Thursday, 31 January 2019

Last Day of January........ Financial Ins and Outs

Didn't spend too much although there were things not planned but needed like the vegetable seed order and a gas cylinder for the cooker, printing out the photos for Christmas cards, peanuts for the birds and a new swimming costume. All except the swimming costume would have waited until February but that's pointless really. Then when I thought that was it for the unexpected I  had to take Polly to the vets - she seems to have developed an allergy to something, so it was a steroid injection and £52 - gulp.
[There was one interesting thing at the vets that almost made up for the expense. Someone had just brought in an injured owl so I got to see a young barn owl at close up - a very cross owl! They put him in a cage and covered over so he would calm down. Hope they get him sorted]

Planned things that Had to be paid.............. the dentist check up, scale and polish and then a filling; diesel for the car, food for me and the cat; broadband and phones direct debits.

Things I bought that I really didn't need in my so called "No/Low Spend January"
Flower Fairies Book
Stuff for grandchildren
The Cheese Plate
Jam doughnuts! 

The only Frugal bits I can think of.......
  • Using the leeks from the garden, made a big batch of veg curry with leeks, apple, prunes,onion. spinach from the freezer and small potatoes. Put 4 boxes in freezer.
  • Reading free library books
  • Using homegrown peppers, mangetout peas and courgettes from the freezer.
  • Still eating beetroot from the garden
  • Picked up twiggy bits from the meadow to dry for kindling wood.
  • Dried washing outside and then in front of fire 90% of the time. (Had to use tumble drier once)
  • Still mixing whole milk half and half with water. 
  • I've been using up  meat from the freezer - some had been there since before Colin died!I'm eating so little meat now I'm on my own.
  • Mended a woolly hat that had developed a hole because I'd removed the bobble!
  • Ziffit were doing a 15% extra weekend, so I went through lots of books Again and found just under £16 worth they wanted which became over £18.

More stuff out (or nearly out)
  • Two inherited 9 carat rings that I couldn't wear because they were too chunky and a pair of stud ear rings sold at the Auction House in town and brought me £92. A 22 carat ring goes in another sale later in the year.  Then I'm going to buy some jewellery I can actually wear......just plain rings or a wind-up watch.
  • Few books to the charity shop
  • Some cross stitch bits into the car boot box under the stairs. 
  • A mug that got chipped into the bin
  • A circular Christmas tablecloth - forgot I had this - it's gone into the car boot box under the stairs
  • A jam dish into the car boot box
  • More of Col's pairs of trousers to charity shop
  • 2 Jigsaw puzzles into Car Boot box 
  • Sorted through the reels of cotton in my sewing box and moved a small bag full to the car boot box

Februaries financial outlook. There are two bills due.............House insurance and the half year water bill. I need to restock the freezer with a few things but otherwise it should be a low-ish spend month.
Said the same thing in January and November - it never happens!

Business Group Calls for Cuts in Delaware State Spending ...

I've been trying to work out how much it costs for me to live here, there are so many columns in my accounts book

  • Council Tax ( the biggest expense)
  • Food
  • Phone and computer
  • TV licence
  • Heating oil
  • Boiler service
  • Gas for cooker
  • Electric
  • Water
  • Sewer pump out
  • House insurance
  • Expenses in the kitchen
  • Expenses in the bathroom
  • Laundry stuff
  • Household stuff
  • Car Insurance
  • Car Service
  • Breakdown Insurance
  • Fuel for car
  • The cat
  • Wild birds
  • Garden
  • The Grandchildren
  • Christmas 
  • Birthdays and gifts
  • Postage
  • Clothes and shoes
  • Dentist
  • Health
  • Miscellaneous 
  • Personal
Some just have to be paid, some can be cut, some I don't want to cut, others go up every year and nothing goes down but the worry is that it adds up to needing nearly £1,000 a month. I can't really afford to live here but I plan to stay and my income isn't anywhere near that so I'm living off savings for two more years until I'm 66 when I get the state pension.
Sorry Kids!

Thank you to everyone for comments over the last few days, it's good to know people are enjoying the church photos - just wish I was a better photographer!

Back Tomorrow


  1. I hate having to do financial makes me feel more and more woolly headed, the older I get. A necessary evil though.

  2. It can make my brain ache, doing the finances! I'm doing my own end of month reckoning today but I don't go into anything like the detail you do, I just make sure I have accounted for all expenses this month and of there's anything left over I move it sideways into savings. The next two months are no council and water taxes so I will move those amounts sideways too.
    Every little helps!
    And I've got someone coming to talk about a funeral payment plan. Not morbid, just sensible, I think, and I'm doing it for the 'children'.

  3. Such rotten luck to be in that group of women whose date to start receiving the state pension has been put back. I eventually got mine at the age of 65 which was not something I bargained for when I finished work early. Hopefully it means that if you can just about manage now things will get easier when you hit the magic birthday.

  4. I am in that same group of women and won't receive mine until next year in June so we are living off one state pension of DH and savings for any capital expenses.
    In my accounts I have a column named 'Childcare' (I couldn't think of a better name for it!) I think that equates to the one you have for the grand children only I include my two grown up daughters here as I still buy them things from time to time. At the moment we are waiting to pay for the new pram - they are certainly much more expensive these days than my £25 second hand one in the 80's.

  5. I'm in that pension gap too - I will be 66 before I get mine. The really annoying thing is that I have a sister who is 5 years older. She has been getting her pension for years. So, a 5 year age gap, with a nearly 11 year pension gap!!!

  6. Having to wait until we are 66 for a pension we were promised all our working lives to be at 60, sucks, and feels like robbery. So many of us are in this together, but no-one listens to us.

    1. I hope all who were denied their pensions at 6o have signed the petition as we may get it reverted x

  7. I'm like you Sue since my husband died I'm living in a house I can't really afford but I don't want to leave as it's the only house my husband and I lived in and it's fully paid for. On another note since you mentioned that cheese plate you bought I've seen some on eBay £25-£30 so you got a good buy there. Heather

    1. Colin and I lived in 7 homes but this is my favourite of them all, so I shall try and stay as long as possible.
      Wow, I did get a bargain if they are on ebay for that much.

  8. Just a thought Sue, but wouldn't you be paying for most of those items wherever you were?

    1. The size of the house and associated costs and living out in the wilds are the problems - affects lots of expenses.

  9. I am a lot older (80) than your readers.. I don't know it you know that I GET £1. extra a month because of my age. I live very frugal and my biggest outcome is the council tax which is of course so lucky when we have 2 free months which really helps with the heating bill. I don't have a car which helps. It is a lovely morning here the sun is shining and the frost is so pretty I would have liked a walk but I am frightened of falling so will look at the bunch of daffodils my daughter brought me yesterday.
    Hazel c uk

    1. I hope you enjoy that extra £1 - what a strange thing - it buys nothing.
      Lovely morning here too but very cold, the birds are going crazy on the feeders

  10. The pension was "invented" in another era when life expectancy was shorter. Now we are all living longer it has to be accepted that the pension start date has to change. We are easily capable of working for longer than the old dates etched in our minds (60 and 65) and still feel young. It is time to move on and stop griping about this, not that you are yourself Sue, you were just stating a fact, I know. As for your expenditure it can't be too bad if your Council Tax is your biggest monthly expense. Cut out presents and Christmas and you will soon be quids in. I don't expect anybody would mind.

  11. Very similar columns to my spreadsheet, and all in all very similar total per month required. I also have to wait another two and a half years for state pension (not that I'm counting!) but my work pensions(s) cover my planned spending - hopefully leaving a bit in savings for the "unplanned". I seemed to go a bit mad last year and overspent on one or two things so did dip into the savings but I am determined to try to cut back this year. It has been announced that our council tax may go up by 5% this year. Apparently the government has given special permission for this as our county (Northamptonshire) is in such dire financial straits. We're currently fighting to save our libraries, and local social services (which my eldest needs) are a joke, so if the extra goes towards some of those I shan't grumble too much, but I do know how lucky I am to have such a good pension (actually not so much luck rather than good planning but hey-ho).
    I really enjoy your blog - love reading about the family etc., and learn so much from your chuch visits and folk-lore posts too.

  12. A Reader from the U.S. just wondering if you have a U.K. income tax to pay as well? Keeping your costs to around £1000 each month is amazing.

    1. You only pay income tax if you have an income above (I think now) about 11,000. My income is way below that. I ought to be still working I guess but I have savings thanks to inheritances and Colins pension before he died

  13. Sue, you have amazing strength and fortitude, especially considering all you've been through in the past few years. Take a deep breath. You can do this! You've had a lot of necessary work done in the past year, even since Colin's passing, to get the house where you want it and can function. But, I'll bet if you take a look forward, you'll see you can manage nicely with a little planning ahead for the larger expenses. I'm not sure if you're familiar with Dave Ramsey in the UK. But, just take the mindset that you can tell your money what to do to live like no one else. Thank you so much for sharing your journey.

  14. Sue, I think you will have but are your getting 25% discount on your council tax for single occupancy? We cut our water bill by going on a meter it saved us £59 per month. We've changed our broadband to Plusnet saving £17 per month. I do house and car insurance via Quidco cash back site, I've just had £55 back on the house insurance xx

    1. Yes I claimed the discount on Council Tax it made everything seem so final. We put a water meter in straight away and cut the water bill by a huge amount. I can't change broadband or phone provider because the previous owner had fibre put in for nothing but it belongs to BT. Good for her but not for everyone else!

  15. It's hard making ends meet, I know. Is everyone in the same pension situation aware of the groups campaigning for fairer treatment? The backto60group has won a judicial review over the pension age switch for women, and WASPI is very active in campaigning about the fact that 50s women were not given enough notice about state pension ages changing. I don't object to our state pension being the same age as men's, but I do think it's unfair that we were not given enough notice to make proper provision, and were not properly notified about the changes.

    1. I hadn't heard of those groups, will take a look

  16. Like Julie I am supporting the WASPI and the PAIN group in Norfolk (Facebook) to fight to get the "missed years" of pension back! Good budgeting and it was very interesting to hear of your jewelry conversion to cash.

  17. I don't think your kids have to be too worried about you spending their inheritance, you live very carefully and hopefully you can ride out the few years until you get your state pension quite frugally.

    I'm another one in the group that has to wait until I'm 66. And no Rachel, we're not griping, we've just all paid the into the system for many, many years with a promise that our pension pot would pay out at 60. By the time I get mine I will have paid a full stamp for 50 years.

    1. Nothing to stop you stopping work before hand. I paid it for 48 years and would still be working if I hadn't given up on the spur of the moment one day. Lots of people are receiving their state pension and still working, speaks volumes. Years ago people got the pension and then died. They don't now. Nothing is ever promised to anyone.

    2. The first state pension change for women was announced by Labour and I also did not get my pension at 60 and was in the first batch to be 'caught' by the changes. Not much was ever said then.

    3. I can't comment much as I never went back to work after children and only paid contributions for my few years of self employment.So will just be glad to get anything sometime!

  18. I'm sure your kids won't mind at all you dipping into savings! I don't usually break things down as well as you do in my budget, but it's a lot more realistic to do so.

  19. You budget just like I do! Down to the last penny. One thing I’ve discovered for printing photos is FreePrints who will print from your phone, 50 free per month I believe it is. You just pay postage which isn’t much.
    I enjoy a daily visit to your blog very much.

  20. I entered our receipts for the month and it was sure an eye opener for me. Like you there are some things I could cut but really wonder if it would be worth it in the long run. The landline is one that could be cut, we would just have to extend our cell package...…

    God bless.

    1. Everything goes up in price and never comes down......sadly

  21. If you received Child Benefit(Family Allowance) from, I believe, 1978 you will have been credited with National Insurance contributions until your children were 18. I think that stops at 12 now.

    1. Yes that gives me the basic pension - thank goodness