Saturday, 19 February 2011

Fiver A Day

With still a week and a pay cheque to go till the end of February - I am way ahead of myself with my coffee jar savings.
For the last forever it seems, I have been living on £5 a day and each day when I get home I put all my change into a empty coffee jar. I have counted the contents today and it totals £42.05, up from £32.85 in January. This I will bank on Monday as it more than covers my gym membership for next month. (Talking of the gym, I have been there 5 times this week - am I good or what?)
Living on £5 a day is more than possible - I find it very hard to justify spending any monies really but did when I succumb twice this week to a Portuguese custard tart (they really are so heavenly).
The idea for £5 a day came after reading Kath Kelly's book "How I Lived a Year on Just a Pound a Day" back in January 2009, I take my hat off to Kath she is amazing but I like to live a little larger!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Financial Freedom Blueprints

I have been reading lots of older blogs and found this from (dated 17 September 2010) which I thought might be good to consider.
  1. Do you know your financial situation?
  2. Are you doing something about it?
  3. Do you have a written budget?
  4. Do you have an emergency saving fund?
  5. Do you have health insurance?
  6. Do you have life insurance?
  7. Do you have a written will?
  8. Does someone else know where you keep all these important documents?

How did I answer?

  1. Yes I do!
  2. Yes I sure am!
  3. I most certainly do!
  4. Ahhhmmm...working on it!
  5. Not really something I need worry about as I live in the UK and have the NHS.
  6. Yes I do - not sure how great my insurance is but I have some.
  7. No - need to deal with this I guess as I do have some property.
  8. Something else I need to sort out.

See there you go - this is a good exercise to flag up some areas I need to deal with, with regards to my finances and it could be for you too.

Question 4 is also Dave Ramsey's Baby Step 1 and currently I have no emergency fund at all. My excuses for this is I plan to be out of debt by April so am snowballing all monies to clear my debt and will start paying in an emergency fund once the debt is all gone. Okay, so I am doing Baby Step 2 (Snowball debt) first but I have a method to my madness which is simply this - I am paying off a revolving credit account so you could say my emergency fund is being funded and going into the revolving credit account to keep the interest payments down. However it is there should I need it. Can I get away with this? Do you think Dave would approve?

Question 7 One of the problems I have with living overseas is that I am never sure if I should set up financial things in the UK or back home and this is another one of those things. I have a lawyer back home I should have a chat to about this issue.

Question 8 An easy one to deal with as I have a file for all my important documents and I think making copies of everything and sending them to a family member I can trust is probably a good idea. (Don't get the wrong idea about my family, I trust them all but some more than others if you know what I mean).

One question that is not including on the list and I feel should be is:

9. Do you have a pension?

I don't and it's something I am worried about, with hind sight I wished I had started a Stakeholders pension when they first came out about a decade ago. Another area that living overseas makes very hard to decide on.

How did you do? And what do you think of question 9 should it be added?

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Whats In Your Wallet?

I did this back in July 2008 but thought why not do it again it's been a while, what is cluttering up my wallet (or purse as I call it). It's a bit early for spring cleaning but a February clear out is okay I guess.

The before picture of my purse

Yes, a new purse my old one just got too tattie. While going through it I came across a card I really do need to deal with, it's an internet account ATM card with only about £20 in it, I should check out the interest rate currently on the account and decide if I keep it or not. Saving accounts and the like are something I am looking at currently and I will do a blog on this subject at some point I am sure.

Now all is revelled

  • cash £10 (2x five pound notes)
  • cash 15 dirhams (currency from UAE)
  • cash 10,000 shillings (currency from Uganda)
  • Bone Marrow donor card (do you have one? if no why not?)
  • Blood donor card (again you should have one of these unless you have a medical excuse)
  • Red Cross Resuscitation Card (helpful info should I even need to be reminded)
  • book of 1st class stamps (10 left)
  • Costa coffee card (still got about .90p on this)
  • Caffe' Nero loyalty cards (4 cards completed so that's 4 free coffees)
  • Cafe bb's loyalty card (don't go to this one often)
  • M&S loyalty card (new card)
  • House of Fraser loyalty card (don't like the coffee here so should give this one away)
  • Padi card for Open Water Diver (very proud of this one)
  • Orange Mobile Phone card (back in action as I am back to pay as you go)
  • Boots Advantage Card (one of my favourites)
  • Tesco Club Card (not been using this one very much)
  • Nectar Card (this has been a winner lately)
  • Waterstone's Card (don't go there often these days)
  • HSBC Debit Visa Card (not had a lot of joy with this overseas as you know)
  • Abby ATM Card (bank changed its name to Santandar - need to check out this account)

So what is inside your wallet, need to have a clear out? Do you have credit cards lurking in there - ready to tempt you or cards that are maxed out there to depress you? Take a stand and sort out what's in your wallet!

Friday, 4 February 2011

February 2011 and all is well!

Very well actually - (big drum roll) - today I cancelled my Barclaycard and also my CreditExpert account. Yes I really did it!! (big smile and happy dance) And I feel really go about it too.

Dave would be so proud!!

My CreditExpert account is only £6.99 a month but as I am clearing my credit accounts and closing them my credit rating is not really of interest to me, should I need to check my rating for any reason I can do that for a one off payment of about £5.99 or so. Paying £6.99 each month for information I really already know is pointless.

Often it's those little things that leave your current account by direct debt etc. which can really add up over the months and years. I have been looking at every direct debit and standing order that I have on my current accounts to see if I really need them. Am I getting my monies worth from the services I am paying for?
My goal for this year is so far to save a £5k credit cushion, this will fulfil two of Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps of 1. Save a £1,000 Emergency Fund and 3. Save 3 to 6 months of expenses. I am already working on Baby Step 2. Paying of all debt.
Other goals are really to just save money and build up a deposit for a house. Where to put my savings is my current obsession - I'm a little ahead of my self I know but you gotta dream huh!