Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Saving - or lack of it

I've always been pretty good with money (at least I like to think so!). Due to aquiring some money before Uni I managed to come out with only one student loan and as I was one of the first to get one the earnings threshold was ridiculously high and as yet I haven't had to start paying it back.

My job in London was well paid. Due to an error I went for quite some time without the incremental pay rise I should have received. When I spotted this it was backdated and my monthly salary adjusted to a new level. The lump sum I got went into a savings account (after a small treat) and I carried on living off my pre pay rise income and put the extra into a savings account each month. If there was any money left at the end of the month that went into savings too. I saved. I was a good saver. Yes I was a good spender too, trips to shows in London, purchases from eBay, but I still predominantly shopped in charity shops and was happy to do the grocery shopping at Lidl! I stuck to my means.

Fast forward to my current situation. I have taken a significant pay cut and am now paying out for two properties - as you can imagine, that doesn't compute!!  By the time I have paid all the bills for the flat I am trying to sell and the rent for where I am currently staying (which is well below 'market' rate and includes my bills) there is no money at the end of the month. Never mind no money to save, there is no money to eat, entertain, buy clothes or the occasional treat!! I am now living off those savings I so diligently put by. Don't get me wrong, I knew that would be the situation and because I made the effort to save I'm in a position where I can do this. I guess this counts as the proverbial 'rainy day'. What I didn't expect was how not being able to save would get to me.

I would like to go and see J, but to do that not only do I need the money to get there and back but I'd also need a new passport - that's £75 on it's own.

I'd really like one of these for my eBook reader - I don't need it true but it would be nice.

I've wanted this bracelet for ages...

I'd like to be able to go back to Kent and visit M. Head up north to see S & W...

I'm pretty much decided on my fourth tattoo...

In the past I would have said - OK then, lets save for that. Or if I can save half of the cost of it, I'll treat myself and take the other half from what I'd already saved. I'd sell some stuff on eBay.

But what do you do when there is no money left at the end of the month and everything you buy comes out of your savings? When you do pick up some extra work and get some extra cash it all goes in the same pot and in the long run the little voice in you head says you need to keep it so that it can pay for food etc in the future. It seems that much more frivolous to say 'OK, that was extra so I can spend it'.

I'm far from destitute, I know that, I have a roof over my head, food on the table etc etc. I also know that at some point if my flat doesn't sell I'll have to head back to Kent and get a job there, this can't go on indefinitely. Or (looking at the positive) if the flat does sell then problem solved! I'm just finding it a tough place to be right now...rant over!!!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Home sweet (tiny) home...

I threatened to show you my flat so after a quick tidy up here it is...
This is my hall...

On the immediate right (you can't see it in this pic) is the kitchen. The door on the right is a cupboard, next to that is the bathroom door, and at the end is the bedroom (living room, office!)

So the kitchen...

The health grill is normally in the cupboard and the two ring cooker (seen next to the sink) is normally in that space but I used the grill today and will be using it tomorrow so didn't bother to put it away!! The white thing leaning up against the wall is the old piece of worktop that went in the gap between the unit and the wall...

...where the fridge is now. The landlord needs to come up with a support so that he can then put a smaller piece in to fill the gap.

The bathroom...

It's quite long and narrow with a shower over the bath. This sink is pretty much behind the door and is quite dark as the wall with the shower on it cuts out most of the natural light!!

There is NO storage in the bathroom other than the windowsill, the little shelf under the mirror and the small shelf at the side of the sink (that however isn't really attached very well so you can't put anything heavy on it!!)

The bedroom...

Yes I am nearly 36 and yes I still have soft toys on my bed!! As you can imagine the bed takes up most of the room!!

Chest of drawers and chair. The chair doesn't get sat on but is very useful for having my work bag on it. The silver thing has my earrings hung round it's rim and there is a candle in the other side.

The wardrobes are built in and have my necklaces hanging on the door handles!! The book case is half empty and I intend for it to get emptier!!  The books to the left of the big white square will be read and then head off to the charity shop!!

The lounge...

I only bought the hat yesterday and haven't come up with a better place to put it yet!! This is a nice place to sit with my feet up (on the office chair) next to the window/radiator (depending on the temperature!) reading a book.

The office / dining room...

Self explanatory really!!! I sit here to eat as I don't have a tray and balancing a plate on my lap on the armchair would be a recipe for disaster!! This chair gets shifted nearer the arm chair to use as a foot rest.

And that's it - it's small but for now it's home!!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Are boot fairs the new charity shops?

I rarely shop in 'proper' shops when it comes to clothes etc. Charity shops are fine by me, but is it me or they getting expensive?

I go past a sign for a boot fair, that is held every Saturday afternoon during the summer, on my way to and from work. With the weather being so nice I wanted to be out an about so as something different to do today I decided to go along. It also helps that it doesn't open to punters until 1pm so I didn't have to get up early!!

I got all of the below - plus three books that aren't in the picture for the grand total of £11.10!!!  That's eight books, a dress, a skirt, a hat and a matching earring and necklace set.  Now that's more like it!!

Thursday, 11 July 2013


So, as you know I don't have a TV here in Devon which has meant occupying myself in other ways. I was dreadful, I'd get in at around 5.30 and the TV would go pretty much straight on and stay on til bedtime - soaps, drama, general rubbish!!! 

Have I missed it since I haven't had it - well, to be honest, NOPE!! And no-one is more surprised about that than me.  I have wi-fi so I have access to iPlayer, ITV player, 4 on demand etc etc and yes I have watched some odds and ends but mainly series (Dr Who, Broadchurch, Call the Midwife, Scott and Bailey, Foyle's War), no mindless soap watching.  I also have a dvd player (laptop) and a LoveFilm membership via my bank account and I've watched a few films and series that I've got through that.  One of the main reasons I don't think I've watched a huge amount is because my laptop gets REALLY hot and it's pretty uncomfortable having it sat on my lap after a while!!

There have been a couple of occasions where it would have been nice to curl up and watch some rubbish TV, a cold winter afternoon and when I've been poorly but those instances have been few and far between.

I back to Kent for a long weekend a few weeks back and wasn't tempted to put the TV on (which was lucky as I've cancelled the TV licence). I was much happier seeing friends, chatting and living my life than watching fictional characters live theirs! 

The main thing I have done to fill in the time though has been read. Those of you that know me know I read quite a bit anyway but I think 43 books in six months is pretty good going even for me!!! They are a real mixture mainly because Starbucks were doing a free voucher code every week and quite a few of them were books. I will give most things a go when it comes to reading and even if I don't really like the style I will often read to the end anyway - I hate stopping part way through a book and not getting to the end!

The Feist books I am reading for a second time. Some of you know that I have been reading Feist since I was introduced to Magician when I was 18. He has written 30 books over the course of 30 years that all interlink with each other or carry on the lives/families from the very first one. Earlier this year the 30th book was published in the UK and will bring the whole lot to a conclusion! I was lucky enough to get to meet the author and get a cloth bound copy of the very first book and a hardback copy of the last book signed.  As I know this will be the last time we will meet these characters there is a part of me that doesn't want to read the last book yet - so I decided to read the whole lot, start to finish!! I'm reading them in published order and have done 7 books so far - 23 to go!!

Anyway - I seem to have waffled quite a bit here so I'm off to carry on with the 44th book!!

Started 6th Jan

Peter Robinson - The Price of Love (collection of short stories)
Jo Nesbo - The Redeemer (grisly detective tale)
Billie Piper - Growing Pains (autobiography)
Tess Stevens - Sold (autobiography)
Chas Newkey-Burden - Amy Winehouse 1983-2001 (biography)
Tony Hawks - Round Ireland with a Fridge (hitch hiking round Ireland with a fridge to win a bet!)
Lionel Shriver - We Need To Talk About Kevin (gruesome book about a kid who carries out a high school massacre)
James Bowen - A Street Cat Named Bob (autobiography)
W. J. Burley - Wycliffe and Death in a Salubrious Place (detective novel)
Paullina Simons - Tully (novel about growing up)
Lauren Weisberger - The Devil Wears Prada (girly)
Jo Nesbo - The Snowman (crime thriller)
Marcia Willett - Forgotten Laughter (family life)
Margot Aczel - From Death Row With Love (true story of a death row inmate)
Sue Moorcroft - All That Mullarkey (chick lit!)
Christopher Paolini - Brisingr (3rd book in the Inheritance Cycle - dragons and elves etc!)
Christopher Paolini - Inheritance (4th and last book of the Inheritance Cycle)
Sabine Dardenne - I Choose to Live (story of her kidnap and subsequent the trial)
John le Carre - The Constant Gardener (who dunnit conspiracy)
Kylie Chan - White Tiger (1st in a trilogy, gods, dragons, and lots of other strange goings on!)
Kylie Chan - Red Phoenix (2nd in the trilogy)
Kylie Chan - Blue Dragon (3rd in the trilogy)
Marian Keyes - Rachel's Holiday (chick lit)
Jane Lovering - Vampire State of Mind (choc lit with vampires)
Ken Follett - The Pillars of the Earth (epic about building cathedrals and the lives that revolve around it)
W. J. Burley - Wycliffe and How to Kill a Cat (detective novel)
W. J. Burley - Wycliffe and the Pea-Green Boat (detective novel)
W. J. Burley - Wycliffe and the School Girls (detective novel)
W. J. Burley - Wycliffe in Paul's Court (detective novel)
Nancy Farmer - A Girl Named Disaster (coming of age story set in Africa)
W. J. Burley - Wycliffe and the Beales (detective novel)
Raymond E Feist - Magician (elves, dwarves, men and magic!)
W. J. Burley - Wycliffe and the Tangled Web (detective novel)
Raymond E. Feist - Silverthorn (2nd in the trilogy)
Raymond E. Feist - A Darkness at Sethanon (3rd in the trilogy)
W J Burley - Wycliffe and the Four Jacks (detective novel)
W J Butley - Wycliffe and the Cycle of Death (detective novel)
Raymond E Feist & Janny Wurts - Daughter of the Empire (1st in a trilogy linked to Magician and the others)
Raymond E. Feist - Prince of the Blood (following the story of the Magician trilogy)
W J Burley - Wycliffe and the Dead Flautist (detective novel)
Lucy Fletcher - Alice in Weddingland (chick lit)
Raymond E Feist & Janny Wurts - Servant of the Empire (2nd in the trilogy)
Raymond E Feist & Janny Wurts - Mistress of the Empire (3rd in the trilogy)