Sunday, 29 January 2012

Allotment Number 2

A few weeks ago we took over our new allotment. Hooray! We already have one which has been serving us quite well. The plot next to us has been neglected for most of last year, so we said if it became available and there wasn't a waiting list, then we would love it. So it is ours!

I don't have a photo to post, but if you imagine a plot covered in knee high weeds and grass, interspersed with the odd abandoned car tyre, you will be close. I can't wait to make a start on it!

This year I intend to make much better use of our plot. We are so lucky to have the chance to grow our own veggies and fruit. It would be wonderful to be self sufficient in vegetables and fruit - maybe that should be one of my challenges for this year! Might have to cheat a bit when it comes to avocados - shhhhh, no one needs to know about that.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

A drop in the ocean?!

I always thought saving the pennies was not much point. I mean, you can't do much with those 1p's that I seem to find scattered about the house and in pockets.  It is just as drop in the ocean, right?

Over the last few days I have been thinking, that yes, saving pennies is just a drop in the ocean.  But then, that is all the ocean is made up of, countless drops.

I have to remember that it is not just about putting in big chunks into my savings (although that would be nice!), it is also about those pennies.  Every one of them.


I have recently been reading about No Spend Days and the Sealed Jar Challenge over at the lovely SFT blog, and have decided to do it myself.  I have not spent anything for the last three days which is great!   I had to get some vegetables from the Co-op for tea yesterday, but used my dividend points to pay for it.  I also stopped myself from sticking a bottle of drink in my basket - it wasn't on my list and I really didn't need it.  I am amazed how liberating it feels to realize that I really don't have to spend loads.  We were also lucky enough to be taken out for lunch, so no money spent there.  This was followed by a play at the park for the little monkies - again, all free.

I have also made my Sealed Jar.  I have 2 at the moment - one for our holiday in France this summer and the other is the Mortgage Pot (it is in a lovely old milk tin from the 40's).  I am going to make another one for my trip to Dublin later this year.

I am very pleased that I have been able to feed my little pots already.  I have taken all the silver change out of a pot we keep on the side and popped it in the France Jar.   I also got a bit of a bonus - my Dad came and visited for a night and gave us a bit of cash (lovely man!).  This has gone straight in the pots.  Usually any money like this would disappear into my purse and be wasted in a matter of days - now it can actually go towards something.

Still feeling very happy about this.  Not sure my husband is quite and excited - but a warning, he had better guard his pockets, as any change found is fair game and my little sealed pots are HUNGRY!

P.S  A big hello to SammyLeia and thank you for your post already.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Is it really possible to be mortgage free?

I want to say a huge hello to SFT - my first real follower on my new blog!

It is because of  SFT and reading her inspiring blog about becoming mortgage free and saving up for those important things in life, that got me thinking about my own finances.  I am not great with money, but I am not that bad either.  I am not in debt (thank goodness), but I never really know how much is coming in or going out.  I save very half-heartedly, and usually spend it before I have saved much.

And when it comes to the mortgage, well, I just assumed that it is something I will have for the rest of my life.  To be honest, I had no idea we were just paying off the interest (hangs head in shame).

So yesterday I decided it was time to get my head out of the sand and take a good, hard look at my finances.  Hubby and I were home yesterday (kids both out), so we sat down with our bank statements and finances and for the first time had a really good look at our mortgage.  At the rate we are paying into the mortgage account, I think we would be paying it off when I am 100.  Not a good thought.   So we have decided to start paying it off £1000 at a time.  This would be coming from putting money aside, not spending when we don't need to, and changing our savings to go into the mortgage account (there is not much point having savings earning a pointless interest rate, when we could be paying off the house).  By our reckoning, we got it down to 29 year - ok, more manageable.  By adding an extra £100 a month into the account would slash the repayment time.

Why have I never thought about this before?!  It is so clear and becomes achievable.  I have been so happy today.  Finally I know where I stand.  And I think the idea of being mortgage free will stop me spending  on all those little things that rapidly drain my purse.

My new budget for the month is £60 (food, bills, petrol etc have all been accounted for).  So £60  is mine and I intent to do my damdest to stick to that figure and try to put a little aside every day.

Bring it on!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

To do before I am 40......

I have worked out that I have 1521 days until I hit my 40th birthday and I have decided to give myself 101 challenges to complete before then.  I have so far only written out 50, but I will think of more and I am going to give myself chance to edit and add some should I be inspired.

I started this last year and have only done 4 so far.  Lots more to do.  A lot of them involve travelling which is going to be expensive and not something we can do until the little monkies are a bit older (there is no way I am going to drive across America with a 3 and a 5 year old!).  So they will have to wait, but I can dream until then!

I will keep posting my progress and see how I get on.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

How are we half way through January?

It is the 17th January and I am only just writing my goals for the year.  Or rather I have been thinking about them, but have only now got round to writing them down.

I can't be doing with giving up things, simply because it never lasts and I just end up feeling, a) like a failure and b) guilty for doing the thing I probably once enjoyed, like stuffing my face with chocolate.  What is the point?

Goals are much more fun and can be things like going to Paris or spending the day at a spa.  Much more my kind of thing.

But this year, my main goal is to be more aware.  Doesn't sound like much, but I find myself wandering though life, constantly thinking about other things, never really enjoying the moment or what I have right in front of me.  Also, I just take for granted that everything I have is always going to be there.  That those I love will always be around, that I have lots of time to do the things I love.  So I need to open my eyes to all that is around me, be aware of what I eat, drink, do, say.  Aware of how everything impacts on me, my family, the world around me, for good or bad.  Aware that I have the power to change the world.  Aware of the influence I have on my childrens lives.  I guess it is just time to take my head out of the sand and live.

That is going to be an ongoing challenge for me but at the same time, there are other things I want to achieve this year.  Some are big things, some are silly little things that I have always thought I would like to have a go at.......

  • Gain my blue belt and be on the way to my orange belt in Aikido, by the end of the year. 
  • Go to Paris with my lovely husband.
  • From
  • RUN the 10k (need to book this one up!)
  • Light a fire without matches or flint and steel.  
  • Get a job I like (I know what job I want, just need the balls to go for it)
  • Swim in a river. 

There are plenty more, so will add to them when I can remember them.