Saturday, 30 April 2011

March/April SitRep

Well, where did April go? I kept meaning and meaning to do a March sitrep so that I could tell you how the frugality is going and before I knew it the month was over. Suppose because I was working two jobs and some weeks three - the time flew by AND it was harder to spend money too. I've made a good few bob from my census collecting job - it hasn't been in the least bit onerous (the weather helped there) and apart from my gun scare it's been very civilised. However, this is the last week coming up so that money will end. I'm still waiting for my cheque from the pedestrian counting gig and for some mystery shopping I did for Secret Shopper. It was the start of March when I did that - a pretty long wait and you're paid in dollars. What's $50 worth? About £30? It cost me almost that in petrol but then again I did have Babcia here on holiday at the time so it made a nice change for her to be driven around the Hampshire countryside. Instead of just driven round the bend by my Dad. Boom boom!! I have a very long day on Friday as a Poll Clerk - my first time! I think we get paid extra because the AV referendum is on the same day...we also get our cheques at the end of the night rather than waiting for it to be sent.

So, down to brass tacks. Over the two months we reduced our debt by £1903.64 - we are both really made up about it. I've brought a £450 overdraft into credit and paid off a couple other smallish debts too....they related to our business which currently isn't pulling in enough to cover the bills without our personal money. In addition we have fines from Companies House to pay plus the £18k personal guarantee Big Man gave for our failed business. We also have two credit cards that we are trying to pay off....both were used trying to keep our old business afloat and one of them was used to pay for a holiday we went on in December 2006. Shameful isn't it? I don't wanna be paying for two weeks in Sharm-el-Sheikh five years ago for the next ten years. The thing with these two cards is the interest. It's totally crippling. The Halifax card asks for a minimum payment this month of £88.45 but the interest to be charged (on outstanding balance of £3988) is £94.89. MBNA is even worse - you think you've paid a big whack on it then find it's really only half after the interest's added on. Sigh. We are both throwing our wages at the cards as a matter of urgency because the repayment of the personal guarantee has been set by the court so we don't worry so much about that, rightly or wrongly. At least there's no interest on that.

One thing I'm having a HEAP of trouble with is the food budget. I budget £200 a month for two adults (three at weekends) and a cat. In April I went up to £300 because Mr Charming was home all month and Red appeared for about 10 days. Oh and PC Furious came for the weekend of course but since he has a somewhat ascetic character I'm not counting him. Well, we have gone over the budget every month so far. I can't understand it because I meal plan and stick to it, and I only shop at Lidl. I shop about every 8-10 days and cook from scratch and we don't have loads of crappy crisps and sweets. I just don't know how other frugalistas seem to do it. I do know that Big Man wouldn't (and doesn't, when I try it) put up with some of the skittering little amounts of food, and more off-the-wall ideas for meals that some bloggers' partners go along with. He's as keen as I am to get rid of our debts but not if it means the quality or quantity of his food goes down. What's a gal to do? I suppose I'll just have to accept that food is never going to be a particularly low spend for us and economise in other ways.

Overall, how have we done since January 1? We've paid off......(drum roll).....£5434.09!!!! Our debts are now just over £40,000 from almost £46,000. Am I happy? You betcha! Can we sustain it? Watch this space!


  1. Wow - that is admirable!

    We're trying to tighten the belt right now so we can accrue a house deposit - food is one of our big spends too.

    Then we've just received a bloody electric bill for £300! We're only in a teeny tiny flat and I'm really good at turning lights off (I think) and so on - how does it get so high?

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Have you thought of transferring your CC debts to new cards with a long 0% interest rate for transfers? I believe there are several about and if you did that then every penny you pay would come off your debt. Mind, the 0% is usually only for transferred debts, not new ones - so don't spend on the new card! :O)

    You can read about it at

  3. Hi Jane - yes, I have thought about it, in fact last night as I was blogging I was simultaneously looking at 0% interest cards. I'm tempted by the Nationwide one. The problem is that both cards are in Big Man's name and whilst my credit score is excellent his is shot to pieces so he can't get another card. I don't know if you can transfer somebody else's balance onto a card. Plus I am a relatively low earner and if I was only given a limit of say £1500 is it worth it when our lowest card balance is nearly £4k? Can you transfer to your limit, pay it off, then transfer more at 0%? All things I need to investigate...


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