Hiya peeps, Nancy asked me a question..............
Do you write down every expenditure you make? Do you keep track somehow of all your expenses daily, weekly, monthly and annually? Or is this info "stored" in your head? Sorry in advance if you have talked about this in the past. I've only been reading your blog this year and it's one of my favorites. Thanks, Ilona.
Nancy from Northern California
It’s easy for me, I don’t have much coming in and I don’t have much
going out. As long as the outgoings don’t exceed the incomings then I know I am
alright. I have been in this house for a long time, so I know pretty well how much I have to pay in gas, electricity, and water. I keep all my bills, I don't pay in advance on a monthly direct debit, I pay quarterly after I have used the services. I never get any nasty surprises like a higher than normal bill because I am always mindful to only switch things on when I need to, and turn them off when I have finished. The only exception to this is I have my computer on a lot, but communication is at the top of my priority list, so I don't mind.
My council tax is paid monthly for ten months of the year, and I pay it in cash. If anyone is struggling a bit they can spread the cost and change it to 12 monthly payments. I can manage my payments, I don't have to pay the full whack, 25% off for single occupancy and a reduced rate as I don't have any savings and a small income. I quite like the two months off in February/March.
I keep my direct debits to a minimum because I don't like the idea of money just disappearing out of my account. If I physically pay for things by cash or cheque it feels more real. I get a paper statement in the post every month which I check. I have a file of these going back about 15 years. I don't do internet banking, I don't trust it and I don't need to scrutinise my account that thoroughly. Thank goodness I am not sailing close to the wind any more, and have a little buffer if I need to pay for anything unexpected. Saying that I never take my eyes off the ball, never say oh stuff it and spend a wad of money. Everything I buy I think about first.
The direct debits I do have are broadband and landline combined. Seems the only way to pay for that these days. I have the car recovery coming out in April, and my hostel membership is £15 a year on a DD. My house insurance is on a monthly direct debit, I don't have a contents insurance. Oh, and I pay Just under £4 a year to put unlimited photo's on my blog. My mobile is on a Pay As You Go which I top it up with £10 in the local shop once every two months. I only used it for texts, and the odd emergency call.
I have one credit card. I use it for convenience, paying for accommodation on a long walk, a big shop, and petrol for the car. The bill gets paid in full every month, I take a cheque into the bank for that.
I buy more or less the same type of food on a regular basis, with a few different items thrown in for variety, but these have to be value for money. I don't splurge on fancy food, it takes some discipline sometimes, not to go mad. Expensive food will not taste any better, I will not be any fuller after eating it, and it will not make me live any longer. Nutritious food does not have to cost the earth.
I am constantly checking food prices in all the shops I go in, and making a mental note of where the best bargains are. I keep this info in my head. When I get my shopping home I go down the receipt and write the price on each tin and packet with a black marker to check next time if it has gone up.
When money was really tight I did keep a spending diary, I think these are invaluable if you are trying to budget on a small income. To read it every week and see it written down brings it all home to you how much you have spent. I find I don't have to do that now, because my discipline is so finely tuned I know I will never buy something I can't afford. If someone is prone to picking things up willy nilly while out shopping, and they are struggling to manage, they definitely need a diary.
I have enough toiletries to last me years, except toothpaste. Today I bought some, I found two large tubes of Crest for £1 in Poundland. That will probably last me a year. I had a naughty bar of chocolate today, ha ha, a rare treat. Six squares for 60p, blimey, didn't I splash out. What with chips yesterday, it has got to stop.
Someone asked me about the sesame seed oil that I use, sorry can't remember who. Is it cheaper than regular oil. Well no it isn't if you buy it from a supermarket. A small bottle is about £1.40. I buy a large bottle, 600ml for £1 at the cash and carry. I stock up when they have it in. I love the nutty flavour of it, cook with it and drizzle it on my steamed veg. Soooo tasty.
I hope that's answered your questions, thank you for reading.
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