Sunday Ramblings 24

Hi everyone, hope you’re all well and enjoying the summer.

I’ve been gone a few months and have even missed a few monthly updates.  So what’s been going on with me?

First job-wise I took the part-time job and have been there a few months now.  I didn’t have to work my full notice so had a three-week break in between jobs and went to visit friends and family in my old town.  The new job is ok and I have to tell myself that it has more positives and negatives.  Whether I will stay there or not is another thing but one of the great things about it is that it is part-time.  I’ve traded money for time.  I like to think that this is semi retirement and I am certainly enjoying the extra time off.

The commute so far has been good.  Trains are on time and I get a seat.  It is a scenic journey with sea views and lots of nature to look at.  I’ve seen herons and deer.  I’m looking forward to the autumn and winter views when the sea will be rougher and the scenery will change colour.  I read on the train and now make sure I take a thin paperback from the library with me to make my bag less heavy.  I’m getting through more books this way, as I also have a book or two on the go at home, and I’m varying what I read.  Can you believe I’ve only just read my first Sherlock Holmes book!  I also have a train friend.

So negatives about work.  The work itself is boring and very bitty.   I get no job satisfaction.  I prefer customer service jobs or jobs with spreadsheets.  This is neither.  The office is nice and so are the people who I work with.  I get more money (obviously less as I’m part-time) but on a pro-rata basis it is more than my previous job and more than the jobs you get in the seaside town where I live.  It’s a permanent job with two more weeks holiday than I would get anywhere else.  A big plus.  So I will stay unless I find anything else locally or within the same organisation which will improve life for me.

Other things going on with me.  The summer is here and because I live by the sea I’ve had a few friends visit.  One of the joys of my semi-retirement is that I don’t have to use my annual leave to see people as I have Mondays off as well as the weekend.  Mr 33 and I are spending more time together as he doesn’t work Mondays either.  We’ve had some good day trips, picnics and fun days just chilling at home watching the football.  So yes life is good.

Enjoy your Sunday.  I’ll stop rambling now.

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Finding my Magazine again

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When I was in my twenties, before the internet and before I was frugal, I used to have various  magazine subscriptions.  The magazines would be delivered through my letter box once a month and I used to really look forward to receiving and reading them.  I’d also buy magazines in my lunch break at work.  Favourites were Cosmopolitan, New Woman and House Beautiful.  I don’t know what changed but now I only buy magazines when I’m at the airport and need a light read for the flight.

So let’s go back to what changed.  I think firstly that I’m older and married now so reading about dating and make-up no longer interested me.  I possibly out grew some of the magazines I read and never found my niche again.  Also with the internet it is possible to find most information online so buying magazines and newspapers seems like a waste of money.  Plus the years that I was paying off my mortgage I was super frugal so would not have spent money on magazines.

I do remember when I was into running bulk buying some running magazines and then finding out that they were aimed at young runners and older runners were given a brief mention or treated like an oddity which is odd as all my serious running friends are all older than me.

When my new job starts I’ll be commuting an hour each way by train and I want to find a magazine to subscribe to again.  I’ll do this by setting myself the challenge of buying at least one  magazine a month, reading it and reviewing it on this blog.  I will then  hopefully finding a magazine or two that I enjoy and can subscribe to.

My first thought on looking at the magazines in shops was how expensive they are.   I was expecting them to be two or three pounds but most seems to be around the five-pound mark.  I’m guessing that there will be special offers for regular readers.

So keep an eye on this blog for my quest to find my magazine.

Do you read a magazine regularly and what would you recommend?

May 2018 update

Hi, I hope you all had a good May.  I’m late again with my monthly update.  I’ll explain why in another post.

Here are my 2018 goals and how I am getting on with them.

Non financial Goals

Read 30 books of which at least 8 should be non-fiction

I read 1 book in May.  This was non-fiction.  In fact it was a reread of The Millionaire Next Door.

The total number of books read for the year is 11 of which 6 are non fiction so I am on target for my non fiction reading goal but behind for my overall reading goal.  I’ll do another post on this later.

Declutter the flat

Slow progress here.  Just general tidying up.

Travel

A day trip to London and some local travel.

Continue to learn Italian   Learn German

Done and it was useful although not essential to know German when we were in Berlin.  I’ve done no new learning since we got back but that is ok.  I think it’s good to learn a new language so I’ll keep this as a target.  No progress in May.

Make new friends

Now I’ve left my old job the social interaction I had during the day is gone.  This will be a kick in the teeth for me to stay in touch with those friends and make new ones.

Do Voluntary work

No progress on my knitting for charity.

Financial Goals update

Save £400 a month towards retirement

Done.

** New goal ** Save £250 a month for travel

Done.

Make £100 a month passive income (eg dividends and interest)

Done.  This is so exciting.  My passive income was £194 in May.  This was made out of £182 from my S&S ISA and £12 from my P2P lending.   I’m now taking out any repayments from both my P2P lending accounts and putting them into my S&S ISA rather than reinvesting them.  So here is my graph.

chart (20)

Carry on budgeting and tracking expenditure

Done.

**New Goal *** Save £1,000 into a party fund

I put my £194 of passive income into the party fund which now gives me a grand total of £549 of £1,000 saved.

Budget round-up

May was a low spend month.  I was over budget for travel by £17.  However I was under budget on a lot of things. £2 under for council tax – my mistake, £2 under on food and £39 under on pocket-money or my personal spending money.   I received £11 extra income from cashback.  At the end of the month I was left with £37 which I’m saving for July when I won’t have a full income for the month.

Towards Retirement

My forecast retirement age is still 61 years old and 10 months.  However saving £239 a month until I am 60 will allow me to retire at 60.  This figure becomes more important as I won’t be able to save £400 a month when I go part-time.

May focus

My May focus was to apply for jobs which I did and I start my new job next week so success there.

June Focus

We are nearly halfway through June so I won’t set too many additional goals.  I will aim to do at least four blog posts before the end of the month.

Hope you all have a good June!

Sunday Ramblings 23

Happy Sunday everyone!  We’ve not had the rain here yet but it looks like it’s on its way.  No doubt it will arrive in full force once I leave the house to pop into town later.

I’m getting myself stressed for no reason about the new job.  It felt right when I was there.  I know the travel time will be over an hour each way but the money will be more and it is part-time so I’ll get a day off per week.  It’s a good organisation with chance of promotions.  So why am I stressing about low paid jobs in the local area?  I’ve been invited for interview for one of these jobs on June 4th, I have accepted but will pull out if the paperwork for my new job comes out before then.  It’s unlikely I’ll take it so why am I putting myself through this?  Just to see what the job feels like.  And then when I googled that job to see what the hours were a similar job on the corner of my road popped up.  So I keep weighing up local job low pay but no travel with good job, travel, promotion prospects, excellent holidays, lovely grounds and working conditions.  I am over thinking it all and it is giving me a headache.

The job I’ve accepted will be a train journey of between 45 minutes and an hour and a short walk both ends.  I can read on the train, blog if I sort my phone out, sleep, plan ect so the time needn’t be wasted.  The travel cost will be low as I’ll travel off-peak and have a railcard.  I suppose it is natural to be anxious about change and I am lucky that as I don’t have a mortgage and have savings then I can leave if I don’t like it.  One thing I don’t regret is resigning from my present job.  I will be glad to leave on Thursday.

I will try not to think too much about this today.  A walk by the sea may be in order to clear my head.

All Change

I’ve been away from this blog for some time again.  Been busy with job applications, a few day trips and work.  I’ve been applying for part-time jobs and so far have had three invites to interview which kind of tells me that part-time jobs may be easier to get than full-time jobs.  In the meantime my job is becoming toxic.  Our new project is so boring and there is conflict and power games all around.  Time to go.  Our contracts have been extended to the end of March but I still want to go.

I had an interview on Tuesday and was offered the job.  I accepted.  It’s still sinking in.  I have a new job!!!!!  I resigned on Wednesday and I finish next week.  It’s all happened so quickly.  I haven’t seen or signed a contract yet but I don’t care.  Time to leave.  If all goes to plan I’ll have a few weeks off before I start the new job.  Some much needed me time after devoting myself to writing job applications for so long.

So I’m looking forward to semi retirement – working part-time.  It will hit my savings plans and I will have to be more frugal but I will have more free-time to do the things I want to do, more time with Mr 33, time for new hobbies, time to be fit and healthy, I may even join a gym.

So that’s a quick update.  More to follow when things are more definite.

Sunday Ramblings 22

My life for the last few weeks has been focussed around doing job applications.  I’ve done about ten so far and aim to do two more today.  I’m applying for a range of jobs including some part-time ones.  In fact my focus is mostly on the part-time jobs.   My only criteria is that the take home must be at least my current salary minus the £400 that I save towards my retirement each month.   This will mean no change in my lifestyle and money going towards a travel fund each month so I can still have holidays.   It may mean no retirement savings so I would look for other ways to source that or wait for pay rises to kick in but working part-time would mean a mini retirement instead.  Anyway I will wait and see what happens before over thinking it.

Feedback from job applications so far has been poor.   I’ve had two thank you but no thank you emails and an acknowledgment email from an agency.  More than half seem to have gone into a black hole.

One thing I know is that I must get out of my current job.  After being trained up to do something new, which I was getting the hang of and starting to enjoy, we are now told that we will be doing something else.  The something else is such a clerical paper based process with so many ways that things can go wrong that I’d rather leave than be there when it all does goes wrong.  So that is why I am spending the sunny bank holiday doing job applications.  I’m hoping we’ll get out to enjoy the sunshine tomorrow.

I hope you all enjoy the weekend.  Back to writing a person specification or more accurately cutting and pasting one from ones that I have used before!

April 2018 update

Hi, I hope you all had a good April.

Here are my 2018 goals and how I am getting on with them.

Non financial Goals

Read 30 books of which at least 8 should be non-fiction

I read 2 books in April.  1 was non-fiction.

The total number of books read for the year is 10 of which 5 are non fiction so I am on target for both my reading goals.

Declutter the flat

Some progress here.  Not so much of a declutter but more of a tidy up.  I moved a lot of clutter from our hallway and sorted out the bookshelf.  I’d got rid of a lot of books before we moved here so there weren’t many to get rid off but I did tidy the books up and get rid of things on the bookshelf that weren’t books.  The hall way is now more minimalist and welcoming.  Once spring finally appears I can move all my winter boots to the spare room wardrobe and tidy up the shoe area.

Travel

We went to Berlin.  I’m thinking about the next holiday and have booked some time off work for July.

Continue to learn Italian   Learn German

Done and it was useful although not essential to know German when we were in Berlin.  I’ve done no new learning since we got back but that is ok.  I think it’s good to learn a new language so I’ll keep this as a target.

Financial Goals update

Save £400 a month towards retirement

Done.  £450 saved in April.  I’m following the advice of Rich Dad and saved £400 at the start of the month.  The other £50 was saved at the end of the month as I had money left over from my budget.

** New goal ** Save £250 a month for travel

Done.

Make £100 a month passive income (eg dividends and interest)

Done for the first time in months.  My NS&I bond paid out and my S&S ISA performed well this month for a change.   I made £159 in April.  This was made out of £66 from my bond, £83 from my S&S ISA £10 from my P2P lending.   I’m now taking out any repayment from both my P2P lending and putting them into my S&S ISA rather than reinvesting them.  So here is my graph.

chart (19)

Carry on budgeting and tracking expenditure

Done.

**New Goal *** Save £1,000 into a party fund

I put my £159 of passive income into the party fund which now gives me a grand total of £355 of £1,000 saved.

Budget round-up

April was a big spend month due to my holiday which came out of my holiday sinking fund.  I was over budget for food by £9 and £2.50 over for my phone.  However I was £50 under on my personal spending and bus travel, possibly due to being on holiday for a week.  We also got a refund on some of our flat maintenance.  This gave me an extra £78.  I put £50 into my retirement savings and the other £28 into the household sinking fund.

Towards Retirement

My forecast retirement age is now 61 years old and 10 months.  However saving £241 a month until I am 60 will allow me to retire at 60.  As I’m aiming to save £400 a month then hopefully I’ll be able to retire earlier than 60.

April Focus

My  additional April goals weren’t as succesful as my financial goals.

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I wanted to buy a nice notepad and handwriting pens and plan and cost my decluttering and home decoration plans.  Well I bought the note pad and pens but didn’t get much planning done.

“I also want to open a Nationwide Flexdirect account,  knit one thing for charity, carry on with the meal planning and eat and give a few Easter Eggs.”   The first two were a fail.  The meal planning has now changed to Mr 33 and I eating together when we are together and having a joint and separate food budget.  I am still meal planning and he is listening to me and is more aware of what I want to eat.  All good on the Easter Egg front too.

As my April goals were a disaster then I won’t make any May goals except for to apply for jobs.

I hope you had a good April.

I’m back

berlin-2156227_640

Hi everyone, I’m back from my trip to Berlin so I thought I’d do another list of things that I’ve learnt from going on holiday.  I would link to the last post I did on this but I can’t find it.  So here we go:

Berlin is a modern city.  For some reason I thought it would be old like Prague but it is very modern.  There were a lot of building and construction works going on there

I can take less clothes next time.  We managed to go hand luggage only and I still didn’t wear everything that I brought with me.  Luckily the weather was good so I could manage with jeans and tee shirts with/without a coat/fleece most days.  I didn’t pack spare shoes which saved space.  I took one jumper out just before leaving but it was too hot to wear the other two that I packed.  I packed my ipad and downloaded a books on that instead of taking books with me.

Folding the Marie Kondo way makes packing so much easier.  I just put all the rolled up clothes into the rucksack.

Mr 33 always sets the alarms off going through security – well I knew that anyway.  Not sure why this time as he’d taken his belt and shoes off but he was a long time being patted much to my amusement.

It was worth learning German before I went.  Even though I didn’t have any German conversations of sentences over 2 words it was good to be able to understand menus, signs and general conversations.

The food in Berlin was good.  Who would have guessed that?  I was expecting basic food but we had some good meals including steak and paella.

Going away makes me appreciate home more.  Before the holiday I wanted a new bathroom, new carpets and a complete redecoration.  Coming home I realised I don’t need any of that.  Spending a week in a hotel room and coming home fresh makes you appreciate what you’ve got.

I need to get a new job asap so I can book the next holiday.  I don’t want any gaps with no pay coming in.  I really enjoyed this holiday.  It’s been the best one we’ve had for a long time.  I want to book my next holiday and continue exploring the world.

I need to read the descripton before booking hotel rooms.  Mr 33 will not let me forget this one.  We stayed one night at the airport hotel on the way back and I’d booked an accessible room.  Nothing wrong with that of course and it was a big room but we spent an anxious night trying not to pull a red cord by accident.

Berlin Zoo is the best zoo that I have been to.  The pandas were cute but I prefered the other bears.  They were cuter and more lively and you don’t often see bears in zoos.

Sunday Ramblings 21

I have spent most of the weekend doing a job application.  I had forgotten how long these take.  Although I chop and change on whether I will stay in my job until the contract ends in September time is moving on.  I saw this job and as the closing date is a few weeks away when we will be on holiday I decided to apply for it.  The salary is a lot higher than the one that I am on now so that is a reason to apply for it.  I’ll only apply for jobs with lower salaries when I’m in my last 6 weeks or so at work.  I feel good that the application has gone off.  I now need to just wait.  In a way I’d rather just leave and move on and get it over with so I can carry on with my life and not have to worry about the uncertainty of not having a job.

There are some jobs that I like the sound of that pay a lot less than the job I am in now.  I would like to apply for them but it seems silly to do so at the moment.  A receptionist in my favourite hotel has come up.  The pay is not good but I think I would love working there.  Time will tell what my next job will be.

I have been ill with a cough and cold the last week or so and Mr 33 has taken over cooking and food buying so meal planning has been on hold for a bit.  I do have a nice stock of frozen meals in the freezer now.  Mr 33 bought a nice leg of lamb for Easter but we did not eat it as I was unwell.

I noticed that The Millionaire Next Door is 99p in kindle format so I have ordered this.  I read it years ago and would like to reread it.  99p is a bargain.   99p is an acceptable price for a book for me.  I won’t pay more than this in a charity shop either.

So I will return to packing for my holiday which is hard as the weather forecast is mixed for next week.  I hope you’ve all had a good week.

March 2018 update

Hi, I hope you all had a good Easter break.

Here are my 2018 goals and how I am getting on with them.

Non financial Goals

Read 30 books of which at least 8 should be non-fiction

I read 3 books in March.  1 was non-fiction.

The total number of books read for the year is 8 of which 4 are non fiction so I am on target for both my reading goals.

Declutter the flat

No declutter jobs done this month but I’m working on a plan for the rest of the year as this seems to have stopped.  This is in my April 2018 Focus

Make friends / be social / Volunteer

My volunteer work is knitting for charity.  So far I have knitted two squares.

Travel

Nothing new to report.

Continue to learn Italian   Learn German

I’m doing well here.  I completed Beginners German Level 3 and have nearly finished Food and Drink.  I’ve also started German for Holidays.

Financial Goals update

Save £400 a month towards retirement

£400 saved in March.  I’m following the advice of Rich Dad and saved £400 at the start of the month

** New goal ** Save £250 a month for travel

Fail.  I overspent this month so some of this shortfall came out of my travel money and I only saved £223 into my travel fund this month.

My current job will end at the end of September and I’ll be staying that long so I can maximise my pension – it seems that as I’ve worked for the organisation before then my pension will build up and not be refunded at the end of my  contract.  My plan is to freeze my travel fund at the end of April, continue paying into it, and use that money as my spending money in case I’m unemployed after September.  I do have a three month emergency fund for if I’m not working but if I use that then I will need to replenish it which will affect my pension savings.  Using my travel fund to live off will encourage me to look for work as I’ll not want my travel fund to diminish!

Make £100 a month passive income (eg dividends and interest)

Fail again.  I made -£21.05 in March.  This should have been a good month as my cash ISA paid interest on 31 March. However this interest was totally wiped out with further losses on my S&S ISA.  I also had a  default on one of my loans for my Funding Circle P2P lending meaning a further loss of £8.70.  I’ve started to withdraw money from my Ratesetter account as I was annoyed that they didn’t credit my £100 bonus until I prompted them last month making them less trustworthy in my eyes.  I’m doing this weekly as funds become available as otherwise I am charged to withdraw money.  My passive income graph looks like this.

chart (18)

 

I’m not going to carry on putting money into my S&S ISA until the markets pick up which I know is against all advice but I won’t be withdrawing my money either.  I know in the long term it has returned well against what I’ve invested in it.

Extend the lease on the flat

I need to have lived in the flat for 2 years to do this so no action required until September.

Carry on budgeting and tracking expenditure

Done.

**New Goal *** Save £1,000 into a party fund

I put my positive interest for March into the party fund which now gives me a grand total of £195.81 of £1,000 saved.

March was a big spend month.  I was over budget on food by £20 and £60 over on my personal spending.   Our annual flat maintenance fund was more than expected too.  I took money out of my clothes sinking fund and travel sinking fund to make my budget balance.  I made £25 additional income (cashback) via Quidco which offset some of the overspend.

Towards Retirement

On a positive note I’ve now received my much awaited deferred pension statement so I can now give an accurate forecast of when I can afford to retire.  This is when I am 61 years old and 11 months.  However saving £243 a month until I am 60 will allow me to retire at 60.  As I’m aiming to save £400 a month then hopefully I’ll be able to retire earlier than 60.

March Focus

  • Meal Planning – Going ok.  I have lots of frozen meals now but the food budget was high this month.
  • Learn German – See above.
  • Date night – Two this month – this is why I’ve overspent on my pocket-money budget!  Theatre night and a meal out.
  • Go outside at weekends (weather allowing) – more snow and now I’ve got a cold so fail.

I hope your March goals went well!