Sunday Ramblings 25

It’s been a long time since I’ve written one of these.

After my previous post about saving money I thought I’d share one example of how I’ve wasted money this month.  This is due to my magazine app that I discussed in my last blog post.  I was browsing a few of the free digital magazines from the library when this happened as I was reading the BBC Good Food magazine.

Me to Mr 33 : Oh here’s a good recipe for chocolate mouse with just three ingredients.   It’s easy even I could make this.  The hardest part is separating the egg.

Mr 33: That’s good, are you still making lasagna this week?

Me: Possibly.  Oh look there’s a recipe for prawn and peanut butter noodles.

Mr 33:  You will never make any of the recipes.  Have you remembered to change your fantasy football team this week?  Who’s your captain?

Me: I’ll just look.

Later that morning I went into town and bought the printed edition of BBC Good Food magazine for £4.60.  I then decided that I wanted to subscribe to it and have it posted to me every month.  Luckily I found out that I had enough Tesco Clubcard points for a six month subscription so my subscription is free.  So £4.60 wasted – time will tell,  I hope it will encourage me to cook more.  Maybe a monthly goal for the future should be to cook two new recipes.

Talking of subscriptions I have spent £19.99 this month subscribing to ancestry.co.uk.  I was contacted by a distant relative and was helping him do some research.  I just took out a month’s subscription but it didn’t take me long to find out that there was nothing new that I could tell him so that is £19.99 wasted.  I will make sure I get my moneys worth and add to my own family tree (which I’ve been working on for years) and will cancel in time so I don’t get charged for next month.

Other news – I have an interview for a local job next week.  A job nearer home with no commute will give me much more time to experiment with new recipes.

Enjoy your Sunday everyone!

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January Money Saving

Hi everyone, I hope that 2019 is treating you well.  I thought I’d share a few money saving things that I’ve done so far this year.

Free magazines

The first one I’m really excited about.  This is free magazines.  You may remember that sometime back I did a feature on finding my magazine.  You will also remember that there was never any follow-up to this.  This was partly due to starting a new job and not blogging much at that time and also because I was buying magazines and finding that I only read a few articles.  Life is too short to read a magazine cover to cover.  If I’m not interested in an article on find your perfect lipstick then I won’t read it.  My conclusion was that magazines were a waste of money.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I saw my library Facebook feed saying that I could borrow digital magazines for free by downloading an app.  It is the RBdigital app but have a look and see what your library does.  I have linked my library ticket and can now download a whole load of digital magazines including back copies.  I’ve got the app on my phone and iPad and find it easier to read the magazines on my iPad.  Titles I can borrow are varied and include BBC titles including Countryfile, Good Food Magazine, History Magazine and other titles such as Cosmopolitan, Health and Fitness, National Geographic, Total Film and Weightwatchers.  In fact there is something for everybody and more than enough for me.   As they are free I can browse through them and just read the articles of interest.  Oh and another benefit – as they are digital they don’t clutter up my home.

Train compensation

My train journey was delayed due to an accident so I have filled in the form to get compensation.  It will only be a few pounds but every little helps.  Check my end of month round-up to see if this comes through.

Two Together Railcard

On the subject of train travel Mr 33 and I had a weekend away so I renewed our expired Two Together railcard and we saved one third on the rail fare.  The card has now more than paid for itself so any further trips will be true savings.

Cheap cinema

I make a point of going to the cinema on a Monday now when it is £3.99.  Most other days it is over £10.  So far this month we’ve been once but I hope to go again before the end of the month.

Cashback sites

I continue to use cashback sites to make purchases and this month I have bought holiday insurance via Quidco plus cashback from previous purchases has been paid this month.

So those are my money saving activities so far in January.

January Goals

I’ve decided not to have loads of 2019 goals this year but to focus on monthly goals instead.

So saying that I do have two 2019 goals:

1. Make £100 passive income a month – I won’t set a savings target as working part-time means there is little left over to save.  However I want to make £100 a month passive income, this is income from dividends, interests on savings, cashback, money from eBay etc.  Last year I didn’t count things like cashback and eBay.  Due to the stock market at the moment I don’t expect to meet this target at the start of the year.

2. Read 40 books.  Should be easy as I’ve discovered audiobooks.

On top of that my January goals are:

  • Write to appeal the council tax band – this has been on my to-do list for months so I want it done in January.
  • See two movies – there are loads I want to see at the moment but I’ll set a target of two.  I only go on a Monday when it’s £3.99 so two is a sensible amount.
  • A weekend away – already booked
  • Date night
  • Meet a friend for coffee –  a start to a more social 2019
  • Stay on budget
  • Declutter something

I hope your January goes well.

2018 Goal Update Part Two

My previous post updated on my non financial goals so here is an update of my financial goals.

Financial Goals update

Save £400 a month towards retirement

Fail – looking at my spreadsheet I managed to save £208 a month towards my retirement.  This was half the amount predicted and was mainly due to going part-time.  I did save £1,000 into a party fund and I have continued to save into my sinking funds including a holiday one which is looking good now so I have done well on saving money but not very good on advancing on my goal to retire at 60 or earlier.

My projected retirement age is now 61.75, not much different to the start of the year.

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

Another disaster here as due to the stock market my stocks and shared ISA continues to take a dive so my total passive income for the whole year was £116.  This just about pays for my half of the tv licence and the contents insurance.  Very disappointing but I’m sure the stock market will pick up.  I will also think of a different way to record my passive income in 2019 so the S&S ISA is excluded.

So a disappointing 2018 on the finance front and lots of thinking to be done by me on how to change things for 2019.

On the plus side when I added up all my spend for the year I was happy to see that the category where I spend the most money on is holidays.  Long may that continue!

Happy New Year to you all!

2018 Goal Update Part One

Hi, I hope you are all getting excited about Christmas!  know I’m not blogging much these days but I thought it would be good to look back on my 2018 goals.  Some I won’t be able to update until the end of the year but here we go:

Non financial Goals

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

Done – I’m on 35 books but hopefully it will be a few more by the end of the year.  I’ve recently discovered audiobooks which will hopefully get my reading up in 2019.  I’m ashamed to admit that I thought audiobooks were for lazy people.  Last month I found that my library does free ebooks and audiobooks and I tried a few audiobooks and loved them.  They are not for lazy people at all in fact they are for productive people as you can multi task.  I listen to books while I’m doing housework or crafts.  I found the audiobooks that the library offers was limited so I did a bit of research and found Librivox which does free audiobooks.  These are mostly classics but for me that is great as my local library is great for new and modern books but lacks in the classics especially foreign ones like Russian novels which I love.

Declutter the flat

Done – ok so not thoroughly done but I’ve had a few big clothes sort outs and I can honestly say that there is less stuff in the flat now than at the start of the year.

Travel

Berlin, a few trips to London, a visit back to my home town and lots of local trips.

Continue to learn Italian   Learn German

Done and it was useful although not essential to know German when we were in Berlin.

Make new friends

This is a difficult one as I have realised that new friends are not the be all and end all and as long as I have friends somewhere all is good.  I have seen a lot of my old friends in 2018.  As for local friends I’m still in touch with a few from my previous job and have one good friend in my current job.  I think it is best not to force things and let friendships happen naturally.  I’m also getting to know the neighbours more which Mr 33 thinks is a waste of time but I actually make the time to stop and chat if I see them.  Am I lonely? No so that is the main thing.

Do Voluntary work

Some knitting for charity which I need to post so a weak success there.

Financial Goals update

Save £400 a month towards retirement

Progress to follow after the end of the year when I can do my final sums but fail as I went part-time in June.

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

Done.

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

Fail unless there is a stock market surge in the next few weeks – more detail to follow after the end of the year.

Carry on budgeting and tracking expenditure

Done.

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

Done – only because I had a pension refund so I used part of this to complete the party fund.

Extend the lease on the flat

In progress – valuation survey done and solicitor appointment for January booked.

So that’s it.  I hope your 2018 goals went well.  I’ll be thinking about 2019 ones and sharing them on my blog.

I hope you all have a great Christmas xxx

Is it just me?

‘So how was your weekend?’

‘Good thanks. I phoned up Virgin and got a good deal on our tv, broadband and phone.  If I hadn’t phoned them we’d be paying over £100 a month but they offered me the same package that we’re on with Sky Sports for £73.  I also switched our gas and electricity.  I’ve got a good 18 month deal plus I’ll get £20 cash back.  I’m fixed for the next two winters. I need to sort out the contents insurance next weekend.  They’ve quoted me a renewal fee which is competitive but if I cancel it and then renew via a cashback site I’ll get a lower fee plus some cashback.  And the fun didn’t stop there I finally got around to applying for a Nationwide flex account.  Ok so I’m not getting the bonus by switching bank account I’ll keep my old one too but the new bank account pays 5% interest and there’s a linked regular saver account that pays 5% too.  My cash ISA pays a low interest rate and don’t get me started on what my S&S ISA is doing at the moment or I will cry.’

Of course I don’t say the above I’ll just say:

‘Good thanks.  Had a walk by the sea and we chilled at home and watched the football.  What did you do?’

I wonder if it is just me who spends a lot of my free time at the weekend, especially at this time of year when everything needs renewing, making sure I get a good deal.  There’s only one person that I know who seems to spend time saving money.  When I ask people who supplies their gas and electricity and how much they pay most don’t know.  Do people actually pay over £100 a month for their tv, broadband and phone just because they are too lazy to phone up and negotiate a new deal or shop around for another supplier?

People happily spend the weekend watching box sets and sometimes I’m envious of that but in the long run I hope that my penny-pinching and frugal ways will mean that I can retire much earlier than my state pension age of 67 which will give me lots of time to watch box sets – if that is how I will want to spend my free time.

Have a good weekend everybody!

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.

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.