Friday, 30 December 2011

No Waste Tastes Great - 30th Dec

So the BIG CHRISTMAS WEEK - how did I do...

Top shelf - spread, Xmas day meat, cooked veggies, soya cream
Middle shelf - bacon (in date), wafer thin ham
Bottom shelf - beetroot
Drawers - condiments, veggies (see next pic)

 A few sprouts, a parsnip, a lump of swede and a tomato

Door - butter, crumble mix, Baileys miniatures, water (Mums), milk, praline, vanilla soya milk, soya milk, ginger beer (Mums), Rochester Organic Mulled Berry Punch, pear cider

The Xmas day meat and cooked veggies will be lunch tomorrow (meat and bubble and squeak) with some piccalilli and home grown home pickled onions!!  I'm off to my sisters for New Year after lunch but the bacon and veggies will last until next week as will the soya milk and cream.  I think the ham and the normal milk may have to go to waste but I'll see what state they are in when I get back. Bearing in mind how packed the fridge was last week I have to say I'm pretty impressed!!

Friday, 23 December 2011

No Waste Tastes Great - 23rd Dec



OK - so this week was NEVER going to be an empty fridge but none of it is waste (I just hope I can say the same thing next week). Had I left the shopping 'til tomorrow then it would have been empty but the thought of going to Sainsbury's on Christmas eve filled me with dread (it was bad enough going this afternoon!!)

So...
Top shelf - spread, cream, milk, soya cream, 3 x different cartons of juice
Middle shelf - 2 x bacon, 2 x ham, cheese, fruit salad, ready made roll pastry
Bottom shelf - beetroot, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes, red pepper
Left drawer (as you look at it!) - condiments
Right drawer (middle picture) - courgettes, sprouts, carrots, parsnips, sweet potato
Door - butter, crumble mix, mini baileys, mini strawberry liqueur thing, eggs, piece of praline, soya milk, soya vanilla milk, ginger beer, 3 x fruit cider

Yes there is a lot of stuff in there but there is also a plan for just about all of it!!

Xmas day / Boxing day breakfast will take care of some of the bacon, eggs, pepper, pastry, some of the cheese and some of the milk (not all in one brekkie I have two planned but not sure which way round yet!!)

Xmas dinner will probably involve most of the veggies being cooked as we have to make sure there is enough for bubble and squeak on Boxing day. More milk will go in the Yorkshire pudding mix and there will be some for cups of tea and coffee!

The cream/soya cream is for the Xmas pud (obviously!) The fruit salad that is there will get eaten this evening but M is making another one for Xmas day and Boxing day for when the over indulgence gets too much!!

The ham, some more cheese and tomatoes will be an Xmas / Boxing day tea choice - toasted sarnies or filling for fresh baked baguettes.  It will also go towards lunches for next week, as will leftover bacon (or that will go in the freezer)

Lets wait and see how well it goes and how empty it is come next weeks post.

Thanks as always to Jo over at http://simplybeingmum.com/

Thursday, 15 December 2011

No Waste Tastes Great - 16th Dec

I know this is a day early but I'm off to see Red Dwarf being filmed tomorrow night and then staying in London and won't back 'til Sunday evening!!!

All nice and empty again - I could almost think I was getting good at this. Next week I can guarantee it'll be full of lots of yummy stuff ready for Xmas (but it won't be waste as it'll be in preparation for the big day!!)

Thanks Jo for keeping me going...

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Spending Update - Nov/Dec

I knew this month was unlikely to go well in the finance department due to it being the run up to Christmas and I was right!!

A couple of dinners out with friends, a couple of weekends in London, paying for a hen weekend on top of the present buying all added up!!!

(I did make £50 on eBay this month though)

So

£200 transfer
£8.00 in my wallet
£45.12 change
£8.06 overdrawn
 
£245.06
 
I have however used £144.59 from the account I transfer into so that brings it down to
£100.47

I also had the opportunity today to be able to go and see one of my favourite ever TV shows RED DWARF being recorded live. I just couldn't turn it down but due to the location of recording and the time it will finish I could only do it if I booked a hotel. I managed to get a room just round the back of Victoria Station for under £45. I've put this on my credit card which I intend to pay off next month (well before it's due date so there will be no interest)

Most of the Xmas presents are all done now. I do the recording Friday night and a weekend in London along with my work Xmas do next week so again it won't be a big amount for the savings pot but hopefully there will still be something to put away come Jan 14th!!!
 

Saturday, 3 December 2011

No Waste Tastes Great - 2nd Dec





Not too bad this week...Photo taken last night!

Top shelf - spread
Middle shelf - condensed milk
Bottom shelf - beetroot, half a tin of baked beans, beef stroganoff
Drawer - condiments

The baked beans were left over from last weekend, I've just had bean on toast for lunch, so that's them gone!
The beef stroganoff (homemade from this recipe and very yummy) was got out to have for dinner last night but I had a rotten headache when I got off the train so went and got takeaway instead!!! I'll eat it for tea on Sunday.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

No Waste Tastes Great - 25th Nov

Top shelf - spread
Middle shelf - condensed milk
Bottom shelf - beetroot
Left drawer - condiments
Right drawer - empty

I think this week makes up for last!!

I am away Sunday and Monday so it's dinner out on Sunday and breakfast out on Monday. Another clear the freezer week I think. Need to make room for some Christmas goodies!!

Thanks again to Jo for keeping me on track...

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Paradox of Our Times

This came round on one of those powerpoint round robin emails and really struck a chord with me. 


Today we have bigger houses and smaller families,

More conveniences but less time.

We have more degrees, but less common sense;

More knowledge, but less judgement.

We have more experts, but more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired.

Read too little, watch TV too often and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.

We talk too much, love too little and lie too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life;

We've added years to life, not life to years.

We have taller buildings, but shorter tempers;

Wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy it less.

We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbours.

We've conquered outer space but not inner space.

We've split the atom, but not our prejudice,

We write more, but learn less; plan more, but accomplish less.

We've learned to rush, but not to wait;

We have higher incomes, but lower morals.

We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies but have less communications

We are long on quantity but short on quality.

These are the times of fast food and slow digestion; tall men and short character; steep profits and shallow relationships.

More leisure and less fun; more kinds of food but less nutrition;

Low incomes but more divorce; fancier houses but broken homes.

This is the paradox of our times today.

That's why I propose, that as of today, you do not keep anything for a special occasion, because every day you live is a special occasion.

Search for knowledge, read more, sit on your front porch and admire the view without paying attention to your needs.

Spend more time with your family and friends, eat your favourite foods and visit the places you love.

Life is a chain of moments of enjoyment, not only about survival.

Use your crystal goblets.

Do not save your best perfume, use it every time you feel you want it.

Remove from your vocabulary phrases like “one of these days” and “someday”.

Let's write that letter we thought of writing “one of these days”.

Let's tell our friends and family how much we love them.

Do not delay anything that adds laughter and joy to your life.

Every day, every hour and every minute is special and you don't know if it will be your last.

If you're too busy to take the time to send this message to someone you care about and you tell yourself you will send it

one of these days”

just think...

one of these days”

you may not be here to send it!

Friday, 18 November 2011

No Waste Tastes Great - 18th Nov




OK - so I think it's safe to say this week was a big fat FAIL!!

I was away at the weekend and developed a cold which kicked in on Sunday night. Consequently the meal planning didn't happen. My Mum picked me up some veggies on Monday and my intention was to eat some stuff out of the freezer through the week. FAIL - comfort takeaway food won out for most of the week.

Top shelf - spread
Middle shelf - still some of that condensed milk, Brussels sprouts, swede
Bottom shelf - beetroot, carrots, parsnip, leftover Indian takeaway from dinner tonight (Bombay potatoes, chicken korma, rice, mango chutney, mint raita)
Drawer - condiments
The veggies are normally in the drawer but I got them out for the photo!

The leftover takeaway will be tomorrows dinner and the veggies will get cooked up Sunday night. I'll probably have half for dinner then and fry up the other half(ish) as bubble and squeak on Monday.
Will sit down properly and do the meal planning and shopping this weekend.  The diet has gone out of the window the last couple of weeks so hopefully the planning will help me get back in the 'groove' for that too in the run up to the Christmas over indulgence!!


Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Spending Update - Oct/Nov

A good month!!

£200 transfer
£12.00 in my wallet
£40.26 change
£41.79 left in the bank

£294.05 - the most so far!

It's a short post because I've got a stinking cold and am feeling very sorry for myself!!

Friday, 11 November 2011

No Waste Tastes Great - 11th Nov

So how good am I?

Top shelf - spread and cheese
Middle shelf - slow cooked condensed milk (this version was made with 'light' condensed milk, I'll try the sweetened version next time but this is still delicious!)
Bottom shelf - beetroot
Left drawer - condiments
Right drawer - empty

A friend suggested celery soup to use up the leftovers I had last week. I used this recipe as a base but added in the chilli and parsley that I also had in the fridge. I've put it in the freezer but the little bit I tasted seemed pretty good!!!

I'm away for the weekend so will be eating out for lunch and dinner tomorrow and breakfast, lunch and probably dinner Sunday!! Shopping will get done at some point on Monday but it won't be very much as I've got quite a stock of meals in the freezer (as I live on my own I often freeze leftover stews etc for later) to work through!!



Monday, 7 November 2011

A year ago...

A year ago my wardrobe looked like this...


This is my wardrobe tonight - one year on...
OK - so I do need to give a bit of an explanation as I may be stretching the truth a little bit!!!

This is what I've worn over the last 4 weeks. It doesn't include underwear, outerwear or pj's!

Nowhere near as much as I would have thought.  I work in an office so it's smart(ish) clothes during the week. I wear uniform on a Tuesday (don't ask) so I can wear what I want to work then get changed there. Weekends tend to be jeans and slobbing out Sundays!!

I've been through all my clothes several times and sold loads of stuff on eBay and taken loads of bags to the charity shops in town.  Even after that I still have all this left...


  
The first picture is more shoes/boots, the second my chest of drawers (mostly full) with t-shirts and more jumpers on top, third hanging stuff that didn't get worn and fourth is my long dresses and spare uniform.

Obviously what I've worn over the last four weeks doesn't include anything particularly summery or very dressy as I didn't have many nights out!!!  What I have proved though is that what is currently in the wardrobe is perfectly adequate for a 'normal' month. Now I just need to go through the stuff in the four pictures above pick out what I want to keep for the summer and be ruthless with the rest. I mean REALLY ruthless!!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

No Waste Tastes Great - 4th Nov





Another pretty good week I think!

Top shelf - spread, cheese and ham
Middle shelf - zilch!!
Bottom chelf - jar of beetroot, half a marrow, some celery, carrots, parsley and a red chilli
Drawer - condiments

I only took the photo Sat lunchtime as I was out overnight Friday.

Some of the ham and cheese went in toasties for lunch today and the rest of the ham will go to work tomorrow for lunchtime naan.

Some of the marrow and carrots will get eaten up along with some potato tomorrow as I have some posh sausages now that I won via Twitter!!  Thank you Rook & Sons!!

Just got to decide what to do with the celery, parsley and chilli!

Friday, 28 October 2011

No Waste Tastes Great - 28th Oct

I think I did well this week...

Top shelf - spread and cheese
Middles shelf - nothing
Bottom shelf - jar of beetroot (that will be there for a while!!), some broccoli, swede, sprouts and a chilli (I took them out of the drawer to prove I wasn't cheating)
Left drawer - condiments

There are 3 eggs in the door that in date (just!!)

Probably have an omelette this weekend to use up he eggs and chilli and Quorn burgers (out of the freezer) to use p the veggies - perfick!!

Thanks Jo for the continued inspiration.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Upcycling

One of the unexpected side effects of getting rid of lots of stuff is discovering what you really don't want to get rid of but that you know you won't use for it's original purpose.  That sets the old grey matter going to see if there is another way to use whatever it is so that it gets to stay!!

Take an old faithful jumper (hand knitted by your sister many years ago) and a big cushion...


Some scissors, some unwound wool and a bit of imagination...



And you end up with a re-purposed jumper doing a very good job as a cushion cover!!

No Waste Tastes Great

Ok so I know it's Saturday but I took the fridge photo yesterday!!

So what is in the fridge this week then...
Top shelf Pure spread, cheese, sour cream and ricotta.
Middle shelf - half a tin of beans (a different tin to last week!) and a pack of wafer thin ham
Bottom shelf - jar of beetroot and a lemon (minus some of it's zest!)
Left drawer - condiments
Right drawer - pack of spinach, 1 red chilli, half a small marrow.
In the fridge door there are 4 eggs.

The spread, cheese, condiments and eggs are all in date. As are the beetroot and condiments.
The sour cream, ricotta and lemon are left over from the cheesecakes I made last weekend. I was thinking I must be able to make some sort of carbonara type thing with the ricotta, ham and spinach.  I have a recipe for sour cream muffins that I will have to check the quantities in and see if I can adapt it for the amount I have left (that'll also use up an egg)

All in all I don't think I did too badly this week!

Thanks to Jo again for keeping me inspired. 

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Spending Update - Sept/Oct

Well it's payday again and time for the monthly update. I have to admit I've still failed to keep track of what I'm spending money on but maybe one month I'll manage it!!

I did well this month overall due to an error in my accounts spreadsheet.  Yes I am a bit nerdy and track my spending on a spreadsheet. I have all my monthly bills set on one worksheet so when I get paid I copy and paste them all over and I can see what I have left to live on for the month. As the month progresses and I take out cash or make a debit card purchase this gets added to the sheet therefore keeping it up to date and letting me know what I've got left.  Normally twice a month I print out a bank statement from my online banking and reconcile it against the spreadsheet to make sure I haven't missed anything and that we both think I have the same amount of money!!

Well last weekend my spreadsheet was telling me I had a grand total of 35p in the bank and a week left of the month. Oops thinks I. Oh well, better check it against the bank statement in case it's worse!!  As I'm going through the statement I discover my error...I had transferred some money out of my PayPal account and into my bank account. My mistake was to put that amount as a debit in my spreadsheet rather than a credit...move the amount over to the right side and all of a sudden I've got money again...whoop whoop!!!

This 'extra' money enabled me to get a couple of things I'd been putting off and still have some money left at the end of the month!!!

So at the end of the month...
£200 transfer
£1.00 in my wallet
£35.99 change
£39.15 in the bank account

Grand total - £276.14 - the highest amount so far.

I'm thinking if I made it to almost the end of the month with the error maybe I could up my monthly transfer a bit and get away with it???

I also intend to try harder on the meal planning and food shopping to keep the costs down.

(Oh and I sold another load of stuff on eBay too!!)

Friday, 14 October 2011

No Waste Tastes Great

Jo over at http://simplybeingmum.com/ does a weekly 'No Waste Tastes Great' post and shows what she has left in her fridge at the end of the week. I have been trying to follow some of her suggestions, (the main one being to plan what you will eat that week and only buy what you need for that), to try and get to the empty Friday fridge.  This leads to less food waste and therefore less wasted money. They also get to have a takeaway on a Friday night if the fridge is bare (I like that idea a lot!!)

For the first time I think I can say I just about managed it this week.

On the top shelf is a tub of Pure (marg type spread) and a tub of Philadelphia cream cheese both in date. The middle shelf is empty. Bottom shelf a (large) jar of home pickled allotment grown beetroot, half a tin of baked beans and a tub of fruit salad.  Bottom right drawer is sauces and condiments and the left drawer is a leek, an allotment grown small marrow and allotment grown parsnips.

In the door there is some soya milk which lasts well and gets drunk as hot chocolate, a couple of cans of drink and some butter.

I went to my Mums for lunch today and I've had my main meal of the day so I'll use the beans up on toast for tea! The fruit salad was from Mums and will be fine for a couple of days.  I'm planning on roasting the parsnips with some allotment potatoes for dinner tomorrow and will probably include the marrow in the meal somewhere!!! Now all I need to do is plan the rest of the weeks meals and do some shopping!!!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Some rediscovered space

I took the day off work today as I wanted to re-arrange my bedroom. It's never going to look like this...

...but I loved the idea of not having a 'real' bed frame. Now I can't afford a new bed frame but couldn't see any reason why I couldn't just put the mattress on the floor.  To do that though needed all the stuff under the bed clearing out (and that was quite a bit of stuff!).

If you look at this post from the start of my blogging http://lessismoreihope.blogspot.com/2010/11/chaos-that-is-my-flat-at-moment-this-is.html you can see pictures of the bedroom (and the rest of the flat) as it was almost a year ago.

After today's endeavours it now looks like this...
I now have a dressing/work area
 And the chest of drawers separates the sleeping side

The huge wardrobe is still there but I can promise there is a lot less stuff in there now than last year. It's not finished yet. There is still more de-cluttering to be done. And there is still a pile of stuff in my front room that I haven't quite found a new home for but it's definitely a step in the right direction and the room feels so much bigger.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Pinterest...

...have you discovered it yet? No. Well off you go then...http://pinterest.com/

Pinterest is an online scrapbook, bookmark, general dump for all that interesting stuff you find on the internet and don't want to lose. Now, you could argue that a minimalist shouldn't be keeping this stuff in the first place and some people may agree. I, however, don't. The old me would be cutting things out of magazines and piling them up somewhere in my flat never to be looked at again (except for when I had to move them to 'tidy up'!). However now if I see something in a magazine I want to keep, you can basically guarantee there will be a website. Jump on the computer, pop to said website and 'pin it'. That saves it to whichever 'board' you want it to go to within your pinterest account. You can add comments to remind you of specifics of that particular pin and for even more details you can then still click through to the original website. Perfect. But even better than that...users can categorize their boards and tag individual pins. So not only do you have the whole internet at your disposal to pin but you can also search pinterest itself and see what other pinners are finding around different subjects! Oh and you can follow people on there too.

So now I can keep all those quotes, furniture and craft ideas, recipes and general lovely stuff saved online where I can find them easily so that when I've cut all the other junk out and have all that spare time I can actually do some of them!!!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Contradictions...

A little while back two news reports came up on the BBC website a day after each other that seemed to completely contradict themselves (nothing new there then!) at least in my head!

One was http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14899148 which in short says "we put too little store on family time and too much on material goods".

The following day was this one http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14909066 stating "any new houses in the UK are "shameful shoebox homes" which are too small for family life, the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) has said."

Now surely if our children are saying they want more time and less stuff, that means parents don't have to spend quite so much time at work earning money for the stuff the kids don't actually want. If they aren't at work quite so much they can spend that extra time with their children. And if they aren't buying so much stuff then surely a 'shoe box' house will be perfectly good enough to store the stuff that a family needs (the word there being needs!) - or am I over simplifying - I don't have children so maybe I've got it all wrong...

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Presents...

...birthday, Christmas (only just over 13 weeks away folks!), christening, wedding etc etc etc.

One of the unexpected side effects of my journey to a less cluttered life has been my re-evaluation of presents. Not just what I might ask for as a gift but what I give people.  Some of my family and friends are notoriously hard to buy for, in the past it's been a nice Lynx gift set for the boys and maybe a nice Dove one for the girls, perhaps an amusing key ring, maybe even something that I like so I kinda hope they will too.  I have no idea if they use them or if they even like them. It was a present for presents sake as that is the done thing.  

WELL NO MORE. 

I have already bought a few Christmas presents. If I see something I think someone will like (be it April, August or December) I'll buy it there and then, and it's that point in the year when I start thinking I should start properly doing the Christmas shopping so it doesn't all have to come out of one pay packet.

This year I think more people on my gift list will be getting some cold hard cash!  What better than giving someone the means to buy that little (or big) thing they've been dreaming of? (Or at least a little helping hand!) There is that association that no thought goes into a monetary present and that you have to give more in money than you would have spent on a gift (or is that just me?). I think I would rather get £5 that i can spend on something I really do want than a £10 gift that I don't like or won't use.

So if you normally get a present from me then don't be surprised if you just get a nice little envelope!! ;-)

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Friends...

I had been thinking of writing a post on friends for a week or so when Katy posted the following blog http://katydunnet.com/2011/09/minimalist-friendships/

Having read Katy's post and mentioning my thoughts in her comments I decided it was time to write my post and expand on what I had been thinking...so here goes.

Friends, acquaintances, mates, de-friending, chums, besties, girlfriends, un-friending, boyfriends, buddies...the words themselves bring to mind different people and different emotions.

I was one of those kids who made friends with the other kids at the campsite on holiday even though we would only be there a few days, who chatted to the other children at the party I didn't really know, who would end up playing with other children on the beach on a day trip (and probably proclaimed them my 'best' friends even though I'd never see them again).  Roll the clock forward and I'm the awkward teenager who is the stereotypical wall flower at a party, not wanting to talk to anyone in case they think badly of me or I say the wrong thing - quite a turnaround - is it just me or is that just the change in perception from carefree under 10 to weight of the world teenager?

I am still friends with the girl who was probably my first 'best friend'. (Yes T I'm talking about you!) She was 4 and I was 3 when I started at the playgroup she was already attending. Apart from playgroup we never attended the same school as we moved away when I was 4 (nearly 5).  Our parents and therefore us kept in touch. Birthday sleepovers and day trips, joining us for a few days when we were camping.  Then I really went away, to Uni, and we drifted a bit. Birthday and Christmas cards were still exchanged and the occasional letter full of the names of people we would never meet!! In time she met her Mr Right and I was invited to the wedding, then she had her first child and I was invited to the Christening.  That as when we really reconnected, the party after the Christening was held in the same Scout Hut where we used to go to playgroup. Within minutes my Mum and hers were in the kitchen sorting out the sandwiches and cakes just like all those years ago, and there were me and her sitting on the floor with the toys playing with her daughter - how things change but stay kinda the same!!

I'm still friends with a girl from primary school (when I say still we lost touch but facebook brought us in contact again) and we meet for dinner every few months for a chat and a catch up.  I still have friends from Uni that I am in regular contact with on facebook and I visit one of them to stay every so often (twice in 12 years so far!). Then there are a few people from jobs I've had that I still get together with. It may sound strange but with them it's dinner once a year but it's as if the time in between fades away (we email and text in between).  And on another level still there are the colleagues I work with now, some of whom I would consider friends (I'd be happy to see them outside work) and others I wish I didn't work with at all!!!  And people I've met via facebook get togethers some of which I now consider really good friends and others as passing acquaintances and I wonder why I am still facebook friends with them!

I do clear out my facebook friends quite regularly. I warn people I'm going to have a clear out and if you don't interact with me every so often you're out!

But what of those people you stop being friends with for other reasons. There are those that naturally come to an end due to the end of school, a job etc. I guess they end as they aren't important enough to either of you to make the effort.  I have a few friendships at the moment that are heading towards that point. The only reason they haven't ended already is that I am still making the effort. But if it's not being reciprocated when do you cut the bond and stop trying?  I value my friends, it feels like a defeat, a failure...

And as for the flip side of that. The good friend(at least I thought they were) that defriends you on facebook with no explanation. Who ignores the text, voicemail and email you send them. Do I give up and accept I'll never know what happened? Does it matter?

Should you declutter your friends the same way you do your stuff? I haven't used it (spoken to them) in six months it's (they're) better out of my life? Is it as easy as that? 

That's quite enough from me - what are your thoughts?

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Spending Update - Aug/Sept

Here we go again!!

Well it's payday tomorrow and there is £1.14 in the bank account and £13 in my wallet...

The holiday was fantastic and I tried to be good when it came to paying for it. Part of my holiday is actually not a holiday but a paid job doing something different. I used the wages to cover my accommodation and food and a little bit of spending money and the rest went into my savings (which was nearly 75% of it!).  I did buy some clothes (all charity shop!) and decided that as most of what I'd sold on eBay was clothes it was fair enough to cover that outlay with eBay money. In that I managed to get a whole outfit for an upcoming wedding, dress, shoes, bag and cardigan for £19.50. I was aiming to do the one in one out rule when I got home but actually managed one in two out.  I put the nicer of the outs on eBay and made another £56 (from which I bought a lovely £17 dress).  I did splash out on a smart new hoodie but decided as that was a bit of an extravagance the normal monthly wages were paying for that.

So £14.14 (bank and wallet)
£200 standing order
£38.68 in coppers etc from clearing out my wallet each day
Total - £252.82
That's 10p more than last month!!

My Mum did point out that at some point there won't any thing left to sell so the extra money in will stop - all the more reason to save up!

This month I want to try and break things down a bit more and work out how much I'm spending on what! I think it might scare me...

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Spending Update - Jul/Aug

So I set myself the challenge of £250 to put into my savings account this month - did I manage it?

This month hasn't gone quite to plan to be completely honest. A couple of good weeks and a couple of weeks where I managed to justify all the 'off plan' stuff I bought (hot chocolate bought off the store card doesn't count coz I've already put the money on the card etc!!)

I did well with the clutter stuff buying, not so well on the meal planning and hot chocolateness.

I have been putting some things on my credit card (event tickets, accommodation etc) but I am clearing the statement each month so I reckon that's allowed!

I did buy a pair of trousers, a cardigan and a pair of shoes (charity shop, eBay, eBay respectively) but as a lot of what I've been selling on eBay was clothes it seemed fair to spend a little of my profits to help my wardrobe on it's way to it's modular minimalist way. The idea is all your clothes go with all your other clothes so you can get dressed in the dark and still look fab, plus being able to make the most combinations from the number of items you have.  Even with what I spent there was still £70 in my paypal account to go with the other eBay money (it's separate to my savings).

So getting to the point...
£200 transferred at the start of the month (£60 monthly standing order, £130 my extra wages, £10 to round it up!)
£26.43 of coppers etc that I put in a pot when I clear my wallet out each evening
£15 in my wallet
£11.34 in the bank account when my wages went in
TOTAL - £252.72

I DID IT!!!

Not sure how this month will go as I'm off on holiday tomorrow and that always seems to end up being expensive. Will have to see how it goes - pop back in a month to find out!! ;-)

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Spending Update

So, yesterday was payday - how did I do?

Due to an admin oversight at work I have been underpaid for some time, last payday was my first at the correct rate so I immediately transferred the extra (£130) over to my savings to start me off at what I have been living on.

I stuck to buying one Pret hot chocolate a week (although I didn't say no if someone else offered to buy one!!), my one lunch out and my one takeaway.  On weeks where I was going out for dinner I ditched the takeaway altogether.

The meal planning worked brilliantly (thanks Jo at http://simplybeingmum.com) up until this week! I didn't make the effort last weekend to plan properly. I went to visit my Auntie straight from work on Weds and didn't want to take my empty lunch box so told myself it was OK to get lunch out! I won dinner out on Thursday night and used the same lunch box excuse! Friday I went to dinner at my Mums and as it was payday decided it was OK to treat myself to lunch again. Bit of a failure there but the rest of the month I was really good. The food shopping is also being supplemented by my allotment now which is producing lettuce, radishes, broad beans, marrows, beetroot and rhubarb, and the tomato plants on my balcony are also now producing fruit. The onions, shallots and garlic will also be ready soon. I have been including all this in my meal plans as it would be such a dreadful shame to let all the hard work in producing it go to waste!

I haven't bought ANYTHING from eBay, nada, nothing, zilch - and that is a BIG thing for me so I'm chuffed with myself. I have however been listing and selling things and the money I've made is going into a separate pot!

Of the events that were coming up that I was thinking about I booked two of the three, sacrificing a slightly cheaper one for a more expensive one rather than doing all three.

Now I'm not quite sure what I expected on the money side of this experiment but at the end of the month although the bank account was bare it wasn't overdrawn! Normally my standing order that goes into my savings goes through but then I end up transferring most of it back! This month the extra went through as did the normal monthly one and it stayed there!! I clear my wallet out every night of everything except £1 coins and notes. I have one terramundi for £2 coins, one for 50ps, a unicorn money box that a good friend of mine painted for me that gets the 20ps and an oversize whiskey bottle that gets the 10ps, 2ps and 1ps (my Mum gets the 5ps!). This month I still cleared out but put everything in a cup to count at the end of the month to see how much was there. The grand total £26.03. I also had £30 left in my wallet.

So a total of £216.03 has gone into savings (not including eBay sales) and I might put the £30 from my wallet in there too - that's nearly £250!! Go me!!

I'm going to do even better this month! The eBay, hot chocolate, lunch out and takeaway policy will stay the same. I am out for dinner tonight and away tomorrow and Monday so that will involve some spending but I'm not going to go mad. I don't think there are any events on the horizon at the moment to book for and I have another payday before I go on holiday.

So the challenge - can I bank more than £250 at the end of this month - come back and find out!!!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

My New Mantra

Have nothing in your houses that
you do not know to be useful, or
believe to be beautiful.
- William Morris

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

PayDay Challenge

So, this secret plan of mine isn't getting very far (as expected!). One of the obstacles is money (isn't it always?) so I have set myself a challenge as it's payday today. This month (that's my pay month which is 15th-15th) I am going to only buy the 'essentials' and see how much I have left at the end of the month.

Now I admit I am still deciding what I mean by 'essentials'. If I am too strict with myself then I know I will fail (a little bit of what you fancy and all that) but at the same time I have to set some boundaries.

So far I have decided that I will allow myself to buy one Pret hot chocolate (a serious weakness of mine!), one lunch out (by that I mean soup or a sarnie from a shop near the office, probably on a Thursday as I love the current Thursday Pret soup!) and one take away a week. All my other meals will be made at home from the grocery shopping. I might even try and plan the weeks meals and then only shop for what I know I will eat that week thus reducing the 'ooh that looks nice' purchases and hopefully not having food to throw away (this is inspired by Jo over at her blog, who does a 'no waste tastes great' bit)

I am looking for a pair of black MBT's for work on eBay and if they come up at the right price I will buy them - I have set myself a budget that I promise to stick to on these.

I have a couple of things planned this month that include reflexology, dinner out, a surprise trip (I know where we're going but the person I'm taking doesn't) and a day out with friends in London. I will still do these things but keep an eye on the wonga.  I also have a few things that have cropped up in the next couple of months that I would like to go to so I am thinking hard about whether to pay out for all, some or none of them!!

I have cut down a lot of the newsletters that I was subscribed to (I'm a bit of a gadget freak) to try and stop some of the exposure to and therefore the want of new 'stuff'.  

How will I do? Who knows - I'll keep you updated!!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Motivation

So, it's been a while. Yes I've been all de-motivated again. But no more. I came across something this weekend that has given me a nice big boot up the backside! I don't really want to say too much as I don't know if I can pull it off, and even if I can how long it will take but it has definitely put the zing back into me!

So it's back to de-cluttering (another batch of things on eBay tonight) and some serious planning, investigating, researching and generally making a nuisance of myself!!

Watch this space!!!

Monday, 21 March 2011

30 day song challenge

I've been taking part in the Facebook 30 day song challenge.  Basically you have to post a song every day following the rules below...

day 01 - your favorite song
day 02 - your least favorite song
day 03 - a song that makes you happy
day 04 - a song that makes you sad
day 05 - a song that reminds you of someone
day 06 - a song that reminds you of somewhere
day 07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event
day 08 - a song that you know all the words to
day 09 - a song that you can dance to
day 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep
day 11 - a song from your favorite band
day 12 - a song from a band you hate
day 13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure
day 14 - a song that no one would expect you to love
day 15 - a song that describes you
day 16 - a song that you used to love but now hate
day 17 - a song that you hear often on the radio
day 18 - a song that you wish you heard on the radio
day 19 - a song from your favorite album
day 20 - a song that you listen to when you’re angry
day 21 - a song that you listen to when you’re happy
day 22 - a song that you listen to when you’re sad
day 23 - a song that you want to play at your wedding
day 24 - a song that you want to play at your funeral
day 25 - a song that makes you laugh
day 26 - a song that you can play on an instrument
day 27 - a song that you wish you could play
day 28 - a song that makes you feel guilty
day 29 - a song from your childhood
day 30 - your favorite song at this time last year

It's prompted me to go through my music collection to find songs for each day and I've rediscovered gems I'd forgotten all about. It's made me realise you really DON'T need stuff to remember people, places and events.
I went through my music library and just selected random songs to fill up my phone for listening to on the commute.  I've found myself re-living so many memories over the last few days. Reminders of events I'd forgotten, places I'd like to go back to.  

I don't need the physical 'stuff' to trigger the memories and this has just proved it!

Friday, 11 March 2011

Mama Nature - Japan Eathquake / Tsunami

I was going to start this post by saying that it has nothing to do with minimilism but then I thought to myself that maybe it has everything to do with it...

For those of you that don't know I work for a police unit that deals with aid during incidents / crisis etc.  So yes, I could be involved in assisting with the events in Japan today.  As this is the case the TV has been on since 7.30 this morning (I was in early) and we all find ourselves glued to the images coming out of Japan of the debris that has been swept in land.

I'm finding it hard to deal with these pictures. One piece of footage appeared to show a car trying to outrun the incoming flood but cut out before you could tell if the driver made it to safety.

So what is going on, why is Mama Nature trying to make her voice heard so loudly at the moment? Does it all come down to our want of more stuff?  More oil to power our production lines to make more stuff.  More buildings to house those production lines, and us and all that stuff. More bridges, homes, businesses, schools, colleges, shopping centres, car sales rooms, office blocks, factories etc etc etc to be swept away.

Where do we go from here?

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

eBay - again!

Well, I pulled my finger out (only my little one admittedly!) and put a few more bits on eBay. After a lot of watching and very little bidding the items finally sold!  One of the items was a Myth and Magic chess set so that's a really big box gone plus the space the chess set took up and the dusting it involved!!  I also sold a Radley bag that I'd bought from eBay for more than I paid - hurrah!  I'm waiting for one of the buyers to accept my transaction cancellation as he decided he no longer wanted the item (well he blamed it on his wife), if he doesn't do it soon then I'll get stroppy!

I read a blog recently of someone who is further along thier minimilist journey than me and they now use eBay as a threat when they want to buy something. They used eBay extensively during their clearing out and can still remember the endless hours of taking photo's, writing descriptions, measuring, weighing and calculating postage, packing up and lugging to the post office. Now when they are yearning after something one of the conditions they apply is 'Will I end up having to list this on eBay a few months down the line?' - I will be using this in future as well!

Hopefully this weekend will be productive in that I will either be able to get up to the allotment that I now have and get started on clearing it, or if the weather is rubbish (as it has been the last few weekends) then back to the clearing out.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Slacking

Yes I know - I haven't posted anything in over a month. I could try and come up with excuses but I really don't have any, I've just been a bit rubbish! 

Well that and my week away in Cornwall funded by my clearing out. There were lots of lazy mornings, long walks, leisurely lunches and general chilling out.  The coast path was so well signposted (most of the time) and I was pretty lucky with the weather. I also visited Falmouth and the Gweek Seal Sanctuary.  I think my favourite places though were Trebah Gardens and Mawnan Church. The gardens were so gorgeous even though most of the flowers weren't out. There was a private beach (I did go for a paddle), a fab little restaurant and a lovely helpful lady on the information desk.  I went to Mawnan Church on one of my walks and it is a beautiful little church with the prettiest graveyard - I could have sat there for ages but it started to rain!

Below are a few of my favourite photo's from the week...

Looking out from Durgan over the Helford River

The view from the pill box at Helford Passage

Looking through a window in the Lookout at the Maritime Museum in Falmouth

Mawnan Church


Paddling at Polgwidden Cove

The view from one of the benches at Trebah Gardens

So I had a fab time and have been back three weeks - time to get back to the clearing. I took some more stuff to the charity shop last weekend and have just photographed a few more bits for eBay.  I'm still determined to carry on clearing, just need to get motivated again. The thought of another holiday might just be enough to do it!!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Christmas / New Year / Off we go again!!!

Over a month since I last posted but I'm hoping you'll let me off!!!

I mentioned in my last post about having cleared off one of my bookshelves and the fact that I would have a blank wall. Now, when it comes to minimalism I think there are a lot of different understandings. There are those who go for the absolute bare minimum, that isn't and never will be me!!! My aim (as I may have mentioned before) is to thin out and pare down but I will NEVER just have 100 things as some minimalists aim for.  I want less stuff, yes, if for no other reason than it'll make the housework easier!! I do like clear worktops, orderly bookshelves and although you'd never believe it things all put away and not cluttering up every surface...where am I heading with all this...that blank wall!!

The space that I am refering to looked like this when I first started my journey...


And the shelves I'm referring to are those on the left hand side of the picture (above the bin!!)

After some soul searching (I love books) and several trips to the charity shop I had cleared everything off that unit and either donated it to the charity shop, friends children, nephew, or relocated it onto a unit I am going to keep.  I put the shelving unit itself on eBay (it's a modular thing from Ikea and proved quite popular) and sold it.

I knew I wouldn't want a plain 'boring' blank wall. I love pictures and artwork and was thinking it would be nice to be able to have something on that wall all on it's own but didn't know what I was going to go for.  During a recent trip to London (for leisure rather than the daily commute) I popped into the gallery@oxo as they had an album artwork exhibition featuring Peter Gabriel which I wanted to see. On sale they had large prints of some of the covers and there we were a perfect fixture for that wall. The only problem was that I couldn't decide which one I wanted, decision, decisions. As I went round the gallery I noticed publicity material at the sales desk - *lightbulb moment* - they had the three pictures that I couldn't decide between in a large postcard type print which I could take home absolutely free whilst I made up my mind - so I did.

So back at home, big blank wall, three small pictures, decision to be made - or not. M comes up with idea of getting a nice black edged long portrait frame and putting all three up - genius! So after trekking round countless shops looking for the perfect frame we found the almost perfect one, a bit big but worth a try. Then another genius idea - go back to the gallery and get a fourth postcard to fill up the frame.

The below is the outcome - and I have to say I love it - hope you do too!!


 
I did manage to get all the boxes and everything cleared away for Christmas and even made enough room to get my big floppy chair out meaning M and I didn't have to spend the whole of Xmas getting cricks in our necks sitting next to each other on the sofa!!

Since the festivities finished it seemed the right time to go through the kitchen cupboards and get rid of all those long forgotten packets that seemed like a good idea at the time but went out of date in 2010!  Those kitchen gadgets that seemed so easy to use on the video, or when the demo lady was showing you! I live on my own, how many mugs, plates, glasses does one girl need? Nowhere near as many as were cluttering up the cupboards that's for sure! As it happens one of my nephews has just moved into his own home with his other half so some of the kitchen stuff has headed off in his direction.

There is still a long way to go but I'm getting there.  The best bit is that with the money I have made from selling on a lot of my stuff I am off to Cornwall for a week at the end of the month!! Hopefully a week of late mornings, long walks, leisurely lunches and general chilling out. A chance to bank some memories rather than more things - and that is what I'm aiming for...