Welcome to another review of how money has left my wallet this week.
Bank Holiday Monday! The last one till around Christmas/New Year’s Eve time. I wanted to make the most of it.
I have an interest paying current account. On balances up to £5000 I get paid 5% interest a month and it normally clears on the 1st, but I guess because of the bank holiday it was listed in my account today. £2.99 is what I earned in the last month. Money (literally) in the bank! It really is a nice little bonus each month and does make a difference to me.
I woke up late today so wanted to get a better head start on the day. I did my Duolingo lessons. I finished reading a book (The Way We Eat Now by Bee Wilson). I did a wash load, though it somehow made no difference to the wash pile. I even did a small run with my flat mate, my first one in 13 days. It felt good to be running again, though it was a slow and short run.
In the evening I was going to be volunteering with Good Gym at a community garden in another part of the city. It would involve getting a bus, which means I would have to wear a mask whilst on the bus, though that is not much of a bother really. The bus ticket is cheaper if I pay for it with card, so it only cost £3.20 for a day ticket. About 40 minutes later I was at the garden, but it was still shut as I had arrived very early. That’s the joy of bank holiday public transport. The buses were less frequent so it was a case of either be early or late. I walked around a little bit of the area because initially I thought I must be at the wrong place, but when I walked back to the venue after my detour I found it open. I did some weeding for an hour with 4 other members of Good Gym, being mindful of social distancing. It took me an hour to clear a little rectangle of the land from weeds, gardening is tough! I left before some of the others to get my bus back, reading my kindle on the way back. I got home at about 8:30pm and had a small dinner of some toast and settled up some things from the day. Before I left for the Good Gym mission I had cooked and pureed some apples that were going soft and I was happy to see my flat mate had kindly put my pot of the apples in the fridge when it cooled whilst I was out. I complained about my flat mate not doing the washing up last week, but he does have his good points too.
I started reading a new kindle book, the one I bought recently and mentioned in a previous diary ‘Your Money Life: 30s’ by Peter Dunn. It is a really good book, expensive to buy in paperback on Amazon, slightly more reasonable in price for kindle. I’m in the process of buying all my favourite money books that I would have taken out of the local library but now I can’t because of lockdown. I see them as investments, but I do have to just buy them one at a time.
I went to bed at midnight and put a post id note on my phone (my alarm clock) to remind me to get up at the time of the alarm tomorrow morning due to an early morning meeting on Tuesday.
I woke up at 5:15am and felt quite alert so I decided to get up. 2 coffees later and I had updated my spreadsheets, read more of my kindle book, had breakfast (a rarity for me as I’m not usually hungry in the morning) and started writing. I checked my bank accounts and saw my monthly subscription to the beer company Flavourly had come out, as had my monthly top up to Naked Wines. The beer case was £26.90 and will be delivered tomorrow and the wine top up was £20. I still have 1 ½ bottles of red wine left so I don’t need to buy any more just yet, maybe next month I’ll look to buy a new crate.
At lunchtime I went to the post office to get some passport photos taken. I need to renew my passport and have considered doing it sooner rather than later. They cost £7, at least it used up some coins. Cash has become obsolete during these times. I then went to Tesco to do some food shopping. I bought bread, eggs, courgettes, carrots, Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, apples, rolls, meatballs, hula hoops, quavers, 2 pizzas, bananas, cucumber, tomato puree and frozen cherries. The shopping came to £27.25.
I collected my post when I got back. I had received a T-Shirt in the post. It was from an order I placed during the early days of lockdown for an independent music venue in Newport that I went to a lot for drinking sessions at university, and still try to get to now and again. They were looking to raise money at the start of lockdown when they shut and now that they have opened up again they were able to post the orders out. They misspelled my surname which happens all the time but still bugs me as my name is right there on the order sheet, correctly spelled. Grrrr.
I had a really good day at work and got some big things done and a few extra bits to work on ahead of some team meetings coming up. I then spent an hour on the exercise bike after work before trying to get some personal work done but there were just too many technical issues. I tried to renew my passport and it said my passport photo that I had scanned in wasn’t suitable and was likely to be rejected. Boo! That’s £7 down the drain. Oh well. The evening felt like a failure but when I checked my to do list for the day I saw I had completed 13 out of the 17 things to do. Not bad.
I wrapped up the rubbish to take out, joys of rubbish night, did the washing up and put the bulk of things in the dishwasher, then settled down with my kindle. A good day all in all.
I decided I would travel back to my home town soon to visit my family. I checked with my Dad and step mum that they would be able to house me, then I booked the time off work. At lunchtime I booked the train ticket. It came to £45.05 with booking fee and insurance too, but I saved £22.30 on the train fare by using my rail card that gives me a discount.
My day at work was really successful, I felt really good about the work I managed to achieve. I spent 30 minutes on the exercise bike after work and then the flat mate and I ran to the pharmacy to pick up his hay fever prescription. My flat mate stopped off at the shop on the way home to pick up milk which came to 85p. We had burgers and wedges for dinner. The burgers we were having were the Beyond Meat ones and they are amazing.
After dinner I got a lot on my to do list done including renewing my passport. I took a photo in my living room using my digital camera and that seemed to work better than the actual photo booth passport photo did. Renewing the passport came to £80.50, which was made up of £75.50 for the passport renewal and £5 for secure delivery posting my old passport back to me once it had been processed. Also after dinner I did my friend’s research survey as part of her master’s degree, then I went round uploading my new branding to my social media channels for Flo’s Debt Free Diary (I make regular use of Instagram and Facebook and have recently joined Twitter too). I played around with new WordPress themes too and I still have a lot of work to go on my blog to make it as shiny and as pretty as I want it to be. I don’t have great technical skills so a lot of things are a struggle for me. Plus I have a geriatric 9 year old laptop that doesn’t really do anything other than handle Word and Excel. I had borrowed my flat mate’s laptop this evening to get my things done.
I eventually went to bed and stayed up past my bedtime reading, which was a bit naughty of me.
I woke up before 6am today. I was wide awake from the moment I got up. On Monday I had pureed some apples which I meant to bake with and I still hadn’t gotten round to that. So at 6:15am I began making apple, maple syrup and oat cookies. They tasted very nice if I do say so myself. The recipe will appear on my blog of course.
I started listening to episodes of the Which? Money podcast on Google Podcasts. I need my money fix. I find I need to dedicate time to listening to podcasts to really take them in so this morning felt like a good time to indulge.
I left the house just after 9am to go to the post office to post back my old passport as part of my renewal. It cost £6.70 to send it by special delivery. They gave me a tracking number and said it would arrive tomorrow. I should receive my new passport in about 6 weeks, depending on if they’re happy with the photo I submitted.
I was paid some Amazon vouchers from a side hustle market research panel I am doing, so with £30 to play with I bought four money related Kindle books. They were Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Financial Freedom by Susan Hayes and two books by ‘Mrs Moneypenny’ who was a presenter on a Channel 4 show I was obsessed with years ago called Superscrimpers. Her two books were Mrs Moneypenny’s Financial Advice for Independent Women and Mrs Moneypenny’s Career Advice for Ambitious Women. The Kindle books came to £29.96 so my Amazon vouchers easily covered it.
I found work tough today, and then a particularly sad episode of a TV series I watch got me thinking about my mum and set me off crying. I had arranged to speak to my Dad and Step Mum on a video call but I couldn’t handle it in the end so we rearranged for tomorrow.
I was very sleepy this morning, I couldn’t make myself feel awake. The two coffees I had barely touched the fatigue. I struggled through the day and felt bad about my output.
After work I went for a walk, and then I began decluttering my stuff. I have decided to follow the advice of Japanese professional tidy upper Marie Kondo and apply the ‘KonMari’ method of decluttering. This is where you go through things in your house one category at a time. Clothes, books, paper, komono (miscellaneous items) and finally sentimental items. I have decided to dedicate the next 6 weekends to this. This weekend was the first category, clothes. I went through every area of my clothes collection, from the coats in the under the stairs cupboard to my socks. I ended up with two overflowing Ikea big blue bags and 2 bags for life full of things to take to the charity shops. I had rung around some at lunchtime and asked if they were taking donations so I knew which ones to hit first. That is my job for tomorrow morning.
It is amazing just how much stuff I had to get rid of. I was ruthless. I just thought to myself that it will be a lot less to move when my flat mate and I go our separate ways sometime next year. I’m likely to be moving to a bedroom in a shared flat/house so will have significantly less space and getting rid of things can only be good for me.
I have completely lost desire to buy most clothes during lockdown. There’s no point. I’ve got no one to show these clothes off to, ha ha. There’s no point having a huge wardrobe if I only wear 20% of the clothes. I think what I’ve done today will really change my shopping habits. I think lockdown in general has changed my shopping habits.
Having said all that about my shopping habits changing, near to midnight on impulse I bought from a second hand seller a Christmas CD I grew up with. It will be great to hear that music again later this year. I certainly don’t plan on listening to it now. I bought it with another Amazon voucher, so that was a saving of £3.76.
I woke up early so I could hit my local charity shop straight away with donations, just in case later on in the day they stopped taking them. I was the first person in the shop! I was only carrying one bag, one of those huge Ikea blue bags, and the charity shop volunteer suggested I stagger my donations. So I had taken the heaviest bag in, but it looks like the other three bags at home would have to wait to be donated. A little disappointing, but the charity shops are under huge strain so that’s why I asked them what their needs are.
When I got home I picked up the bag of three old pairs of running shoes and took them to my local running shop to be recycled. The flat is beginning to feel much clearer from stuff now, and I can actually close my chest of drawers now.
I then began to plough through my to do list. I started with my 5 Duolingo lessons which went well. Then I hoovered the entire flat and cleaned the bathroom. It looks lovely now. I watered my plants as well and trimmed the dead leaves from them, and removed the dead plants from the bouquets I had bought at the shops last week to celebrate becoming debt free.
I made courgette fritters for lunch, having them with a fried egg, and sweet chilli sauce. Then I headed to the shops to do the food shopping. I went to Tesco for no reason other than it is my biggest and nearest supermarket to get my shopping. Lidl and Aldi are slightly too far away to walk to with a huge amount of shopping. In Tesco I bought 3 multipacks of crisps, 4 multipacks of chocolate bars, milk, spaghetti, vegetarian burgers, Quorn nuggets, 2 oat milks, 2 tins of spaghetti hoops, orange juice, 3 tins of tuna chunks, washing up liquid, potatoes, sweet potatoes, 3 spice mixes, green tea, tiger bread rolls, bananas, tomatoes, cucumber and bread. The shopping cost £38.07. I now have £138.62 of the food budget left so will have to be mindful of what I buy as there is still a lot of the month left to go.
I then went for a 5km run which felt great, I had fallen a bit out of love with running and wasn’t sure I could cover that distance again so I was really happy when I did. Back at the flat I did my weekly beauty routine (body scrub, shaving, face mask etc.) and then I relaxed with the radio and a gin and tonic.
I then left my flat to go to a socially distanced BBQ with some of my friends from GoodGym. I had to get a train to the host’s house, after my rail card discount it only cost £1.90. I was the first to arrive which is typical, I’m always early for everything though technically I was on time for this. It was another hour before others began to arrive. I had a lovely time, it was really good to get out of the house and to see people. I was the first to leave as the last train back was at 22:27. I had told my flat mate where I was going and he wanted me to send him a text when I got home which I did (he was at his girlfriends this weekend). I then listened to the radio for a bit then went to bed.
I woke up horrendously late, shame! The first thing I did was take the three bags of donations to the local charity shops. My arms were still aching from yesterday’s trip. These three bags were lighter than yesterday’s bag but were obviously more awkward to carry. The volunteer at the charity shop was the same as yesterday and he seemed relieved when I told him these were the last of my bags.
I then had a coffee and settled down with a podcast at my laptop. Then I remembered that the wash load I had put on was completed. I wanted to hoover my bedroom floor before I put clothes on the airer in my room so I had to stop to get that done.
I then started making some sweet potato patties. I used onion, cheese, mustard, flour and egg to make them. They are currently cooking up nicely in the oven. I was listening to the Which? Money podcast whilst making them.
My patties tasted nice but I felt really ill after making them so I don’t think I’ll be posting a recipe on my blog anytime soon. I have three leftovers so I’ll see how I feel when I eat them tomorrow.
I found it really difficult to concentrate on anything. So I am signing off the week now.
TOTAL SPENDING THIS WEEK
FOOD AND HOUSEHOLD SHOPPING = £116.92 / 2 = £58.46
PERSONAL SHOPPING = £144.35
TOTAL SPENDING THIS WEEK = £202.81