Friday 27 July 2012

Some holiday snaps

I had an amazing holiday.  It was so good I didn't want to come back home.  We were so lucky with the weather (only one really wet day) and the midges were practically non existent.  We did loads of walking, cycling and general sight seeing.  We stayed with family for a few days near Stornoway.  I totally fell in love with Lewis.  It's a magical place.

We went cycling at the foot of Ben Nevis in Fort William.  My eagle eyes spotted wild strawberries ripe for the picking.  That sorted out a free dessert for that evening.  There were wild raspberries too but they weren't ready for picking.

We went seal watching at Dunvegan Castle in Skye.  We were so close to them, it was just stunning.

And my favourite place of all despite the horizontal rain was the Callinish Standing Stones on Lewis.  We also visited the blackhouse village, a restored group of traditional island houses set out as a living museum.  We saw a traditional weaver weaving the world famous Harris tweed.

Best holiday ever!!!

But back to reality with a huge bump.  The spanner in the works has been dealt with.  The house will be back on the market next week but I have negotiated hard and worked out a good deal for myself and the teenager.  Life throws unexpected stuff at you but it's how you deal with it that matters.

Sunday 15 July 2012

Holiday time!!

It's holiday time!! Tomorrow morning me and the teenager with my OH and his teenager plus pre teen are off on a wee wander up the west coast of Scotland visiting Skye and Lewis on our travels.

We're taking our campervan and a tent for a spot of wild camping and also staying on a few official sites.  I'm taking food from my storecupboard and hope to buy just meat/fish locally thus keeping costs down.  Diesel will be our biggest expense but we all love walking/climbing/cycling/beachcombing so there's loads of frugal fun to be had.

Let's hope it stays dry and the midges are kind to us!

Friday 13 July 2012

Keep Calm

Well what else can I do?  I am not going to waste time and energy on something I can't change so I'll carry on as normal.  I'm going to keep saving money, after all it will be useful for moving house.  Then when I'm in my new house I can reassess my plans and re name my blog.

So another late night raid on the supermarket scored some reduced raspberries, cherries and a large pineapple.  Not massive amounts but enough to make a couple of jars of yummy jam.  Some to use and some to gift.

And I've added a few more things to my Etsy shop, some wee Scottie Dog brooches.  They're about 5cm/2 inches in size.  They're perfect for using up all the wee end bits of tartan.  Bit fiddly but I can make one from scratch in 30 mins now.

I've sold a couple of things and have 2 special orders.  Like I said it won't make me fortune but I'm loving it and it's all mine :-)

Sunday 8 July 2012

Spanner in the works

Just when you think you've got it all sorted out someone has to throw a big fat spanner in the works.  For reasons I can't go into I now have to sell the house :-(

I'm very unhappy about it but am trying to look for the positives in this situation.  I will have to completely re think my plans and decide how best to proceed.

Sunday 1 July 2012

June Review

Hmm, I spent some time yesterday adding up, subtracting and generally trying to balance the books.  I'm not sure if I've set myself too tight a budget or if June was just a month that threw up a few unexpected costs.

So, here are the dreaded numbers.  After taking off all the direct debits and standing orders for boring things like council tax etc etc I allocated a budget for everything else I need to spend.  I looked at what I had spent the previous months and took a guess at what I thought was a reasonable budget.

Savings £120
Paid directly into savings account

Petrol £200
Spent £267.38
Overspent by £67.38

Supermarket £200
Spent £263.70
Overspent by £63.70

Dogs £60
Spent £216.88
Overspent by £156.88

Teenager £50
Given to him directly

Me £50
Spent £170.52
Overspent by £120.52

Teenager's school lunches £60
Given to him directly

Emergency/unplanned expenses £100
Spent £71.40
Underspent by £28.60

Total overspend for June £408.48

Luckily I had around £500 in reserve in my bank account.  I sold my car a few months back and downgraded to an older one.  I've been using that money to live on but realised I had to take drastic action.  But now that's gone I have to up my game and really concentrate on this task I've set myself.

I've kept detailed records so I know where the overspend came from. 

I live in a very rural place.  The only way to get anywhere is by car so my fuel costs are very high.  I filled my tank 5 times this month.  This will reduce over the next month as the teenager is now on school holidays.

Even though my supermarket spend was over budget it's still hugely reduced from previous months and includes other household needs as well as food.  With careful budgeting and stockpiling I will get it under budget in the coming months.

Both dogs were due their boosters at the vet this month so that bumped up my costs plus I paid a deposit for a stay in kennels when I go on holiday later this month.  I also had to replace 2 dog collars.

My personal overspend was due to my regular hair cut and colour (might need to re think that one!) and buying tickets for the Edinburgh Festival in August. 

Emergency/unplanned item was the teenager's mouth guard order for next session.  One for rugby and one for TKD, both sports demand a proper dentist made one.

I also had major dental treatment this month.  Eeek!!  Luckily that was covered by other means or I would really have been in the brown stuff!!!

On the positive side I made some money from Musicmagpie (£51.50) and sold a wee cushion on Etsy :-) So there is some good news to report on the savings front.  It's going to be a slow process but I just need to focus on the positive aspects and keep going.