Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Walkabout Wednesday

New Feature, What is walkabout Wednesday?

Well I thought I love looking at other blogs, I think it gives you an insight into other families and lifestyles and more often than not you pick up fantastic tips and advice that you would never have thought of in a month of Sundays or are so obvious you cant see them, you may also be lucky enough to build a friendship so you can share trials and tribulations. Join me as I 'Walkabout' and take a look at other blogs and if I find any new articles here is where you will find them, and maybe make a comment if an article strikes a chord with me. hope you enjoy them x


2. love the post - 'and its not even 9' !


take a peek and see what you think - x

Monday, 28 September 2009

Money Monday - small steps

~ Every journey starts with a single step ~

so despite our little blip when Owen was in hospital our spending this month hasnt been to over the top, although this went awol when we had to pay for tunnel fees, hospital food, petrol, but trust me this was a small price to pay, but we have dusted ourselves off and onwards and upwards, small changes we are going to implement this month.

1. Try and meet all direct debit payments, saving bank charges @ £20 per item

2. Stopped our bank account with an overdraft/debit card and changed to bank account with no overdraft facility and one of the new O2 money manager visa cards, a visa card that you load up as and when and can only use what is available, no cross over transactions and text notifications when money is added or debited.

3. Keeping our spending to a limit, our proposed spend on food for October is £200 which averages out at about £50 per month, £50 will be loaded onto the O2 money manager card and kept specifically for food shopping, if we use less then this is carried over to the following week, and any overspend will be saved up for Christmas, which I have always started buying little bits for in September when the kids go back to school

4. Cook properly, I always try to whenever possible cook from scratch, but sometimes I find that it isn't always the most economical way with all the supermarkets competing at the moment, especially when the recipies ask for 1 of and you have to buy a whole packet of, so what I have tried to do is to cook double the quantities of easily freezable stuff (like stews, sauces, cassaroles etc) which I find cheaper and also means that we still have home cooked food on the two days that I do work ( because bless him my hubby still thinks that his version of home cooked is to read the oven instructions !)

5. I am also going to try and eke out meat as much as I can, again working out to be more economical, for example yesterday I cooked a medium chicken for Sunday Lunch, instead of putting loads of meat on the plate I put a little less on and padded the meal out with Vegetables, I took the rest of the meat off the carcass and then boiled the carcass to make a good stock along with whatever meat came off the bones, I can then make a chicken and bacon stew out of the stock and then we can have a chicken omlette with the rest of the meat so out of 1 medium sized chicken we would have made 3 meals

Chicken £ 4.00
Sunday Roast Veg £ 2.00
Stew veg and Bacon £ 1.50
Eggs for omlette £ 1.00
Total £8.50

For 3 meals for a family of 5 - not bad eh !!

see you next time x

Eternal gratitude to the NHS

2 Posts today to play catch up !

The past fee weeks I have been in a complete flat spin, Our youngest was taken ill, nothing out of the ordinary, watery eyes, slight temperature and a bit of a cough that got worse when he was asleep but when he was up and about he was back to normal, that was the Wednesday, no appointments left in the doctors so Thursday night we thought we would take him to the walk in centre in the hospital, so hubby took him up while I looked after the girls, well within 1/2 hr of being seen at the hospital baby boy was being whizzed down to be incubated to stop his airway closing up, so as you can imagine I have never been so scared in my life, the staff were wonderful with up and never left our side right through to when they transferered him over the Alder Hey Childrens Hospital, anyway, long story short they dont actually know what was the matter with him but were treating him for bacterial croup he came off his tube on the Friday and after a weekend stay in hospital we were released on the Monday - which was actually our wedding anniversary, which we both forgot but in hindsight we had the best anniversary gift ever! - I cannot praise the nurses and doctors enough and even if I started today and continued daily I would not be able to thank them enough, thank you so much x x

Monday, 14 September 2009

Money Monday

For this post I thought honesty would be the best policy. Now that the kids have gone back to school I have had a mid year recap on what we set out to do in our resolutions. Financially we are still pretty much in the same situation, but has now come to a head and needs to be addressed - not because it is getting worse but just because I am fed up of the money situation dragging on.

So anyway after going to the bookshop to try and find a book to help us in our situation, there isnt one definitive book that I could find that deals only on tips to get out of debt, sure they all contain a chapter on getting out of debt, but then the remaining 3/4 of the book is not relevant to me, why would I need chapters on savings and investments???? give me that when I am OUT of debt, plus all of them held some information but not all, and then I thought, surely the first step in saving money.... is to not spend money on a book telling me how to save money !!

After an indepth look at our finances we are just under £17,000 in debt, (this doesnt include the mortgage) included in this is a £12,000 loan which we took out over 20 years in order to keep the payments down to a minimum but looking at the small print it totals (when you add the interest)that we would owe £35,000 !!!!!!!!!. since looking at our finances I have figured a way that all debt can be paid off within 7 years - without it being too much upheaval or cutbacks.

I also chose to share this information with you at the START of my journey so that we can all live it together if you choose to join me on being debt free rather than sounding all preachy at the end of it, yes it will be tough, yes there will be times im sure I would rather throw the towel in and buy something pretty and blow the budget, but all I can hold onto is that light at the end of 7 years (if not sooner)

We have already had a kick start to our budgeting by default - the second car (which has always been needed for Mark to get to work at 5.30am) failed its MOT and needed to much work to put through so that was scrapped, profit (£80) but on top of this we do not need to pay £120 p/yr Tax, £40 p/yr MOT, £300 p/yr Insurance, £65 p/mth Petrol. so in all it will save us £1240 p/yr

So in order for Mark to get to work now we are in the process of trying to find a small 50cc scooter/moped for him to ride(its too far for a bicyle)which on average will cost us £500 to buy, £15 p/year tax, MOT £15 p/yr, £100 p/yr insurance and £8 p/mth petrol Saving us (without including actual purchase price of scooter) £1014 p/yr.

I have picked up some other tips frugal living, budgeting, saving tips whatever you want to call them, so over the next days, weeks, months, years I will share them with you along the way.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Here we go again !!

So it is September 2nd 2009 - nothing monumental to the majority of the world but Im sure a fair few will identify with me, today is the day that we started potty training our little man.

we thought as the older kids start school on Friday (why bring them back in for one day is beyond me , but Im sure that it makes sense to the powers that be!) it would be a good time to at least try,

Ill be honest with you, I do have mixed emotions starting the old potty training routine, first thoughts, no more nappy changes, no having to remember changing equipment (even if we have got it down to 2 nappies,wipes and nappy bag),no trying to find changaing facitilies or even a clean dry surface. saving landfill sites as well as saving us a small fortune monthly. There isnt going to be any mad panic when the baby has no nappy on and you husband decides that this is the time to tell you that he used the last one earlier and for got to tell you !!

Then I started to think about the other side, as he is our only son, if we go out for dinner its not going to be me who is on relay to the toilet with a 30 second warning as I have done with our 2 daughter' much to the hilarity of husband - oh revenge is going to be sweet !!

I remember marvelling at how tiny the newborn nappies were, and picking the nappies for the newborns, of course they have to be the softest, comfy to the bottom, snug enough to not let any leaks through, but not tight enough to blemish new born skin, so after all this and me in my hormonal state picked the ones with the cutest picture on the front !

So here we are he is our last (and while we do not in any way 'baby' him) its another part of babyhood that is never going to return to our house, along with the mountain of bottles, the endless sleepless nights that made every day feel like groundhog day but now in hindsight have a rosy nostalgia to them.

but for now so far it has taken me about 2 hours to write this post because, we have had 2 'accidents' flatly refuses to sit on the potty but knows when he needs to go because he asks for his nappy, but is having the time of his life running round with nothing on showing everybody his 'willy' as for me I think Ill have to get out the packet of Thomas the Tank Engine big boy pants as a bit of bribery save him flashing in public only so long you can get away with that for ...