Friday, 10 October 2014

Stoptober - Getting Organised and Spending Less

I'm pleased to announce that I've finally managed a week where I've come in well under my budget of £70. I even had a no spend day on Wednesday, but that was more because the weather was foul and I didn't venture out rather than my good intentions...but it still counts, right?

My week starts on a Saturday, finishing on Friday and today I had over £13 left in my purse. From this I put some small change into the charity box that we empty and donate to our local Age UK shop at Christmas, and 95p in silver was divided between my 2 sealed savings tins. That left me with £12. Will I be splashing out with this vast unspent sum? No. I have stashed it away in a zipped wallet folder and it will be saved along with anything I also manage to not spend in the coming weeks of this month and it will be used to stock up on things I run out of during this use it up month.

I am trying to be good and organised, writing down all my spends and keeping a running total of what money is left at the end of each day. In addition, when DH got paid at the end of last month I put by money for absolutely every eventuality. I have 2 large plastic wallet folders and in each of those are smaller zipped wallets. 

Each month I will take out a specific amount of money and divide it up to account for birthdays, health costs (dentist, prescriptions, optician etc.), petrol and monthly car costs (mainly for DH to get to work), clothes (only £20 a month for 2 of us as neither of us needs much), housekeeping etc. etc. I have tried doing this by having various bank accounts that I can access online but it's just not the same as having the actual cash and seeing it dwindle every time I spend on something. 

I'm especially pleased with my savings this week as I had a day out with DD2 in Canterbury on Saturday, and yesterday I borrowed DS1's bus pass to go to Deal. I did spend £10 on a coat from Debenhams. I suppose I cheated a bit as the coat was actually £30 reduced by 50% from £60, but the kids had gifted me with £20 for reaching my target weight. The remaining £10 was from the Clothes wallet, so the money didn't come from the housekeeping budget. I'm happy with my bargain and don't feel guilty about that £10 spend as I really needed a new coat since last year's one was a size 20 and I'm now a 12. With the weather taking a turn for the worse this week I bought it just in time. I also bought DD2 some boots for her birthday, but once again the money had been accounted for in the appropriate Birthdays wallet.

So far my wallet system is working well. For instance, our MOT is due this week and because I had money assigned for car maintenance we can pay in cash and don't have to take it from the bank savings account I have for car insurance, road tax, breakdown cover etc.

That all sounds a bit long winded and I'm sure as time goes by I'll refine my system and change the amounts I set aside in each category, but so far it seems to be successful.

In the spirit of using up rather than spending, for our weekly soup and sandwich night I made cheese and onion rolls this morning instead of buying DH's favourite ones from Morrisons. I made the onion dough in the breadmaker, made 12 rolls, proved them on top of the boiler (turned on briefly to heat the water; we have not had the central heating on yet, thank goodness), and then topped them with grated cheese and baked them for 15-20 minutes.

I did spend on some pate for DH, but only 69p, and the boys will have some luncheon meat from the fridge that needs to be eaten today. I'll just have the soup and maybe one plain roll as I've been a bit of a pig this week. The soup is spiced butternut squash and sweet potato, courtesy of my soupmaker. That soupmaker is turning out to be one of the best pressies and most used pieces of kitchen equipment that I've ever had (coming in second to my slowcooker).

How is everyone else's Stoptober going? Any unexpected spends threatening your resolve? Or are you doing amazingly well and haven't spent a bean yet? I'd love to know.


  1. I've been looking at soupmakers. I'm glad you recommended yours as I don't know anyone who has one. I might just take a leap and get one!

    1. I have the Morphy Richards jug-style soup maker. It holds up to 1.6 litres of food/liquid combined and you can make smooth or chunky soup. You can also use it as a smoothie maker, although it does need at least 1.3 litres of ingredients and liquid combined so tha's a lot of smoothie. I think they're about £60 to buy new but you might get one on offer or a reconditioned one from Ebay. I believe mine is reconditioned but I've had it for a while now and it works fine. I do find a spot of oil smoothed over the inside base helps to stop thicker soups (such as lentil or beans) from sticking. I use it at least once a week to make a big jug of soup that I keep in the fridge to have for my lunch each day.

  2. Hello Helen, I love your wallet system. I'm currently saving £1.30 a week in a little cloth bag towards getting my ven professionally cleaned next year! Yes it did seem like an extravagance BUT it was worth every penny! I've spent £££ in the past on various toxic products and hours on my knees scrubbing but no more! That £1.30 a week is mounting up nicely and I do get a thrill at feeling the weight increase each week!

    1. Hi, Rachel, sorry I've not been in touch for a while; time just seems to fly by. £1.30 seems like such a small amount but if you save it regularly it all adds up and its a great way of saving for something special. I also have my 2 sealed tins, one for 5 and 20ps, and the other for £2 and 50ps. Both are getting very heavy and along with my Morrisons savings stamps I'm hoping to have my Xmas costs all covered without having to spend a penny from my bank accounts.

    2. I never spend a £2 coin and as a result I've almost £280 now! Thing is, I'm loathe to spend them now! Periodically. I empty my purse and now I save 50p, 20p and 5p. I spend 10p and coppers. I do need to get in the habit of drawing out my housekeeping and leaving the rest in the bank.

    3. I'm the same as you, a couple of times a week I look through my purse and put everything except the 10ps and coppers in my savings tins.