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Aug. 25th, 2009 @ 05:03 pm Thoughts
Tags: ,
Well it's eight months through the year and I figure I've pretty much given up on the 4k challenge. I'm kinda disappointed that my resolve didn't last longer. I have noticed a change in my purchasing behaviours throughout this year and that's a positive. I tend to go for the cheaper option if there are two near-identical products. And I wait til there's a sale on before I buy clothes (not that I ever do!). And I'm very much putting off buying any pricey items. A lot of that is to do with job-issues and the possibility of no longer having an income. Fortunately if that happens I have plenty of money put by so that I don't need to work for a couple of years.

Anyways, I'm still considering what I spend my money on and I reckon that's the most important part of this challenge. To really consider where the cash goes and to avoid spending on rubbish I don't actually value. So I'm not on target, but I'm still fairly frugal. :-)

Here is a photo of a penguin for no reason whatsoever.

From Edinburgh Zoo
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severe_delays:
May. 31st, 2009 @ 09:38 pm Oops
My *intentions* today were to go and exchange a faulty pair of sandals I bought last week and then get my groceries. Reality turned out rather meh.

The store had no replacement sandals so I had to drag my duff pair back home and am waiting for the manageress to call me when the others are in. I will point out that I got an award at work and spent it on sandals - no wanton spending here thankyouverymuch!

Actually that's not true as I've rather drifted off the 4k thing. I'm still being reasonably frugal and thinking about what I spend though. I don't tend to make any big purchases and I've been clothes-shopping once this year which is not bad. I am more likely to take premade food to work and more likely to cook cheap, nutritious dishes at home also. But I do find that if I have a few quid I'm still quite happy to spend it on crap. So the basics are there but the details are a bit lacking. I think I'm going to spend some time trying to refocus on where the pennies go.

Tesco seem to be conspiring against me. After being unable to exchange my sandals I headed over there. Today was boiling hot and the supermarket was crowded. And I was immediately stymied by hoardes of people milling around and no bags for veggies. A minor hurdle but I fell at it - gave up and grabbed a few bits and pieces and vowed to do a proper shop at Sainsbury's later in the week. So I'll get lots of cheap veggies which will hopefully go some way to make up for the fancy yoghurts I find infesting my fridge. Fortunately I am not mad keen on yoghurts fancy or otherwise so they'll last a couple of weeks - still frugal!
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severe_delays:
May. 28th, 2009 @ 11:48 am (no subject)
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed
Plumber came back to replace 2 corroded sink stoppers.  One undersink pipe came out of the wall so he replaced that too.  With the parts is came to another hundred dollars.

It begins to look more and more like I Cannot live on 6000 a year :(
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dog
thestormie:
May. 21st, 2009 @ 09:35 pm (no subject)
Got the plumbing fixed for less than $200!!  2 toilets, 2 sinks, and three leaky taps!  SCORE!
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totally not me except for the face!
thestormie:
May. 11th, 2009 @ 04:37 pm The Poggle Chef: Beef and Mushroom Stir-Fry - a stolen post
Current Mood: hungryhungry
Tags:
gothicchef
Ingredients

Some lean steak strips
200g wholemeal rice
Sunflower oil
Two large carrots
Several medium sized mushrooms
Two beaten eggs
Two cloves of garlic, crushed
Soy sauce
Oyster sauce

Method

Put the rice in a a pan, measure the depth with your finger and cover with cold water to the same level above the rice. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down, place a lid on the saucepan and cook for about eight minutes until all the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and shake the rice. Leave for ten minutes or so.

Chop the carrots and cut the steak in to 3-4cm long and 0.5cm wide strips (approximately - there is no need for precision).

Heat a teaspoon of oil in a wok, and add the beaten eggs and garlic. Fry until properly scrambled but not browned, and remove from the wok.

Heat another teaspoon of oil in the wok, add the steak strips and fry until brown. Add the carrots and mushrooms, some soy sauce and oyster sauce, and cook until the mushrooms shrivel.

Add the rice, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Finally, add the egg and fry for another minute or two.

Serve on a large plate, and inform your flatmate that she should eat the remains, and not the planned cold turkey dinner.

Comments

Nom. I might do less rice and more egg next time, perhaps chopping the carrots smaller.
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dog
thestormie:
Apr. 30th, 2009 @ 08:42 pm (no subject)
Current Mood: confusedconfused
OK now, I get $6,000 (OK, 5,920). Or more if the dollar goes down relative to the pound!

I am excluding healthcare, pet costs, health and life insurance, loan payments, relocation expenses, and expenses directly related to and necessary for work. If there is anything else I should exclude, remind me. I need all the wiggle room I can get.

Things that are included: utilities, books, food. Clothes. Furniture and stuff. Cars and car insurance. Videos and computer games. Cleaning supplies.

$6,000 is $500 a month (I am clever with math). Given that my electric bill is $300 a month and I have no idea why, this is going to be tricky. I like to eat at restaurants but have been trying to control myself. I have reduced my car insurance (well, increased it from no car insurance because it is not legal to have no car insurance), am working on phone costs (mostly between me and my sister, and I will not not call), and if I can do anything about the electric I will. The meter was tested and turned out ok.

Like it says at the beginning of the Alice in Wonderland ride at Disneyland 'Hold on everybody, here we gooooo!'
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dog
thestormie:
Mar. 29th, 2009 @ 01:09 pm grrr electric
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
My electric bill this month was outrageous also.  I have no idea why. 

Grrr grr grr!!!

I have spent money on the vet, doctors of various types (teeth, eyes, above the neck, below the neck), travelling to the doctor, beginning (apparently) fixing the plumbing and electric, and sale work clothes and shoes.  And new underwear and sox.  I got my sister a squishable and both of us PDAs.  I bought her some books. When we sell the Arkansas land I should be able to put about $10,000 in the new bank account.  But sheesh, how it goes!
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dog
thestormie:
Mar. 21st, 2009 @ 01:08 am electric bill
Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
All my heat and light is electric.  For a month a barely put the heat on - it was below 50 F (the lowest my thermostat thermometer goes) most of the time.  It was below freezing outside for most of the month.  I wore warmer clothes to bed than to work.

AND MY BILL WAS $#!$%!  sorry, 314.

I got the repair guy in - he talked about blowers and suchlike and promised my bill would decrease.

but

i am pissed.  I tried really hard to save money and ended up paying for twoplus months of electric plus the repairs!  geesh.

when i budget, i usually make estimates based on everything running along as it Should rather than as it does. 
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dog
thestormie:
Jan. 29th, 2009 @ 07:58 pm Stockpiling
One thing that can cause higher spending on basics is missing out on deals and offers made by places like supermarkets. A lot of the time so-called bargains are worthless - what is the point of splurging on 3-for-2 Spoodlebacks if you only like Gorgamels? But there are some offers which are always worth taking even when you don't need the product right away. Things like toothpaste, soaps, loo roll etc are always going to be needed. So if there's an offer on a produce I know I'm going to use then I'll buy a few. It can be tricky if you don't have much storage space but at worst you'll have to live with loo roll cushions for a month or two and it can make for a big saving. Incidentally, loo roll along with many other things are currently on the Supermarket Coupons page of MSE.

Other times it's harder to take advantage of offers. My local supermarket was offering packs of leeks for a quid - normally they are around double that. Too good not to take advantage of and I do use leeks in quite a few dishes. The trouble with most foods is that they have a very limited shelf life. If I use a pack of leeks each week but buy two packs then logically I either need to eat lots of leeks this week or save half. That's where freezing comes in. Most veggies (including leeks) freeze remarkably well and doing so means that little of their nutritional value is lost. So I spent some time yesterday chopping my leeks and putting them into freezer bags. I tend to store basic foods in recipe sized amounts. Two leeks is probably enough for most recipes so that's how many I store per bag. I do the same with other food. It saves defrosting a huge amount of something and then having to eat nothing but that.

My other tactic is to spend a few hours cooking up meals and then freeze them in portion-sized blocks. Freezer bags are great for this as they take up less room than plastic boxes. I have a middling-sized freezer but for a smaller one that's even more important. So today I have five large portions of veggie curry, four portions of nummy mince (TM) and six portions of stewed apple (delicious with vanilla ice cream). They are all neatly tucked in with the six portions of spiced lentil soup I made last week. I've also got plans for potato & leek soup (which won't need any extra room cos bags of that will just replace the bags of leeks currently in situ) and spiced rice patties. Using those and the fresh food I have, I reckon I've got at least two or three weeks' worth of main meals ready and waiting. Not bad for four hours cooking.
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severe_delays:
Jan. 24th, 2009 @ 03:13 pm End of Month 1
I haven't had more than a loose grasp on my finances over the last two weeks. That is mostly to do with the horrible time I was having with work which made me feel crap. My response seemed to be to spend money on non-essentials and junk food so that has been more expensive than I'd planned. The good news is that by having an underlying plan I've been able to freefall a bit while still having the basic moneysaving going on.

This leaves me with a bit of work in terms of updating my accounts. I have a few receipts to enter and also to discover how much I've been spending in cash. I've never got receipts out for cash withdrawals but I think I will start doing that. It's remarkably difficult to remember the details of cash withdrawals as they tend to blend as they are all for small amounts. I think that taking a receipt every time means I will end up with a neat pile of paperwork which I can update from. Currently I'm going to have to trawl through bank statements to find out that information - slightly tedious.

This may be a project for my rest days next week though. Today I'm going to make soup and possibly also macaroni. I'll freeze portions of both for meals later in the week. I have a few bits and pieces I can make at least one other meal from. I suspect I need to go real-shopping also but if I have basics in and cooked then I can leave that til my rest day (Tuesday).

One thing I notice is that this all takes an awful lot of planning!
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severe_delays: