Spending Diary 4th to 10th May 2020

Hi everybody,

I spent a lot more money this week than previous weeks. I’m beginning to really see an increase in my food shopping, though admittedly my food shopping habits have changed too. I’ve got to be careful and not let things run away from me.

04/05/2020

My flat mate had returned and had some food he wanted in the kitchen, so I went shopping and came back with milk, bread, orange juice, margarine and raisins. £7.20, or £3.60 for my share.

05/05/2020

I had to transfer a work colleague £2.44 for my share of another work colleague’s birthday gift and card. My flat mate went shopping (we’re trying to split the shopping between us as neither of us enjoy being out in this pandemic) and he spent £15 (£7.50 for my share). I also had my subscription for my dishwasher tablets come out which was £4.50 (£2.25 for my share).

06/05/2020

Today was just a chilled day at home, which admittedly isn’t that much different from most of the other days during lockdown. What I mean is I didn’t have to leave the house for anything other than my daily run and I was just able to relax, work from home and do some good work and just read.

07/05/2020

My friend is having a tough time due to serious health concerns which would be bad at the best of times but are much worse now that we are living through a pandemic. I bought her a card from Moon Pig to send to her £4.05.

The flat mate went to the shops and bought more things. We haven’t set up a food plan yet which I think is causing us trouble. Some of the things we needed and others were treats, it was £14 in total, so £7 for my share.

08/05/2020

It turns out that my friend is a skin care guru and I had been asking her for advice on what skin care products were best for my skin. I have adult acne and the acne scars that come with that and my friend recommended a few products, including a specific product from Lush. So today whilst I was feeling perhaps flush I went on the Lush website and bought the ultrabland cleanser and a bottle of conditioner as I had run out. It came to £26.95 which is far more than I normally spend, but I had the money set aside in my beauty budget and will try anything to help my skin.

I later went to Tesco, going quite early so as to avoid people. There were still plenty who didn’t obey the simple basics of social distancing though which makes me so angry, it really isn’t that hard to just keep 2 metres back! I picked up another book of 12 first class stamps as I’ve been writing to a lot of relatives recently. That was £9.12. Then I did the food shopping, which included a bottle of prosecco and 2 tubs of Ben and Jerry’s! Yikes! That’s probably why the shopping cost £50.56 (£25.28). I don’t have a whole lot left of the food budget now so I will have to be careful for the rest of the month. Maybe I’ll give up alcohol for a while.

09/05/2020

Today I made the Vegan Scones you can find the recipe for on here and I had my usual pub quiz meet up with my siblings. I did a 3.5 hour cycle on the exercise bike whilst watching Netflix. I had a nice day and was very glad to not spend any money.

10/05/2020

Today I plan on keeping my money intact, doing some more baking and cooking, and just catching up on a few things like writing. I’ll do another long cycle on the exercise bike and my daily run. Plus watching more Netflix.

I hope you are all well and keeping safe.

TOTAL PERSONAL SPENDS = £42.56

TOTAL FOOD SPENDING = £91.26 (£45.63)

TOTAL SPENDS THIS WEEK = £88.19

 

Spending Diary of 27th April to 3rd May 2020

Hi everybody,

This week involved payday, a day possibly better than Christmas based on the fact it happens 12 times a year (on average). I am so lucky to be getting a wage during this time and I definitely appreciate it and am so grateful. I’m trying to do some good with it.

Anyway, I’ll take you through how I’ve been spending my money this week.

27/04/2020

I woke up at 5:30am naturally and got straight out of bed. I put on a wash load and later hoovered the flat and cleaned the bathroom. I made peanut butter hummus at lunchtime and fish cakes for dinner. I wrote on this blog and I also wrote some paragraphs for something I’m working on. I was working from home today, though that’s what I’ve been doing every day of lockdown so nothing new there. I managed to finish something tricky work wise that I had started on Friday. I tend to keep to the same hours each day of 8:30am to 5pm, this is so that I can watch the Prime Minister’s broadcast live. I finished season 2 of Orange is the New Black later on in the evening. But I didn’t spend anything today, woo hoo!

28/04/2020

I woke up to birdsong at 5:10am. I tried to listen to some birdsong on the RSPB website to see if I could identify it and I think it might have been blackbirds? It was lovely either way, so clear and lyrical. I did some writing in the morning and then watched TV before my working from home day began. My flat mate had transferred his half of the bills that come out of my account on Monday so I did have some money in my account, but I considered it bad juju to spend any of the new month’s money before pay day. Therefore the only money I considered to have in my account left in April’s budget was the £8.65 of the food budget. I didn’t spend any money today so I was left in profit.

29/04/2020

Pay day! Yippee! I donated £6.41 to a friend’s charity fundraiser and as a treat I bought myself a book by Emma Drew who you may have heard of in the money blogging community as she is the queen of money blogging. Her book is about how to make the most of your blog, and that’s definitely something I need to do. That was £11.99.

I also received an email from Who Gives a Crap who are a toilet paper company that make sustainable paper and don’t use plastic to say they had paper back in stock. I had been on their waiting list. I was beginning to run low on paper so I bought a 24 toilet paper pack and a 12 pack of facial tissues. This was £38. I bought it on my credit card as I had a credit on that card, meaning it would only involve transferring about an extra £13 to clear that transaction, so although it still cost me the same amount it felt cheaper. Weird logic I know.

30/04/2020

Didn’t spend any money today. Other than working from home and making some chocolate chip cookies and my veggie version of a keema curry and raita I didn’t do anything of interest either.

01/05/2020

My toilet paper arrived! But someone in the building had let in the Yodel driver without my flat being buzzed and had also taken in another parcel that looked like it was for my flat but had actually been incorrectly delivered. It even had a different postcode. It was from Moon Pig and looked like it was flowers. I phoned the company on the box and gave them the reference number on the parcel. They said that they would contact the buyer of the parcel to arrange redelivery. There wasn’t a full address on the order so I couldn’t redeliver it myself and looking on the Royal Mail address finder couldn’t come up with the correct address just on the postcode either. The company confirmed they were flowers and that because they were perishable they weren’t going to send the Yodel driver back to pick them up. They told me to dispose of them. That seemed like a waste of perfectly good flowers, so I may or may not have flowers on my table right now. I had tried to find the person on the parcel on Facebook but I couldn’t be sure I was going to contact the right person. I really did try. So I didn’t spend any money but I do have some nice flowers.

I’m doing a challenge in May where I run every day so I went for a brief run at lunchtime, just round my local park. It was quite pleasant.

02/05/2020

I went to the shops almost as soon as they opened today. It was a good time to go as it was very quiet and people were generally obeying social distancing. I bought a few treats (pizza, Ben and Jerry’s and mozzarella sticks) as it was Saturday, as well as 2 bottles of wine, but I still thought my shopping was much more expensive than usual at £63.12. The wine was £13 of that, but I’ve still never even spent £50 in that store before. The Ben and Jerry’s was half price as well. I guess I’m going to have to be much more careful with the food shopping when I do go out as with the Who Gives a Crap order earlier this week that’s a third of my £300 monthly food budget gone in the first week!

I went for my little run as soon as I had put the shopping away. Just one lap of the park as I was going to also do a strength workout and go on the exercise bike for 2 hours at home today as well. It was nice weather. I’ve chosen to run every day in May as I had been getting fearful and anxious about going outside and I think this will help.

I did a pub quiz with some of my siblings and their families today, as well as catching up with a friend in hospital on Instagram. After the quiz I had a zoom drinking session with some friends and it was lovely! It’s interesting seeing the creative ways people are being social during lock down.

03/05/2020

Here we are! The end of the week. I’m going to go for my brief run soon, then I’m going to go on the exercise bike for three hours whilst watching Orange is the New Black. I’m arranging to do a video call with my Dad and Step Mum later this evening which will be nice. Lock down is really making me appreciate taking life at a slower pace and reconnecting with people. I know lock down is an incredibly scary time but I’m really trying to get some good from it. It is making me reconsider a lot of the ways I used to live my life before.

I’m not leaving the house today. I’ve got a long list of things I want to do and get on with so I feel confident I’m not going to spend any more money today.

TOTALS SPENDS

FOOD AND HOUSEHOLD SHOPPING – £103.12 (split with flat mate, so £51.56)

PERSONAL SPENDS – £18.40

TOTAL SPENDS – £69.96

 

A History of my Debt Free Journey

Good evening my darlings,

So I imagine most of the people reading my blog have been here since its inception and know all my secrets by now. However, I have had a few new followers and also given that there was over a year between the last time I posted on here pre-lock down and posting now during lock down, I thought I would do a little recap of my journey.

DECEMBER 2015

In December 2015 I had what was called my ‘light bulb moment’ and realised I couldn’t live the way I was living anymore. My financial management was disastrous. I was about one bad decision away from having a negative income, and I was for the first time earning a full time contracted wage and I wasn’t going to ruin the hard work I had put into getting that job in the first place.

On December 6th 2015 I began my debt free journey by starting a debt free diary on the subsection of the forum on the Money Saving Expert website. Sorry for those who know, but the Money Saving Expert website is an absolute hero of a site and it was set up by Martin Lewis who is the UK’s consumer champion, like the UK’s equivalent of Dave Ramsey if you’re American. I started my diary and called it – obviously – Flo’s Debt Free Diary and began seeking help for all the terrible decisions I had made up to that point.

My goal debt free date was set as my 30th birthday that would be in March 2019. I had at this point about £5150 debt.

2016

In 2016 I tried really hard to pay off my debts and save money and be frugal. I began getting into side hustling and learnt all about that world. Sadly I had bad health problems and ended up being unemployed for 4 months and that meant I ended 2016 with a higher debt total than I began the journey with – £5996.

2017

Inspired by a book I had taken out of the library I decided I would do a ‘No Spend Year’ and I started this blog. The premise was that I wouldn’t buy anything unessential. This book interestingly was not ‘The No Spend Year’ by Michelle McGagh and was instead ‘In the Red’ by Alexis Hall, meaning my idea was totally not original. I reduced my spending by 80% compared to the year before and paid off about £3000 of debt but ended the year unemployed – again – and with my debt not significantly smaller than I started the year with at the total of £3980 . This was because of a mental health breakdown that was chronicled on this blog that saw me signed off work for 4 weeks. I hit rock bottom, but without sounding like a stupid cliché it really was the best thing that ever happened to me as it was what I needed to sort out my mental health and since that point I have never been better. Plus I had paid off my £1000 overdraft during this time!

2018

I started a temporary job and needed more money so I got a second job at the weekends and was working 7 days a week. I got a better temporary job in a role I loved, but still had to keep the weekend job. This was the start of things going well for me, and my debt significantly reduced and I was able to save. An enforced house move meant I didn’t save as much money or pay off a much debt as I would have liked to, but compared to the last few years I ended 2018 in better financial shape with £2900 of credit card debt. But…and there’s always a but isn’t there…I had borrowed money off a friend and owed them £1300 at the end of the year as well.

2019

My 30th birthday came, but I wasn’t debt free. I carried on though and ended the year with savings and my debt at the lowest level since pretty much ever, £1600

NOW

I have £900 of debt that is soon to reduce to £750, a small emergency fund and I am on track to be debt free by late August this year.

That’s my story, like most debt free journeys it has had many downs and a few ups and it is finally in a steady trajectory. I will be debt free this year!

Spending Diary 13th – 19th April 2020

Hi everybody!

This is going to be a very short and boring blog post because here is the total of what I’ve spent this week.

13/04/2020

Last week I placed an order with a local independent coffee shop shut because of Covid-19 for a 6 pack of Oatly Barista style oat milk as it’s my favourite. It was delivered on the 15th but I paid the invoice today. £8.40

That’s it for this week. A total weekly spend of £8.40.

So let’s try and liven this up a little.

I have a monthly food budget of £300 that runs from one pay day to the next. My flat mate splits this budget with me as we live together, have the same taste in food, and it works for us. So my total cost each month is £150. Currently of the budget we have spent £187.06 and have £112.94 left to last until the 28th, so I clearly have enough budget left to last me that time. I am still planning on focusing on using up my stores at home rather than shopping. Although in terms of fresh fruit and vegetables I only have half a cucumber, some orange juice, 3 onions, some beetroot juice and 1 apple left I do have loads of frozen fruit and vegetables left so I will be able to eat healthily and get my five a day, which I am a little obsessed with. I know guidelines have since come out to say we should be aiming for seven fruit and vegetables a day, but five isn’t a bad place to start.

In terms of my bills I have 3 left to be taken out of my account this month, and 2 are the big ones of my rent and my credit card bill, but I work to a zero based budget so I am not worried about paying them. It’s just a nice psychological boost to know that they have been paid each month. When my latest credit card payment clears my debt will be £750 and I’m aiming to pay it off at a rate of £150 a month so that it will be cleared when I get paid in August this year.

Although it will be nice to be debt free, I am of course more concerned about the pandemic at the moment. Which is why I am aggressively trying to save money and build up an emergency fund as quickly as possible, which without wanting to trivialise the situation has been made easier by being on lockdown.

Anyway, I wish you all a lovely Sunday. Do something nice, be with your loved ones, read, catch up on a box set, put your feet up or be productive, whatever you want.

Financial Review of Weeks 13, 14, 15, 16 (I’m sorry for the delay)

Here’s the thing about working 7 days a week. Even when the 6th and 7th days of working total just 8 hours you find you lack the time to get everything done.

My Blog has taken the hit.

I will proceed with the financial reviews:

FOOD AND HOUSEHOLD SHOPPING

Pizza, Pasta, Pasta Sauce, Cookies, Bread, Milk, Yogurt 8.35
Super Big Tesco Delivery 114.34
White Bread and Cucumber 1.15
Juice, Cheese Slice, Pasta, Pasta Sauce, Garlic Bread, Cheesecake, Bag for Life 8.14
Carrot Chips, Corn on the Cobs, Onion Rings, Chicken Strips, Chicken Popsters, Cheese Pizza x 2 11.98
Potatoes, Orange Juice, Carrots, Milk, Popcorn, Raspberries 5.99
Flu Powder, Face Wipes, Moisturiser, Hand Sanitiser 3.85
Toothpaste, Floss, Shower Gel, Handwash 4.86
Toothpaste, Soothers x 2, Vanish, Allergy Tablets, Toothbrush 7.45
Greaseproof Paper, Coconut Water x 4 2.75
Toothbrush Holder 0.29
Rolls and Lettuce 1.75
Spray Oil x 2, Laundry Cleanser x 2, Toilet Roll, Bag For Life, Laundry Bag 11.34
Massive Pizza, Jon Pizza, Cookies 6.5
milk 1.09
tortilla chips, rolls, cookies, gum 2.74
Milk, Carrots, Bag for Life 1.37
bread, doughnuts, garlic bread, lasagne, cucumber, parsnips, bag for life 6.6
Sweetcorn, Cheese Pizza 3.5
Orange Juice, Ice Creams x 2 3.9
Aqueous Cream, Hair Remover Cream, Bath Foam, Body Scrub, Razors, Face Masks x 3 7.87
Sprite Six Pack, Fanta Six Pack, Orangina, Garlic Pizza Bread, Canneloni, Bread, Cookies, Bag for life x 2 11.2
Colour Catchers, Cotton Pads, Toner, Hand Cream 6.56
Chicken Dippers, Marmite, Chicken Breast, Mince x 2, Peppers, Onion, Boy Pies 19.86
Prawn Crackers, Yoghurt 1.85

TOTAL SPENDS = £255.28 (WEEKLY AVERAGE = £63.82)

We are already over budget for this month of April and still have a week to go so it’s not going that well.

DISPOSABLE INCOME SPENDING

Milk for work 0.8 WORK EXPENSE
Gum 1.5 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Easter Egg for Jon 4 GIFTS
Prawn Sandwich 2.2 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Pie Minister 17 SOCIAL
2 x Sets of PJs 34.05 CLOTHING
Apple and Banana 0.67 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Tupperware From Paperchase 1 HOMEWARE
Ale 4.5 SOCIAL
Burger and Tea 10 SOCIAL
Pizza 6.5 SOCIAL
Shonen Knife T Shirt 15 CLOTHING
Make Up 30 MAKE UP
Subway 4 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Ale 3.65 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
2 Pairs of Trousers, Exercise Tights and Top 24.05 CLOTHING
Let’s Eat Grandma Ticket 10 SOCIAL
Peach Green Tea Lemonade 3.35 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Chiropractice Groupon 23.95 HOBBIES – HEALTH
Food for Homeless person 4.28 GIFTS
Plastic Cutlery 0.75 WORK EXPENSE
Water and Mango Coca Cola 1.8 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Pint of coke 1.99 SOCIAL
Lipbalm 1.2 MAKE UP
Chewing Gum 0.45 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Sweets 3 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Train to Grangetown 3.4 TRAVEL (DAY TO DAY)
Paying Postage on an unstamped card 2 POSTAGE AND PACKAGING
John Lewis Gift Card 15 GIFTS
Chocolate Treats for Hedy 2.5 GIFTS
Money for the Nie-phews 20 GIFTS
Posting the Kids Treats 6.9 POSTAGE AND PACKAGING
Indian Takeaway 16 SOCIAL
2 x Flat Whites 4.8 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Tissues for work 0.39 WORK EXPENSE
Milk for work 0.75 WORK EXPENSE
2 x Beers 7 SOCIAL
Posting parcel to Chris 1.87 POSTAGE AND PACKAGING
Boots Meal Deal 3.39 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Kimono 4.99 CLOTHING
coffee and apple 3.15 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Five Guys Burger, Fries and Drink 12.15 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Donation to Ben 15 GIFTS
Cookies and Donuts for a homeless person 0.78 GIFTS
Milk for work 0.8 WORK EXPENSE
Boots Meal Deal 3.39 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Next Voucher For Tudor 10 GIFTS
2 x Books 9.98 HOBBIES-BOOKS
Manics Vinyl 20.04 HOBBIES-MUSIC
2 x Cocktails 8.45 SOCIAL
Five Guys for 2 25.45 SOCIAL
Ice Cream 2.5 SOCIAL
Gum 0.5 NON ESSENTIAL FOOD
Fixing Jeans 5 CLOTHING MAINTENANCE
Jeans 5.99 CLOTHING
Milk for work 0.8 WORK EXPENSE

TOTAL SPENDS = A LOT (£421.66/WEEKLY AVERAGE = £105.42)

I promise I will be better at blogging from now on.

I’ll Drink Anything, As Long As It’s Poisonous

I am re-reading Alexis Hall’s ‘In The Red’ for something like the 5th time this year. This is because when I feel that I have f***** up my life royally due to my debt (such as facing the crisis of my contract at work ending with no savings in the bank) then I like to take comfort in the tale of someone who has been there and done that.

I said to the boy that I wouldn’t say this year has been bad, but it has been one of my most challenging years (or certainly the most challenging non childhood trauma year).

I finally told the boy’s parents that my contract is ending and they said they would have worried in the past but they know I always get another job very soon, which I interpreted as ‘We’re used to you losing jobs, but somehow you survive’. I know they didn’t mean it like that, I just seem to only be capable of assuming the worst about myself.

I feel a lot more indestructible now that I have a raincoat. What’s that expression? There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes?

You know you are old as f*** when you get ridiculously excited by your raincoat. The last time I felt this excited about a coat was when I bought my fake leopard print fur coat. Despite the fact it doesn’t fit me I am still unable to part with it, as I am determined to fit into it again one day.

I have also contemplated buying another fake fur leopard print coat in a plus size and being done with it all.

Realising I have spent most of my 20’s overweight is startling. I will never get that time back. I want to be attractive.

No one has ever made a comment on my weight, apart from one person, who shall remain nameless.

The trouble is food is such an emotional thing for me. I need to be happy to lose weight. I say this because when I am low, or depressed, or my life is going down the toilet like it is now, then pretty much all that gets me through the day is knock off Bailey’s, or a cheeky cheese sandwich, or portion sizes that take liberties with the term ‘generous’.

I comfort eat, I stress eat, I may connect this desperate mastication to when I gave up smoking and used nicotine gum and now I associate the sensation with stress release.

The diet will have to start on Monday. We are having Chinese takeway for tea.

I am a Consumer, Therefore I Consume

I have been flexing my shopping muscles.

Restrained, considered purchases, contraband in terms of the no spend year but not wild and decadent items in them self, they were all practical, but still I have anxiety.

Things needed replacing in our house. The clock in the kitchen broke, we didn’t realise how essential it was to our ability to get ready until it was gone. The silicon whisk broke ages ago, but I had ‘fixed’ it, but then when a piece of the silicon found it’s way into one of my vegetable muffins I knew it needed replacing. We needed a tin opener, because our old tin opener took about half an hour and lots of strength to get round a tin.

The boy bought the clock, because he has money, whereas I have raided my penny tin several times already this month. The whisk and tin opener were partially funded by the household budget.

I bought an SD card for my phone almost exclusively funded with amazon vouchers, it cost me just £1.21 (which was primarily the postage). I needed that, yet it is still contraband according to my rules, but I am certain it will save me money in the long run as it will extend the life of my phone (and give me space for money saving apps).

And for a long time I have felt that I need a rain coat. Something that is light weight as it may rain all the time in the UK but it gets pretty humid when it does and I’m a sweaty Betty at the best of times. I wanted something that went past the waist as I had a rain coat in the past which ended at the waist which just meant all the water ran off the coat and into my pants. Fun times.

I decided to look at the Tesco website on the basis that I have been saving my Tesco Clubcard vouchers for 18 months and had a hefty £26.50 to my name.

(To anyone who is confused by this I’ll explain. Tesco’s is a big supermarket chain in the UK, I think they owned Fresh and Easy in the USA, and you can sign up for a free clubcard which gives you 1 point for every £1 you spend in their stores. I want to assure you I took advantage of some great deals they put on to gain extra points, and didn’t actually spend £2650 in their stores in the last 18 months)

So I looked on the Tesco’s website and there was a lightweight, yellow (I secretly wanted it to be yellow) rain coat which went past the waist, and yes it was £32 but I decided that the fact Tesco’s clothing range is called Florence and Fred and that the coat was sold out in every size apart from my own as a sign the Universe wanted me to have it.

So yes, I have spent £5.50 on a contraband item, AGAIN, but I feel good that the sum total of my spend on clothes this year has been £5.88 (£9.83 if you include a free item I ‘bought’ but had to pay postage for)

I think my shopping habits this year, whilst being a bit flexible with the rules of a no spend year, are a complete change for the better from the habits that got me into this mess of debt.

I am debating whether I am allowed to buy a orange scented reed room diffuser this Winter like I did last year which made me feel all Christmas-sy and made the Winter a bit more bearable. I know I’m not allowed, but maybe I can find a voucher somewhere for one.

It’s just with every purchase I make I feel anxious. I don’t feel tempted, I don’t feel ‘this feels great, let’s bend the plastic so far my credit card gets a spinal injury’ but I am scared of spending money now.

To be honest I am anxious doing anything financial apart from making money, which means it’s just as well I sold my two guitars today, one to the boy for £15 and one at a cash converters for £10 (it was a piece of crap).

I actually don’t mind selling my things at cash converters because in their buying department they have figurines of the wrestlers Jake the Snake and The Ultimate Warrior which makes me feel happy and like I am with kindred spirits.

I just want to say one more thing. Not including food/household purchases, which are split between the boy and me anyway, but if you take all the money I have paid towards my debts this year, and compare it to how much money I’ve spent on me this year, then I have spent about a third more paying back my debts then I have spending money on things like socialising and yellow-lightweight-past the waist-rain coats.