Another week of spending begins.
Let’s see where this week takes us.
I woke up at the alarm feeling quite well rested. I had to get up early to begin a course at work. I had struggled to get to sleep the night before and woke up during the night as well but surprisingly I felt quite good this morning.
I came downstairs and straight away put on a wash load. I then had my daily morning ritual of 500ml of water with my medication, then I made breakfast. I checked the message I had about the course and realised it started even early than I thought. Good thing I woke up early!
I began to feel really ill over the course of the day. I suffer from IBS and it has been playing up all throughout lockdown with a real attack over the last few months. Luckily, I had quite a good workload today so it wasn’t too bad at work. I took some paracetamol at lunchtime and felt better within an hour.
At lunchtime a parcel from Hermes was delivered to my address, but it was labelled to a person who is not me or my flat mate. I tried getting in contact with Hermes to get them to collect the parcel and return it to sender, but it was impossible to. In the end I did some detective work and looked up the return address. It was a residential address, but it was also associated with a business that had a number listed on their Yelp page. I rang that and spoke to a lovely woman. It turned out it was for her son who lived on my street, just a couple of doors down. It was a mistake on the address. She phoned him and he came to collect the parcel. All’s well that end well!
I had an hour between finishing work and going into my telephone counselling session so I had dinner. It was very beige food, not healthy but good for nausea. My flat mate went to the shops during my telephone counselling session and picked up crisps and bread for £2.25. We watched some wrestling and then Netflix. I don’t feel as cold as I did yesterday but I am wearing a great deal of layers.
I checked my account and noted that my subscription to the environmentally friendly cleaning supplies (specifically dishwasher capsules) had come out of my account. I was expecting it. That was £4.60 and will last a good while.
I went through and decluttered my email inbox and saved some old documents on to my memory sticks which took a really long time. My computer crashed as well which scared me since it is new.
Today didn’t really feel like it went that well. It wasn’t bad, I just felt ill and mopey as a result of that. I think I will try and have an early night.
Sleep failed me again, and I felt ill and under the weather. The remainder of the training course I was doing was very good. I really enjoyed it and took so much away from it and started sharing my ideas on my work’s MS Teams channel.
I began to feel a bit better as the day went on but it is clear I need to take my health seriously. These sleep problems and stomach complaints are really driving me crazy.
The flat mate and I wanted to go for a run after work, but the weather was diabolical so we were lazy and chickened out of running in the rain. Cowards.
We stayed in and watched Netflix and relaxed. My flat mate has been feeling ill too. We’re both pretty run down. The change in the season has dramatically affected me, and I claim that autumn is my favourite season! I am not enjoying it much so far.
I’ve been dreaming of getting weighted blankets, high thread count bedsheets and thermal clothes. Alas, my money will not stretch that far.
I did some terrible habits in the evening of staying on my phone and laptop far later than I should have and as a result even though I went to bed at 11pm I was still awake over 90 minutes later. I hope tomorrow isn’t too strenuous.
All my Amazon vouchers from my side hustles had come through for the month. So, I decided to go shopping. I had £45 to use. To an extent I bought things I needed. I was short one photo album from when I bought the last batch, so I bought one more of them, two more sets of the labels I had ordered, gold and silver marker pens, a laptop case and two packets of ‘Dots for Spots’ which really help with my acne. My personal spends came to £2.93 in cash after all the vouchers were taken off. On the Food and Household budget I bought a silicon tipped metal balloon whisk from Lakeland for £8.49 as our old one recently broke.
I check my bank account every day and checked off the bills that had come out against my list of bills that need to be paid each month spreadsheet. I had a folder for every month of every year since 2015 on my hard drives and each month had three spreadsheets in it. One is the ‘Food and Household Shopping’ spreadsheet that runs from one of my paydays to the next. My flat mate contributes half of the £400 budget each month but I am primarily in charge of the actual shopping and orders because if he was in charge he would run off and spend it all on Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate bars.
The other spreadsheets are these. One is what I call my finances spreadsheet, so ‘OCTOBER 2020 FINANCES’ is what this month’s is called. It is made up of two sheets. The first sheet is all my bills, budgets and direct debits added up and then subtracted against my income and taking into account what my flat mate pays me for our shared bills that come out of my account, and what shared bills he pays that come out of his account. The surplus money is carried over to sheet 2, where I have all my ‘sinking funds’ budgets lined up. My sinking funds are typically for things/bills that do not get paid monthly, like insurance, Duolingo, water bills, my blog fees etc. I divide the amount these things typically cost each year by the twelve months and then I pay each sinking fund’s monthly fee into a saving pot. This is how I roll baby.
The final spreadsheet of each month is the expenses spreadsheet, ‘OCTOBER 2020 EXPENSES’ for example. This lists all the things I spend my disposable/personal income on each month. I know exactly how much money I have spent each and every month since April 2015. It has really kept me accountable for my financial journey and I recommend this as being one of the first things a person should do if they want to change their finances for the better. Yes, it was a faff at first, and frequently I have been without a notebook and pen and have texted myself things like ‘pint with friend – £4.50’ to add to my spreadsheet later. This is how I roll baby.
I logged into my investment account as I wanted to see if they had changed my details yet. They hadn’t. But I saw that one of my shares was performing quite well. Only about a month ago the investment account had dramatically notified me that that particular share I had had ‘plummeted’ but I had decided to play the long game and it seemed to have paid off as it was now doing well. I pay some money into this each month and had enough to buy another share so I did. If you are thinking I’m some sort of Warren Buffett figure then I must crush your dreams now, this is literally (correct use of literally) just a phone app and I have three shares across two companies. I have literally only made 8p from my shares (correct use of literally – my flat mate is fanatical about people misusing the word literally so I always have to assure him when I use it correctly).
The weather is cold, damp and dark outside. My flat mate and I plan to go for a run after work and at least it isn’t as bad weatherwise as it was yesterday. We won’t be chickening out. At least I hope we don’t! I had to work quite late today so we’ll see what happens.
At the end of the working day I checked my personal emails and saw I had been paid the £5 from the old phone I sold last week to one of those recycling plants. I transferred the £5 into my personal spending account. I looked out of the window and saw it had started raining. Merde.
We went for a run anyway, but it was quite a short one. The rain held off and it didn’t feel too cold. We stopped off at the shops after the run to pick up milk. As is always the way we ended up getting even more items. Two Gingsters Quorn vegan pasties, two tins of chopped tomatoes, rooibos tea, cucumber and I saw an orange Twirl bar that I had to try. The shopping came to £8.50.
We watched Netflix and had chilli for dinner. Then we tidied up and headed to bed. I hope for a peaceful night’s sleep.
I woke up early. Early for me, not early in the grand scheme of things. I was certainly able to get started on my day and do a few things before starting work.
At lunchtime I went for a walk and came back and checked the post. I had a hand written card, but I didn’t recognise the hand writing on the envelope. When I opened it up, I saw that it was from the woman I spoke to on Monday about the misdelivered parcel. She had sent me a thank you card for returning the parcel safely to her son. I’m so overly polite I almost felt compelled to send her a thank you card for her thank you card.
After work I sorted out my home insurance. I had decided to go for a highly rated insurance company and they only do policies over the phone. I had realised I had greatly undervalued my possessions in the past on home insurance policies and wanted to start afresh this year. The firm I had chosen came highly rated on the Which consumer site. As I am insuring for a higher amount than in previous policies and this provider was top of the class, I knew it would hit my wallet hard. I was right. It was actually around what I was expecting. I was expecting to pay £180 and it came to £178.94. The policy jumped £11 because I live with a flat mate who isn’t family and that’s a higher risk. I knew that could be a factor. I bet if my flat mate was still my boyfriend, I wouldn’t have been charged that £11. I told my flat mate he was a financial liability to me as a joke.
We went to the shops after that, going a detour route to take in some of the lovely autumn evening on a walk. We stopped off at Iceland first for vegetarian pies and frozen peppers which came to £3. There is an amazing worker in Iceland who I always try to get served by when I go there as she is just so warm and lovely. I felt really cheered up after seeing her.
We then went to the Tesco nearby and bought almond milk, oat milk, washing up liquid, Lucozade, two multipacks of non-alcoholic beers, soya mince, potatoes, green tea, crackers, parsnip, ground coffee, salted and unsalted butter, bananas, three baguettes, raisins and avocados. I saved 35p on the three baguettes in a multi purchase offer. Tesco have introduced ‘club card prices’ which is where certain products are cheaper if you have a club card, so I saved a further £1.55 on the shopping because of that. Every little helps!
Back at home I made dinner of spaghetti and vegetarian meatballs and then did some work on my laptop.
I woke up early, wide awake at 6am. It felt great. I finally completed a really difficult level on Duolingo and had plenty of coffee.
I have decided an easy way for me to make every day a little bit more special is to wear perfume. Previously I saved it just for special occasions. I have a big perfume collection and love perfume in general. I am obsessed with having a signature scent. My current favourite is ‘Joy’ by Dior which was a 30th birthday present from my former in laws. I cherish it. I am wearing that today.
When my mum passed away and I first went to her house to go through her possessions I knew that the only thing I wanted most of all was her perfume. She always wore ‘Opium’ by Yves Sant Laurent. It’s not the scent for me to wear but I have always loved it on her and love it because of her. Sometimes I spritz Opium to remember her.
I had a fulfilling day at work. The flat mate and I were going to make a very big dinner of burgers and wedges and watch shows about John Lennon on BBC 4 as today would have been his 80th birthday. I was a huge fan of John Lennon as a kid, and The Beatles in general, though of course I still am now. We started off with the film A Hard Day’s Night then watched a TOTP2 (Top of the pops) Lennon special and mid-way through a show about John Lennon’s years in New York I went and had a shower and then went to read in bed as I had to get up early tomorrow for a volunteering session.
I woke up late. I set my alarms on time, but I had gone back to sleep after they went off and when I did wake up, I was already late. I got ready in a very quick amount of time and started running to where I would be helping out. I had a very good session and even very bravely saved the group leader from having a rather sizable spider climb on her head by brushing it off her shoulder. I was standing far from her and honestly, I could see if clearly from that distant and my instinct was to ‘save her’ even though I myself am terrified of spiders. I don’t think I could have done it if I wasn’t wearing gloves. I’m rather proud of myself.
I had then planned to run into the centre of town to pick up a bracelet I had taken to be fixed, that turned out couldn’t be. However, I realised I needed the bathroom and that would make the long run uncomfortable. There’s a distinct lack of public toilets round these days because of the pandemic. So, I stopped off at a café I like and bought a coffee and a mango juice and after I was finished with them, I used their facilities. That cost me £4.40 but at least I was free to run after that.
I ran into town, passing by the building I used to work in before lockdown meant I had to work from home. I cut through a beautiful park I haven’t frequented nearly as much since lockdown started and ended up at the top of the street the jewellers are on. I picked up the bracelet. I will have to think about what I will do with it. It will cost almost as much fixing it as it would to buy a new one. I didn’t even buy it from a jeweller. It seems to be a Tiffany bracelet, it has the heart on it, and a hall mark, but I bought it at a jumble sale for about £3 or something silly like that. So, the Tiffany heart might be genuine, and it was put on an inferior fake bracelet maybe. I shall have to think about what I can be bothered to do with it.
I ran back a way that would take me to my local shopping high street nearest my house and picked up a few things at the Tesco. The shopping came to £12.90 and I got 75p off because of the club card prices scheme. Yippee!
I did some Duolingo lessons, watched episodes of The Home Edit I have already seen at least four other times before and did chores as well. I changed the bed, always a big job to do. The flat mate and I had a zoom call with some of our mutual friends and I got to see our friends newly acquired third cat, a black fluffy kitten called Chilli Bean. I love cats and would love to one day have three cats.
The flat mate wanted a chippy for tea so we went to the local fish bar where there was a huge queue and people weren’t properly distancing and some weren’t wearing masks. I try to remind myself that not all disabilities are visible and there are a number of people who would be exempt from wearing one, but it does make you feel insecure. I guess that’s just the heightened atmosphere. Originally my flat mate was going to buy the chippy for both of us as it was his idea and I am tight for money after the home insurance this week. I began to feel bad about that though when we got home and I happily sorted out my finances so that I could pay him the £5.82 for my half of the takeaway.
We watched Netflix and then we sat down to watch a video on YouTube by an account called Twin Perfect who would be explaining the film Mulholland Dr, one of the most unfathomable films made. I love Mulholland Dr; the director David Lynch is one of the main reasons why I studied film at University. I’m not sure what this video will really explain but I know from watching Twin Perfect’s previous video on explaining Twin Peaks that he is really good at what he does.
Whilst watching the video, which was really good by the way, I started analysing my spreadsheets of my finances for the rest of the year. I also looked quite far into next year as well. This is what I do. I call it a ‘financial forecast’ and it is where I try to plan my finances as far in advance as possible. It looks like I will be quite poor around about the end of the second and beginning of third quarter next year. I want to look to replace my phone. I would also like to start buying ‘adult’ jewellery. So expensive items like that I have to plan up to a year in advance and think backwards to what I need to do to get there.
I also have to take into account the very real fact that I spent my Christmas 2020 budget on a laptop! I am going to have to save super hard in the two pay days before December begins, because as soon as December 1st hits, I want to be ready to Christmas!
After much toing and froing and raiding of savings pots not just now but on my future month’s finances spreadsheets I can afford Christmas this year based on the following conditions:
- I stop saving up for bills that won’t have to be paid until August next year. This means in January I will have to be saving at a higher rate due to only having 8 months to save up instead of 12, but I can manage it.
- However, in response to above, I am only doing this for bills that will cost under £100 at pay time. The bills that will cost over £100 at the point that they need to be paid are still being saved up for.
- I may still be under budget for Christmas. There is a chance due to my city being under local lockdown that I won’t be able to leave my city to go home to see my family at Christmas, so whilst that would be awful it could mean a saving, so I am aiming at this stage for a target of saving 80% of my original Christmas 2020 budget by the pay day I will have at the end of November. Worst case scenario I will be able to cover the remaining 20% with my disposable income.
I am glad I took the time out of my evening to manage these budgets. I feel a lot calmer now.
I woke up on time. What I mean by that is I only snoozed between alarm one and alarm two. I had to get up early because I would be going for a run at 10am with my friend. A very sensible, social distanced, easy run.
I had some coffee because a morning without coffee is very sad. Then I looked at my last remaining shred of disposable income and bought some reusable sanitary towels. For people who would prefer not to read about this feel free to skip to the next paragraph. I had been meaning to buy them for a while but wanted to run down my supplies of disposable ones first. I figured lock down is a good time to try them out because what was putting me off was using things like reusable towels and moon cups whilst out and about, but I’m not out and about now so I won’t be facing that dilemma for a while. They cost £22.99 for a pack of ten from Amazon.
I went to meet my friend and then we did a lovely chatty 4.96km run. I don’t have a sports watch but she does have Strava so that’s how I know the very specific distance covered.
Back at home I started watching Gossip Girl and half way through did my weekly beauty maintenance. My acne is really playing up. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been using retinols for the first time, or because of the constant mask wearing, or stress or out of control hormones. Whatever it is there are only so many ‘dots for spots’ I can buy before I start to think I should invest in a new skincare regime.
I’ve been holding off on posting this diary because I wanted to see if I would spend more money, but I feel it is safe to say the spending is over for the week. My wallet is staying shut for the rest of the day!
FOOD AND HOUSEHOLD SHOPPING = £69.54 (MY HALF £34.77)
PERSONAL SHOPPING = £36.14
HOME INSURANCE = £178.94
TOTAL SPENDING THIS WEEK = £249.85