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Sunday, 26 May 2013

There is no going back

I don’t know what’s up with me now a days, but I save for a couple of months and I’ve turned into a totally different person.  I used to love getting my CK magazine through the door and circling all of the pretty things I wanted from it.  Now I get my pot of tea ready, pull up a plate of biscuits, open the mag and hear myself complain about the price of things and lack of pretty patterns.  Oh dear, I’m so glad I can take pleasure in the things I already have or can pick up cheaply, I fear there is no going back now!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Heavenly Gardens

We're not planting any flowers as we are maybe moving and certainly saving money...
But a girl can dream of a pretty garden..
With flowers and pretty fences...

This Ambition of Mine

Aberdeen is built on some hills, and although I’m not at the top of a hill there is a wee bit of a dip down at the bottom of my road which then climbs up quite high above sea level. This gives me a perfect view when I go over the photocopier and peak out of the corner window. I can see all the way down the hill, past all the big fancy houses and over to a really pretty park then out to sea.

I therefore do an awful lot of the scanning, or ‘oh I’m just waiting for my print’, or really quite a general wonder around the office looking as if I’m on my way to something important, but really out for a walk. When I was younger I never wanted to work in an office, I wanted to be free. I wanted to spend all my hours doing a fun and exciting job, out and about in any weather. Now as I’ve got older I realise I just want to do my own thing, but then there’s money. So because I need money I’d much prefer to do any sort of job that pays me fine enough, keeps me warm and dry, lets me walk in some days at 10 and lets me leave some days at 4. I like the people I’m with, and when its home time that’s when I do the fun or fulfilling stuff. Maybe one day I’ll work the two in together, but for now this is working.

My friends friend is graduating in December and saying she’ll take a year off to find herself. Her Mum has bought her a house and she says she’ll never be found in an office, (God forbid), she is going to DO something with her life…. Well, good luck to her! I can certainly say that I am not jealous of that. When I left Uni it was the worst experience ever. Firstly you have to pay council tax, then just as you earn more you find out there is a threshold for you paying tax-you just never reached it before now. You instantly find all your friends dispersed across the country, you don’t have parties and clubs to visit and the goal you had since you announced you were going to University in your Primary 7 project ‘what I want to do when I’m bigger’ is suddenly gone!

Nope, I would rather be good old boring me. I would much rather let my mind go blank and enjoy the view from the train journey in the morning. I would much rather happily sit and get my work done, but be able to put it aside at the end of the day, or even at lunch time to go and do my own thing. I am more than happy that I will not be contacted at the weekend. This isn’t lack of ambition, my ambition was to go to the wonderful University that I went to. My ambition was to create a lovely home, this is something that I’m doing now and I’m saving for our future home. My ambition really is to have children, whether I give birth or not-they will be little people I help to raise. My ambition is to have a house where other little ones are welcome. It is to have a friendly house with enough money to pay bills, food in the fridge and a warm environment. I couldn’t care less about what I have to do to get the basics-I am more than happy being pleased by gardens, and birds and walks. I delight in cooking for my family. I want people who visit to feel calm, I am so proud if someone snoozes after a big dinner at our home, this is what gives me joy!

Now, I’m just off to post this very important letter…*ah, stepping out into sunshine*

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

When to save and when to splurge

Eeek, I haven’t fallen off the savings wagon, but it sure has taken a hit. I needed some more foundation, which is very important to me and bought my normal stuff. It’s a bit more expensive, but it works for my skin, lasts for ages-meaning it probably only costs 3p a day. However, instead of being organised and checking out the costs online compared with any deals I could get on the high street I left it too late and had to rush out in my lunch hour. After getting my makeover (you know the one where you leave thinking your best friends with the consultant), I bought a larger amount than needed and a couple of extra bits like primer and bronzer as well.

I am thoroughly disappointed with myself and will obviously have to take this spendy lunch out of next month’s allowance. This is something I take out of the bank and put into my purse so that I don’t keep putting things on the card.
One way we have been good is by getting our broadband package changed. TH needs this for his work, so it really is something we can’t cut out on, so we had better get the best deal we can on it. I found a site called broadbandmart.co.uk which I’ve been using to compare deals. I’m much better at sorting out information this way as I sometimes think when you phone they go out of their way to bamboozle you! I always put TH on the phone and he normally sorts out any problems-so my contribution to this is looking up the site to find out what I can get cheaper or free to begin with. We’ve used sites like this in the past to compare deals that new customers would get compared to us as loyal ones in case we like the look of something better. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and if you sound like you know that you’re talking about it can’t be a bad thing.

I think that seeing as we do need bt total broadband we might as well get the best price! We used the site to see that the ‘good deal’ we thought we were on wasn’t actually as good as it could be and we’ve already got 2 months free as a result. That was down to our complaining and not actually the site, but still-if I can get information to get a better deal I’m going to take the opportunity! I also took the opportunity to use a link which shows what broadband deals you get in your area, unfortunately we are just that little bit too rural to switch provider, but at least I wasn’t lethargic about finding a cheaper broadband deal.

I could have done so much better today and not splurged, but I do feel a bit proud over our saving of £178 a year! I mean, would you walk past that on the street? That’s going straight into the saving jar….and the make up? It’ll be used ever so sparingly for the next year.

Come on Summer

There have been a couple of days where it’s just been so sunny and warm I can’t help but get excited for summer. Winter was so long and dark and cold that I am aching for a warm(ish), dry(ish) British summer. I’ve a couple of ideas for things that I would love for us to do, because although we aren’t going abroad I really don’t want us to spend our time at home only doing chores and boring things. I can’t think of anything more demoralising or more likely to make me run out and spend all the money I can to make up for such a dreary existence.

I’ve never been to a Highland Games in this country and every year we do speak with increasing enthusiasm about the Lonach Gathering. I haven’t been berry picking in so long, and I have only fond memories of heading away with a punnet full of fruit and picnicking by the seaside after a day of gathering. We might go camping at Ballater which is a really beautiful village with a nice campsite with good amenities. We have quite a good tent, although Daisy Dog does detest it - and I don’t know if I can spend another night of her throwing herself against the tent and howling for the king-size bed she normally sleeps on.
I also hope we can have jaunts to all the pretty little villages and hamlets around us we would normally drive on through. I can picture a warm sunny day and an impromptu stop at an independent shop, tea room or vintage stall by the side of the road. Whether this happens or TH and I drive past the turnoff, get stuck up a country lane and Daisy gets poorly just as the heavens opens is another story, but I guess we won’t know until it happens.
We live by Bennachie and there are so many routes up that hill network that we have plenty of ways of getting up or parks for stopping for picnics along the way. There are also lots and lots of parks that allow Barbequing, and hopefully the village butcher will be back up and running so we can get our delicious ‘party packs’ again.

I want to take full advantage of our new home and our (hopefully) last summer in it. If everything goes to plan TH will have a new job in a far off country meaning a brand new adventure for us both, and if not we will still have saved enough for a deposit so we’ll be viewing properties. The move in December and all of the stress associated with the freezing cold house and terrible snow really took a lot out of us, and certainly sent us on a negative spiral. Although I have it in my mind that this is in no way the forever home we thought it was, it is a big place in a lovely part of the world near to a beautiful little village. It would therefore be beyond ridiculous to not appreciate that, and appreciate this gorgeous glorious country is what we’ll be doing this year.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Goal

In a way it is wonderful that I now have a goal that isn’t dictated by what my body does, it’s something 100% achievable, just like my education or career. Now I can’t promise I’m not someone who gets ahead of themselves, I most certainly am. I think most of the wedding was planned way before TH was The Fiancé or even The Boyfriend, so this ‘getting ahead of myself’ and finding out all of the house prices in all of the areas is just something I do.
I know how much the house types we like costs in all areas in Aberdeenshire, and have scouted out how quickly we can get into town from them. We already know that we’d much prefer a smaller house than a larger mortgage and have figured out roughly what we can borrow. Because we rent right now as well as save we know that the first month we have to just pay a mortgage and the buildings insurance we’ll feel like millionaires. So for a little while we’ll watch the pennies and then I really can let this dream loose. Poor TH won’t know what’s hit him when I finally get to nosey around houses.

This month marks the first of savings! I got out of the overdraft earlier this month and have put the rest of the savings into the savings jar along with some other money earned from ebay. The savings jar is then going along with the bit extra saved after paying off the overdraft into the ISA, and then from June onwards all money saved can go to live in the ISA instead of paying off some ridiculous debt from years ago! For someone who is incredibly bad at saving this is super exciting.

Ive been printing off mini statements and paying things in card-which goes totally against what most people say…but hear me out- so I can see where everything goes. I can see straight away that for our family of two, and a westie, we are spending too much on groceries. When I say groceries you know you can change that for cakes and such like as in one month we’ve spend £168 on food. This is so embarrassing. I cook everything from scratch, have a freezer that never empties and a good looking pantry. It’s just that the freezer food has lived there for ages, I forget to take it out or think up something good to cook with so we head to the shops after work and pick up some meat there.

One tiny saving grace is that I actually do the big shop at Lidl and last minute buys on the way home from co-op when they’ve reduced everything by half. I sometimes go to Asda too, but only if I’ve bought a voucher from their first which saves 5%, and I recently bought a couple of duvets from Tesco as it meant I’d get the 10p off a litre of fuel (which was over £5 of a saving).

So, there I am, a way ahead of myself but working very hard towards this goal of ours. It’s super exciting and I can’t wait to ‘show off’ our own home when we finally get there.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Gone a bit AWOL

Eeeek, gads! I’ve been missing for a little while now. There’s been a fair amount of stress and horridness floating around for a little while now, but it seems like I’ve got all the facts and things are getting better.

The other day we found out that a possible reason we haven’t had a little one after four and a bit years of marriage is that I’ve got PCOS. I felt a bit gloomy after it, but then we got to thinking that it’s been there this whole time and nothing has changed, we might as well have a name for what’s going on.

We are having an argument with our old energy supplier who is just awful and continues to say that we owe them money without issuing an actual bill with dates on it. However we have contacted them to get their final say on the grievance, and if that doesn’t go well we’ll get the Ombudsman and I guess that’s out of our hands for a little while too.

The final straw the other day was when I heard of a horrible case of animal cruelty. I’d been trying to stay positive with lots of little stresses floating around and when I heard about it I just couldn’t bottle it up any longer. Although I can’t stop these people TH suggested we ‘adopt a pony’ or something similar and get money to a charity that helps animals.

I can’t think of anything worse than having a whole string of negative thoughts in your head at once that you just can’t seem to shake off. I went to bed incredibly early on Wednesday for a mope and a moan and after a very big cuddle from TH we started to get things in perspective.

I think I stayed away for a little while as I didn’t have anything good or happy to say. I didn’t have a nice story or a happy tale. We’d had anger and frustration, disappointment and disbelief. I hope now we’re getting a handle on these things and starting to get them sorted out at least in our own heads.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

A Little Trip

Last year the women of the family had such a great time in Edinburgh at Christmas time we are already organising our next visit.  It seems like every weekend in December get booked up fast-in families and apartment rentals so we are acting quickly.   I love sites with loads of  advanced search facilities and I quickly lose it with the ones that can’t do this.  Some sites take pay pal which means that all the hard earned cash from those ebay sales will be worth it and we can have quite a cheap trip.  TH has been invited as have all the males but they are not willing to go A. Shopping B. Shopping and C. More Shopping.  They also don’t seem to find it very exciting to find large Christmas trees or drink cocoa at a German Market…what is it with those guys? 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Dreams for the Garden

Can't wait to get into the garden, what with saving for a move I now have to put all garden related energy into a veg patch instead of spending time on flowers I will have to leave behind...just dreaming of my ideal garden!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Spring Cleaning & Tidying Away The Junk!

We’re settling into the new house very slowly, part of this is the face we are doing so many other things, but for the most part its because we have so much ‘stuff’. Things pile up and I distinctly remember saying before the move that I was much too busy and I would sort it once I got to the new place…oh how naive.

One possible good thing to come from this is that I didn’t just throw these things away to get rid of them quickly, this means that now they can be sold on ebay, gumtree, car boot sales or any number of places. The important thing here is that they get sold!

I have loads and loads of ball gowns and cocktail dresses that I bought when I was a cadet for all of the dining in nights and when I was a student for the balls there. I got a new dress for each occasion, (sometimes six a year) as well as a new pair of heels and a bag. I got my hair done up and some beauty treatments as well-just for the fun of it. I mean, I had my part time job in a clothes shop and real life when I was a grown up would be like this, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it? …oh how naïve.

So although I haven’t been a good thrifty, frugally saver my whole life at least I have items I can and will sell to make up for it. TH has put his old camera on gumtree, there are some random things we found on ebay and yes, those pretty silk gowns are going too.

I didn’t do as well as I thought I would when I sold some things before from the old caravan. I completely miscalculated the cost of shipping and ended up barely breaking even, minus a product I pretty much gave up for free. I now use a courier company to deal with this as it’s really not worth the hassle trying to carry it down to the Post Office (sorry-I promise I use them for lots of other things).

I found one here which is very used to dealing with eBay purchases and all you need to do to get a free quote…free being the operative word…is put in a couple of details so they can contact you. I absolutely hate having to sign up for no good reason or so a company can send you a bunch of spam, so I am super wary. If you want the cheapest quotes you have to be flexible, but I think we’re all used to that now, and when I put things on eBay I always make it clear I’m not a shop and people are always very patient.

The good thing is you don’t need to make half a dozen phone calls to get quotes for a courier-they get in contact with you. For some reason I always used the Royal Mail because I thought it was easiest, but it isn’t really if you have a great big thing or an awkward shaped parcel you need to send on. I think this is the way forward for future swaps, especially I am able to take advantage of the local delivery page which shows people in your area needing things moved about.

Hopefully I’ll be able to keep the postage costs down and get our things to any eBay purchasers. All these little pennies will hopefully not take too long to add up, and at the very least, we’ll be having a spring clean!