73 Days

My 19 year old cat Skittles has passed away. She had a good life. She was well loved and well cared for, I couldn’t have asked for more from my time with her.

I am still sad though.

She lived with my Dad and Step mum. I got her as a 12th birthday present. She and her brother who we also had, who passed away last year, were born on Valentine’s Day 2001. She lived 19 years 4 months and 1 day.

There is so much going on in the world. Be with your loved ones. Do something each day that scares you. Try something new each day. Get whatever you want out of life whenever you have the chance to. Live. Be bold. Be brave. Be beautiful.

Spending Diary of 8th to 14th June 2020

Hi everybody,

It’s a new week, yes it is!

I wonder what this week holds in store for me.

08/06/2020

Ok, so disclaimer, I bought something late on Sunday night which wasn’t included in my spending diary that I published on here on the 7th. This is because it was a bit of a spur of the moment purchase. My friend was doing a fundraiser on Facebook for The Bail Project, and I donated £5 to that. I am including it here.

I had today off work as I have booked every Monday in June off as annual leave. I did have to do a small training course though but that only took about 2 hours. I wrote a lot in the morning and I spent a good amount of time on Duolingo later in the day. The flat mate and I are watching a WWE Pay per View for their NXT brand and we had it with these amazing vegan burgers from Beyond Meat. They were absolutely delicious. I spent some time looking at flats online to see what sort of places I could move into this September and there were actually more options than I thought which reassured me.

A bit later I checked one of my receipt apps on my phone that pays me in Amazon vouchers and saw I had enough to cash out a £10 voucher which really cheered me up. I cashed it straight away and went on Amazon and bought Lemonade by Beyoncé and an Elton John 3 CD Greatest Hits. I had £20 in vouchers on my account so the two CDs cost me £4.99, plus I requested free postage and packaging. Not a bad saving at all.

I had been waiting in all day for a delivery to turn up – a few things from a local coffee shop – but it never did. I got the invoice late in the evening, my order was £32.30 (£16.15 for my half). I paid it, but then contacted the seller to say the order hadn’t turned up. He was extremely apologetic and assured me it would arrive on Tuesday. These things happen and he is offering a really good service, so I wasn’t upset.

09/06/2020

A really interesting day post wise. My 12 bottle case of wine that was due to be delivered last week turned up, yey! There is in particular a white wine in the case I am eager to try. I also received in the standard post my latest issue of Runner’s World magazine that featured an article about one of my running groups, and I also had a letter from my Aunt and Uncle and another from my Cousin and her family. I also had my missing delivery from yesterday delivered, so all in all I had of lot of stuff to read and unpack.

Then a bit later on in the day there was another buzz at the door for a delivery and the flat mate answered it as I was in an online meeting. It was another lot of what I had ordered from the local coffee shop. I emailed the owner of the store to explain the mistake and said I would pay for the items if he sent me another invoice.

I did an online pub quiz later with some friends of mine and the flat mates, and then I settled down to read Runner’s World magazine.

10/06/2020

The owner of the coffee shop who had delivered two lots of orders to me had replied to my email to say he was very sorry and although I said I wasn’t upset he still felt bad so the invoice he sent me for the second delivery had taken off the equivalent cost of the two bags of coffee, which was a nice little saving. I promptly paid the £20.01 price of the new invoice (£10.01 for my half) and then had a little panic about the amount of days left in the month with a vastly depleted food budget, but I worked out what the average amount left for a 7 day week was based on dividing what remains of the budget by the amount of days until I next get paid, and it looked like we would be alright. But suddenly that reduced price of the coffee did help.

My Amazon delivery of the two CDS turned up and I greatly look forward to listening to them later on. I don’t own any sort of streaming or portable music device, I don’t even have a Spotify account, so I do get a lot of use out of CDs which must make me really retro. I do have a vinyl collection as well!

Later on the flat mate and I went for a run, then he went to the shops to pick up some things we needed. We had put off shopping for as long as we could. My flat mate also went to the local chippie and got a small portion of chips, curry sauce and mushy peas. The Tesco shopping was £26.75, and the chip shop stuff was £4.80, so it was £15.78 for my half. It was really nice to have chip shops chips.

As predicted the flat mate came back with half the sweet aisle in Tesco. We have 2 bars of Dairy Milk, a packet of digestive biscuits, fig rolls (I admittedly asked for them) and 2 packets of 2 GU cheesecakes. Better be careful, I don’t want to come out of lockdown having put on weight.

I had a productive French lesson on Duolingo, completing another section before moving on. I sailed through the next session I was on, but eventually had to stop.

The flat mate and I watched a couple of episodes of This Country as we’ve only heard good things about it, it was pretty funny, and it was really well observed.

We then talked for a bit as I had been struggling a bit today with lockdown fatigue and it really felt good to chat. I had a good text exchange with my mum as well. I told her about a dear friend of mine who is suffering with ill health at the moment, she needs an operation and her only real option is to have private surgery. She’s launched a fund raiser and I was telling my mum about that. My mum being the kind hearted person she is wanted to help. I’m looking into if I can do some sort of sponsored event during lock down to raise money for her.

I keep struggling to go to bed at a sensible time and I really must work on that as it is starting to badly affect me. There just never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done.

11/06/2020

I realised today was the 2 year anniversary of being in my current role at work. I looked up what the symbol for a 2 year anniversary was and found out it was cotton, so I decided to buy those two sports bras I had been considering for a while. But I didn’t just buy them straight away, I went through an employee benefits scheme I have at work and purchased a £50 voucher for that store (the price of the two sports bras) and I got a 7.5% discount on the voucher, meaning it only cost me £46.25. A small discount, but a good one, and I had spent enough to qualify for free postage and packaging too which is another saving.

I had an open discussion about how I was feeling with my line manager and I feel so much better for it and I’m ready to start again afresh tomorrow.

The flat mate was in a bad way today, all of his technology stopped synching with each other and this causes major problems for him, so he was really upset because of all that. I wish I could help him.

I completed another level on Duolingo, I did a 6.86km run in a quick time and in general I felt good about today.

12/06/2020

I woke up at 5am today and felt wide awake, so I decided to stay up. I wrote about 1700 words in the morning, as well as blogged, and then I did a 36 minute interval session near my house. I quickly had a shower, stretched and foam rolled, then I started work.

I had quite a good day at work, but I later had a phone counselling session with the support team that my employer has. It wasn’t necessary to arrange any more sessions, but I felt good for having had this session, and I ended the working week in a really good mood.

Such a good mood in fact that when my flat mate said he felt like a takeaway I agreed, though I knew it would probably be bad on the scales tomorrow morning. I was to pay for the takeaway since my flat mate has very generously agreed to do branding work for me in exchange for two takeaways. We decided to order from an Indian place nearby that my flat mate had been to before with his girlfriend and they had been very good to him, so we wanted to give them money. The takeaway wasn’t the best one in the world but it certainly was quite nice, and it was something different.

The takeaway was £27.55. I later saw my friend was doing a sponsored event for the Samaritans, who she volunteers for, so I sponsored her for £5, with a 31p admin fee, so £5.31 in total.

Not a bad day all in all.

13/06/2020

In direct contrast to yesterday, today I woke up at 11am, which I hate. It throws my entire day off balance. I would much rather have too little sleep than too much. I had stayed up late the night before finishing a Haruki Murakami book (A Wild Sheep Chase) so at least I had gained something from my oversleeping.

We needed to get more supplies from the shops. I hate going to the shops. The amount of people who don’t obey the one way system or the 2 metre social distancing guidelines is shocking. But we needed supplies. I went to Savers first and picked up Vaseline, toothpaste, hand wash and anti-bacterial wipes for £10.91 (£5.45 for my half). Next I went to Tesco and bought orange juice, 2 bottles of squash, olives, Ben and Jerry’s, black beans, gravy granules, a jar of roasted red peppers, vitalite, flora, vegan mayonnaise, tomato puree, frozen spinach, courgettes, apples, fresh peppers, strawberries, bananas, 3 multipacks of crisps and eggs for £33.42 (£16.71 for my half).

Once back from the shops I watched a Euro 96 football match of Netherlands versus England. My flat mate said it was one of the best football matches he had ever seen and recommended that I watch it. It was pretty good, and it is nice to see footballers I remember from my childhood again.

I went for a run after the game and then the flat mate and I just watched TV and films the rest of the evening. Around 10.30pm I got the urge to buy father’s day cards before I forget again, so I bought two from Moon Pig, one for my Dad and one for my Grandpa. They came to £8.30 for the two.

14/06/2020

I have really been debating about whether to buy some more Lush products, more specifically the same Lush products I bought last time just in bigger sizes. After creating a £46 shopping basket I eventually decided to cast it aside. I do need the products, but the flat mate and I have a very small amount of the food budget left and 2 weeks to get through with it, plus I have put the cost of the takeaway on my credit card. There is a chance I will get £75.13 on Tuesday, but I decided it was much better to make sure I had the money first and then use that to pay off the credit card and use the rest for food than buy some products.

So with that I declare that the week is over for spending!

TOTAL SPENDING

FOOD AND HOUSEHOLD SHOPPING = £128.19 (£64.09 my half)

PERSONAL SHOPPING = £97.40

TOTAL SPENDING = £161.49

This is much more than I was expecting to have spent, so it will have to be a leaner period for the rest of the month.

 

 

 

75 Days

I am a quarter of the way through the 100 day countdown.

In turns of the actual amount of days, from when I finally decided I had to sort out my finances, to the date in the near future when I can make my final payment to the credit card, I have been through 1652 of them. I am 95.65% of the way through the journey. I have 4.78% of my debt total left to pay.

I will be moving on to the next stage of my life this year. My flat mate and I will no longer be living together from this September. One of us may stay in the current flat, or we may both move on to new places. This is why it is so important I have my finances in order.

So much in the world seems terrifying at the moment. I just try to focus on the good.

76 Days

It is ok to be scared. It is ok to not know the answers to everything. It is ok to ask for help. It is ok to be kind to yourself. It is ok to be kind to others. It is ok to ask for directions. It is ok to get up in the morning with purpose. It is ok to worry about getting out of bed each morning. It is ok to go to bed eager for the day to be over. It is ok to go to bed eager for the next day to begin.

It is ok to not have total confidence. It is ok to worry sometimes. It is ok to not know where you will be in 5 years’ time. It is ok to not be perfect. It is ok to be sentimental. It is ok to be soft. It is ok to forget things.

It is ok to not be as ambitious as the next person. It is ok to be more ambitious than the next person.

It is ok to use spell check. It is ok to ask for help on grammar. It is ok to use a thesaurus. It is ok to use a dictionary. It is ok to ask for help.

It is ok to have made mistakes. It is ok to have done things in your past that you are not proud off. It is ok that you might make more mistakes in your future.

It is ok to try again.

It is ok to be you.

It is ok to better yourself.

It is ok.

Today is an ok day.

 

78 Days

An interesting couple of days post wise with lots of parcels and deliveries and letters turning up. I get ridiculously excited by post so I hope you are all happy for me.

I have about £109 of the food budget left so will need to plan a course of action for making sure we make it to my next pay day with all my budget intact. I worked it out based on the amount of days left versus how much of the food budget is left and we should be ok. One of my deliveries was a 12 pack of wine and a 12 pack of oat milks, amongst other things like coffee and fizzy drinks, so I am going to be fine. Unless I drink all the wine in one go which will make me very un-fine in many ways.

I am struggling a bit with lockdown, so I am going to introduce a gratitude diary element to these daily blog posts to make me reflect on what I do have, not what I don’t.

My daily gratitude’s. Today I am grateful for:

  1. A fine selection of teas and coffees in my house
  2. New CDs to listen to
  3. New French lessons on Duolingo
  4. Having the luxury of being indoors when it is raining
  5. My ability to run, and my love of it

 

 

80 Days

I am a fifth of the way through my final countdown.

20 days have passed since I started posting every day on my blog.

I am slowly building my empire, whatever that means. I am creating a new life for myself slowly and surely.

It is still strange to think that soon my credit card and other consumer debt will all be cleared. As I’ve said before the clearing of my debts is merely the end of stage 1 of my financial journey. I am eager to begin stage 2 which is primarily about saving. Saving up a fully funded emergency fund. Saving for a holiday. Saving for a new laptop. Saving for a bike. Saving for a house. Saving for a future.

If I could stress one thing it is this. Paying off debt is not a straight forward process. Shit can and will happen. I am not sad that my debt free journey will have taken 1727 days, I’d rather it takes a long time than I just never bother. Whilst getting into debt obviously didn’t make me proud of myself, paying the debts off definitely has made me proud of myself.

I have sold most of my possessions. I worked 7 days a week for 13 months. I went to clothes swapping parties. I never bought anything without getting a good deal on it. I have learnt more about money in the last 1667 days than I ever did in the whole of my life beforehand.

I still have 80 days to get through. I will get through them. Like I’ve said, I’m just going to enjoy the journey. It will all be ok.

81 Days

Something that you do every day is better than something you do once in a while.

I’m taking good habits here. Drinking alcohol every day instead of once in a while is not an example of a good thing to do.

I am not conscious of having good money habits once a week, or only once in a while. Every day I think carefully about money. Every day I am careful to make sure I never have the habits I once did.

I feel that the Flo that got me into this mess couldn’t be further removed from the Flo I am now, but maybe the Flo of the past had to exist in order to make me the person I am now.

If you believe in that cosmic stuff.

I have nearly counted down a fifth of the amount of days of my 100 day countdown. When I’m running a race, and I find it difficult, I break it down. I remember the very first 10k I did where I ran the entire distance. I wasn’t finding it easy. But after I did the first 1k I just said to myself you just have to do 9 more of that, and it wasn’t so hard. When I reached the 5k point I said to myself you just have to do the same again, and you can.

Provided I become debt free on the 27th August then I will have been on a debt free journey for 1727 days. A long time by any definition. It would have been nice if I had been debt free by my 30th birthday like I was originally aiming for, but we can’t have everything we want. Things got in the way. Things didn’t go to plan. But I survived and got through it. And I am making it now.

I hope you all have a lovely rest of Sunday.

 

Spending Diary 1st-7th June 2020

Hi everybody,

Let’s see what this week holds in store for me.

01/06/2020

I had the day off work today. I woke up later than I would have liked at 9am, but at least I had a decent amount of sleep. It was pretty hot last night and that makes it hard for me to sleep.

I was trapped in the house as I had to wait for a FedEx delivery driver to come and collect an incorrectly delivered parcel from the week before. They came and said the parcel was missing the correct label and they couldn’t take it with them, so that was that. But that did mean I was free to leave the house after that, so I combined my daily run with going to the shops. I went to Savers to pick up some laundry and cleaning supplies for the month ahead. That came to £21.81 but it will last us the rest of the month. I split the household shopping with my flat mate so it only cost me £10.91 really. I also picked up 2 body scrubs, 2 toners and 4 SPF lip balm’s for myself that came to £10.32.

I then headed to Iceland and picked up bread, milk, orange juice, 2 packets of cheddar cheese, frozen sliced peppers and frozen diced onions and that all came to £9.69, or £4.84 for my half once it is split with my flat mate.

Hopefully we will have enough food to last us a good while. I’m really trying to avoid going to the shops as much as possible.

02/06/2020

Back to work, it seems like I have less time to do things now in lock down compared to at the start of it. Maybe I’m just prioritizing different things now. I do do a lot more writing now than I did at the start of lock down. That can only be a good thing. Plus now I am trying to blog every day counting down to being debt free.

But today was Blackout Tuesday, so I didn’t blog or go on social media. I just quietly pottered about the house thinking of all the injustices in the world.

My delivery of craft beer arrived today which was great. I am trialing getting a new crate delivered every two months. I like trying new things. This was ordered the week before and featured on last week’s spending diary, but it was £26.90 for those who don’t want to go back. I am unlikely to continue with this after lockdown is over (having it delivered would be a hassle given that I work full time and run all the other times) but I am enjoying it for now.

03/06/2020

The flat mate joined me on my run today. That was nice, it’s nice to spend time in other people’s company, though obviously I want everyone to be safe and will keep up my standards. We keep meaning to do a food plan to organise what we are going to eat over the next week or so to keep us out of the shops, and only buying what we need when we do go shopping. We do have a lot of things in store so we haven’t had to go to the shops since Monday. The flat mate and I take it in turns to go to the shops, so it is his turn next. We made spaghetti Bolognese for dinner and made an extra portion for a lunch another day. No money was spent.

Running every day is easy if you just plan when you’re going to fit it in. I do a lot of running to and from the shops, small runs but every little helps. It is a good way of remaining active during lockdown.

The FedEx driver from Monday also came back to pick up the parcel, it turns out it was just a miss communication and the wrongly delivered parcel didn’t need a new label. Glad that was over with. That is the second wrongly delivered parcel I’ve had in lockdown, I wonder why they’re all happening now.

04/06/2020

Went for a run, this time on my own but my flat mate said he would join me for a run tomorrow. It was just a short distance of 3.91km but it was just what I needed. We made dinner using things in the house though my flat mate is talking about doing a food shop soon. We didn’t have to spend any money today which was good. I was expecting my case of wine to arrive today but late in the day I got an email from the supplier to say the delivery had been delayed and it would take up to a week extra. Disappointing but not the end of the world. My beer orders had arrived this week so I still had things to drink. I am trying to only drink 3 days a week, generally that would be Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I am looking forward to having my first drink of the week tomorrow.

05/06/2020

The flat mate did go to the shops today. He bought a real mixture of things, he really likes sweet things and has a major sweet tooth in general so he always buys more sweets then I typically would. He came back with cookies, ice cream, ice lollies, strawberries and breakfast biscuits, along with things like ingredients for a stir fry, vegetables, cheese, falafel and frozen foods. His shopping came to £41.89, so about £20.95 for my half. We had gone for a 5km run before he went to the shops and got caught in a rain shower, though I didn’t mind it as much as the flat mate did. The flat mate left a few things off the shopping list as he did do a massive shop and couldn’t bring any more than he did back (neither of us drive so do everything on foot) so I will be going to the shops tomorrow to pick those items up.

I decided not to have any alcohol today as we were going to be having a lot of cookies for dessert so my first drink of the week will be tomorrow. This means I am one day up on my target of 4 drink free days a week which is nice. Doesn’t mean I can go crazy on Saturday and Sunday though!

I do need to begin to think about getting more toiletries again soon, but I am going to hold off for as long as possible as I don’t have much money left this month and I want to be careful. I tend to hold off doing shopping for as long as possible now whereas before lock down I would tend to just buy things as soon as I felt I needed them, now I am really trying to extend my products life span and go shopping as little as possible.

There are a few other things I’m considering buying such as more sports bras, but I will hold off until I know I can afford them. I really want to subscribe to more magazines as well but they aren’t essential purchases so they go at the bottom of my buy list.

06/06/2020

I had a bad night’s sleep where I kept waking up during the night. I woke up wide awake at 5am and decided to get up. Predictably I did later fall asleep on the sofa around 8:30am but I had managed to have a productive morning first by sorting out my inboxes at long last. I deleted so many emails and folders, now it is all nice and streamlined. I used to work on a ‘keep it just in case’ system, but after I went on a records management course in January through work I began to see this system was totally ineffective. So I’ve been meaning to tackle my inboxes ever since and today I finally got round to it. I have already tackled my work inbox this week so it was time to do my personal ones.

I did go to the shops early in the morning. I went to Tesco for Beetroot Juice, Pepsi, Milk and Bananas and then I went to Holland and Barrett to buy Tahini Paste. Combined the two lots of shopping came to £9.14, so £4.57 for my half. I timed my visit to the shops quite well as there weren’t that many people there so I didn’t have to queue.

I did a few admin tasks at home then the flat mate and I started watching an old Euro 96 game of Scotland versus England. My flat mate told me I couldn’t miss the second half, so I quickly went for a run just before half time and came back when the second half was just starting again. It was good!

I got a lot done on my to do list, but not everything, but one thing I did do was the weekly pub quiz with my siblings, it was nearly a full house with 5 of us in total (I am one of 6 siblings) and my sister’s children all take part too so it was good fun. It was a tricky quiz put on by my brother and I came second to last, but I don’t care, I’m just there for the fun of it. I had some low percentage beers during the quiz so it was nice to try out them.

The flat mate and I watched 13th on Netflix, and it just devastated me and made me so sad and angry and depressed all at the same time and it made me realise I could be doing so much more and it is clear that we need to in this climate.

I went to bed later than I would have liked and I made it worse by reading for a bit (A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami, I am reading all of his books in chronological order as a personal challenge I have been wanting to do for years). But I fell asleep quickly which was good.

07/06/2020

Sunday Funday! I am not going to spend any money today, at least not if I can help it, so I’m going to sign off this week.

I have been setting up a Facebook page and Facebook group for this blog, new today, if anyone wants to join me on those, and I also have a Twitter and Instagram account. This blog is still going to be the main source of information, but the other accounts have their purpose too.

I wish you all a lovely Sunday and a great week next week.

TOTAL SPENDING

FOOD AND HOUSEHOLD SHOPPING = £82.53 (£42.27)

PERSONAL SPENDS = £10.32

TOTAL SPENDS = £52.59

 

 

 

82 Days

It is nice to be in a position where I can make a little financial gesture of love.

My mum texted me to say she was reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and she had just seen that the film was going to be on TV tonight and she was torn as to whether she should watch it and spoil the book she was still reading.

I simply texted her and told her I would buy her a copy of the film on DVD for when she finishes the book. It is a small gesture, will cost me approximately £5 according to its current Amazon price, yet it wouldn’t have been that long ago that I wouldn’t have been able to afford to do that.

I’m not saying the only way to show love is to by buying people things, but this is a small thing that will cost me little but will mean so much to my mum and I didn’t even hesitate about offering to buy it for her.

This, to me, means wealth.

When I was a teenager I merely wanted to be rich enough to afford to buy the music magazine Q each month. It was my favourite magazine, but it was at the time a stretch to buy on the teenager annual income of £0.

I still don’t really think I am rich enough to buy it each month now, but that is only because my priorities have changed. I get cheap magazine subscriptions all the time. I currently have an ongoing subscription to Moneywise magazine. So it is not a case of not having enough money to buy magazines each month, it is a case that I still don’t have enough money to spend on things that don’t hold a maximum value to me. I can afford what I need. I can’t yet afford what I want. But there were plenty of times in my life where I couldn’t even afford what I needed.

I feel I have wealth now because in 2014 I could only afford Lush products by buying them with debt on a credit card. Now I can just about afford what I like from Lush with actual money from my wallet. This to me is wealth. It is a wealth that at one point I could only dream of. I still have to be very careful with money. Money is always going to be at the very least a minor source of anxiety to me, but it hasn’t been the crushing despair and stress that is once was for years.

Poverty is not being able to afford what you need. Comfort is being able to afford what you need. And Wealth is being able to afford both what you need and want.

Is it wrong to aspire to wealth? I just want to be comfortable, but I want to be comfortable in style. I don’t necessarily aspire to have a McMansion but a little place of my own would be nice.

At this moment in time I may be moving out of my flat in September. I would like to live alone. I cannot afford to live alone. All my friends are settled in their lives and I don’t really know anyone who I could move in with or who could move in with me. Therefore what will likely happen is I will rent a room in a flat share, with people I haven’t met before. It is not my ideal scenario, but it will be cheap and that will be a nice benefit in itself.

I am worried about being financially independent. Yet it is what I have always craved, so surely I should be leaping into that challenge? It is just a bit scary and daunting. But it has to happen at some point.

It is critical that I get some savings behind me, and I must work on that. I must stop dreaming about sports watches and instead focus on building my savings and having a good safety net behind me.

In 82 days I will be debt free and it is time to stand on my own two feet and be my own woman.