Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy 2009 - Lets hope its a good one!

Well, after 8 weeks of working as a labourer on my husbands construction site (more about that later) I am home. We got back late on Xmas Eve and hubby decided to come down with a stomach bug before Xmas lunch - nothing to do with my cooking I am very pleased to say!!

I followed suit a day later, and one week on we are still feeling very under the weather and quite weak, - have never had a bug lay me so low before, its been quite scary.

So as I sit here at little over 8.30 pm on New Years Eve contemplating going back to bed, may I wish each and every one a Very Happy, Peaceful, Less stressful, more sensible and frugal New Year.

Hugs to everybody, will be back soon, hopefully feeling better than I do now. xx

Thursday, 13 November 2008

I haven't vanished

Honest, I am still here, just about. For the past two weeks I have been acting as an unpaid labourer on my husbands building site. I hasten to add that this isnt through choice, but as there is the most ridiculous deadline for a block of flats and there are people who are desperate to be able to move in before their mortgage offers expire AND the company he works for refuse to bring in any additional staff and are actually making more and more people redundant, I offered to help because 1. I would hate to be in the position where I was worried sick that my mortgage offer would expire and there is no guarantee of another one right now, and 2. Himself had a heart attack last Xmas and I cant bear to see him as stressed as he is regarding this build.

It still looks as though he may be out of a job after this build finishes in the middle of December but we still have to wait and see. Apparently the company have said this morning that there are another 100 jobs to go in this region at Xmas, but we don't know yet what mix of admin, technical and site staff it will be.

I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Back Soon. Babs

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Budgeting - Gas and Electric

Well in my last post I wrote about how I had reduced the family's insurances by £420 per year (a current saving of £35 per month. So, pleased with my results I thought I would go further and see what else I could either reduce or save on.

I looked on one of the price comparison websites to check whether gas and electric would be cheaper with another supplier. To be truthful I found the whole business so confusing that after about two hours of scribbled notes and fruitless calculations on my trusty calculator, in the end I contacted British Gas (my current supplier) to ask if they could supply me gas and electric any cheaper than I am currently paying as I was thinking of going else where.

Low and behold, of course they could. Apparently I wasn't on their cheapest tariff anyway (why not) My fault for not asking before or theirs for not telling me? Anyway as of that phone call I was switched to another tariff, which should save us about 200 pounds per year ! Great news I thought, more savings to save towards the dreaded debt.

Well it appeared to be great news at the time. This morning I received a letter from British Gas confirming the changes made etc but also informing me that they had carried out their usual 12 monthly review of our account and that due to the rises already announced in the price of gas,our monthly direct debit would be going up from £60 per month to £104 per month !!!!!!! An expected spend of over £1200 per year on gas !!

When I had picked my self up of the floor and re read and re read the letter I realised that this amount only covers gas, there is still a letter to follow regarding electricity increases for the year!

Bloody hell what would it have been if we were still on the 'old' tariff??

My potential savings of £200 have now gone totally out of the window, plus we now have to find an extra £300 plus............time for more drastic measures me thinks.......

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Debt 2


The first thing I have done is contacted insurance companies to get quotes for the cars, caravan and house to see if there are any possible reductions to be made.

I used one of the online search engines and was quite supprised to see what a difference could be made just switching like for like policies to other insurance companies.

In the end I switched to the AA for both cars, caravan and in total saved £420 a year across the 4 policies !! I am chuffed to bits.

Now £420 is not to be sniffed at, but what I have to do is be strict with those savings whilst we still have the same income coming in (may only be for the next two months) so, £420 over 12 months means a saving of £35 per month.

So, I must save the savings !! Have made a note in my budget folder to make an extra payment to one credit card of £35 at the end of each month (while I can)

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Debt !

There are so many things I want to do that I almost don't know where to start!

So I'll start by filling you in with a little background about us.

Himself works in the house building industry as a Senior Site Manager. He works away from home so we have to maintain a second residence - sounds much grander than it is, in fact it's a caravan which gets moved from site to site with him as he has relocated several times over the past couple of years, but however 2 homes does mean duplication of many household and food items, it means running two cars and the cost of me travelling up and down the country to visit him each week.

Now the obvious solution you would think would be 'get a job nearer home' and cut down on costs. Unfortunately thats not such an easy option since the house building industry hit the massive decline that the UK currently finds itself in - Himself's job is only secure until the end of this build phase which is in the middle of December, so we don't know what will happen then. Makes for very scary times and I know we are only two of many people in this frightening situation.......

We are in a frightening amount of debt. Statement of Fact

Now, it would be easy to blame the banks, credit card companies, Gordon Brown, George Bush etc etc. But, the only people here to blame are US - we have bought things that we don't need but wanted, we made two trips to Australia to see family and have over spent on meals out and other trivialities to compensate for all the time we don't spend with each other. Stupid, so bloody stupid. And now at the time when we really have come to our senses (about 6 months ago in truth) we and much of the world are about to experience some of the worse times financially this century.

So time to face the music and get our acts together but I am terrified that we will run out of time in which to get debt free..........

To get started on dealing with this mess I have already carried out a thorough analysis of our incomings (salaries) and our outgoings (monthly bills and debt payments). We are currently just meeting them - there is nothing left over to juggle with and the future prospect of the largest salary disappearing sure does make you focus on the here and now !

So first steps. where can we cut out expenses, where can we make reductions, where can we save money, how can we plan for the future in this very uncertain economy?

By the way I am not feeling sorry for myself, but am in good heart and fighting spirit-we made our mess, we have got to clear it up, simple as that. I have absolutely no intention of losing my home or going under!

First Steps

Well, here I am. First post for our blog. Who are we? Just an ordinary bog standard family of three plus a cat and dog. We live in the UK and for years it has been our dream to have the self sufficient smalholding with the idylic country cottage, the stream, the woods and fields after field.

Well somehow I dont think its ever going to happen the way that we dream of, so now is the time to make life what we want, the way that we want it, with the resources that we do have available to us.

Like many people currently we are thoroughly confused by what is going on around us. The credit crunch, economic depression, recession. These are all words being bandied about this week. And whilst the powers that be are handing billions of pounds out to banks and institutions left right and centre, Himself and I are left to panic over whether he will have a job in the next couple of months and whether we will be able to pay the bills.

This blog is going to chart our journey. There are many things that we want to do, some easier than others. Our dream is to be more self sufficient and environmentally sensible. We also want to use our skills to reduce or save money. Will we achieve what we are setting out to do? Keep your fingers crossed !