Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Last Day of March Financial Round-up


This is another tip for saving money for those with changed circumstances.......KNOW WHAT YOU'VE SPENT. If you keep records of what you spend you can see which bills are due each month, find where you've spent too much and see where you can save. I prefer pen and paper in an accounts book but if you are better than me at digital stuff then there's probably an app.


Well, apart from the first 2 weeks NOT a normal March at all. Most of the big money expenses were in those first 2 weeks  before all the restriction of staying at  home.
 I had a big dentist payment for my check up and x rays and they've started to take a £120 deposit when lots of work is needed (to make sure people go back I guess). So they've had the money but the appointment for that major work has been cancelled.
I also had the car serviced and MOT test done which was timely -  no problems there.
Other expenses were an order of wild bird food - I don't regret that one as I'm enjoying watching them being so busy while I'm home alone.
All the usual things - diesel for the car, food for me and the cat, phones and broadband and charity direct debits.
Also quarterly electric bill, window cleaner, the cat calming stuff refills (they work - mostly).
 I'd begun to prepare for the Easter get together before lock-down - all the family were going to be here - the cupboard with Easter eggs may need lock and key!

Income is just the same as usual - County Council spouses pension. Bits of interest from savings. Family loan repayments have been put on hold for a while.


The Frugal Bits and Bobs

  •  Electric bill down on same time last year
  • After 8 haircuts, I qualified for one half price - handy
  • Nappies from Approved Food to help out the family
  • Stocked up on stamps before the April price rise
  • Rhubarb from the garden 
  • The girls who live next-door-but-one are off school and  have been sorting their toys and left me a lovely bag of colouring and crafting books so I sent some to Florence and saved more for when Willow is older (by coincidence the youngest, who is 7,  is also a Willow).
  • Mixing whole milk half and half with water 
  • Last leeks from the garden

Looking Forward to April (have to look forward with hope)
There will be the bill for the boiler repair - he was here 2 hours and had to put in a new something because the rubber seals had gone. And here's an interesting fact.......... There is now a percentage of bio-oil in heating oil which reacts with rubber seals on pumps etc, so all round the country older oil boilers are leaking and having to have work done.
Looking at last Aprils expenses in the accounts book I can see that there was money spent on things that are not happening this year - holiday, Suffolk Show ticket, hair cut. Heating oil is still OK and I won't be shopping for shoes, clothes or at boot sales or spending much on diesel.
Just the TV licence due - looks as if it will be a very low spend month!

Meanwhile...................................
 You would think that after living here for 3 years I would know where things were round about but yesterday I discovered my nearest Post Office is not where I thought - nearly 5 miles away in Debenham, but down a couple of little lanes, through a ford (no water flowing luckily) in one of the villages that I never go through, in fact no one goes there unless they live there or are lost! It's one of the few remaining little post offices attached to a house and the lady running it has been there 40 years! So more parcels of "things to do" have been sent off to the two oldest grandchildren. I'm glad I collected so many bits and bobs from boot sales last year.
I fixed up the other "Clear up after your dog" sign and potted on the yellow mini plum tomatoes, then lit the wood-burner early again as it's still blinkin' chilly with pouring rain late afternoon. At least the grass isn't growing as the mower repair man is out of action all week again, so no chance of getting the ride on mower sorted this week.

I'll leave you with this thought.............If you think the noise you can hear while fiddling on the blog is just more rain on the conservatory roof, it might not be, it could be the carrots boiling dry in a saucepan!

Back Tomorrow
Sue

20 comments:

  1. lol - poor carrots!
    I was thinking just yesterday that April is not going to be terribly expensive, even with increases in rates and water, etc.
    xx

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  2. Our only outgoings are the standing orders, and top-up groceries. No fuel - only going out on foot, but then we need an oil top up, which we now have to do on line because there is no-one in the office. I have invested in wine making kit - I gave all mine away when I could no longer drink wine a couple of years ago - that should arrive today. Plus a seed order off to the Real Seed co. (heritage seeds) and we are going to order a polytunnel this week, which is the big spend, but it's an investment.

    I'm glad you have found a local PO - ours is 3 miles away (the community shop, which is now doing deliveries).

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  3. Like you, I made a payment at the beginning of March for dental treatment which has yet to happen. I suspect that when it finally gets done, I will end up paying more (NHS dental charges go up tomorrow) I have yet to organise new glasses. TV subtitles getting harder to focus on (I've been sitting in different places in the lounge to check!) At least I'm not driving at the moment. Reading other blogs, it does seem as if some people are doing a lot more "unnecessary" Internet shopping because they are bored at home. That cannot be wise...

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  4. The first quarter of the year has go, maybe the next one will be at things getting back to normal and summer time will really be here.
    We had our singing class yesterday morning which was fun.
    I had a lovely surprise from my youngster sister a nice card and a packet Nasturitium seeds.
    Hazel c uk 🌈🌈🌈

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  5. Oh dear! Hope you rescued the pan before it was beyond hope.

    Apart from extra food for us and for our dog the only extra we've spent is on some wood, as my husband is replacing some log roll at the front of the borders. It won't keep him busy for the duration, but it's something he's been meaning to do since we moved here, lol.

    I have kept some of our daughter's schoolwork, especially if it is interesting information and I knew that I had kept a timeline and chronology of Queen Victoria, which I had put in my family history file. As our eldest grand-daughter is now studying about the Victorians I sent copies of it to her. It may help her, I don't know. One way, apart from Facetime that I can keep in touch with her.

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  6. Oh your poor pan … but I had to laugh :-)

    Interesting fact about the bio oil in heating oil, it's good to know. You've reminded me too, that we have a good bunch of rhubarb on the hillside I'll have to go and pick some. I feel a crumble coming on.

    March has seemed like a very long month hasn't it. I mean it's long at the best of times but this one has been at least 8 weeks!!

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  7. Oh Sue how I laughed at the sound of your carrots boiling dry - I had a very similar experience a couple of weeks ago - just about ruined the saucepan too.

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  8. Funny you should say about carrots boiling dry - I did the same thing on Sunday. I put the pan to soak with some washing poweder, changed the water yesterday, did the same this morning and it's come up a treat. Thank goodness as it is the botttom of a tripple steamer. Helen S.

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  9. You are a whiz at saving money. The last line gave me a good laugh. I hope they didn't burn up.

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  10. I agree with planning out your expenses. Perhaps my method might help some who use a computer spreadsheet. At the beginning of each year I set up an Excel spreadsheet with a check register (by month) for the entire year. I enter all the known stable, monthly expenses (e.g. mortgage, ins, etc.). After that I add all the known income (e.g. pension, wages, etc.) by month. I leave blank lines for unknown expenses (e.g. credit card, electric, fuel, quarterly or annual only expenses, etc.) and for some of those I may put in an estimated amount based on the prior year use. Having this set up means I can, at a glance see where we might stand at any point during the year. I've been using this method for 15 years. My DH was furloughed last week, so I went through my spreadsheet and removed all his wages for the entire year (but leaving the income line so I can add money back if/when he works again). Having done that, I know that we will be okay. We are fortunate to have savings and my pension. Still, we'll be very careful about spending.

    As for the last line in your post--Don't forget to "water" your carrots! :)

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  11. I think we have all boiled veggies dry at some stage, but I hope you managed to rescue your saucepan! April is going to be a very inexpensive month here as we cannot get out to shop (everything is closed, anyway) and there are very few online places operating. All our post offices are closed, although postal and courier deliveries of "essential goods" is still allowed. Stay safe :) xx

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  12. I can imagine the excitement on your grandchildren's faces when they receive mail with the "things to do" surprises! You're a good Grandmum!

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  13. Oh no, re the carrots!!! I did that last week with rhubarb! I had a box of it in the freezer and put it on the hob on low with water and honey. 3 hours later, when I was going to bed, I went into the kitchen and discovered to my horror, a black pan of completely burnt rhubarb! I was so cross with myself.
    I am only discovering things where I live in my town too!
    How lovely to post things to your grandchildren. My blog friend Ally in America sent me a surprise letter today too which was great (particulaarly as I was sending her one too)
    I am sorry you didn't get your dental work done. I am well overdue my regular appointment and now, of course, no appointments! Alas!
    I popped over from Ang's blog- I often see your name in the comments and thought I'd pay a visit! Nice to meet you!

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    1. Welcome.
      Ang and I hope to meet up when they move up to Norfolk which will be fun

      Delete
  14. I spent more money at the start of March - buying a few extra treats etc. but since i've been mostly in lockdown since March 17th - the second half has been rather frugal.
    I've already taken care of April - everything was paid online today - rent cheque was dropped off - hit an ATM this morning for a bit of cash and then did a big shop of fresh fruit & veg, some dairy, and some frozen items (didn't need anything else - even though TP was back in stock)! That will be it for the month - I don't intend going back to a shop until May - we pretty much know that we will be in lockdown until then so I intend to limit any time out to days when I have to take out the garbage & recycling - I'll take a little walk around the building at the same time but that will be it. They expect that the peak will hit us over the next two weeks so isolating as much as possible. It will be pretty frugal since there will be no eating out and no socializing.
    PS - sorry about the carrots - been there - done that! Thank goodness baking soda & vinegar brought to a simmer on the stove (while being watched like a hawk) restored my saucepan!

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  15. Yep! Done that....on the carrots boiling dry. I now have a rule that I cannot leave the kitchen until I have turned off the breakfast porridge. I also set a timer to remind me when there is some vege being boiled on the stove. aloha

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  16. Could you remind me where you buy your wild bird feed please? I did look when you mentione dit before, but didn't need any then. Now I do, I can't rememebr where it was! Thanks.

    Kate

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