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  • FIRST POST
    • *little.squirrel*
    • By *little.squirrel* 8th Jan 18, 4:23 PM
    • 54Posts
    • 40Thanks
    *little.squirrel*
    Family home on the (distant) horizon - savings diary
    • #1
    • 8th Jan 18, 4:23 PM
    Family home on the (distant) horizon - savings diary 8th Jan 18 at 4:23 PM
    I was really thankful to find another savings diary here. We don't own our family home yet, but neither are we in debt so I couldn't start a diary there and I really need one to hold me accountable!

    There's 4 of us - hubs, me and the two minions aged 2 and 4. We have been living abroad for a few years and just moved back to the UK and we find ourselves a few years behind most of our friends in terms of already having a house we own. Technically I do own a flat that I rent out, but we are keen to own a home for our family and haven't really figured out the best way for that to happen yet. Regardless we need money for a deposit, an savings in general, and 2018 is the year we really start striving for this.

    Alas, aforementioned minions are demanding attention. A proper beginning will have to wait!
Page 2
    • Alexland
    • By Alexland 29th Jan 18, 7:29 PM
    • 2,236 Posts
    • 1,628 Thanks
    Alexland
    If your OH is incuring expenses regularly it's worth finding a good reward credit card. I try and stick all my expenses on Nectar Amex (apply via TopCashBack but beware annual fee after year one) or falling back to the Mastercard Clubcard (again TopCashBack) credit card. I claim quickly and am often reimbursed before clearing the balance each month. As such my expenses have a positive impact to my cashflow and I got lots of points.
    Last edited by Alexland; 02-02-2018 at 9:40 PM.
    • *little.squirrel*
    • By *little.squirrel* 1st Feb 18, 8:27 AM
    • 54 Posts
    • 40 Thanks
    *little.squirrel*
    Thanks, Alex. I hadn't thought of that. It would certainly help to keep everything separate and he does seem to have quite a few days lined up when he will need to travel.

    February starting a bit better than Jan! I got all the monthly 'pot' money moved over and things are looking healthy there. I need to get a birthday present for my niece but that shouldn't be too expensive. I also transferred 200 over the the H2B and 100 into our regular 'deposit savings'. DH got paid about 500 more than usual so I've sent him off to work to check his payslip. We weren't expecting anything extra so I'm worried they have made a mistake with his stipend.

    The first grocery shop of the month arrived and I didn't spend too much. We still have a lot of meat in the freezer that was gifted to us so trying to use that before buying anything new. We did spend some money on booze - DH needed beer and then we have his Dad and brother visiting in March so we are trying to spread the cost there a wee bit. My folks are coming soon but I'm hoping they will bring a couple of bottles of wine with them. I do need to do a wine order but Il'l just use Ald! online which keeps the costs down.

    Should be a NSD today. The playgroup I go to on a Thursday is free and then I don't have anything on this afternoon before going to work tonight. I do need to email work, I've got some holidays to take before the end of the month so need to get my dates in. I'm only taking 2 days and being paid for the rest so I'm hoping my wage will be higher than I expect and I can get the extra transferred into savings.
    #112 Save 12k in 2018: 1869.93/6000
    • *little.squirrel*
    • By *little.squirrel* 2nd Feb 18, 3:00 PM
    • 54 Posts
    • 40 Thanks
    *little.squirrel*
    In good news, the extra wages are ours to keep. Unexpected but happy days. DH was on an emergency tax code so now that has been sorted out we were due a rebate. I've put part of it to the CC and that is now at zero (and will remain that way!) and the rest into savings. Whoop!

    In bad news, I am tired and grumpy today. Back from work around midnight then E was in our bed at 2am and up for the day at 5.30. I'm definitely not being the best Mum. Had to go to post office to mail successful eB@y sales and that cost me two packets of smarties. Then a trip to the baker to get some rolls for dinner tonight that I forgot to order in my delivery on Wed. WE watched a Jamie Oliver programme the other day and C was taken with a recipe for meatballs in a bun so he wants to help make them tonight. It is Friday so a glass of wine awaits, which I am looking forward to. Just now I'm making another large coffee to get me through the next few hours!! Really chuffed to have sold some stuff though. Relisted a few items and have had a bid on one already. Need to find a few more bits to sell! Postage for two items was lower than I anticipated though so hope my feedback isn't too negative. The other two items have cost a little more I didn't have the right kind of packaging. Need to factor all these things in if I'm going to sell things more often.

    Huge to do list for the next few days, starting with a call to the States to sort some pension stuff out. We also need to file a US tax return which will inevitably be more complicated than we expect. We changed our tax codes last Jan though so hopefully we will have paid the correct amount of tax and won't owe anything.

    First, coffee!
    #112 Save 12k in 2018: 1869.93/6000
    • sjp999
    • By sjp999 2nd Feb 18, 4:11 PM
    • 41 Posts
    • 33 Thanks
    sjp999
    In good news, the extra wages are ours to keep. Unexpected but happy days. DH was on an emergency tax code so now that has been sorted out we were due a rebate. I've put part of it to the CC and that is now at zero (and will remain that way!) and the rest into savings. Whoop!

    In bad news, I am tired and grumpy today. Back from work around midnight then E was in our bed at 2am and up for the day at 5.30. I'm definitely not being the best Mum. Had to go to post office to mail successful eB@y sales and that cost me two packets of smarties. Then a trip to the baker to get some rolls for dinner tonight that I forgot to order in my delivery on Wed. WE watched a Jamie Oliver programme the other day and C was taken with a recipe for meatballs in a bun so he wants to help make them tonight. It is Friday so a glass of wine awaits, which I am looking forward to. Just now I'm making another large coffee to get me through the next few hours!! Really chuffed to have sold some stuff though. Relisted a few items and have had a bid on one already. Need to find a few more bits to sell! Postage for two items was lower than I anticipated though so hope my feedback isn't too negative. The other two items have cost a little more I didn't have the right kind of packaging. Need to factor all these things in if I'm going to sell things more often.

    Huge to do list for the next few days, starting with a call to the States to sort some pension stuff out. We also need to file a US tax return which will inevitably be more complicated than we expect. We changed our tax codes last Jan though so hopefully we will have paid the correct amount of tax and won't owe anything.

    First, coffee!
    Originally posted by *little.squirrel*
    Rubbish woman, rubbish - you're doing what you can as well as you can so we'll have none of that negative speak around here if you please

    As a wee aside, check out peterjaneandmummytoo on Facebook if you ever need a child/mummy related boost
    Last edited by sjp999; 02-02-2018 at 4:22 PM. Reason: Adding FB
    • *little.squirrel*
    • By *little.squirrel* 3rd Feb 18, 3:51 PM
    • 54 Posts
    • 40 Thanks
    *little.squirrel*
    sjp999 - thank you. I appreciate it Some days are definitely harder than others! I'll check out that page as well.

    Quiet day at home before heading to work tonight. Took the kids out to splash in puddles since it's so miserable. Gave them a much needed run about! Posted last couple of eb@y packages. The PayPal account is looking healthy but I'm waiting to transfer the balance in case I sell anything else this month. I've got some baby Ugg boots that were a gift and barely worn, and then another friend gave me a pink pair that haven't been worn either. They aren't really my style and my daughter hasn't shown much interest so I'm thinking I might just sell them.
    #112 Save 12k in 2018: 1869.93/6000
    • *little.squirrel*
    • By *little.squirrel* 6th Feb 18, 8:49 AM
    • 54 Posts
    • 40 Thanks
    *little.squirrel*
    Couple of spanners in the works re: no spending on make up and no purchasing brand new clothes...

    I really need a mascara I actually feel quite empowered, and I hope that doesn't sound ridiculous, by my decision to stop wearing make up frequently. 10 years ago I couldn't imagine going to work without make up on but I'm really getting quite comfortable without it. But for times when I do wear it I need a mascara for my seriously short eyelashes. I figured that I could use my Debenhams gift card that MIL gave me for Christmas and get a decent but probably relatively expensive mascara. The problem with this is that if I'm not really wearing make up at all will it dry up before I get maximum use out of it? Hmmmm. I usually just buy a cheaper Maybelline one, but that breaks the rules. Unless maybe I have some advantage points saved up, which I doubt.

    I also need some new socks. Or, I need to repair holes in ones I already have. Chat with some other frugal friends yesterday and they were pointing out that a 5 pack of socks from a budget supermarket will probably be cheaper than a second hand site, if people even sell socks in such places. Or I can just steal hubby's, but his feet are considerably bigger.

    Food for thought on this chilly Tuesday. I'll do some scouting about on the boards, I'm sure there is good advice somewhere.

    Trying to calculate my wages this month and I think we should have some extra to save. I'm hoping for about 200. I've been working a bit more than usual and I'm tired. Asked for a couple of Saturdays off as holidays and then for my remaining days just to be paid. Not sure when that will go through but it will either be this pay period or the next.

    DH is tracking his expenses which is great, and submitting them more more quickly than usual! Waiting for his card to come through from his own account so he can start having full responsibility for managing them himself.
    #112 Save 12k in 2018: 1869.93/6000
    • *little.squirrel*
    • By *little.squirrel* 6th Feb 18, 10:13 AM
    • 54 Posts
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    *little.squirrel*
    Things to do (today?)

    Bundle and photograph more kids clothes for eBay
    List Dyson for sale on gumtree
    Complete committee meeting minutes
    Read through paperwork for next committee meeting
    Bake bread
    Source niece's birthday present
    Washing
    Clean downstairs loo

    Seems like enough to be getting on with! We have a Dyson that you pull along but it is absolutely useless. It takes a long time to get the hoovering done and so I hate doing it and don't do it enough. So we have decided to sell it. We'll make a loss but I just can't bear to use it anymore. Need to find a decent upright vacuum for a low price. I should add that to the list too.
    #112 Save 12k in 2018: 1869.93/6000
    • Alexland
    • By Alexland 6th Feb 18, 12:01 PM
    • 2,236 Posts
    • 1,628 Thanks
    Alexland
    You might get more money for your Dyson if you improve your description to focus on the positives?
    • *little.squirrel*
    • By *little.squirrel* 6th Feb 18, 1:49 PM
    • 54 Posts
    • 40 Thanks
    *little.squirrel*
    You might get more money for your Dyson if you improve your description to focus on the positives?
    Originally posted by Alexland


    Yes! I don't suppose I'll have buyers lining up based on that!
    #112 Save 12k in 2018: 1869.93/6000
    • Eco Miser
    • By Eco Miser 6th Feb 18, 2:26 PM
    • 3,444 Posts
    • 3,234 Thanks
    Eco Miser
    Couple of spanners in the works re: no spending on make up and no purchasing brand new clothes...
    Originally posted by *little.squirrel*
    You make rules to stop unnecessary spending.
    You find some spending to be necessary, but would break your rules.
    There is a way round your rules, but it will cost more.
    That would be silly.
    Either stick to the spirit of your rules, and don't buy the mascara or socks, or change your rules to buy the best value for money 'necessities' should they become necessary.
    Eco Miser
    Saving money for well over half a century
    • *little.squirrel*
    • By *little.squirrel* 7th Feb 18, 7:37 AM
    • 54 Posts
    • 40 Thanks
    *little.squirrel*
    Bundle and photograph more kids clothes for eBay Looked out but not photographed yet
    List Dyson for sale on gumtree Hoovered and scrubbed carpet but not listed
    Complete committee meeting minutes In process
    Read through paperwork for next committee meeting Part 1 complete
    Bake bread Done
    Source niece's birthday present
    Washing Done
    Clean downstairs loo

    Seems like I got easily sidetracked into other things yesterday. Tesco delivery due this morning. It was supposed to be late afternoon but I realised we weren't going to have anything for lunch! I'm considering town today but swithering over the bus fare. I'll figure out if it is really worth going. Otherwise I can take E to the library, it's just really cold today and we go by bike. I do need some international stamps so we could take a walk to the post office.

    Thinking about Eco Miser encouraging me to stick to my own rules. I was sorting through a box of stuff in the bathroom and came across a mascara there, so that will last me a wee while. I think it must have been my Mum's because I don't remember buying it. I also pulled my winter socks out of the cupboard and I'll get the most of them just now while the temperature has dropped again. That will save me from any rule circumventing just now.
    #112 Save 12k in 2018: 1869.93/6000
    • *little.squirrel*
    • By *little.squirrel* 8th Feb 18, 1:37 PM
    • 54 Posts
    • 40 Thanks
    *little.squirrel*
    Spendy day yesterday with an unexpected trip to Aldi, but that will ultimately keep our grocery bill down for the rest of the month. I find it difficult getting there without a car and no basket on my bike so take the opportunity when it arises! I've been deliberating over getting a basket for my bike because I know it will come in handy. It just seems like a big expense in the beginning. I saw an advert on free cycle last night for a bike seat with panniers so I emailed about it and its still available so I'm going to go and collect it tomorrow. I'm hoping it will all fit on my bike ok and that will solve the storage problem for me. Obviously I can use a backpack but when I've got E on the back of the bike it really invades her space. Plus, she hangs on to it and puts me off balance, which is dangerous!

    Half term next week so trying to make plans that will involve very little expenditure. My Dad has insured me on his car so we can take a couple of day trips. I also need to factor in a trip to the allotment with all the wood we have in the garden. Hopefully DH can spare a bit of time from work to help with that!

    Oh, in term of money saving I've been making a concerted effort not to use the tumble dryer. I'm not sure how much it will save but since I've got the heating on anyway it seems like a good idea to line dry instead. It does mean I'm not being as organised - I like to wash, dry, fold and put away all in one day - but I'm trying to get it all done as quickly as possible.
    Last edited by *little.squirrel*; 08-02-2018 at 1:37 PM. Reason: spelling :)
    #112 Save 12k in 2018: 1869.93/6000
    • *little.squirrel*
    • By *little.squirrel* 15th Feb 18, 11:42 AM
    • 54 Posts
    • 40 Thanks
    *little.squirrel*
    Mixed bag over the last few days. My folks were visiting so outgoings were a little higher than usual. In saying that, DH and me have become accustomed to not drinking during the week so what we had in stretched further than it usually would have. Because we had access to a car we took a day trip that involved ice cream but the kiddos were happy and it wasn't too expensive. I do have a monthly pot for family spending so it was already accounted for anyway.

    Waiting to be paid tomorrow to see what we will be able to transfer to savings. I always budget the minimum I expect to earn but I have worked a lot more this month so hoping for a decent pay packet. I picked up a few extra hours last week too because they were short on staff so that will have helped as well.

    Transferred 70 from eBay earnings. A nice bonus to the month, I don't expect my monthly sales to be anywhere near as high in the future, but I had some unopened perfumes that I'd received for Christmas that I won't wear so I sold them. I've got a couple of bundles of kids clothes to load, but as ever, need to find the time to take the photos.

    Looking forward to this weekend. I've taken Saturday night off work because I've got holidays to use, so we might take a day trip with the kiddos somewhere. We still haven't explored too far afield and there is plenty going on in the area!
    #112 Save 12k in 2018: 1869.93/6000
    • *little.squirrel*
    • By *little.squirrel* 16th Feb 18, 7:58 AM
    • 54 Posts
    • 40 Thanks
    *little.squirrel*
    Whoop - pay day!

    257.95 more than budgeted for so I've transferred 200 into savings and 57.95 into the holidays pot. We have a Centre Parcs balance to pay at the start of next month and I want it covered without issue. Although there was a holiday day in there, most of my pay was from the new regular hours that I do so I'm hoping it will be similar in future. Yay, I'm excited! We will definitely meet our savings target for this month now, and make up for a lame January too. Still got 12 says to go though so need to watch the rest of the pennies. I'm off both weekends too so we were keen to do something with the kiddos, but hopefully not too spendy.

    Reading some diaries and feel I should have more apps for cash back or scanning receipts. Tried to access one in the App Store but my phone is linked to the US App Store so I can't. HA. How annoying. I do have a 'British' phone with a smashed screen that I've been meaning to get fixed. Need to decide if the expense of repairs will be worth it.

    DH just got some good work news so we are starting today on a high. No pay rise unfortunately.

    Happy Friday!
    #112 Save 12k in 2018: 1869.93/6000
    • *little.squirrel*
    • By *little.squirrel* 21st Feb 18, 10:35 AM
    • 54 Posts
    • 40 Thanks
    *little.squirrel*
    Bank account still looking positive. Booked family day trip on Saturday. Train ticket not too pricey and had a look online for a voucher for the aquarium so we shouldn't have to pay full price there either. Plus, it is one of those places where one ticket lasts a year so it should be a worthwhile spend. We are planning to take snacks with us but we will eat out for dinner somewhere. The kids are pretty good eaters so we usually just buy meals for us all to share. I'm going to have a look online and see what is in the area and then try and figure out the best option. I have cash back on my debit card for a few restaurants and I'll have a quick keek on Groupon too.

    Joined YouGov so I've completed a few surveys. Definitely should have done that earlier! No further forward on the phone - can't get it to reset the data for some reason. Will keep trying there though.

    Friend knew we were looking for a new vacuum and tagged me on a FB post where someone was giving one away for free. Cost of car club for half an hour to collect it, followed by DH stripping it and cleaning it for an hour or so but it works way better than our Dyson and cost almost nothing. Now to get the offending Dyson listed for sale. I know that was on my to do list sometime last week...

    Final grocery shop of the month just arrived. I needed to keep it under 60 to meet budget and I slipped in at 58.78. Although, alcohol budget went slightly over. Will need to amend slightly for next month when we have more family visiting.
    #112 Save 12k in 2018: 1869.93/6000
    • *little.squirrel*
    • By *little.squirrel* 1st Mar 18, 7:47 AM
    • 54 Posts
    • 40 Thanks
    *little.squirrel*
    Starting March feeling positive again. It's a nice feeling to be in control. My work shoes fell apart on Monday night so I'm going to have to buy new ones. I had deliberately spent money on what I though were a decent brand of shoes in the hope they would last, but apparently that isn't the case! A friend has recommended a pair though that she got at the outlet centre so I might make the trip there. It would be cheaper than going to town. Frustrating, although I did set aside some money this month for clothing expenses.

    Got family and friends visiting a couple of times this month so trying to plan for that. My sister comes first and she is really easily pleased so it shouldn't us much more than a decent bottle of gin. My FIL is also coming and hasn't visited us before so I know DH wants to make an effort. I'm happy to, as long as we plan well. I did already get beers in from the last couple month's budgets so I'm a little bit organised.

    Easter at the end of the month. Already picked up some eggs for an Easter egg hunt. Also kept reusable egg shells (plastic and tin ones) from other years that I'm going to put pieces of jigsaw in. Managed to get two really nice jigsaws in the charity shop last week for 1 each. The kids love them and they love hunting for eggs so it should be good fun. Also got a joint of lamb in the freezer already that DH's Uncle gave us so Easter dinner shouldn't be too spendy right at the end of the month!

    More snow today. We spent lots of time outside building quite an impressive snowman I think it's my best ever effort. I do usually have a free playgroup on a Thursday that I cycle to. Can't cycle in the snow and E is unlikely to be able to walk so far. I could pull her on the sledge but she didn't enjoy the wind blowing snow in her face yesterday. I'll have to think.
    #112 Save 12k in 2018: 1869.93/6000
    • rawr_
    • By rawr_ 1st Mar 18, 3:46 PM
    • 116 Posts
    • 474 Thanks
    rawr_
    Well done on your progress so far! Looks like you are well on the way to your 6k target!
    Debt March 2018: 11,859.12 | Current House Deposit: 18,132.02 | #77 Save 12K in 2018: 1374.23 / 6000
    Comp Wins 2018: Easter Tote Bag & Egg
    • *little.squirrel*
    • By *little.squirrel* 2nd Mar 18, 9:12 AM
    • 54 Posts
    • 40 Thanks
    *little.squirrel*
    Didn't realise I wouldn't have to pay water this month; money transferred to savings! Actually, not entirely true - I used half for savings and half for our holiday fund. We have two short trips in May and June and I want to make sure we have enough aside for them.

    3 reward also transferred to savings, and a change in energy DD so the extra money has also been put aside. That means that before my wages have come in we have already hit our target for the month.

    Listed a few more things on eBay and I've still got that Dyson and some suitcases to list on local selling sites. We are planning a weekend in the house to start potty training so hopefully that will all be ticked off this weekend.

    DH heading out for dinner tonight. I know he was hoping it would be cancelled so he could save the pennies, but I think it will be good for him to get out. The whole time we lived in the States he didn't have much social stuff going on so I'm happy that he is meeting lots of people at his new work.

    Book fair after school yesterday for World Book Day. Ended up ordering a few, probably overpriced, books for the kids. I had asked my folks and in laws for sponsorship for C's listening event which could be used towards the cost of books though, so it only up costing me 4 or so. Coffee and cake were on sale and super cheap so I didn't feel too guilty.
    #112 Save 12k in 2018: 1869.93/6000
    • *little.squirrel*
    • By *little.squirrel* 9th Mar 18, 2:46 PM
    • 54 Posts
    • 40 Thanks
    *little.squirrel*
    Visitors really make not spending hard! Although just my sister visiting, the easiest house guest, ever, I still spent a little more than intended this week. Still, we decided not to eat out and just had a lovely meal and a bottle of my favourite gin in the house instead so I don't feel too bad, and didn't over spend too much. Had to get new work shoes because I really need something comfortable since I'm on my feet the whole time. They were only 25 and I hope they will last a wee while.

    I've picked up a 5-10 shift tonight; DH has plenty of work to be getting on with and since we had a drink on Tuesday I don't feel inclined to have our usual Friday night. That will also make up for only doing two shifts next week when more visitors arrive.

    Looking into switching our bank accounts. I've been thinking about it for a while, but since we have all our accounts in one place I'm reluctant to move. We don't have a branch in the area though and that is making things difficult and frustrating. Plus, I spent 5 years working in banking before I had the children and bad service really annoys me. It would mean we would get a switching bonus too, and perhaps a linked 5% saver? Need to look into it a bit more.

    Another week till pay day for me. There should be a few extra holiday days in there so hoping it's a big one.

    Ha, another cheeky saving - we are potty training!! Things going quite well so hopefully that will cut our nappy costs.
    #112 Save 12k in 2018: 1869.93/6000
    • Alexland
    • By Alexland 9th Mar 18, 5:47 PM
    • 2,236 Posts
    • 1,628 Thanks
    Alexland
    Looking into switching our bank accounts. I've been thinking about it for a while, but since we have all our accounts in one place I'm reluctant to move. We don't have a branch in the area though and that is making things difficult and frustrating. Plus, I spent 5 years working in banking before I had the children and bad service really annoys me. It would mean we would get a switching bonus too, and perhaps a linked 5% saver? Need to look into it a bit more.
    Originally posted by *little.squirrel*
    +1 for Nationwide. I recommended my wife to switch and got 100 each and then she recommended me to switch (even though I already had a bank account with them I hadn't switched to Nationwide before) and we got 100 each again so 400 for switching 2 accounts.

    We had a similar result when HSBC were running their switching deals and have had lesser results from other banks. We have probably made around 1500 over the past 3 years from switching bank accounts. Still worth having a long term bank account as well if you will be applying for a mortgage, etc soon.

    We have many 5% regular savers on the go with offset dates to keep a rolling balance.

    Alex.
    Last edited by Alexland; 09-03-2018 at 5:50 PM.
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