Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Aaaaargh!!!

I just found an old face mask I got free and thought, why not?
Apparently Twinkle isn't impressed as she wandered into the bathroom when I had it on Miaowed twice and scarpered downstairs.
TC just saw me and said I look like I have just had plastic surgery.

I am hoping to look 25 in a bit.

Frugally yours
Abigail
X

Friday, 15 August 2014

ERNIE


The Chap had a letter from his bank the other day, they are transferring his ISA to another ISA and reducing his interest rate from 2% to 1.3%. He was not happy and we were discussing where best to save your money.

In these days of large debts and poor interest rates on savings, trying to get a decent savings rate is pretty impossible.

I do not know what TC will do, but I have started to put some money into Premium Bonds. I am not advocating this as a savings plan to anyone, but in the last 12 months I have had a 7% return on my money, much more than I would expect on the high street at a bank or building society.

If you are not from the UK, you can read more on Premium Bonds and Ernie here. Interestingly, according to the Premium Bond Probability Calculator on MSE If you hold over £100 per year the chance of winning anything is 4.5%.

Just be aware that some years, I have not won a penny for over 12 months then had a bigger win of say £100.

I like Premium Bonds, I like receiving the Long White Envelope with a cheque enclosed and enjoy the thought you never know I could win a £1Million!

I can get my money back at c. 10 days notice.

But beware, the rules for buying Premium Bonds have changed a lot recently and its pretty annoying if you go in the Post Office unprepared.

Some Thoughts

1)      If you already have some bonds, make sure you have your Holders Number to hand when you buy more so they are amalgamated together with that £25 your Aunt Bertha gave you on your Christening.

2)      Do not go in to buy them with cash, the post office will not accept it, due to cash laundering regulations. Seems ridiculous to me as most of the time one is only buying them a £100 at a time.

3)      You will need your bank details, as they have very recently changed the payout from a cheque to bank transfer.

4)      If buying them for someone else, e.g. I often pick up some for The Chap, you will need them to sign the form.

And finally, you can only buy Premium Bonds in multiples of £100.

It is a faff to buy them now to be honest, TC has registered to buy them online and says that is irritating too.

I like having them though, as it is a bit trickier to get at your money quickly so no impulse buys of shoes etc, but I can still grab my money back if needed within 2 weeks.

One last thing, if you do have an old £1+ premium bond knocking around, write to National Savings and Investments Agency, immediately as chances are it is registered to the wrong address and they cannot find you if you had won. When I did this years ago I got a nice cheque for £100 as they numbers had come up more than once in the 20 years since it was bought.
Frugally yours
Abigail
x

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

So I Joined A Gym

Yes, can you believe it? Sedentary me?
 
Its blooming expensive at £65 / month, and was not the cheapest in my area, but it is the nicest and it has a pool. Its actually a country club style place and so I am thinking I will start to have to wearing Chanel inspired tweed suits and drive a Range Rover.
 
I'm certainly the poor cousin in its midst and it does amuse me driving the Polo into their car park amongst the BMWs, Audis etc. It these situations I always think to myself, I wonder how many of these cars are paid off like mine?
 
Anyhoo, as it is soooo expensive I have to get my moneys worth especially as I had to have 7 weeks off as I did my knee in tearing a ligament.
 
So this week I was back with a bang, but this time rather than running, I have started going to the classes. Monday I did fitsteps a Strictly Come Dancing (Dancing with the Stars for my American readers) inspired workout that was so much fun. Infact so much so that last night I tried Zumba. What a difference. I have always nutured a secret belief that I am quite a good dancer. But, with Zumba by the time I had got the hang of the step it had either changed or I was off the beat.
 
Anyhoo, by the end of the class I was soaked in sweat and feeling decidedly sick and had cramp in my toes.
 
Off I went for my hot shower and to change into new clothes before driving home. It turns out I had remembered everything I needed for the shower and the change after except new knickers, so I had a choice put on the sweat soaked pair from class or go commando. What would you have done?
 
I am certain these situations only happen to me...
 
Ok, I am rubbish at Fitsteps and Zumba and look like I have a bad case of Dad Dancing, but I thoroughly enjoyed them and have booked another Zumba class on Sunday but it is a family class, Do I need to "borrow" a kid? and Friday I am doing an Express Spin class after work. I had a Spin induction yesterday. Im a bit worried about that to be honest.
 
And as I was leaving there was an outdoor class going on where men and women were running around and moving tractor tyres. Should I be intrigued or horrified? You decide..
 
Ok, it is ridiculously expensive to join a gym, so I'm trying to get my moneys worth but most of all I would like to shift some pounds and therefore and going for the cardio type work outs.
 
My debts are paid off and I am saving, so at the moment I can justify trying it for 12mnths and seeing whether I will get my moneys worth,
 
Frugally yours
Abigail
xx
 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Thank You

Evening,

Thank you for your kind comments yesterday.

Discussing such a personal issue is quite cathartic and made me realise the loneliness of trying to conceive.

Baby making is one of the last bastions of secrecy. With most, if not all couples the first time an outsider becomes aware they are trying for a family is the joyful 3 month announcement to friends and family.

Trying to conceive, you are stuck in the solitude of it. If it is not possible for The Chap and I to have a family naturally or artificially  then my pride would much prefer that no one was aware we had tried, but instead for friends to assume we had chosen to be childless. I could not bear the pity I would face on a daily basis from theses who had become parents.

As it is I currently suspect a few people are on "pregnancy watch" and so I feel self conscious if I mention I feel off colour or tired. TTC (trying to conceive) affects most waking moment from taking your temperature in the morning so you can catch ovulation to the obsessive counting of DPOs (days past ovulation) etc.

And it's all done alone and in relative secrecy. Though of course The Chap is always there for me. 

What should be an exciting and somewhat 'rude' period turns into a month of two fortnights. 1 fortnight waiting for your period to be over and ovulation to start and then the 2nd fortnight of waiting  to test.

It's lonely in all honesty as it's so personal and private.

So I write about it on the internet. Crackers isn't it?

Thank you once again for your hopeful stories yesterday. I won't be talking about this again for a while but it's nice to know there are so many other people who have been or know other in my situation who did have a happy outcome.

Frugally yours
Abigail
X

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Where Have I Been?

Hello Internet. Are you still there?

I have thought long and hard about whether to write this post.
 
Life has changed so much since I started blogging, I paid off all my debts and started putting money into savings. Today they stand healthily in the £1000s. My only debt is a mortgage.
 
Life has reached a level of normality. The Chap and I live quietly at Southfork both of us saving. He spends his weekends doing up the house as we would like to have it on the market  in 12 months and move somewhere bigger and detached. We will stay local as work is going well for us.
 
He has recently had a promotion, whilst I had my 12 month review (Lordy! 12 months since i left , my god awful previous employment - can you believe it?) which went very well and has led to a nice bonus payment which went straight into premium bonds as I am currently winning more than  I get on the ISA.
 
I have said before that TC is intrinsically a saver and puts away more each month than I take home.
 
The cats are all grown up at 2 years old and lazy ass teenagers, eating too much, staying in bed until lunchtime and generally being a delightful nuisance.
 
So life has quietened down. No debts to service, but I am still committed to living a cheaper life, though in all honesty I am never going to be a Frugal Queen or Mean Queen as TC would never eat their delicious looking fare. He wants meat and more expensive food. Quite frankly I feel he deserves it too, often working over 80 hours a week and still at it over the weekends. We are far from poor, and can afford to spend on the household budget. However, I do get whatever I can from Aldi.Why should I pay more?
 
We are very happy together withy only the odd disagreement, never about the big stuff.
 
So what do I have to write about? What could possibly interest you Dear Visitor? We are healthy, relatively wealthy and strive to be wise.
 
Little to catch the eye of the world looking for a few minutes respite from life.
 
And here is where I stumble. Life is not perfect and we have both reached a point where it is time for a change.
 
This was started 12 months ago when I left my position in sales over an hour away and downsized to an Administrative role, walking distance from home.
 
Why?
 
Because we both wanted a family.
 
We started trying 4 months ago and no luck. I am 38 years old and he is 42 years old, so I never expected it to be a quick and easy process. In all honesty I am not even that optimistic I will ever have a child. Time is against us. I believe I would be classed as a geriatric monther.
 
It seems a shame that as we met late in life, it has an impact on whether we can have our own family.We did not put off a child bearing due to financial reasons or wanting a career first, we just never met anyone we wanted to settle down with before.
 
Life is sad, read the papers and that is apparent on every page especially during these turbulent times.
 
But, I cannot help feel depressed every month when it becomes apparent once again I am not becoming a mother anytime soon.
 
"Relax!", many will cry. "It will happen!, but age is against us and that makes me sad.
 
Frugally yours
Abigail
x
 
 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

'Tis The Season To Be Jolly.

If you are anything like me then December is running away with you and Christmas is edging ever closer.

I have been out a few times as Christmas party season hits full throttle.

Tuesday was my sewing class dinner out £20, then Wednesday was a night out with Sarah Millican. I purchased my ticket back at the beginning of the year and was just brilliant.

This was on top of a night out with friends on Saturday, for which TC kindly picked up the tab.

Then this weekend is my book club do and we have afternoon tea booked at Netherstowe House in Lichfield. I am really looking forward to it, but at £19 plus tip it's not cheap. 

And finally on 23rd my work is taking us out to dinner. 

December is soooo expensive. I am enjoying having some social life, but no-one is could keep up this level of spending. Especially when you factor in Christmas presents. 

January is going to be the start of some big changes in the way I view savings as I plan to start putting away some serious cash.

Want some good news? 
Well, I had my review at work after the end of my probationary period. Every single area of my work was rated either "Exceeds Expectation" or "Outstanding". The two top ratings. I am thrilled. When you look back to how unhappy i was at the beginning of the year. 

So enjoy Christmas folks, as long as you can afford it.

Frugally yours
Abigail 
X


Saturday, 30 November 2013

Trips for Food.

I take great pleasure in keeping my wobbly bits wobbly with food.

As I am guessing many of the main chefs in families are women, you may be like me and mentally planning meals weeks in advance. I can normally tell you the meals I have available for the next  three weeks even if I am not a person who has it all planned out on an Excel spreadsheet.

I do a two monthly trip to Costco, a monthly big shop at the supermarket and then just pop in for fresh milk and veg.

Today was my Costco trip and as last time I went with my friend P who introduced me to the The Chap. She is a retired lady, and as she does not have a Costco card we go together and I pay then she gives me her share back when we get to her house.

I mainly go for the meat, picking up two months supply at a good reduction to supermarket prices.
4 racks of ribs for £9.48. £6  for one rack in Tesco for less meat. I have to add the sauce, but at a Pound from Poundland that's not a problem.

16 chicken breasts for about £12, 2.2kg of strewing steak for £9. And a 2kg pack of bacon containing about 50 thick slices for £7.78.

 You buy in big catering size trays, so as there are only two of  us I have to bag it into portion sizes. The chicken is so big I bag it in singles as one breast will do two of us in a curry.

So the freezer is full tonight.

You would think tonight we would be munching our way through it. Not true as this week week I got given this..

2 free pheasants shot by my new boss. I was delighted as the freezer still contains some salmon steaks after he gave me a whole line caught Scottish salmon a month ago.

Free food is even better than discounted food.

Costco is not only good for meat, I also buy wine there as Barefoot Merlot is £7 in the supermarket, but there I get a box of six bottles for £26.38, less than a fiver a bottle.

I still have to do the main shop, but if by chance we have a zombie apocalypse in the near future TC and I will be eating like kings for a considerable amount of time without having broken the bank.

I am always interested in what other people think is good at Costco, so suggestions would be welcome. 

I have learnt after a few trips that if I do not get their pistachios TC will pout.

Frugally yours
Abigail
X