Hello Dear Reader,
The autumn budget statement was released today and what a surprise, no significant benefits for health, social care or education. You’re on your own so from one day to the next, you’ll just have to keep scrimping and scraping to get by! Froggin’ wonderful isn’t it. So, just don’t get sick, have any children or get old as basically you’re in the deep stuff unless you’re minted which none of us are!
Nothing new about my autumn budgetary advice as it’s all about strapping yourself down, battening down the hatches and managing to survive in the continuous financial strife. I’m always aware that someone reading this could be here for the first time and have difficult decisions to make and went looking for advice. I’m also aware that many of us are old hands at this and have been peering out from behind the frugal ramparts for as long as we can remember. However, just like the chancellor’s autumn budget statement we all have to readdress our finances and make some sort of pledge in terms of how we will distribute our own money over the next year.
Let me explain. A budget statement for any family is where you or this case, I will make financial projections for the next year and decide where I will make savings, where I will spend money and where I will freeze spending or continue to freeze spending. Here’ s my financial decisions that I will do everything I can to stick to over the next financial year.
- In real terms, neither of us are earning anymore as the cost of living is increasing and our incomes have not caught up with those increases. That means, every year you and I are financially worse off. To counteract that, every year we have to cut back our outgoings to stay afloat. Here’s where we’ll have to make savings.
- Keep our food budget the same. This means we’ll have to buyer cheaper and buy less of the same food. There is no extra allowance here and as food prices are galloping, we are having to be more creative all the time.
- Keep our energy costs the same. To do this, we’ll have to use our heating sparingly and our thermostat is set at 18 degrees C and we’ll have to wrap up. Our heating goes on for one hour only to take the chill off the entire house and keep it from getting damp.
- Make sure our curtains are closed as soon as we get home, wear slippers and socks indoors, I’ve brought out the old duvet covers and safety pinned them to the back of the curtains so they are effectively triple lines.
- Turn off all lights in the rooms and corridors we’re not in.
- Five minute showers and yes, that does include washing my hair. I now use budget supermarket spray in conditioner at 89p and that lasts me a month.
- Go to bed half an hour earlier and read, it’s the warmest place in the house.
- No increase in clothing budget so as usual we mix charity shop finds with budget finds, my Matalan work trousers at £14 will last me a couple of years.
- My clothes are hung to dry outside, or on a hanger in the window locked ajar and will dry indoors or in front of the wood stove in the lounge.
- Personal wash clothes and towels are hung up to dry and used again then washed weekly.
- All errands in the car are done on the way to and from work so no extra journeys.
These are difficult times and I know so many people can’t save anything at all but if you can even if it’s just £1 a week then save everything you can. If you can, try the 1p a day saving challenge. On the first day, you’ll put 1p aside, may be in a large jar, then next 2p, the tenth day, 10p, the 60th day 60p and the 365th day £3.65. You could do it in reverse and start with the largest amounts and work backwards. By the end of the year, you’ll have £667.95. Another challenge is the monthly challenge of £50 a month which is massive to some families but that’s £600 at the end of the year. Any savings are important and I’d do anything I can to get as many of you having a regular savings habit.
Our savings targets still remain as saving half of my income, over paying the mortgage even if only by 2% of the capital balance each year and aim to pay off another 5% of the balance of the capital each year.
Personal spending allowance. We don’t wear hair shirts nor do we want to bore ourselves to tears so our French adventures will continue and our savings go towards that including the renovations but we will still watch the budget very carefully. We will continue to do all of the work ourselves and are going over at Christmas with the intention of doing some painting and insulating. We have paint, insulation, indoor building materials to save for and will do the sensible stuff first even though I’m itching to make it pretty but that will have to wait. More importantly, we’ll seek all the legal permissions to rent it out, get tax registered, change our insurance and have our investment making money for us. Before long, you’ll see a link to a booking page right here on this blog. The house needs to pay its own way
We have no plans for any major expenses over the next year so if anything breaks, it’ll be repaired or retired and we’ll have to go without unless we can replace it with freecyle or ebay.
We will continue with our 2012 budget as that’s when we froze any increases in our spending to try and offset the ever increasing prices by being more careful this coming year than we were last year and even more careful than we were the year before that.
I know! It gets on my pip too!
So Phil and the message from your red handbag, thanks for nothing for the ordinary people and we’ll have to just keep scrimping and saving whilst you and the Etonians ignore the families in crisis. Cheers old mate!