batch cooking for the freezer. I need to make sure we are all eating healthily. Going to try to avoid takeaways for a few weeks. I also need to move funds around to make sure I am getting the best rates especially as some of my regular savers are coming to an end.

    Thinking ahead to Christmas I have vouchers to use by November so I will get some stocking fillers with them. I also have various reward points so need to look to see if anything catches my eye. I think we have well stocked for cards and paper but need to check my cupboard. It gets so busy in the run up to Christmas if I am not organised I end up having to buy everything online.
    MFW 91 op 2014 410/1000
    MFW 91 op 2015 4051/4000
    MFW 91 op 2016 4040/4000
    MFW 91 op 2017 812/4500
    • cookie9
    • By cookie9 26th Oct 17, 11:57 AM
    • 742 Posts
    • 3,697 Thanks
    cookie9
    I am having a tea and MSE catch up as I am half way through decluttering the wardrobe. One large bag for donating and another fill of rubbish. I am now at the "I wish I hadn't started this!" stage hence the distraction of MSE.

    On the plus side I have found shoes I had forgotten about so less inclined to buy more shoes for the winter. This stems from having lots of lovely going out sandals in shoe boxes which I now never wear which had hidden two shoe boxes with practical shoes in them. I did have to get new boots but parents bought them for me as early birthday present. My other good finds were a necklace which will look good with my polo neck jumpers in winter and two pairs of brand new tights which had fallen down behind some handbags.

    On the downside I have realised I do need another work shirt so have bought one so not very good at the not buying new clothes goal. At least I got a discount voucher and also found some money in the wardrobe although 20p is not going to cover the cost even with the discount voucher.

    Tackling the wardrobe has made me realise that I am definitely a hoarder and it is a hard habit to break. One of my find today was a pile of silk that a friend bought me in the 90s which I have never done anything with. I am looking at it now thinking one day....

    One more box to go then I am calling it a day. The top of the wardrobe can wait until I get my step stool to reach it. Next task is the freezer which should be easier as it is smaller! I have already taken out chicken thighs to defrost for tonight and hope to get some cooking done later.
    Last edited by cookie9; 10-02-2018 at 11:54 AM.
    MFW 91 op 2014 410/1000
    MFW 91 op 2015 4051/4000
    MFW 91 op 2016 4040/4000
    MFW 91 op 2017 812/4500
    • cookie9
    • By cookie9 31st Dec 17, 5:19 PM
    • 742 Posts
    • 3,697 Thanks
    cookie9
    Happy Hogmanay! Another year almost over and what a fast year it has been. This year I have rethought some of my targets. The most important thing is being healthy and spending time with loved ones. To make sure we could hope if one of us was ill I have increased my emergency savings.

    Health wise I need to make sure we are all eating health foods and getting exercise. Little Cookie has learnt to ride a bike so he and daddy will be spending a lot of time in the park this year coming. I am planning on making lots of healthy soups to avoid everyone snacking on junk. That together with a good fruit bowl should put us on the right tracks.

    Wishing everyone a joyful 2018.
    MFW 91 op 2014 410/1000
    MFW 91 op 2015 4051/4000
    MFW 91 op 2016 4040/4000
    MFW 91 op 2017 812/4500
    • cookie9
    • By cookie9 9th Jan 18, 2:01 PM
    • 742 Posts
    • 3,697 Thanks
    cookie9
    New Year so time to look at last year's accounts and identify areas for improvement. Number one on my list is the food bill. As we normally use Mr T I am going to use the promotional discount for first time users of S@insburys and W@itrose to stock up and then try Lid1 to see if I can shave some pennies off the food shopping.

    Next on my list is contacting our ISP to see if I am still in contract or if I can now get a better deal. After that is checking I have all my renewal dates in the diary so I can get quotes in advance.

    After lots of meals out I have decided to go for a cheap January. Not going for a dry one as I was given a gift of a box of wine so still have a few bottles left. We also received a coffee maker for Christmas so no need to be tempted by expensive takeaway coffee. Hopefully the weather will be nice enough for lots of trips to the park at the weekend.
    MFW 91 op 2014 410/1000
    MFW 91 op 2015 4051/4000
    MFW 91 op 2016 4040/4000
    MFW 91 op 2017 812/4500
    • mortgage_girl
    • By mortgage_girl 21st Jan 18, 4:11 PM
    • 852 Posts
    • 3,911 Thanks
    mortgage_girl
    Just stopping by to wish you a Happy New Year! Enjoy your coffee maker and I hope the weather is being kind enough for lots of park trips.

    MGx
    2018: 1313.85 / 9,300
    2017: 7646.64 / 11,000 2016: 4557.98 / 11,000 2015: 10,230.37 / 11,000 2014 =6703.26 / 11,000 2013 = 4288.51 / 8000 2012 = 1600/5000 2011 = 2579/3000
    MF date was Nov 2041 - now April 2022

    • cookie9
    • By cookie9 4th Feb 18, 7:52 AM
    • 742 Posts
    • 3,697 Thanks
    cookie9
    Thanks MG off to the park today!

    Thankfully did not autorenew my car insurance as they want 700. After a few quotes managed to get it for 370. So much for customer loyalty. On the downside work has been so busy I missed out on the first time shopper deals but I am sure more will come along. I did trade in my T@sco points so we enjoyed lunch out yesterday and I still have 40 to treat us later on.

    I have a few days off coming up so will sort out ISPs then. I am also going to see about moving a couple of direct debits into my second account and then start account switching with a view to boosting holiday funds.
    MFW 91 op 2014 410/1000
    MFW 91 op 2015 4051/4000
    MFW 91 op 2016 4040/4000
    MFW 91 op 2017 812/4500
    • cookie9
    • By cookie9 10th Feb 18, 7:41 AM
    • 742 Posts
    • 3,697 Thanks
    cookie9
    The nice thing about a diary is that it helps to ensure you do the things you have written down in it. I am therefore pleased to say I finally got around to ordering from W@itrose and using my 20 off first order voucher. This is a very simple process as you can transfer your favourites automatically so doing your usual shop is a fast process. Hopefully changing direct debits will be an easy process too!

    A few days off work so time to batch cook and try Lid! to see if we can save some money on the food bill. Hopefully the weather will improve so not tempted to buy cakes!

    After swimming home to chocolate and banana pancakes to use up the old bananas and now have a batch of lentil soup simmering away. I really don't want to go out again so doing a store cupboard and fridge use it up challenge today.
    Last edited by cookie9; 10-02-2018 at 11:53 AM.
    MFW 91 op 2014 410/1000
    MFW 91 op 2015 4051/4000
    MFW 91 op 2016 4040/4000
    MFW 91 op 2017 812/4500
    • mortgage_girl
    • By mortgage_girl 16th Feb 18, 3:01 PM
    • 852 Posts
    • 3,911 Thanks
    mortgage_girl
    Snap - I've had pancakes today to use up some leftover batter mix, they were delcious. Can't believe the difference between car insurance quotes, it's crazy!

    Have a lovely weekend.

    MGx
    2018: 1313.85 / 9,300
    2017: 7646.64 / 11,000 2016: 4557.98 / 11,000 2015: 10,230.37 / 11,000 2014 =6703.26 / 11,000 2013 = 4288.51 / 8000 2012 = 1600/5000 2011 = 2579/3000
    MF date was Nov 2041 - now April 2022

    • cookie9
    • By cookie9 1st Mar 18, 10:55 AM
    • 742 Posts
    • 3,697 Thanks
    cookie9
    I have to say I am impressed with my new supermarket shop. No delivery charge for 12 months and cheaper than my old one. Free chocolates in two more shops and I also have a voucher for 25 of free cleaning materials.

    To encourage good MSE habits I have opened a children's account with Metr@ Bank. It is not the highest paying at 1.49% but they have the Magic Money Machine which if you use for 5 months you get a 5 bonus which is good if you are only saving small amounts. We have coppers jars for the wee cookie so he should benefit from this.

    DH was off sick and now wee cookie is sick too so thinking of meals before shopping arrives later. Have pasta and will make soup and bread for later. Love soup in cold weather!

    Decluttering going slowly but a few things cleared. I am aiming for 7 per week. So far I have
    1 box of Duplo ( sold for 10 and banked for wee man)
    A tube of moisturiser used up
    One bag of old papers thrown away.
    Last edited by cookie9; 03-03-2018 at 7:59 AM.
    MFW 91 op 2014 410/1000
    MFW 91 op 2015 4051/4000
    MFW 91 op 2016 4040/4000
    MFW 91 op 2017 812/4500
    • mortgage_girl
    • By mortgage_girl 4th Mar 18, 4:53 PM
    • 852 Posts
    • 3,911 Thanks
    mortgage_girl
    Ooh well done on your savvy supermarket endeavours - enjoy the chocs! Nom, nom, nom. What soup did you make? My favourite at the moment is tomato with a bit of celery and carrot thrown in.

    Good luck with your decluttering!

    MGx
    2018: 1313.85 / 9,300
    2017: 7646.64 / 11,000 2016: 4557.98 / 11,000 2015: 10,230.37 / 11,000 2014 =6703.26 / 11,000 2013 = 4288.51 / 8000 2012 = 1600/5000 2011 = 2579/3000
    MF date was Nov 2041 - now April 2022

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