Sunday, January 12, 2014

Week two update

Not a bad week, although I've done unnecessary spending, but not nearly as much as I normally do, so that's something! My week looks like this:

Jan 5/14: £16.12 - FB game tokens
Jan 6/14: £2 - 4 rolls papertowel
Jan 7/14: £3.64 - £1.89 for butter, £1.75 pkg of chocolate digestives
Jan 8 & 9/14: NO SPEND!
Jan 10/14: £11.98 - £1.29 bread, £10.69 dinner at the pub + dessert
Jan 11/14: £9.03 - FB game tokens

So you can see where the majority of my unnecessary spends have gone - Facebook eats them. It's quite ridiculous.

I did ADD a little bit of coin to my snowflake jar: £5.33, bringing the total to £31.95. I also have a GST cheque that arrived for me for $101.00. I'm not quite sure what to do with it, however, as it's in Canadian dollars and if I deposit it into my account here, I'll lose half of it with the exchange and any associated fees. It has my English address on it, though, so I'm uncertain I can deposit it at home (via a friend). I'd like to deposit it into my Canadian bank as it can go towards my bills. I'll send an email to my account manager at home and see what she says. I imagine I'll get one more in April, which will be nice, but that will be it.

I also added £25 to my savings account here, which is something I'm planning to do on a much more regular basis. I'm currently getting paid weekly, as I'm with an agency, but once I start working for the company full-time, that will change to monthly - something I'll have to adjust to - and I'll have to be much more careful.

It was a busy week at work, the first full week after the holidays. The phones were busy and I keep getting given all kinds of work to do, which is not bad in itself, just a bit stressful when I'm already feeling behind. Ah well, just a few more days of doing reception and I can move on to the new job.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

January No-Low Spend: Update

I've actually been doing really well! I've cleared two of my January goals already, and am halfway to my third.

I've been tracking my spending and the month thus far looks like this:

Jan 2: £5.95 - fish and chips for dinner
Jan 4: £56.50 - groceries

I also put $852.82 towards my debt, $102.82 more than I had budgeted for. The transfer ended up being more than I anticipated (it all depends on the exchange rate, of course), which helped a bit, but I actually added an extra month's payment onto my LOC. Of course, the bank doesn't see it that way, but I figured I'd try to get a little ahead, after being behind. A $75 MC payment went through today as well.

I put $50 into my RRSP from the transfer as well, so that's taken care of.

I'm just over halfway into my monthly grocery budget, but did buy a few items that will last me a long time, as well as some food to use as snacks at work, so I'm not starving when I get home. Looking at the amount of food I bought (along with my cousin), I'm certain I would have paid at least three times the amount at home. So many items are just £1, veggies are cheap and we actually stuck quite close to the (my) list.

If you're interested, I bought:

£8.34 - 6 x 1L containers of coconut milk (I'm trying to go dairy-free this month)
£3.00 - 3 x hummous
£1.99 - 1 bag of chips (sorry, crisps. Not a necessity, but I was really craving the crunch...)
£2.87 - 1 x 2kg bag oatmeal
£1.54 - currants
£6.00 - 2 x 12pkg of Actimel yogurts (the live bacteria ones. My cousin owes me £3 for one pkg)
£1.50 - 3 small pkgs of nuts: walnuts, almonds, cashews. Couldn't find big ones, so settled on these for now
£1.02 - 3 x red grapefruit (these are about $1 each at home!)
£3.00 - 3 pkgs pineapple
£1.00 - 2 parsnips
£0.50 - small bag dried cranberries
£2.00 - bag of oranges
£3.50 - 2 bags dates
£1.50 - large bag spinach
£0.81 - container of cinnamon
£0.47 - red onions, I believe there are 4
£5.00 - 6 tins tuna
£0.32 - fresh ginger
£4.00 - 8 apples (I can likely find cheaper if I look harder)
£1.78 - pkg brown rice
£1.00 - string beans (green)
£1.25 - pkg broccoli/cauliflower

This was at ASDA, which is on the more expensive side. There are other groceries - Lidl & Aldi - that are cheaper, but we were in Southampton to drop off my sister at the train station, and I can't get the coconut milk closer to home. Only the big stores carry it, which is also why I stocked up. Markets are also an option for fresh produce and larger quantities, so that's what we're going to try next weekend (veggies and some straight-from-the-farm meats).

So far, so good, I'd say! :) Hope you're all doing just as well.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January No-Low Spending

That Carla's at it again! Making up spending challenges right off the bat to keep us on our financial toes. And thank goodness for it! I'm in on the January No-Low Spend Challenge because, quite frankly, I need it. It's been a ridiculously spendy couple of months.

My goals are as follows:

1) $750 off my debt
2) $50 to my RRSP
3) $100 for, £100, I mean...
4) Track my spending daily.
5) No unnecessary spending: rent & groceries only!
6) Cash only

Realistically, this is very attainable. I've transferred some funds to my Canadian bank account and should have my first debt payment taken care of in the next few days. I'm finding groceries are, generally, cheaper here than at home, so I can actually do quite well with £100 I believe. I have a few changes I want to make to my diet, so I told my cousin I would buy my own groceries from here on in. There are some markets around, but a number of the items I want can be bought and used over a period of time, leaving only perishables to replenish weekly.

Looking forward to seeing how we do!

Happy New Year!

It's a blustery, wet, miserable day here in the New Forest, but that's okay. The agenda today is relaxed, as it has been the past week or so. I didn't make it to midnight last night - I haven't in years - but as I was up at 4:30 yesterday morning, I'm using that as my excuse. ;)

On the agenda today is a clean sweep of the house. My cousin gets home tomorrow from visiting with her sister, and MY sister and I are going to spend the afternoon making sure the place is tidy, clean and fresh both for her return and for the start of the year. There's a lot of clutter - my cousin has/keeps lots of stuff - but that's not ours to touch. We're just doing general cleaning and tidying - vacuuming, dusting, etc.

I've already been fiddling with my goals list, thinking of things to add, adjust, etc., so it appears I'm going to need monthly goals too, but small ones that will ultimately ensure I complete my three big goals. No pressure!

Here's to 2014!!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye, 2013!

I'd like to say that I remember everything that I did this year, but really only two things stand out for me: graduating college and selling up and moving to England. The first led to the second; I followed that energy and "let it go" where it would, and here is where I landed. There were probably some lows in there, but I can't remember them. They were likely blips on the radar of Seamless Transition, so small they weren't even significant enough to notice. That, or I blew blindly past them as I rushed forward.

Regardless, here we are again - seriously, where does the time GO?! - on the cusp of yet another new year, 2014 this time. I love this time of year, when the blogging world bursts with resolutions, goals, challenges, etc. It's very exciting, and I always look forward to seeing what people have set up for themselves and their reviews of the previous year.

Yesterday, I wrote out my goals for next year. I have three big ones: writing a book, getting debt free (yes, I know. Those who have followed me these past, what, 6 years, know this is something I talk about every year, but never actually do.), and losing 10kg. On top of those ones, there are some smaller ones which need attention as well.

1) $500 to my RRSP/TFSA. This is essentially just to keep my Canadian bank account active, plus I need to plump up my retirement funds anyway.
2) Make a decision about my 2nd RRSP. Should I keep it where it is, cash it in and use it to help pay off my debt, or simply move it to my bank and add it to my current RRSP?
3) Canada Savings Bonds. I have a several options here. I can cash these in as well (they sit at about $2800 thanks to payroll deductions!), leave them sit, or continue adding to them. The minimum monthly deposit is $25. I'm leaning heavily towards the last option right now.
4) Stop spending unnecessarily. I only have rent and groceries as expenses, so I have no excuse to keep spending money on ridiculous things. I'm talking to you, Facebook game tokens. Yes. I'm that person.

1) Drink 2.5L water per day. This is a lot, I know. This was the challenge set to me last summer by the dietitian I saw and I about fell over when she posed it to me. I was in the bathroom a LOT. But I don't think I gave it enough time for my body to adjust, really, so I have to give myself a better shot at it. Work up to it.
2) Dairy-free for January. This will be hard, as I love cheese, but I want to see if eliminating food groups will help me feel better. I got some information that cutting dairy from my diet would benefit my kidneys, so I'm willing to give it a shot. I'm also going to be cutting down the amount of refined/processed sugar that I eat as well. I know for sure that will help.
3) Do some sort of exercise daily. I already walk to work - I figure 4 miles total for the day, which is not insignificant - but even adding a walk to the end of the road and back after dinner would be beneficial.
4) Couch to 5k. This ties into #3. I got as far as week 7 with this program over the summer and then...just stopped. I was doing well, too. The area around here is great for running - there are several ways to vary it - so I really have no excuse.

1) Read. I currently have 37 (!) books to read, which I've posted on Goodreads. I want to get through these before I beg/borrow/buy more. And besides, I don't have the space to keep them, so as I go through them, I'll be donating them to the library.
2) Spend less time on my gadgets. The electronic sort. I spend far, far, far too much time on FB, so pulling myself away from that, as well as the TV, will open up more time to accomplish other things I've been neglecting: reading, writing, knitting, exercise... I want to commit to only using the computer if I'm writing emails or letters to friends, or writing my book.
3) Be gentle with myself. I'm my own worst critic and have very little patience or compassion for myself, so a big part of the new year is to just to start liking and accepting myself (and all my accompanying foibles, faults, quirks, and issues) a whole lot more, be patient with myself, and care about me.
4) Be Annie. This ties in with #3 and is something I took from Gretchen Rubin's "The Happiness Project" (which you all need to read if you haven't, btw). Essentially, do whatever makes you happy; there's no room for "should," "shouldn't," or anyone else here (apart from "you should be kind to animals and children" of course).

I'm quite pleased with my list. I'm pushing ahead with the main three big goals and have printed out a list of everything to keep by my bed, so I can keep track of things as they go. I've been pleasantly surprised by how things "just happen" when you push forward but don't try to control the ending.

Just let it be...