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  • FIRST POST
    • Cornish_mum
    • By Cornish_mum 9th Sep 19, 8:41 PM
    • 77Posts
    • 144Thanks
    Cornish_mum
    Marginal Gains
    • #1
    • 9th Sep 19, 8:41 PM
    Marginal Gains 9th Sep 19 at 8:41 PM
    After a lot of lurking I thought I should start my own diary. I am about to start a new job with 20% pay rise and a 5 year contract. So this diary is about how I can improve our financial situation over this time - so if my contract isnít renewed I can afford to take a lower paying (and less stressful job). I have a lovely DH, one DS and one DD. Our money is fully merged and DH just leaves me to it.

    I was up for redundancy about 3 years ago so made quite a few changes to our finances then. Most of these were Ďmarginal gainsí and cutting out Ďwantsí but they added up. We now save about £750 in cash a month and aim to overpay £500 too (but donít always manage to do this). One not so marginal gain was my daughter turning 3 and getting her free hours which saves us about £500/month.

    Three years ago we were just breaking even each month so itís been a big change and really donít enjoy our life much less; although sometimes cutting out expensive excursions and holidays for the children is tough. If we can find a suitable state school for DS then I am tempted to blow some of the education fund on family holidays; while the kids are young enough to enjoy it.

    Pre-kids we always OPíd and saved but this fell by the wayside once we had to juggle the mortgage with kids (especially child-care costs) and two full-time demanding jobs. Itís still a juggling act between time and money.

    We are saving money in cash, as our eldest has special needs and we think it likely we will need to pay for his secondary education. So this education pot is our top priority.

    We just managed to get our mortgage sub 200K (we started at 250K in May 2015) and have overpaid just over £17000 to date. We are due to remortgage next May so I will be looking for a good deal in the autumn.

    We both have the same DB pension scheme which we currently can access from 55. However the scheme is designed for retirement at state retirement age and accessing it early seriously decreases the payable pension.

    We started working relatively late (we both were students until age 27) so we also now contribute additional AVCs 12% this goes into an ethical investment fund (fund fees paid by employer). With our compulsory and employers contributions this brings our total pension contributions to 40.3%. I plan to up our AVCs to around 15% once our pension provider decides the compulsory contribution to the DB will be for 2020. I hope we can retire or even better go part-time aged 60 but this is still along way off.

    We plan to gift our pension lump sums to our children, so our AVCs are also long-term saving for them. We were very fortunate to be gifted/inherited money during our 20ís and early 30ís, which we used for our house deposit so itís very important for us to pay this forward.

    My 5-year goals are...

    To reduce the mortgage to ~£130000.

    Maintain an EF £50,000 (this is our quitting work/redundancy fund and is essential for my MH). Before starting on our career paths we were advised by a older colleague to save this fund up. We will never have job security and our roles are extremely specialised - 5 years is the maximum length of contract I will ever be awarded. DH has a more secure role but only as long as he maintains his productivity.

    Increase our combined AVC pot to £100,000.

    Find a secondary school that meets DS needs and pay for it if needed.

    Enjoy family life.

    Get my work contract renewed.

    Here I go.

    Current mortgage 199,700
    EF 50,000 (running away from work fund)
    Education savings (17K in our name 13K in sons)
    AVC pots (~22k combined)
    12 years of DB pension years
Page 3
    • Cornish_mum
    • By Cornish_mum 12th Nov 19, 8:52 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    Cornish_mum
    Frugal Wins
    I reclaimed £34.80 on delay repay.

    Had 5 free coffees since last post.

    Used online supermarket discount voucher plus meal deal and discounts on spirits to stock up for Christmas saving me £20. (spent £50 will use these things for Christmas Baking etc).

    Mended 3 of DHs jumpers and debobbled one but bought debobbler (£10). Mending was a bit rubbish on 2 of the jumpers as I didnít have the right coloured threads.

    Altered a pair of school trousers for DS.

    Went charity book shopping bought Christmas gift books for DM, DD, DS and DNs. Then bought second hand copies of other titles on Am@zon marketplace.

    Agreed a no gift policy with DH (have already bought him a couple of things though!) and a reduced gift policy with DM and DF.

    Took kids out for hot chocolate - the lovely assistant in the shop split one large into a regular and 2 small portions; which was perfect. Split a brownie into 3 to share too.

    Made apple crumble and banana cake on Sunday.

    Organised for MIL to look after kids on DHs birthday overnight (the next one is a big number) so we can meet friends for a meal and pub trip so we can stay overnight.

    Walked and caught the bus for my turn to drop off rather then taking a cab. It was utterly freezing.

    Claimed work expenses.

    Good spends
    Paid DD nursery fee top up £100, this will be £166/month now we have used all our credit. Organise a standing order for this 11 payments till school.

    Paid DS lunch account £80.

    Paid DS cubs Christmas party fee £8.

    £24 on Christmas cards from school (your kids drawing ones). DS had put so much work into his design. I cried when I saw it. I can not believe how much he has progressed this term with his fine motor control. You could actual tell what he was aiming to draw for the first time ever.


    Frugal Fails
    All work lunches have been bought.

    Left £100 in cash machine... hideously embarrassing to admit that one on here. I have notified my bank but I am not holding out much hope of recovering it.

    2 flat whites and 2 croissants purchased.
    • KeepingOnTrack
    • By KeepingOnTrack 15th Nov 19, 4:42 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    KeepingOnTrack
    Ohh how annoying with the cash machine. If you were lucky and no unscrupulous person was wandering by, the ATM should pull the cash back and restore it to your account. Failing that, ATM’s have cctv but I’m not sure how keenly a bank would hunt down anyone who picked it up!
    Started with: £225,000
    MF aim: April 2028
    Remaining: £221,493
    • Cornish_mum
    • By Cornish_mum 17th Nov 19, 2:35 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    Cornish_mum
    Worked at home Wednesday after my standard hospital treatment. I did not buy a flat white, had lunch at home and just spent (£1.25) on some double cream. Thursday took my lunch to work, bought moisturiser (£3.15) as my skin is so dry and the last bottle was all finished. Free coffee from MrW.

    I then was so overwhelmed my recent frugality I then went a bit nutty in the evening and booked a hotel for DH birthday cost (£250 including luxury breakfast) itís his present and heís only 40 once. Donít think my savings rate is going to be too brilliant this month. Also I did our regular online groceries shop £50. Mr S had a great deal on Lego sets but none was actually available to deliver; boo. So my plan to stock up for DDís multitude of birthday parties was foiled. I hope I still get my 5x nectar points bonus.

    Friday was free coffee but bought a sandwich and nice bread £5.50. Babysitter picked up kids as DH is working late (£30) and I canít get back early enough to collect them without taking the afternoon off work.

    On Saturday DH worked in the morning. I stayed home, did homework with DS, laundry and made mincemeat and candied peel for Christmas with DD. DD really likes sorting through dried fruit for stalks and odd bits (very handy help to have!). I have never made candied peel before and it was surprisingly easy. I used lemons that MIL brought back from her garden plus unwaxed oranges from Mr O. 4 oranges and 2 big lemons made about 350g of peel. Itís really tasty and I will use some of it for gifts for DM and MIL. I had loads of citrusy sugar syrup left over. I am not sure what to do with it; I might try it in ginger bread men instead of golden syrup.

    DH came home in the afternoon, so I could take DD to another birthday party... as DS canít come along to it. Card and gift came from my stores which are now looking rather depleted. DD was very shy at the party and didnít want to join in which was a shame, she can be very timid sometimes and very confident in other situations. We have some play dates planned so hopefully that will help her. DH took DS shopping to help him choose new work trousers and underwear for DH, which were much needed.

    I batched cooked bolognese in the evening, DH helped chop veg which was just lovely as I was pretty exhausted and wanted to get the kids fed quickly. It should be enough for 3 more family meals.

    On Sunday I made Christmas pudding (one for us and one for FIL who is very partial to home made pudding). I jarred the mincemeat and started the Christmas cake. I made Home made soup for lunch (frozen spinach and a very old white sweet potato) it was quite nice. DH took kids to church and to soft play for a treat as the weather here is miserable.
    • Cornish_mum
    • By Cornish_mum 23rd Nov 19, 6:26 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    Cornish_mum
    Monday worked offsite bought a coffee and pastry on the way in. Good job I did as was non stop till after six, with no time to eat, but did manage to grab a free sandwich on my way out for the commute home.

    Tuesday was a regular day but then had to work late from home in the evening to catch up with work because of being out of the office on Monday. On Wednesday had to stay a bit late and work in the evening from home, as my admin work load is increasing again. I spent £3.60 on bread, £2.95 on bargin bin tulip bulbs, £3 on multipack crisps and 2x £3 on sandwiches in MrW. Free coffee. Will plant the bulbs in the front garden, as the squirrels are being a menace in the back garden currently.

    The train was late on Thursday so couldnít pop in MrW to buy lunch, as I would have been late for my first meeting; which meant I went out at 2 to buy food and spent £8 on chicken and rice. Frugal disaster. I was reading MrMM last night who was banging on about the ludicrous extravagance of pizza delivery; I think £8 chicken for lunch falls into the same category. Heís right I should pack my own lunch but looking at how I spent my time this week I really didnít have the time. maybe I could make something at the weekend but then I would have less time with the kids if I did that.

    Did my banking on Thursday evening. I paid DSís after school care bill using vouchers, DH credit card (£9.01 heís such a big spender!), did my bank swish and found out my lost cash-machine money has been refunded!!! This made me ridiculously happy.

    Refixed our gas and electric and decided to stay with Octopus as I would have had to switch to SSE to save anything and from previous experience their customer service is rubbish. Whereas Octopus are fine not so MSE but it will probably save me a couple of hours of my time of infuriating phone calls, so worth it to me.

    Pretty sure I am going to make the same decision with the mortgage and stay with my bank on 2 year 1.24 fix; rather than switch to the Spanish bank, who are offering a better rate. I have seen on here, that OPing with them isnít very easy. With N@wide itís a 2 minute job online. Think I will double check with LandC brokers too.

    On Friday evening I made the Christmas cake (I left it in the oven too long as I was multitasking and worrying about work, then lost track of time) think it will be ok once iced. I ordered DD play mobil Christmas present in an early Black Friday sale (£35); this price was ok but not a huge bargain. Just need a singing Elsa doll for a reasonable price now for her Father Xmas gift. Organised some camel_camel price watches for DS as he wants computer games.

    I did lots of laundry too on Friday night; as I am out all today seeing old friends without the kids, so wanted to start my weekend chores early. Didnít spend much money at the reunion as after first Gin I just stuck to soft drinks (as I donít really enjoy daytime drinking).

    On a more frugal note DH and I ate up the last of years Christmas pudding on Friday; it wasnít too bad.
    • twinklie
    • By twinklie 24th Nov 19, 12:05 PM
    • 4,322 Posts
    • 11,312 Thanks
    twinklie
    Wow, you sound crazy busy. I have two boys with additional needs (7 and 4) so I know how crazy things can be. I’m lucky in that the big one has a diagnosis and gets good support at school. DS2 is on the pathway to a diagnosis, but I’m not sure he will get one. I think he needs it more than his brother though due to his behaviours. So I’ve got my fingers crossed he gets one before he starts school in September.

    I look forward to following your journey. But for now I have to dash as my boys have a birthday party at 1.30pm for their friend and I’ll need to feed them a bit of something before we go.
    Daily mortgage interest Jan'20 - £15.65 Reduction in daily interest - £0.80
    % of mortgage paid off 4.9%
    MFiT-T5 #13 MFW 2031/currently 2037
    2020 goal -Reduce debt by £4K

    • Moneyfordreams
    • By Moneyfordreams 24th Nov 19, 4:04 PM
    • 1,631 Posts
    • 7,558 Thanks
    Moneyfordreams
    I have enjoyed reading your diary Cornish mum, I too look forward to following your journey . Best wishes
    Mortgage restart June 2018 £119950
    Re mortgage August 19 £110470, HSBC £3000cc, Hfx £6500, NW £5150 M&S £1100,
    CC 16150 Ö Mortgage £107900
    plus car £6000 , it's coming down
    • Cornish_mum
    • By Cornish_mum 26th Nov 19, 8:19 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    Cornish_mum
    Hi Twinkle and MoneyForDreams thanks for stopping by I really appreciate that.

    On Sunday DH and I tackled the laundry mountain, and inspired by MrsHinch deep cleaned (descaled and de moulded) the bathroom, the kitchen sink, kettle and toaster. It took about 4 hours all together; we took turns as the kids werenít very interested in helping. DH suggested we get someone in to deep clean the rest of the house, as our cleaner is missing lots of bits. I think we need to do a big de clutter first.

    Then I made apple crumble, banana cake, and a big batch of mash plus cabbage and bacon pasta for tea for us.

    Monday was a normal work day, free coffee and £3 sandwich for lunch. Today DS was ill so I worked from home, we did some homework together in my lunch break (as he wasnít that sick in the end) and I also cleaned the washing machine. It was a NSD because of being at home, though I did update my online groceries order for later in the week.
    • Cornish_mum
    • By Cornish_mum 29th Nov 19, 10:03 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    Cornish_mum
    Month End updates

    Iíve just been paid and all payment done so posting a day early.

    Mortgage £197,100 (capital reduction ~£700).
    Education fund £16,660 (+£1200)
    Pension AVCs combined DH and CM (+~£1400)

    I am pleased this month wasnít too spendy in the end. My next savings target is £1700 in December; this is doable as long as keep Christmas spending under control. I have bought all the presents already (though some spending for gifts will be in next months cc bill), so just need to keep the food spending and postage spending sensible.

    Fingers crossed that DHís second job pays well this quarter. I am also owed £150 for a side job which should pay out next month (though some of this is due in tax). It would be great to make a December MOP on top for education savings.
    • Cornish_mum
    • By Cornish_mum 1st Dec 19, 7:55 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    Cornish_mum
    DH worked all day Saturday. DD had a play date in the morning at our place and we managed to get some of DS home work done before hand. In the afternoon the kids helped me plant bulbs and I did a bit of a garden tidy; I bribed them with home made hot chocolate. Afterwards we started writing their Christmas cards. When DH arrived home he suggested a take away and I was sorely tempted, but we resisted and had sensible cauliflower cheese n pasta instead.

    On Sunday I made roast chicken, the normal veg and baked chocolate pudding, both kids refused the chocolate pudding. I turned the chicken carcass into very weak stock and froze the left over meat for kids week day dinners.

    Then I popped to Herr A for my pre-Christmas food and booze shop (£102), while DH took the kids to the park. I bought a lot of chocolate for making things to give as gifts, super 6 mini pears, cleaning stuff, dishwasher tablets etc. I pickled the pears using an old Delia recipe to give as Christmas gifts. I didnít have enough Kilner jars so I had to improvise with old coffee containers. I think it will be ok if I mature the pears in the fridge. We had bubble and squeak with poached eggs for super (kids had a second round of roast dinner).

    I am feeling pretty exhausted but need to sort out the kitchen, put the laundry away and pack school bags otherwise tomorrow morning will be chaos.
    • Cornish_mum
    • By Cornish_mum 4th Dec 19, 7:55 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    Cornish_mum
    We ended up with a few random things in our weekly MrS online shop (which we werenít charged for). The Peach Bellini bottle went straight into the donation bag for DSís winter fayre. I managed to fill rest of the the bag with old toddler toys (for the buy your siblings a Christmas present stall) and my Christmas presents from MIL and DM from last year (for the buy your mum a Christmas present stall). When DS brings me gifts from the stall despite them being very random I completely treasure them! The fayre is on Friday so will need to give DS £5 spending money, DH is going to leave work early to take DS to carols after school.

    DH was away Monday and Tuesday for work, so I booked annual leave but ended up working from home, as itís all a bit busy.

    DS had a choir concert on Monday night; it was a logistical nightmare with DH away, as I had to take DD and it finished way past her normal bedtime. She was very good. In the end we had to leave early because poor DS fell asleep twice and the head sent him home straight after his performance. He just gets so exhausted, so after school activities are really difficult for him. But he wants to join in so itís a tricky balance. He had his assessment last week and itís as we and school suspected, so itís good we all didnít miss anything more serious but bad because he canít have any extra treatment (because there isnít any). The team have agreed to do an in school assessment just to see what extra school can do for him. They also want us and school to buy some further aids for him; some of which we already tried but I am all for having another go. Also they have recommended a local optometrist for him, which is brilliant as the regular kids optometrist couldnít assess him properly because he couldnít comply with the eye exam.

    Also they thought it was really good he had learnt to swim and ride a bike, as kids with his impairments often donít manage to do so. So big thumbs up to DH who preserved with teaching him. Also they thought his attention and emotional control was good, considering his level of physical impairments so huge thumbs up to DS for dealing with all his difficulties with resilience.

    I found it all very upsetting on the day but managed to hold it together until after bedtime. DD sensed I was upset and was really naughty on the day of DS assessment as she was confused; this always happens when I am tense - as she is very emotional aware; I really need to explain things to her more but itís hard to do that as she only 4.

    We went to Zizzi before the choir concert for a treat dinner (£35 with tip using a 20% off voucher) and took taxis £16+£8 and buses £3 +£4.85 to get around town, as it was freezing and kids were in no fit state to walk. I also bought nice bread £2.80 and emergency madeleines (£2.20) to feed kids, so Monday was quite a spendy day. But did take their water bottles so that was a small saving.

    On Tuesday evening the traffic was appalling so in addition to our bus fare (£3), I had to take a cab to complete the after school pick up in time (£16) which was immensely annoying. However I must remember that my cab spending is cheaper than owing another car and me learning to drive. Also that using DH work nursery (which is not very conveniently located) saves us a huge amount of cash, as itís mostly paid by salary sacrifice (pretax) and age 3+ free hours. Plus DD is very happy there and itís great quality education.

    I managed to hand in DD extra school forms for her 2020 reception application, fingers crossed she gets a sibling place at DSís very oversubscribed school.

    On Wednesday I was working offsite (started work on the train at 6.30am, clocked off at 6pm at the site but have 3 hours of travel to get home after that and no breaks all day as lunch turned into a work meeting). I will probably do a bit of work on train journey number 2 but really donít fancy it. The dark and cold weather is making me want to hibernate. I am usually totally fine to do a long day but I am feeling massively lazy this evening despite having hugely important meetings next week and lots of preparation still to do.

    The trains and tube were late this morning so I had to rush my morning journey and then bought a coffee on the train (it was completely disgusting and I couldnít drink it £2.99 totally wasted, I wonít make that mistake again). Brought a banana snack and my water bottle from home, so I just spent £3.30 for a really nice fresh lunch. No other spends.
    • Cornish_mum
    • By Cornish_mum 6th Dec 19, 10:01 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    Cornish_mum
    Thursday and Friday were very normal Days, free coffee and sandwich lunch (£3) both days.

    Remortgaged to 1.24% 2 year fixed at N@tionwide; I paid the £999 arrangement fee upfront and reduced our term to 16 years and 4 months (payments are ~£95 less than we pay now), starting in January. I was also able to kept my OP limit from old mortgage (£25k/annum) and our overpayment reserve (£18k) which is a nice bonus. We would have been at 20 years and 4 months in January if we hadnít overpaid & shorten our term. Iíd like it paid off by 2030 so some way to go yet.

    We are going to be tight to make our savings target this month of £1700, now I have to paid the mortgage fee upfront but it makes long term sense to arrange the mortgage now.
    • Brindlebabe
    • By Brindlebabe 7th Dec 19, 9:42 AM
    • 39 Posts
    • 65 Thanks
    Brindlebabe
    Just popping by to say hello. I've really enjoyed your diary.
    I was pleased your cash machine money was refunded, such a heart-sink moment when you realise you've left it in the machine.

    Well done on the remortgage and good luck with your DD getting in to the same school as DS.

    BB
    Starting mortgage Jan 2019: £211,500
    Current mortgage October 2019: £204,906.74
    Target: mortgage free by 2032
    • Cornish_mum
    • By Cornish_mum 10th Dec 19, 10:33 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    Cornish_mum
    Thanks for popping by Brindlebabe itís lovely time have a visitor.

    On Saturday DH worked in the morning (I did homework with DS, wrote a few family cards with the kids, did house chores with the kids, and made spinach and white sweet potato soup).

    DH came home in the afternoon so I could take DD to another birthday party... she joined in and had a lovely time. Present came from my Black Friday stores. On his way home DH bought new waterproof coat and trousers as his old ones (which he uses every day itís wet) were totally trashed (£220 less rich...). I encouraged him to buy them as he cycles everywhere and itís not good for him to be wet-through all day at work. But eek proper outdoor clothes are really expensive. His last set were 5 years old so per day itís not so much money.

    While DD and I were at the party; DH took DS to choose a Christmas tree at local farm, they got a lovely one for £45. DH and I both did top up shops (£15 in total, though most of this was for DHs office snack supplies, as he has a mammoth work fortnight for second job coming up and needs serious sustenance to hand).

    On Sunday our online groceries arrived £70, as I had to re-buy our Christmas nuts, as DH had eaten them all. I hid the chocolate but thought baking ingredients would be safe in the kitchen- should have known better. Managed to get DS to finish homework before church which is always a battle. While DH and kids were at church I did more laundry and made double batch of pastry for mince pies which is now in the freezer. We had a ploughman lunch using up odds and ends, including some very old homemade chutney. Kids had ham and cheese sandwichís and veg sticks. Then we decorated the Christmas tree.

    DS had a party, in the afternoon it was a drop-off so DH took him; DD and I made a Christmas wreath with trimmings from the tree, pine cones I had collected over the year and ivy from next doors hedge. Itís not as good as a bought one but was free. We also started Christmas wrapping; DD chooses ribbons and gift tags (from last years cards), I did the actual wrapping. The paper came from JL summer sale in 2018 - each roll was ~50p so I bought a lot of what they had. Just realised that itís all the same pattern, which means I will have to source Father Christmas paper from somewhere else, as DS will spot if his stocking wrapping matches what we use. He is getting quite suspicious already about Father Christmas but I want to try to keep the pretence up. Batched cooked pasta sauce, while DD watched Cbebbies with DH who did the ironing.

    Monday was normal work day £3 on lunch and free coffee. This morning dropped DS to school by cab (£8) so I could make my train. Our Babysitter is picking up the kids tonight, as DH is working late. PILs arriving tomorrow to help for the rest of the next two weeks, as DH is working late every day till 18th. I have a bunch of key meetings and deadlines before Christmas so canít take any more time off.

    DD announced on Sunday that she wants to meet and talk to Father Christmas; everywhere is completely fully booked and we missed DHs work Family Christmas party on Sunday because it clashed with DSís party. We could try the shopping centre on Saturday that doesnít take bookings but the thought of queuing for ages there is not filling me with seasonal joy. I think DD is actually going to refuse to see Father Christmas when it comes to it, but clearly kids at preschool have been talking about it, so donít want her to miss out. DH suggested that we arrange for DD to have a phone call from Father Christmas....
    • Cornish_mum
    • By Cornish_mum 16th Dec 19, 5:24 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    Cornish_mum
    Bit of a week as DH and I had a lot of work on; so I spent a bit much on coffee, taxis and lunches. Not actually sure what I spent.....

    I will use my November (£400) consultancy payment (which I decided to have paid to my work in the end instead of personally) to expense my teams Christmas lunch (£108) which I usually pay from my own money, so thatís a win.

    PILs are staying with us so we are going through more food etc. Online groceries came in at £65 this week, plus £3.29 nice bread, £6 at MrW for fruit and bubble bath to top up soap dispensers. I have started using my Christmas stash and freezer stores but thatís what they are for. Managed to squeeze an extra day out of food we already had in and we all ate really well, so pleased with that.

    Made homemade mince-pies after we came home from the woods on Saturday and they were really good. Since I started making my own I canít eat shop bought ones. PIL brought kids kinder chocolate from Germany so they have been having that rationed for treats. We had a roast chicken on Sunday, very little left overs but managed to use it for the kids tea.

    I bought DS an extra Christmas gift (£21) as the present cupboard gift I had in mind was not what I thought it was. Also when I fully investigated my gift cupboard on Sunday morning I discovered I am quite low on stocking fillers for DS too. I ended up spending another £41, on 4 gifts for him . I am bit annoyed with myself, as I thought this was all sorted out, but better to find out now than on December 24th at 9pm.

    I sent BF a bundle of DDs old clothes for her girls (she is mega frugal and appreciates hand me downs), also bought overseas stamps when I was in the post office (£38 in total). This is better than last year as I have managed to organise all the family gifts to be handed over in person or via PILs. I did the Christmas cards on Saturday night but still have the local ones to do. I am really late doing them as just been too exhausted from work.

    DD nursery are having a Christmas party with Father Christmas so no need to take her to visit FC this weekend. We provide the gift for this, (I used something from stores).

    We went to woods on Saturday for fun £6 on parking two cars it was really cold so we couldnít stay long. On Sunday DH took PIL and kids on tour of some local sites including his second job office!! His parents are generally very into his career and he always takes them on tours of his work places. Any way free entertainment for them equals no spends for me.

    DD has been happily wearing a hand me down Christmas jumper for DS all week and DS has agreed his jumper from last year is fine for his Christmas jumper day, so that was a saving. Also sold an old carseat for £5 on gumtree and took a bag of kids clothes to the charity shop on Saturday. Complained about non delivery of a book from amazon marketplace and immediately been given refund which was nice.

    Remortgage went through, DH has had a £250 side work payment which I think he wasnít expecting. I am due £150 and DH about £1600 extra this month for extra work.

    Cash-back on my cc was £133 this year; which means I must have spent 13.3k on it over the year. This includes my 4.8k season ticket, my new mobile, the new washing machine, most food including meals out (as DH rarely pays using his cards), our summer holiday costs including plane tickets minus £700 taken in Euros, all my work expenses, all gifts and clothes for me and the kids, my coffee and family entertainment. I am happy with that.

    Monday was frugal fails x2; because of my schedule I couldnít go to MrW for my usual coffee and lunch for £3. Instead spent £2.80 on coffee and £4.89 on lunch in Pret, also had no lunch break. 4 days left in the office...till January 2nd.
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 17th Dec 19, 7:36 AM
    • 1,014 Posts
    • 5,262 Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    Hi Cornish Mum just popping in to say how much I enjoy reading your very hectic exploits. This used to be us juggling two full on jobs and family life. You do amazingly well to keep on top of your finances.

    I hope you get time to relax a bit over Christmas and the New Year, but suspect it will still be hectic but just without going to work !
    Last edited by Busy Mee1; 17-12-2019 at 5:18 PM.
    • Cornish_mum
    • By Cornish_mum 17th Dec 19, 8:34 AM
    • 77 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    Cornish_mum
    Thank you BusyMee; itís lovely to have you pop by. Yes, I fully anticipate Christmas holidays will be just as hectic!

    Oh well Ďif your not living on the edge your taking up too much roomí
    • Cornish_mum
    • By Cornish_mum 20th Dec 19, 4:43 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    Cornish_mum
    Tuesday-Friday were very standard work days, free coffee and £3 lunches. I took home made mince pies for work potluck on Tuesday, and worked later on Tuesday and Wednesday but luckily PIL were helping those days. Today the internet and internal servers failed at lunch time and the IT department were out at a Christmas do, so I ended up leaving the office early as ran out of work to complete offline. Unfortunately this means I havenít been able to clear my desk- so just had to leave myself a handwritten to do list and downed tools at 2pm until January 2nd.

    We are all exhausted, DH especially. There is norovirus at DD nursery we are just hoping she doesnít catch it.....

    I took the opportunity to do a MrW nice fruit, cheese, bread, nuts and premade stuffing shop (£39) for Christmas on my way home. And bought DS another extra stocking gift (£7); last minute spending on the kids is my weakness. I am doing better than last year but still think I need to avoid shops now until the New Years.

    Tonight I need to organise DB and DF birthday cards and gifts, sort out DS after school activities for next term and the schedule for our babysitter. Play date for DS tomorrow and I need to start the Christmas baking for DM and PILs Christmas hampers.

    Hope all MFW have a restful Christmas break.

    CM
    • Cornish_mum
    • By Cornish_mum 23rd Dec 19, 10:29 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    Cornish_mum
    Completed the Christmas baking (mince pies, almond biscuits my mum likes, cupcakes for kids, and chocolate truffles for gifts and for me). I baked cookies on Saturday but we already ate them all. I have hidden the mince pies from DH and told him he canít eat any more baked items until PILs arrive. Today I boiled and glazed our ham so tomorrow I donít have to cook much. We will just have jackets with ham/cheese with salad and beans for kids. I still need to finish icing the Christmas cake.

    All presents bought, just need to finish packing the hampers and wrap the stocking gifts for the kids. Online groceries came in at £140 after I used £22.50 of nectar points, and DH spent another £30 in Herr A yesterday. He took the kids and apparently DS spent the whole time saying Ďdonít look at the toys in the middle, we are only buying stuff on mums listí.
    I have bought far too much food, itís my first time hosting PILs, so I keep worrying about hosting and running out of something critical.

    Tomorrow DD and me are off to see Frozen 2 (£12) and DH is taking DS climbing (£14) first thing. I will try to get up early to make popcorn.

    Spent £17 on birthday gift for DB and knitting book for DM. Car service and MOT came in a £297. We just need to buy petrol for our trip after Christmas to see family and hopefully we wonít spend anything further now till January.
    • becky170
    • By becky170 30th Dec 19, 9:16 AM
    • 595 Posts
    • 4,509 Thanks
    becky170
    I hope you managed to dodge the norovirus and had a great Christmas!
    MFW 2020 #7 £700/£3000
    • CosmoCat
    • By CosmoCat 30th Dec 19, 11:04 AM
    • 660 Posts
    • 471 Thanks
    CosmoCat
    All that baking sounds delish. Hope you had a splendid Christmas.
    MFW Newbie - #17. (#116 in 2019)
    New Mortgage at Nov 19 - £273 499
    Current Balance - £268 225
    Want to cut down 26 year mortgage by 9 years!
    New MF date 2036
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