Sunday, 30 December 2012

Looking Back At What Happened!

Well 2012 is coming to an end and what a year it has been - my trip to Venice with the kids, the big trip to China to cross off a goal on my bucket list and then there was the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the summer Olympics and Paralympics, the end of the world and spending the first two nights of Hanukkah with my god-kids.
But what of my finance plans and goals for the year? I think I have broken most of my goals - if even only by a little bit, they were as follows:

 Goals for 2012
  1.  Stay debt free.
  2. Save £7,000 in my building fund.
  3. Fully fund my Cash ISA by the end of the Tax year in April and then start my second.
  4. Add £2,500 to my NZ account.
  5. Keep to a tight budget with all my trips.
  6. 200 No Spending Days in 2012.
 Did I stay debt free for the year - not really as I increased my overdraft while I was in China (and used it ).  I haven't saved as I had planned at the start of the year nor was I as frugal with my trips as I should have been, I lost count of my spend less days, so that idea went by the wayside.
All this is a perfect example of why my planning goals is not a great idea because I can have a brain wave, as I did in February this year and then totally change what I plan to do for the year.  So all the goals I made for the year, I probably could have achieved if I hadn't gone to China.
Am I sorry I went? Never!!
So my financial goals for the year didn't really happen but it's the 30th of December 2012 - I am debt free and I have one more pay cheque for the year - so if nothing else I will at least have covered my budget for the month.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

As Time Flies By.....

 I have been updating my NetworthHQ site but not my blog - it's very lazy of me!

Roll back to October and I ended the month with an over-spend of £14.61. 

November ends with a credit balance of £29.03, this sounds good, however I have reduced my savings for the month by £300.00, this is because of birthday gifts and Christmas gifts that I have purchased (for the most part!).

December has an extra week which will be lost as I am planning a long weekend off in the middle of the month to spend some time with my godkids. That will mean spending lots of money!!! 

Budget for December:

Spending        £150
Expenses        £250
Savings       £1,150  

Looking at my goals for the year and I am not going to achieve any of them. I think this is partly because of my trip to China (overspend on that one) and also not putting monies aside for my July Taxes. Since I got back I have been very good about putting money weekly into a high interest account and will have it pretty much covered for the end of January, which is my next due payment. 

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Confession From the Bookshop

Okay so, this is totally not my fault - I wasn't aware that it was even available yet and you know how shops always put temptation right up in front as you walk in. It's all done sciencifily you know - none of us stand a chance!
So on Wednesday afternoon, there I was browsing the shops in Putney and I walked into Waterstones and there it was on a table right next to the escalator. I mean you'd have to trip over it not to see it. The latest book - in hard back - at half price (sigh).

What's a girl to do??

I had just spent my daily budget of £5 but I had my debit card in my purse. I picked up a copy and had a quick read of the blurb before putting it back down and going up the escalator and browsing the philosophy section. Who was I kidding - I tried to look interested in what I was seeing but it was a lost course. So back down the stairs while pulling out my debit card and making a beeline for the counter to purchase what I could no longer resist.

 'A Wanted Man' by Lee Child.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Old Habits Die Hard

At the beginning of August I had great plans to be very fugal with my money and how and where my monies was going to go. But I had an unexpected Dental emergency which cost me £63, I bought a few books from Amazon and posted some souvenirs I brought in China for my brothers in New Zealand, amongst other things. None of these things were included in my budget for the month and all added up to me totally stuffing up my budget goals for August. My old bad habits back again.
So there is no way I will be able to get rid of my Flexiloan this month.
But I have been working hard these last two weeks of the month to get a grip on my spending by doing all those little things which got me out of debt in the first place.
Things like:
  • Cash only purchases
  • Putting my debit card away (so I can't be tempted to use it)
  • Sticking to my £5 a day spending plan
 Funny how it is the little things that make such a difference.

I am also going to get rid of a couple of my monthly expenses like etc. As I am just not watching the DVD's and have had one for at least three weeks now. My expenses budget is £250 a month but I will not reduce that amount rather I will allow a bit of a balance build-up which can act as an extra cushion. (I much prefer to round up figures in my budget it just makes it tidier and also easier to remember.)

 Hope your finances are ticking along better than mine...........

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Pinch and a Punch it's the First of the Month (Just)!

August has arrived and I am determined to write a quick blog today.

Looking at my Networth makes me feel very depressed as one of my goals for the year was to stay debt free! Oh the plans we make for ourselves in January hey! but then the dreams we go for in February muck up all our plans. Still that's life - I have crossed another goal off my bucket list and I feel really good about that.

This month I plan to pay £2k off my Flexiloan, which is my only debt, so that's a good thing. There was a time when I was paying off three credit cards and several loans, so really I can't be too depressed about my debt.

I got a letter from one of my sponsor kids in Africa and he writes "we (he and his family) wish to see you again but we are still hoping that you are coming over this year". (Oh man, I sooo what to go and see them all)

Maybe January 2013....??

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Debt with Credit too!

Well I have been crunching the numbers and here are the results.

I have used £1k of my Flexiloan which has put me in debt again but I still have my Emergency Fund of the same amount. Should I use the Emergency Fund to clear my debt? Or should I just pay off the Flexiloan quickly and be done with it. I am currently working on the latter - I like the idea of keeping my Emergency Fund for .....well, emergencies.

Budget for the month is as follow:

Monthly expenses     £250

Saving                      £300

Dentist                      £45

Sundry                    £108


Total                        £763

Of cause this is the idea but as we all know - this is a dream. I know I have spending money since coming back from China. Mostly for necessities but one or three items, not even close. I will end the month in debt anyway, as I have my 2nd Tax payment due on the 31st July and I don't have the funds to cover it. Guess it will not be until September that I will get back my credit balance. Looking forward to that!

Monday, 16 July 2012

July Update

 Shanghai at night.

I'm back from China and now need to reevaluate my finances as I am in overdraft on my current account and I am using credit from my Flexiloan account. So I am back in debt - it's a very manageable amount my it really goes against my plans from last year. At the end of the month I am also due to pay my second tax return payment and as I haven't put monies aside this time I will have to use my Flexiloan to tired me over until I can clear it. So I need to sit down and do some calculations and work out a short term budget to clear all the debt. 


I have my TEFL certificate (yes I am very happy) and I have been shopping (the Chinese love to shop) so really I should be able to live very frugally for the next few months without the need to spend money. Time to work on my next major goal and find some new reading material.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Time To Play Catch Up

Well it's been a while since February and in the mean time I have been to Venice with three of my god kids, read all the Sookie Stackhouse books, sorted all my financial accounts for the year and have been trying to keep my spending to a minimum. (Trying!!) And all the other normal stuff we full our lives with.
I have only just sorted out my ISA account and have transferred my last years saving to a new account but have not as yet started to add to it this year. So I am really behind in this goal.
My regular saving account is up and running and I have opened a new saving account for my emergency fund and tax monies. It wasn't till I started reading debt blogs that I even thought about the interest rates on saving accounts because I was always payoff debt and never had money set aside each month to save. Each year now I pick out the best best saving account for my emergency fund etc, other savings plans like ISA and regular savings accounts. For the most part I try and set up direct debits and then forget about them.
I have lots of other things to worry about at the moment like my trip to China. Yes I am off to the Peoples Republic of China to do a teaching course - it's all very random. So I will be flying off to Shanghai at about this time next week and I haven't even really started sorting out my packing or done any of the hundreds of things that I had planned to do for the trip last month. It's funny but I think this trip will be more of a culture shock for me than any other trip I have taken and I have been to lots of places. So I am looking forward to the whole experience.
I have saved up all the monies for my expenses in June and the start of July, this is the reason I haven't added to my ISA for May.
This weekend it's the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and there are going to be street parties all over the neighbourhood, we are having our street party on Monday, so that should be fun. Sunday is the big flotilla on the Thames and I am really looking forward to that. I live quite close to the Thames so it would be great to walk down to see that.
What have you been up to?

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Extra Day!!

No Spend days: 32

I have been so busy rearranging my plans for the year that I haven't had time to do any updates on anything. Today is "leap day" that day that comes once every four years so I have an extra day to quickly up date my blog, no excuses!

I haven't completed my budget for the month and know I am over budget but haven't done too bad (I hope). February was quite a simple month not like March which includes my trip to Venice, Italy. A holiday I am really looking forward too as I haven't had a holiday since last summer, when I went up to the north of England to walk Hadrian's Wall.

The final budget for the month will have to be worked out later and my goals for March are as follows:
  • Saving £300 and £800
  • Expenses £250 ( this has been rounded up)
  • Flexiloan £260 (yes some debit is back again)
Having told everyone that I would be home for my cousins wedding in August for a few weeks I have had to call my Mums and tell her that I will probably not be home this year at all. (Always hate doing that)
So instead of flying home to New Zealand in August I will be flying to China in June and will spend a month there doing a TEFL course (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). As I am dyslexic this is going to be a great challenge and so I am swotting up on my grammar like crazy.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

February Budget

19 daysI start this month with a short fall from last month of £43.42 - not a great start for the year. So I am hoping that this will make me a little more wary with regards to my spending.
My budget is pretty straightforward:
  • Expenses £250
  • Savings £850
  • Sundry £500
  • Spending £120

Simples! but after tax my income for this month is only £1,600 and as I have a short fall from last month of £43.42 it means I have less than no spending for the month. I really don't want to reduce my savings. (The sundry £500 is a one off payment) I don't want to use my emergency fund but I will have to for February. As I am having a holiday in March I don't think I will be able top up my Emergency fund until April at the earliest. Not good but better than being in debt.

The tax year ends on the 5th April and I would like to fully fund my ISA by then but will be short by £840. Should I use my Emergency fund to do this, as it will leave me with no safety net for a month or two. What do you think? Would that be good or bad?

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The End of the Beginning

18 days
January is over and wow it sure went quick!

How did I do, well my goals for
January were as follows:
  1. Pay 1st payment for 2011/12 tax year in full.
  2. Save £300 in my regular saving account (RSA).
  3. Save £500 in my ISA.
  4. Keep to my expenses budget of £200 (ie. don't overspend on my phone or Internet usage)
  5. No food purchases unless out with friends. (This for my wast line as much as for my finances)
Of the above I have completed the first four items but have missed out badly on the last however a surprise bonus of £50 meant that I was able to take a friend for lunch and also give towards a birthday gift. So that saved my spending budget from going way out of control.

Hope you had a good month to start the year!

Friday, 27 January 2012

January Budge Coffee and Weight

17 days
January is almost over and I have done very badly this month with regards to not spending and keeping away from coffee shops. I have four days left before the month ends and my spending budget is already just under £30 over budget. I need to spend more time in the gym so I can avoid the shops and work on the weight loss.With regards to the 10 Pound Challenge I am not having any great success so far with the weight loss and I have even gained 2 pounds since my start weight of 10st 7lb, so I am not happy about that. Still weird or what - this morning I tried on a skirt I brought awhile back that was a tad too small and it fitted me perfectly? I have increased my cardio workout at the gym and wonder if this is just a bit of a glitch because of that.

Still onward and downward (well weight wise) lets see how into goes as we start February....
How are you doing with the 10 Pound Challenge?

Thursday, 12 January 2012

10 Pound Challenge

No spending Days: 7

After working out at the gym for a hour and then walking all over Barnes I stopped in at Boots (the chemist) on the way home for the start numbers I need for the 10 pound challenge. (Big roll of the drums here..) My current weight is 10st 7lb (67.1kg). So that is the starting point for me and I wish everyone else who have taken up the challenge all the very best.

I have been sort of following Tim Ferriss' Four Hour Body diet which is like the
Atkins diet but with beans. Now that the Christmas season is done and all the seasonal treats are no longer on display at the shops, I am hoping to be back on track with my eating in no time.

Doing the challenge? What diet are you using?

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

First Challenge for 2012

I have taken up my first Challenge for the year and will be working on my waist line for the next 12 weeks. Lose 10 pounds in 12 weeks - sounds like a plan.I dropped a jean size towards the end of last year and would like to get my weight into the middle range of my ideal body weight for my BMI, which is 7st 9lb (48.5kg) to 10st 4lb (65.6kg). The very idea of weighing only 7st 9lb is crazy - I'd probably be way too emaciated or dead and think 9st would be much healthier goal to aim for.
If you're in the UK you know that we are now the fattest country in the EU, so it is passed time to loss the pounds.
Go on sign up and lets get slimming - just think if your jogging past the shops then you will not have the time to stop and spend.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

2012 Plans and Dreams

No spend days: 6
Everybody seems to be doing Carla's No-Spend challenge for January I thought about participating too but as I have a very set budget for January and my spending money for the month is £155.85 my current account balance left over from last year. So 100% of my income for January is all budgeted for and there is no room for saving anything extra.

January is Tax payment month for the year ending 2011-2012, so that is my biggest expense for the month. It's due by the 31st and I will transfer the payment on Friday 28th therefore gaining as much interest on the money as I can get.

I am continuing my saving plans from last year and so will be aiming to save £500 a month into my Freedom Fund and £300 into my Building Fund. My Freedom Fund is an ISA and I am planning to fully fund it by the end of the Tax Year in April. I may have to use my Emergency Fund to do this but feel it is all for a good cause. I can save up to
£5,340 tax free for the tax year of 2011-12 and then this amount goes up to £5,640 for 2012-13.

I am planning several trips overseas this year and have already paid for the first trip which is to
Venice in March. I have promised to attend a cousin wedding in New Zealand in August and would really like to visit both Kenya and Uganda maybe in December?. And then I have been looking at city breaks to Moscow too. Oh there is so much world to visit isn't there!

Do you have any major trips planned for 2012? Where are you off to??