Saturday, 30 March 2019

End of the Week and March Finances...................

..............................the ins, outs and frugal bits

In some ways March was an ordinary sort of month cost wise, saving in some places to have more for spending elsewhere. But a huge spend was paying  the Council Tax bill. My monthly income for the next 2 years  is less than outgoings, that means I'm living partly on savings, which earn hardly any interest,  so I've paid Council Tax all at once to get it done and out of the way.
Budget Clipart | Free download best Budget Clipart on ...In our early years of marriage, when we hardly had "two halfpennies to rub together", I always made sure all the bills that meant getting a fine or losing the house were paid first and then had to budget carefully with what was left and even though I now have more money my mind works the same. Paying the Council Tax all at once feels like securing a home for the year!

Then there were the  normal usual expenses........... Food for me and the cat, diesel for the car, phones and broadband direct debit, charity direct debits and the quarterly electric bill
Other outgoings -
  • Gift for son-in-law's birthday  
  • Present ready for Jacobs birthday
  •  I actually went and got a haircut..........this is my first paid-for hair cut for about 6 years. 
  • Cinema visit - the cost for everyone for screenings before 6pm is £5.95 which doesn't seem too extreme. I have no idea what cinemas cost elsewhere. 
  • Stocked up on postage stamps, enough for the year, before prices went up... saving several  pence.
  • Polly Cat's annual cat flu etc injection
  • Printed out photos of the grandchildren to give to the family(then forgot to give one to my sister with her birthday card!)
  • Car boot and jumble sale things for grandchildren 
  • Got 3 bags of multi purpose compost as I was passing the garden centre 
  • Window cleaner

A few frugal bits, added to the list through the month
  •  5 small pizzas - yellow sticker at Co-op for 29p each.(I use home made pizza topping on them to cheer up their meagre topping)
  • The gift of onion sets from my sister, enough for a row. 
  • 3 lots of rhubarb from the garden and new growth on the chives
  • Eating home grown peppers, mange tout and courgettes from the freezer 
  • Present ready for Willow's birthday from charity shop
  • 3 pairs of  new socks for me from the charity shop for £1.20
  • Gifted a big bag of purple sprouting broccoli 
  • Toys, clothes and books for grandchildren from car boot sale and a jumble sale.
  • First pesto made using wild garlic (ramsons) that we planted two years ago

Still clearing and sorting, OUT  went...........

Another box of books and OS maps to Ziffit = just under £19
Several books to the charity shop
Another suit of Colin's to charity shop
Suit cover to Youngest daughter's OH.
 OS Maps to the charity shop
Few odd bits from workshop into dustbin.
Collection of peel-off stickers into cupboard for car-boot sale
A very old sun lounger to the Household Recycling Centre
Plus an old picnic stove ditto 
Some bits of junk from a drawer in the dresser into dustbin
Few other things from the same drawer into the car-boot box.
Two swing seats (that were here when we moved in) to Son and DiL who have got Willow a swing for her birthday.
Lots of old letters and diaries into the recycling bin

Thoughts on the month
Electric bill higher for me on my own is a worry, due to having the TV on for company and having the boiler on more as I hate being cold in my own home, which happened a lot at the smallholding.

Must take my stuff to a boot sale...... as soon as the small local one starts next month and the weather forecast is good.

As it's Saturday, here's  my weekly round-up too.

The last week of March and the weather here hasn't been as good as some parts of the country, chilly with cloud cover most days,  but the week has sped by.......................

Swimming - I'm going earlier to a Swim for All session rather than the over 50's session and it's quieter, won't be able to do that in the Easter hols as the pool is used for other things before the over 50's session.

Charity shop morning was a bit different as our manager was away so we had a lady from the Eye shop to help but we were all a bit surprised  to find that the overall shop manager, with her family to help,  had been in over the weekend and moved things all around and thrown out masses of books for recycling. The ladies upstairs unpacking and sorting found everything they had organised the week before had all been changed around! Very frustrating.

I'd been planning to go to the cinema again but didn't feel to good so thought I'd better stay at home, I've made a note to order Aftermath on DVD from the library once it's released in July.

Quizzing with Small WI in the Suffolk East Federation spring quiz on Friday evening. It'll be late when I get home so as this post is scheduled  I'll have to let you know how we got on next week.

This week I am grateful for
  • One sunny and warmer day on Friday to get beetroot sown and hoeing done.
  • Having the finances available to be able to help youngest daughter onto the housing ladder. 
  • Bumping into two people I knew from school between 1966/71, one last seen in 1988 at the school reunion and we recognised each other, so can't have changed too much!

Hope you all have a  lovely weekend and I'll be back Monday


  1. I'm still catching up from my long weekend away, but good to read your round-up as it gives me the encouragement to get myself sorted. My e-Bay empire (old horse stuff I no longer need) gave me another £37 last night and we too have been taking things to the Tip, and large piles of crafting magazines to Tesco. Progress.

    Your mention of onion sets - I don't normally grow onions but this year have some newly-prepared ground which is just right for them so have bought a mixed onion bag as well as some red shallots. Those should go in this weekend.

    1. I just wish the men at the tip weren't so miserable. They stand and watch people struggling up the metal staircases with heavy stuff, don't volunteer to help ever

  2. It sounds like a lovely week that you've had, good weather or not! I'm sure you had a great time at the quiz regardless of how well it went. Lots of fun.

  3. Enjoyed all the news.
    Hope you get better weather nest week, it's looks for another nice day I hope to go you Leighton Buzzard this morning post office and other little bits of shopping.
    Family all coming tomorrow as it is Mother's Day. Hope you have a nice weekend Sue.
    Hazel c uk

  4. Council Tax! Ever diminishing services, ever increasing prices, and I am right there with you on concern over outgoings exceeding incomings. We want to be warm and cosy, and fed, in our own homes. At least we have rooves over our heads, something to be thankful for. I tried yellow sticker shopping in Morrisons, it was nowt but wilting flowers that I don't need.

    1. Council Tax is not fair on country people we miss out on all the things that benefit town dwellers - bus services, streetlights, footpaths and on and on. I'm paying mine for roads that need repairing and rubbish collection, can't think of anything else.

    2. Your mobile library that you use.

    3. Police, schools, subsidies on travel concessions, hedge cutting, not forgetting the CEO's ridiculously expensive hire car, his severance package, the Councillors hugely inflated expenses. We recently had an expenses scandal that has left rate payers seething as services are cut.

  5. Wow! That is some list of lists! You either have a good memory or you write it down as you go. I should do more de-cluttering as everywhere is jam-packed with stuff. It isn't just big things which are in plain sight, but small things too which have been pushed into drawers or boxes and get hidden. Trouble is I could get rid of things only to regret it later, which has happened in the past.

    1. I just add things to the lists as the week/month goes by, certainly couldn't remember a thing otherwise

  6. Sounds like quite a month! It's easy to say, but try not to worry about the electric bill. One of the few things my mum 'splurges' on is the electric bill. There is no point sitting in your place cold or lonely (sometimes it's really quiet without the telly!). Consider it a necessity. You do a lot of saving in other places.

    Hope your weekend goes well!

    1. It's just annoying to find I used more electric than same time last year.

  7. Have to say I’m a big fan of lists. It’s a bit of a standing joke in our house about my lists and notebooks! I’m trying to de-clutter, which I’m quite good at. Getting my hubby on board, not so easy. I love that you always finish on the ‘grateful for’ list.

  8. Had you considered a little job, perhaps. As you don't " need " to work you might find it enjoyable to be out in the workplace for a few days each week and could build up a nice cushion and then not need to dip into savings ? Perhaps as a school support worker, MDSA, escort on school transport , that would mean only term time work so you'd have all holidays free for grandbabies ? I don't mean to be offensive, just a thought. Jane x

    1. A job is definitely not on my list of wants! I shall just keep spending the kids inheritance and downsize when I run out of money!!

  9. A really good round up. I too like to pay all the house bills as soon as I can and we always pay all the Council Tax for home in one go. It's a huge hit on the budget but knowing it's done is very reassuring.

    I'm the same at the Van. The yearly site fees were paid for this year at the end of last years season giving me a 10% discount for prompt and early payment. The electric bill is paid yearly for the year gone so I haven't had that yet, it will be interesting to see what it is. But the caravan park park gets a reduced rate for electricity used and then bills van holders according to the individual readings. Gas is paid for per cylinder as and when you run out, so although we go through quite a few in the colder months with the central heating on, in Summer it is just hot water and cooking that uses it.

    I think with clever budgeting, a few car boot sales, maybe selling off some of Col's tools and machinery an clever Ziffit-ing you could scrape by quite well. And no, don't go cold whatever you do, heating and television are little luxuries you more than deserve.

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only person who feels reassured that the house is safe once the Council tax is paid.
      It's annoying to have to use savings to live on but I just feel glad that I've got savings so I don't have to downsize yet

  10. Did you know that you can get a 25% discount on your Council Tax if you live alone? Just want to say I’m enjoying following your blog, Sue. Mo

    1. Yes I claimed that after Colin died. It's still expensive as this is a big house

  11. I was and am the same way. In Canada we pay property tax and I make sure that is paid off in full when it comes due. I like the feeling that having a roof over my head gives me.

    Every once in awhile we pull a bit out of savings as well. I am thinking that perhaps my taking Canada Pension could alleviate this a bit without adding too much to our income.

    God bless.

    1. I hope that when I get state pension it will stop me having to use savings unless I fancy a world cruise!

  12. Would it be worth checking uswitch or one of the other sites for a cheaper electricity deal?

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