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  • FIRST POST
    • foxgloves
    • By foxgloves 27th Feb 18, 4:06 PM
    • 5,716Posts
    • 35,537Thanks
    foxgloves
    Put away your purse & become debt-averse
    • #1
    • 27th Feb 18, 4:06 PM
    Put away your purse & become debt-averse 27th Feb 18 at 4:06 PM
    I've decided to start a diary to show that it's possible to change from a terrible money waster into a a bit of a budgeting ninja. OK, I'm not perfect....we all have slip-ups now & again....but I am proud that by my budget efforts & our surprising willingness to change from big silly spenders (we really were a pair of narnas!) to really quite sensible people, we managed to become debt-free. We paid off around 35k & really, just learned how to live differently And you know what? We really enjoy it! Turned out that all that spending & having to have stuff immediately didn't really make us happy. Who'd have thought it?
    Pre-LBM, my principles for money management were:
    1) Buy pretty much whatever I wanted when I wanted. Overdraft was seen as another word for 'more of my money'.
    2) Open bank statements, look at the balance through semi-closed eyes, carefully fold & replace in envelope & put in drawer.
    3) Tell myself bank balance is fine because it's only 3 weeks till pay-day.
    4) Always withdraw useful wodge of cash the week before pay-day just in case that pesky bank was planning to show me up in the supermarket by stopping my debit card.
    5) Never budget - why waste time on this when my own system worked so well?
    6) Tell myself not to worry about savings. They would be nice, but I 'didn't earn enough'
    That was about it, really. I didn't budget at all & made no effort to spend within my means. I lived outside my means from the age of 19 & didn't become debt-free till my 40s!
    The LBM was huge. I had it first & my partner showed initial signs of resistance, but when he saw my debts disappearing, he soon wanted in on the act & is now like a different person with money.
    Two years ago, we borrowed a modest sum to help us buy a car, We always knew this would happen & we made sure we saved up a good deposit. It was always our intention to re-pay the loan early & we did manage a nice overpayment of £2000 last year. However, our 2nd overpayment was almost ready to pay in when we had a string of expenses which we didn't want to put on credit cards, so we used our loan overpayment money to pay those. Last year was difficult in many ways & although we didn't return to our previous naughty spendiness, I think I started to lose some of my focus. Before Christmas, our Loan Pay Down Fund (LPDF) was down to just £60. Now it is already up to £421, really just from little savings, selling a few bits & bobs here & there. One thing I'm going to be really BIG on this year is 'Shopping from home', as in doing that first, to see if a spend can be avoided. I've got off to a really good start with that, starting with my new year de-cluttering & have found all sorts of useful stuff that will save me money further down the line. I also intend to do a full kitchen cupboard audit. Although I'm a DFW 'Small things' regular, I've never done a DFW diary before, so I'm going to use it to focus my efforts & get that LPDF up to £1000, then the next £1000, etc, asap. If you are the sort of person who gets excited about the contents of other people's cupboards & the satisfaction of saving a few quid here & there, then do join me for sharing ideas, laughs & moans, & I promise to throw in a few tales from my Spendy Decades - I have kept a journal for a lot of my adult life & I absolutely wince now, reading some of those diary entries about my cavalier attitude to money. I suppose they show that if I can change, anyone can! Oh well, onwards! I loved being debt-free & just a small amount of effort will mean that I can soon be again.
    F x
    Last edited by foxgloves; 27-02-2018 at 4:13 PM.
    Money can't jump out of your purse on its own so ask 'Can I borrow one, make one, grow one, bake one, re-purpose or recycle, acquire it for free?' Yes? Then put that purse away & keep your money because little savings
    Payment received from surveys: 2015 = £320 2016 = £210 2017 = £304 2018 = £418 2019 = £227
Page 111
    • foxgloves
    • By foxgloves 13th Jan 20, 5:46 PM
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    foxgloves
    Evening all - Well, considering we are not in one of the key storm-affected regions, the wind is hugely getting up outside tonight. I've just walked down to the postbox & blew nearly all the way back!
    I've had quite a productive day, but the 2 hours minimum of leisure time I promised myself this afternoon just hasn't happened, thanks to some confusing missives in my email inbox from our energy company (it's just merged with another one). Oddly, I received two bills simultaneously. I THINK one of them was worked out on estimated figures, then they have sent another one as an 'adjustment' using meter readings I HAD sent them, as requested, Although it said on this one that they hadn't received any meter readings from me for ages. I contacted them at the beginning of this month with a query about meter readings (there was an error in something I received about these) & nobody replied, so I phoned this afternoon to find out what was going on. As I sat in the phone queue, an extremely enthusiastic voice kept telling my that I might like to try emailing........so I did in the end & an assistant got back to me very quickly, but I was still confused, so have spent way more time than I'd like this afternoon studying bills & wafting my calculator around. I think I get it now, but have nevertheless emailed AGAIN to check that what I believe to be the case, actually IS the case. I've said that as it's effectively a new company, I need to be confident from the very beginning that I understand how these figures have been arrived at, especially since the 2nd bill received today has a debit balance on our account that is significantly bigger than the 1st one (also received today). I think the debit was inevitable, as our monthly dd was reduced to too low a figure at the beginning of last year & I knew it would come back & bite us heartily on the bum.
    Ah well, I'll see what reply I receive to my request for further clarification & make sure I am putting into practice all my little energy saving ways.
    On a less tedious note, I've enjoyed baking bread today, I've put a big stew in the slow cooker for later & there'll be plenty leftover too, have cast on the 2nd sock I'm knitting for the presents bag & managed 40 minutes in the garden. Amazing what can be done in 40 minutes - I took down last year's salad tunnel & packed it away then weeded & dug over the bed, I planted the last of my bargainaceous allium bulbs in the old galvanised metal BBQ bucket - their purple shades should look good against that, then I went to the watercress pots to dismantle those ready for re-sowing in Spring & found that as it hasn't been very cold, there is still usable watercress. So I emptied out the old water in the washing-up bowl the watercress pots live in, cleaned it out & filled it with fresh water. I have quite a lot of winter salads in the greenhouse, but there is enough watercress for soup & if we don't have a big freeze, it should keep growing.
    Anyway, I had better go & get the spring greens prepped and light the fire. Cat has been mithering for this all day! (The fire, not the spring greens!)
    Stay warm all,
    F x
    Paid the asbestos invoice today. It was exactly smack on what they quoted me & at least £46 less than
    I expected to pay, based on hearsay from people on our road who have had quotes for this service in the past, so I was pleased with that. Haven't heard back about the tree felling yet, so will chase that if I don't hear this week x
    Money can't jump out of your purse on its own so ask 'Can I borrow one, make one, grow one, bake one, re-purpose or recycle, acquire it for free?' Yes? Then put that purse away & keep your money because little savings
    Payment received from surveys: 2015 = £320 2016 = £210 2017 = £304 2018 = £418 2019 = £227
    • savingmore
    • By savingmore 13th Jan 20, 11:09 PM
    • 408 Posts
    • 2,627 Thanks
    savingmore
    You could just buy a couple of pairs of cheap earrings and take the backs off them and use, thatís what Iíve done in the past. Bought a cheap pack from Primark
    Originally posted by lantanna
    that is a brilliant idea, should have thought of that, one of those cards that has 10 pairs for a pound or something ridiculous....thanks for the saving idea!!!

    • oceandreamer
    • By oceandreamer 14th Jan 20, 5:40 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 534 Thanks
    oceandreamer
    Can I just ask about growing watercress -do you grow it from seed or buy plants? Is it easy to grow? I love watercress but didn't realise you can grown it at home.
    • foxgloves
    • By foxgloves 14th Jan 20, 8:26 PM
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    foxgloves
    Hi Oceandreamer,
    It's easy to grow from seed. I grow it every year. Its a myth that you need running water... just make sure you change the water every week. My method is this. You need an old plastic washing up bowl or similar container which has no holes in. Now find 2 or 3 plastic flowerpots which will fit into the bowl. Fill the pots with ordinary potting compost. Water, sow the seeds, cover with a thin layer of compost & gently water again. Stand the pots in the washing-up bowl & fill the bowl with water to at least halfway up the sides of the pots.
    That's it! Snip watercress when it looks ready. It will keep growing back. Snip any flowers off before it can go to seed, but if it does, you can still rejuvenate it by giving it a big haircut.
    Think the variety of seeds I usually grow is called 'Aqua'. I usually sow it around the beginning of April - outside.
    Hope this helps,
    F x
    Money can't jump out of your purse on its own so ask 'Can I borrow one, make one, grow one, bake one, re-purpose or recycle, acquire it for free?' Yes? Then put that purse away & keep your money because little savings
    Payment received from surveys: 2015 = £320 2016 = £210 2017 = £304 2018 = £418 2019 = £227
    • foxgloves
    • By foxgloves 14th Jan 20, 8:42 PM
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    foxgloves
    Good evening m'dears,
    I've really noticed today how much food we seem to have in, as well as lots of jars of stuff open..... I think that's fairly normal post-Christmas. We still have a decent amount of grocery budget left for this month, as well as 2 lots of supermarket vouchers for £50 each. I think I need to base next week's meal plans very much on what we already have in, target a few more ends of jars & packets for using up & then think about the best use of those vouchers. One possibility would be stocking up the wine rack a bit with one voucher & stocking the freezer with meat with the other. I'm also quite tempted to do a big stock up of pantry essentials, such as tins of tomatoes, pulses, flour, pasta, etc, as that would last us a while & mean potentially being able to via some grocery budget to other pots.
    Hmmmm, I can see that my trusty kitchen steps will be coming out this week, so I can get a real proper look into the darkest depths of the pantry. Knowledge is power! (even knowledge involving how many tubes of tomato puree may be lurking......)
    And I could do with a new freezer list.
    OK, that's sounding like a plan!
    Cheers all,
    F x
    Money can't jump out of your purse on its own so ask 'Can I borrow one, make one, grow one, bake one, re-purpose or recycle, acquire it for free?' Yes? Then put that purse away & keep your money because little savings
    Payment received from surveys: 2015 = £320 2016 = £210 2017 = £304 2018 = £418 2019 = £227
    • Kantankrus Mare
    • By Kantankrus Mare 14th Jan 20, 9:38 PM
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    Kantankrus Mare
    Thanks for the watercress info Foxgloves.....something Ive been wanting to have a go at. I assume you would keep this outside and not in the greenhouse?

    Not that Ill be sowing anything anytime soon. Come down with a full blown cold and feel shocking! There must be a couple of different viruses doing the rounds as I had the chesty cough a month ago and thought Id got off lightly as it went within a week. Now feel like someone has turned on a tap in my nasal passages. Supposed to be at work tomorrow but a colleague kindly offered to cover it for me.

    Off to get myself a hot lemonade and whisky.
    Walk 2000 miles in 2017....1780.35 miles
    Walk 2018 miles in 2018...1939.71 miles
    Walk 2019 miles in 2019.....2,038.97 miles
    Walk 2020 miles in 2020......32.16 miles
    Make £2020 in 2020.......£167.80
    • Chrystal
    • By Chrystal 14th Jan 20, 11:16 PM
    • 864 Posts
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    Chrystal
    Hope you feel better soon KM... enjoy your hot toddy
    I Believe.....
    That it isn't always enough, to be forgiven by others.
    Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.
    • oceandreamer
    • By oceandreamer 14th Jan 20, 11:52 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 534 Thanks
    oceandreamer
    Thanks for the info on the watercress. I've added it to my planing list. I have a very very small veg patch so am trying to grow in pots/bags as much as possible so will definitely give this a go.
    • Blackcats
    • By Blackcats 15th Jan 20, 10:21 AM
    • 223 Posts
    • 1,563 Thanks
    Blackcats
    Hi Foxgloves. Gas and electricity suppliers seem to send a lot of communications in very close succession and the info in each is always different. I am in the middle of changing suppliers and my current supplier has sent 6 letters about the gas supply and 6 letters about electricity. I think they are asking for a meter reading
    I once tried to use the formula provided in the bills - cubic capacity x something else divided by something to the power of ...... i valiantly worked through the formula and came up with a bill the size of the economic worth of Switzerland.
    • savingmore
    • By savingmore 15th Jan 20, 7:10 PM
    • 408 Posts
    • 2,627 Thanks
    savingmore
    oooh thanks for the info on watercress. i LOVE watercress and hate the price of it locally, so will have a go at doing this. thanks so much! and I know you woill be to give advice if something goes wrong. where do you buy yr seeds?

    • foxgloves
    • By foxgloves 15th Jan 20, 8:59 PM
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    foxgloves
    Kantankrus - Oh what a nuisance that you've got another lergy. Hope you feel better soon. And yes, my watercress bowl is both sown & kept outside.

    Savingmore - I buy seeds from my little local garden centre unless they are unusual varieties I need to get from a seed cataligue/website.
    F x
    Money can't jump out of your purse on its own so ask 'Can I borrow one, make one, grow one, bake one, re-purpose or recycle, acquire it for free?' Yes? Then put that purse away & keep your money because little savings
    Payment received from surveys: 2015 = £320 2016 = £210 2017 = £304 2018 = £418 2019 = £227
    • foxgloves
    • By foxgloves 15th Jan 20, 9:09 PM
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    foxgloves
    Blackcats - You're right about energy billing. I decided to submit new readings as they stated (wrongly) that they hadn't received any from our household for ages. But did this clarify anything? No.... because today I received another bill..... the third one this week & the deficit on our account had increased again. I've come to the conclusion that this new company (a merger of 3 smaller ones) has set up its systems so that whenever a customer submits a set of meter readings, this automatically generates a statement for the account. This could be useful in terms of keeping tabs on things, so I'm going to keep a close eye on it for now. I did strongly suspect our DD had been cut too low last January. I would prefer it to increase than for our account to run up a black hole.
    But yes, bah to energy companies anyway.
    F x
    Money can't jump out of your purse on its own so ask 'Can I borrow one, make one, grow one, bake one, re-purpose or recycle, acquire it for free?' Yes? Then put that purse away & keep your money because little savings
    Payment received from surveys: 2015 = £320 2016 = £210 2017 = £304 2018 = £418 2019 = £227
    • foxgloves
    • By foxgloves 15th Jan 20, 9:29 PM
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    foxgloves
    And Wednesday night greetings to everyone else......
    It's been a day of two halves today. Quite a leisurely morning pottering around gathering up clean laundry (not wanting to pay for a minute more heated airer time than necessary), tidying, making progress with my current research project, liaising about a family get-together at Easter.......then this afternoon, everything suddenly sped up with some of the planned work on our house. I rang a local firm I've used in the past to see if they would be interested in giving us a quote. Their boss was in the area & called round to peruse our list of jobs, said they can do all of them, measured up & discussed options, disappeared for half an hour for number crunching & came back with the quote. It was a fair price, less than we expected so I said we'd go ahead, & the work is being done next week! I was amazed but apparently December & January are a good time to book because most people don't think about exterior home improvements until at least Spring.
    So it'll be a bit hectic next week, but how nice to be able to crack on so quickly. And I'm pleased to be using a genuinely local business & not, as I've mentioned before, one of these big national chains which advertise as though they are local, when they really are not.
    A busy day of domestic stuff planned for tomorrow, including my mid-month budget check-in, pantry & freezer forensics & hopefully some batch-cooking.
    Hope I shall have both a money saving & productive day to report.
    F x
    Money can't jump out of your purse on its own so ask 'Can I borrow one, make one, grow one, bake one, re-purpose or recycle, acquire it for free?' Yes? Then put that purse away & keep your money because little savings
    Payment received from surveys: 2015 = £320 2016 = £210 2017 = £304 2018 = £418 2019 = £227
    • wishingthemortgaheaway
    • By wishingthemortgaheaway 15th Jan 20, 9:34 PM
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    wishingthemortgaheaway
    January is also a good time to get work done as people are too busy in the run up to Christmas to organise anything and too poor in January to get work done

    We had a quote for our dining room floor to be done just before Christmas, emailed Monday to accept (after working away last week) they started yesterday and finished today.

    Can't imagine the rest will be that quick, but you never know
    Outstanding mortgage: £23,181 (December 19)
    MFW 2020 Challenge Member #10 0/£2318
    • foxgloves
    • By foxgloves 15th Jan 20, 9:43 PM
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    foxgloves
    Wish - Yes, I think you're right about January, but it's played right into our hands. Our thinking was that if we got the smaller jobs out of the way & paid for, we'd know how much money is available for the more complicated renovations indoors. I'm trying to think positive, but guess I could have my head in my hands when we start getting quotes for that part of the work!
    Oh well, we can but see how it goes.
    F x
    Money can't jump out of your purse on its own so ask 'Can I borrow one, make one, grow one, bake one, re-purpose or recycle, acquire it for free?' Yes? Then put that purse away & keep your money because little savings
    Payment received from surveys: 2015 = £320 2016 = £210 2017 = £304 2018 = £418 2019 = £227
    • PurpleFairy26
    • By PurpleFairy26 16th Jan 20, 5:45 AM
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    PurpleFairy26
    Excellent work on arranging the work and it being done so quickly. Hope the indoor stuff happens as smoothly - can the same company do the indoor stuff or are they specialists?

    Enjoy mid month check in - one of my more enjoyable days of the month
    • foxgloves
    • By foxgloves 16th Jan 20, 8:01 AM
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    foxgloves
    Purps - No, they can't do the indoor stuff, unfortunately. They do pretty much all the exterior types of rennovations you can think of, but not the sort of projects we badly need tackling indoors.
    Re mid-month budget check-in.... Yes, it is well worth doing as if things are not on track, there are still two weeks left to pull the budget back into shape, or at least not let it slip any further. I can't think there are any nasty surprises waiting to be uncovered. My main thing at the moment is double-accounting to ensure that the funds ring-fence for home improvements remain separately budgeted. If there is a waiting list for a builder for the next stage, I will move this to savings as we may as well earn a tad of interest on it.
    Anyway m'duck from dahn t'road, have finished a big mug of coffee. I think I'll just get tonight's planned meal out of the freezer, then go & clear the ironing pile as the rest of today's money saving jobs are very much kitchen-based.
    F x
    Money can't jump out of your purse on its own so ask 'Can I borrow one, make one, grow one, bake one, re-purpose or recycle, acquire it for free?' Yes? Then put that purse away & keep your money because little savings
    Payment received from surveys: 2015 = £320 2016 = £210 2017 = £304 2018 = £418 2019 = £227
    • foxgloves
    • By foxgloves 16th Jan 20, 4:05 PM
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    foxgloves
    Oh well, what a dismally grey soggy day it has turned into here. I swear I spotted a tiny streak of blue sky first thing.....I think I must have been hallucinating! Never mind, I've spent my time doing a reasonably fair impression of a domestic goddess, albeit one that only managed moisturiser & mascara this morning, so is giving itself a bit of a shock every time it looks in the mirror, lol! Note to self - Be like Blackcats & make an effort to sparkle every day!
    A thoroughly useful day, however. Had a scout around the kitchen to target use-it-ups - still hadn't got round to making the tuna & pea fishcakes because with plenty of leftovers making extra meals, they kept being pushed to the following week's meal plans. The spring onions bought for them were looking like they mightn't last much longer, so I made the fishcakes this morning & froze them. Two home grown squashes, chillies, ginger & the last of our green beans went with lentils, two lonely carrots & plenty of store cupboard ingredients to make a batch of Hairy Biker vegetable curry. While digging around in the bottom freezer drawer hoping to find green beans, I also found a 1lb bag of whole frozen tomatoes which I chucked in there while we had a bit of a glut over the summer. As we have plenty of milk & another 3 pints delivered tomorrow, I made a big pan of Cranks tomato soup. That just left my latest planned experiment with my sourdough starter. I'd already fed the jar, as have mixed the dough for a loaf to bake tomorrow, but if you make sourdough, you'll know that each time you go to feed the jar, you first pour off about half the existing starter. This generally goes down the sink, unless you have tightwad tendencies in which case you google around for things you can do with it! I've previously tried sourdough crackers......with various types of flavourings & sprinkles. They're fine, but fiddly & also have the habit of disappearing in a single evening, which won't help with my aim of being able to wear my denim tunic top again by Spring! I most often end up using a couple of big tablespoonfulls when making my ordinary yeasted wholemeal or granary rolls to give an extra flavour dimension, but a while back, I found a recipe online for using the throw-away sourdough starter portion to make pyclets. So I've tested that out today. Although it's mainly crumpets in the shops where we live, we border a county where pyclets seem to be the more local thing, so I have eaten them, know what they look/taste like, etc. The verdict? Well, they were extremely easy & must be one of the cheapest things I've ever made, but I couldn't describe the finished result as pyclets. I tried a warm non-toasted one straight off the griddle & a toasted one from under the grill, both with butter (in the interest of research, of course!) Yep, pleasant enough to eat, but I would describe them as more like blinis than pyclets. I can see a use for them, definitely. They would work as breakfast pancakes with fruit, honey & yoghurt or with savoury toppings for lunch. I'd also batch cook a whole load of them & use with nice fancypants little toppings on as part of a buffet, just as you would a blini. So very definitely not a pyclet in my opinion, but potentially a source of almost free blinis on a regular basis.
    That was all much more fun that the mid-month budget check-in, which I've also done today. £65 out. Bah! And not in our favour. I did manage to account for £20 of it as our bank statement clearly shows that a direct debit has been taken twice. I got onto that straight away. Still £45 out, but you know, I'm not going to fret about it. January has been a funny old month for my accounting. There have been heaps of swaps between pots & other transfers, amounts paid off 'just for points' credits cards, etc, etc, & I think the most likely scenario is that I've paid something off or moved something as part of a complicated transfer & not accounted for what I've done in my Money Book. I think next month's budget should be less complicated, even though I am going to be double-accounting now that I have started paying for the programme of work we have planned on our house.
    I think it's time to go & see what cat is doing. He woke up when he detected a whiff of tuna but zonked again once a flake had been proffered. It feels like time for the kettle to go on & for me to finish watching a TV programme.
    Hope everyone's had a productive day - there's quite a wind getting up here too. I'm glad I don't need to go out tonight.
    Cheers all,
    F x
    Last edited by foxgloves; 16-01-2020 at 4:07 PM.
    Money can't jump out of your purse on its own so ask 'Can I borrow one, make one, grow one, bake one, re-purpose or recycle, acquire it for free?' Yes? Then put that purse away & keep your money because little savings
    Payment received from surveys: 2015 = £320 2016 = £210 2017 = £304 2018 = £418 2019 = £227
    • DawnW
    • By DawnW 16th Jan 20, 4:53 PM
    • 5,977 Posts
    • 47,793 Thanks
    DawnW
    It is horrible, cold and wet here today as well
    Like the sound of tuna and pea fish cakes. Any chance of the recipe?

    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 16th Jan 20, 4:57 PM
    • 11,337 Posts
    • 89,665 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    The weather has been AWFUL here too with torrential sideways rain . I got soaked just walking across the playground! It sounds like you got loads of really useful indoor jobs done .
    Finally Debt Free After 34 Years, But Still Need to Live Frugally
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 OCTOBER 2017
    EMERGENCY FUND 1 = £2,450/£5,000. EMERGENCY FUND 2 = £50/£5,000.
    CHRISTMAS SAVINGS = £144.37/£500
    PREMIUM BONDS ME = £300. PREMIUM BONDS DH = £250
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