back in early February I wrote my first post on my attempts at money saving. It's HERE if you want to take a look.
So many kind people had great advice to share on that post and my subsequent monthly updates. Thank you.
My new year's resolution was to spend less and save more. So, how are things now?
Well I'm still attempting to cut costs on a day to day basis. I've got a better deal on the insurance for our second car this month, by using a price comparison web site.
Previously we had been with the same company for 22 years!! I can't believe I was so lazy about that.
It turns out that my new company (who provided the cover for half the price) is actually a branch of my old company, so I didn't even need to send proof of my no claims discount. Not that they admitted that. The letter just said " we have managed to obtain proof of your no claims." Funny that :0)
I'm far from feeling relaxed and safe with regards to our financial situation though. We have suddenly had a lot of expense this month, then when hubby twisted his ankle it reminded me that as a sub-contracted worker he would get no pay if he couldn't work. That's still decidedly scary in my book.
It's at times like this that I am happy I have been managing to over pay our mortgage every month for about 3-4 years now.
I've read so many inspiring stories about families being able to pay of their mortgages super early due to the combination of low interest rates and frugal living.
You might think "what's the point?" but interest rates can't stay low indefinitely and we could easily have a change in circumstances that made us worse off.
If I had my time again I would have paid off the maximum the lender would allow each month without penalties, from the very start.
But I guess I should not be too hard on myself. We have a largish family ( including 3 hungry teenagers) and I have been trying to overpay where I can.
The general advice is that you should have a 3 to 6 month emergency fund before thinking about over-payments.....ummmm.
Summer brings the holiday season and we are lucky enough to afford a week away every year. Usually the balance goes on a credit card which is not paid off till Christmas. Then there are no Christmas savings and that goes on a credit card, which is not paid off until it's time to pay for the next holiday. Crazy I know, but that's how things have been. However I'm not going to repeat that this year.
Keeping an eye on day to day spending, along with shopping and cooking as frugally as possible means we can save up to afford these regular big expenses. This year we are going without lots of small treats and days out to fund a special holiday and I feel very fortunate we are in a position to do that. It's not a big splurge to some folk, but foreign holidays, however basic, are a big deal here.
So week in week out I'm trying to make sure we waste nothing. It's good for my purse and the environment. I picked up this book at the library recently and it's full of great suggestions for thrifty cooking and avoiding food waste.
I will be trying this in the autumn.
I'm still using basic Aldi bubble bath as hand wash.
works out at under 30p a 500ml bottle.
I'm batch baking and batch cooking.
One Lemon drizzle cake for now and one to freeze.
Two Lasagnas using cooked chicken, one for now and one to freeze.
I stock up on things that I know we will need when I'm in the shop with the best offers.
Home Bargains in this case.
I'm squeezing the last little bit out of every jar and tube.
Here's a little round up of the changes I have made so far this year.
1. Day to day shopping done using cash...when it's gone it's gone.
2. Meal planning to avoid food waste or running out of supplies.
3. Writing down all spending to be more aware of where our money goes.
4. Stopped buying "stuff" because it takes my fancy. Online and charity shops were my worst areas for this.
5. Changed insurers for our cars and home insurance. The total save on this is over £700! and it's so easy to do.
6. Shopping at budget supermarkets and ditching brands as much as possible.
7. Changing my bank account to one that gives access to regular savings accounts with the best interest rates. They are still quiet low but I'm determined to build an emergency fund and some interest is better than none.
8. Got a better deal on pay TV by changing supplier.
9. Decided not to upgrade my phone and changed to a sim only contract. This will be the same for our other phones as they come up for renewal.
10. Got rid of our BT landline and use the cable phone line that's included with our internet package. It's hardly used these days anyway.
11. Cancelled product support for a laptop we no longer use.
12. Bought LED light bulbs for the dimmer-switch lights that were still using the old fashioned bulbs.
13. Stopped dancing lessons which were working out rather more than I wanted to pay.
14. No take-away meals and only very occasional meals out for family gatherings.
There's probably more than this but it's all that I can think of at the moment.
Most of all I'm counting my blessings that my frugality can mean fun times and security for my family. I know it's not a choice for all.