Monday, 30 September 2013

I'm winning :o)

Oh dear, my bank statement has arrived, the first one after me plundering the account to pay off the mortgage. It's taken a bit of a bashing and doesn't look pretty. It's sensible to have a little bit of a buffer in case of emergencies. I don't seem to have emergencies though, if something in the house breaks, I just carry on and manage without it if I can't afford to get it fixed, or buy a replacement. Back to basics that's me. My expectations are quite low when it comes down to day to day living. I don't fret, throw a wobbly, or stamp around and cry when things are not going right. I shrug my shoulders and carry on regardless. I look for a different way of doing things.

My attitude to money has changed the older I get. I used to be worried silly by those long numbers on my mortgage statement, how much, yikes, I'm never going to be able to pay that off. But I chipped away at it and now it's gone, so that's a big relief. I still have to be careful with my spending though, my nine grand a year has to be stretched till I can squeeze no more out of it.

Yesterday I popped into Tesco in Barton, as it's next door to The Ropewalk. It's a smaller branch than the one I usually use. I wanted a pot of Value plain yogurt, usually 45p, but I was shocked to see that the price was 59p. Now I don't know if this is a genuine price increase, or if the price varies anyway depending on the size of store. I walked out with nothing, I didn't want to pay that so I will see if I can get it cheaper elsewhere. I am becoming more choosy on which cheese I buy now, the cost of it is creeping up, and I ought to be cutting down anyway. If I buy a 350grm piece I eat it too quickly, so I am going for a smaller pack, and when it's gone it's gone. I've also switched to cottage cheese, and soft cheese.

I see all this ducking and diving as a game, I know I shall win, because I will not starve. The bottom line is that I will always have food to eat. When something becomes unaffordable, there are alternatives, it's up to me to find them. Substitution is the name of the game, you can't be set in your ways when it comes to shopping, that's why I don't make a shopping list. I go with an open mind, and look for the best I can find for the least amount of money. If I forget something I don't care, if I come back without something, then I haven't paid for it.

Food shopping is easy for me I am single, I only have myself to please. It's also easy for me because I am a small person, just over eight stone, I have a small stomach, I don't need to stuff it full to bursting. Yes, my dinner plates look full sometimes, but by eating a lot of vegetables it's all going to move through quickly, and not pile the weight on.

I've got some car expenses coming up soon, MOT and service, so I shall be asking around amongst my friends for their recommendations. I have enough money to pay for it, but from now on I must be extra vigilant and only spend on what is absolutely necessary for the next few months. It goes without saying that once again I will not be joining the Christmas shopping frenzy, no, I gave that lark up years ago. I make it known to people, that Miss Meanqueen Scrooge here does not do Christmas.

I might be able to squeeze in a cheap day out or two, getting out of my four walls and venturing further than the boundaries of my village, is a must to preserve my sanity. So I'll look through my brochures, weigh up all the pro's and cons cost wise, and maybe have a little trip out, or two.

Yes, while money, or lack of it, is a talking point at the moment, I like to keep things in perspective. I won't worry about not having very much, because I have enough. I will not worry about making more, because I don't need it. The bills are getting paid, and me and the cats have enough food. It wasn't always like this, but now it is and I can relax. I'm off out into the garden to dig up some spuds.
Toodle pip


  1. Maybe the bank balance has taken a hit, but without the monthly mortgage drip-feed out, it'll recover quickly.
    Must be a really nice feeling to own your own home.

    1. Hi Cumbrian. Now I am not paying £50 a month, it will take a while to recover the £3,000 that I paid. It will be my frugal living which will get it back up again.

  2. just found your blog, and I happen to be coming into the same situation that you are in....not hard for me, as I need very little....but, thanks for sharing what works for you and I will certainly continue reading!!! patty in the states (new mexico)

  3. You are doing brilliantly Ilona, good for you.
    Wonder if you have thought of making your own yoghurt. I do this each week and its much nicer and cheaper than store bought.
    Just need milk and a starter pot of plain yoghurt with active cultures. Then with each new batch, just take a starter from your existing batch. I heat the milk until nearly boiling, stirring, taking care not to scorch it on the bottom. Let cool to 112f or thereabouts, no need to exact and then add the starter and stir. (half a cup of starter yoghurt to 4 pints of milk). Leave in a warm place for 4 to 6 hours. I wrap the saucepan in a blanket and put it on top of the fridge where it is warm. My mother used to either put it in the airing cupboard or, wrap a hot water bottle next to the pan. There you are, a nice batch of yoghurt for pennies. I am sure there are instructions online also, but this is what I do.
    Pam in TX.

    1. Hello Pam. Yes I have made yogurt, you probably missed it.
      February 2012. I don't think it is cheaper to make, unless you use reduced price milk.

    2. I use UHT skimmed milk to make yoghurt- Its already sterilised, just needs heating to blood heat and tipping into a warmed thermos with a tablespoon or so of the last batch. 12 hours later - 1 litre of yoghurt for about 59p. I split this into 2 500 mil yoghurt batches.One for use with fruit for desserts, and the second is poured into a thin cotton cloth in a sieve in the sink and left to drain. This becomes a fat free soft cheese in an hour or so.

  4. Aldi Low fat yoghurt is 45p at the moment. Heather

  5. Good evening Ilona from Housefairy
    Sensible post. It takes care and planning in keeping hold of the pennies. I use voucher codes with on line shopping when they are available.

    Your patchwork quilt looks brilliant! I saw it when you posted days ago.
    Yesterday I made a bag for my mini ipad. It has patchwork on the outside then some padding and is lined in lilac. I have had complements o'ready :) . My efforts were on the table when visitors came round. All from cotton scraps of old clothes and a old sheet I had.

    I was asked earlier what I would like for my birthday this month. Luckly I had a thoughtful answer ready :)
    I asked for a cooking apple tree for the garden. Now that would be usefull.

    Best wishes

  6. It is a marvelous feeling when that last mortgage payment goes out, I bless the day that I found my cottage with its big garden, I had the lawn up and veg beds set up within 4 weeks, I did the decorating the following year.

  7. Hello Ilona,
    You are clearly a very resilient lady. I wondered if you had ever looked at the down to earth blog, written by a lady called Rhonda. If you haven't, I'm sure you would find it very interesting.
    Best wishes,

    1. Hi Angela. Yes I do read Rhoda from time to time.

  8. There is nothing in this world almost that feels better than being totally debt free. I have been for more than twenty years and it really is worth making a huge effort to get there. Congrats. Ilona; now take a little time to consolidate.

  9. Following redundancy in August I took early retirement and used my severance to pay off the mortgage. I was advised not to as interest rates are so low and to invest the cash instead. I thought long and hard and came to the conclusion that the satisfaction of knowing this place is mine is worth a great deal to me so I paid it off. I have spent the last couple of weeks sorting out my budget and where to put the remainder of my redundancy money for best reward but aim to manage on my pension (similar to you around the 9 grand pa) and feel I have a workable budget which includes keeping the car but being a bit more mindful about when/how it's used. I have been growing odd bits of veg. for the last couple of years but am also organising this better for next year. For a retirement present my kids bought me a box of seeds so I shall be well set up.

  10. I used to work in Tesco offices when I first left school back in 1976, before computers were widely used. We used to each have our own stores to look after, we would get the delivery notes from suppliers and manually price them up and 'extend' them so that when the invoice came in it could be checked and we would know if we had been charged correctly. The reason I am boring you with this is to say that there was back then a 2 tier pricing structure depending on the size of the shop, Our office was in the big main store in Leicester city centre and the prices charged here were cheaper than the other Tesco that was in the suburbs.
    Now that there are loads of Tesco Expresses around I am certain the prices are higher than in the superstores....
    You are very well organised financially Ilona, if I lived on my own with a fixed income I would be the same, but our income fluctuates according to how busy we are and my lovely hubby never looks at the price of anything! It is a jolly good job I do all the shopping..... He only shops when he needs new clothes or I am away. Shame he won't buy his clothes from the charity shop or Asda like I do!

  11. Really enjoying your posts, thanks for the encouragement!

  12. Even though the interest rate for mortgages is low and the interest on savings is even lower, i'm sure its better to pay the mortgage off if possible.
    The difference in store prices is down to economies of scale and also what they can get away with charging depending on local competition.


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