Saturday, 31 December 2022

Vouchers, points and bonuses

 

I was woken up early this morning by an unexpected delivery.  I say unexpected as it was meant to arrive next week some time.  6 bottles of prosecco from my 'wine club.'  A few years ago I used a voucher that gave me £50 off a box of 12 bottles of wine.  Without realising, this meant that I was automatically 'signed up' to a 'wine club' and a monthly payment had been set up using the credit card I used πŸ™„ It took me a while but I worked out out how to pause the payments when I wanted and built up a nice balance that I could use at Christmas to buy wine for gifts (and to drink of course!) It was also convenient as you can't buy alcohol in supermarkets before 10am in Scotland so my early visits to avoid the crowds meant I couldn't buy wine.

So at the start of this year I paused the payments as usual but a few had managed to slip through.  They also give you 'bonuses' and vouchers every now and then.  As I've been going through all my spending this year I found that I still had £75 in my account!  So I logged on to see if I could get anything and found this 6 bottle deal and still have a wee balance left.  Free delivery plus they'll leave it in my safe place if I'm out.  Excellent!  I now have 6 bottles of lovely fizz (not free but feels like it!!) to gift in the coming year.  

I'm planning to make some fabric bottle bags and I'll reuse some bags I already have in my stash.  I'm also planning to make some liqueurs using up the fruit still lurking in my freezer.  I could fill wee bottles and gift with the fizz to make a cocktail! πŸ’‘ I'll add a wee recipe gift card to the bag.

It made me wonder how many vouchers/points I've accumulated in other places.  I've got £40 worth of points available on my Nectar card, I've got 101 Tesco clubpoints (worth £1!!) and the M&S credit card that I use for everything usually earns me a £3 to £5 voucher per quarter.  I've got a plan for the Nectar points πŸ˜‰ so I'll report back on that next week hopefully.

I also asked for M&S vouchers for Christmas.  As I'm not buying any new clothes in 2023 I will probably need new underwear at some point!  Thanks to my Lovely Mum 😘  My sister gave me a Dobbies voucher so that's earmarked for seed potatoes or onion sets in the Spring!  Thanks sis! 😘


I had some leftover mashed potatoes so made a big batch of tattie scones to use it up.  I say leftover but I always make more than I need any way! Recipe HERE

And Emma has picked up a nasty doggy virus that gave her bloody diarrhoea πŸ’© Normally I'd just give her scrambled egg or chicken and rice for a few days but the blood made me take her to the vet.  £105 later plus a ton of drugs and she's feeling a bit better today.  I just need to deep clean my cream carpet again...

Friday, 30 December 2022

2023 Goals: A year of more

 

This year's goal was to survive and thrive and while I definitely survived, not too sure about the thriving bit!!  Going into 2023 I've thought really carefully about what my goals for the coming year will be.  I've decided it's to be a year of more.  More of the good stuff I started in this first year of my 4 year challenge and I want to take it even further than I thought I could at the start.

So, here are my 5 goals for 2023!

1.  Live more frugally and simply

While this year has seen me tighten my belt and save half my salary most months, I think I can do more.  After analysing my spending, I'm going to set a strict budget for each area and stick to it.  I think I can simplify my eating habits (saving more money) and in turn become a lot healthier.  I'm going to try ditch my Diet Coke habit!!  And no takeaways!  My health took a big hit this year and I don't want that to happen again.  Living more simply should help.

2.  Save more than £10k

I managed to save £10k in just 9 months of this year so if I can do the same again every month in 2023, I  should be able to save even more towards my retirement goal.

3.  Buy no more new clothes or house items

I have more than enough clothes and shoes even after my big declutter to move into the downstairs bedroom.  I definitely do not need to buy any more.  However, I'm setting myself a challenge to make/upcycle/buy second hand anything I might need.  For example, my jeans are a bit threadbare but I'm not buying 'new' ones if they burst.  

The same goes for house items although I have budgeted to repair or replace my leaking patio doors and repair/replace 3 'blown' double glazing units on 2 windows.  I do need flooring for the kitchen and utility room and will need a new carpet for the room that's to be my son and DIL's living room.  These things have already been budgeted for but I will seek out the most frugal options I can find.

4.  Grow more fruit and veg by improving my soil health

Thanks to being ill for a large part of the sowing and growing season my garden and allotment plot didn't yield as much as I'd hoped.  But I've done a lot research on permaculture this year and have realised that the health of my soil needs a huge improvement.  Commercial fertiliser is going to be expensive and in short supply so I need to be able to produce my own soil improvers.

5.  Spend more time at home and keep work at work!

This one is going to be hard but I need to stop bringing work home and doing extra/unpaid stuff at home.  When I'm at home I should be doing things I enjoy.  I think once I have my craft room up and running properly I'll be more productive at home.  I realised that this Christmas I didn't create a single home made item for gifting.  That's not like me at all.

Totally doable goals I think.  There are a few other challenges I'm going to set myself as well but these are the 5 big ones.  Have you set any goals for 2023?  Any plans?  

Thursday, 29 December 2022

Financial Review of 2022

 


It's been a bit snowy the last few days.  It was a gentle start on Tuesday morning and by the end of the day we had a good few inches.  It hasn't lasted and is completely gone today.  I didn't leave the house so it's been the perfect time to take a long hard look at my finances πŸ‘€  


I have a simple pen and paper approach.  I start by going through the last 12 months' worth of bank and credit card statements to analyse my spending.  Even by doing this I quickly realised that I also need to look at my PayPal statements as some of my purchases weren't there.  My eBay account is linked to PayPal as are some of my takeaway purchases πŸ₯‘πŸ•πŸ˜³


Then I write it all in my book and sort out the categories.  Main ones are food/supermarket, car, house, pets, school (as I discovered I've spent over £500 on toys and equipment for my class!!!), garden/allotment and one offs (like a wedding) πŸ‘° Even just sorting out the categories was an eyeopener.  I mean, over £500 on school stuff!!!

One of my biggest expenses is my car as I'm still paying it monthly. This year it's cost me £3,907.  But once it's paid off in 2024 it should only cost me around £1,000 a year to run.  I only filled up with petrol 4 times this year (it's a hybrid) and I've still not done 5,000 miles yet!

Another big expense is my council tax.  It's a few pounds short of £3,000 and I have to pay it.  And don't even get me started on energy costs...

As I've said before I have a stable well paid public sector job (that I now hate!) so I have a guaranteed income every month.  I can meet these costs and save a decent amount as well.  Problem is if I retire now (or in a year or 2) I can't meet these costs on my teacher's pension.  And that's where I'm stuck.  Unless I sell my house and downsize.  And I'm not ready to do that yet!

But I challenged myself to save £10k this year and I did it!!  I pretty much managed to save half my salary each month.  Although I discovered that in April, November and December I didn't save anything!  So I saved £10k in just 9 months.  If I really really put my mind to it, I could save more next year (if I'm still teaching by December!!!)

Tuesday, 27 December 2022

The bit in between

 

It's that weird time between Christmas and New Year where you might not be working.  In an old life I might have been shopping for 'bargains' or hosting/visiting family and friends for more dinners or simply entertaining bored children on school holidays.  What do you call It?  I love how Sue (see HERE ) has named it Betwixtmas!!  Whatever it's called it's my time to reflect on the year and make plans for next year.  This is my thinking time.  And given my retirement/£40k challenge starting this year I've a lot to think about!!

But first, reflections on Christmas.  I kept my gift giving simple.  Books, sweets and money.  I kept my food simple.  I do love the Boxing day hash/stir fry as above.

Reduced sausages from the freezer!


More reduced sausages that were skinned and mixed with my GF Paxo stuffing mix.


Trifle was made from the free orange juice I made HERE, frozen raspberries from the garden and cake.


The trifle was served with squirty cream as I got that on offer ages ago!  The potatoes, carrots and parsnips were 19p each from Lidl.  Sprouts and sweetcorn were from the freezer as I always have them.  The most expensive bits of the meal were the 3 bird roast ( which was only average) and the halibut (which was amazing!) could easily have been a simple chicken.  Should have followed my instinct!!  But the whole meal was delicious and fairly frugal! πŸ˜‹


Emma loved her present!!  She's got a new lease of life thanks to a daily steroid tablet.  She's now 11 so realistically she's only got a year or 2 left so I'm happy to make sure she has some quality of life.  But I'll need to factor that in to my finances for next year.

Saturday, 24 December 2022

Plans, pah!

 

Long term readers will know I've had to adjust and change my plans many many times over the years.  That's ok, it makes life interesting!! I heard yesterday that I didn't get a place on the celebrant course.  It was a generic email that basically said they had too many applicants but I could apply again in the future.  There are other training courses I could do so that door isn't closed.  I'll have a ponder over the holidays and see how I feel.  And make a new plan!

My B&Q delivery arrived on time with 2 very cheery guys who both had black labs so Emma was getting a lot of attention.  I'd cleared the 'craft' room so the boxes could be stored inside and not in the cold garage.  I'm hoping to get more 'stuff' sorted out during these holidays so the mini kitchen/utility room and craft room could be completed by the end of January if I get a move on.

Our Christmas dinner tomorrow will be low key.  I've taken food out of the freezer this morning to defrost and I'm so pleased to see all the yellow stickers.  I did splash out on the main meat and fish bit but all the trimmings are definitely done cheaply.  Can't wait! πŸ˜‹

How ever you're spending your Christmas, have a lovely day! πŸŽ„πŸŽ…πŸ²πŸ΄πŸΈ

Thursday, 22 December 2022

Silly, but it's fun

 


I'm finally on holiday now for 2 weeks and 1 day!  I'm celebrating by watching my favourite ever British comedy show The Good Life.  The Christmas special named 'Silly, but it's fun' is currently available on BBC iPlayer (if you can get it.)  

I'm tired and ready for a break from school but have got loads planned for the holidays.  Including getting a large delivery from B&Q on Saturday, yes on Christmas Eve!!!!! 😲

Wednesday, 21 December 2022

Weird, right?


This is weird, or at least I think it is but do let me know what you think!

Before I put the flat on the market I contacted a locally recommended electrician to check/fix the lights in the communal close.  They kept shorting so needed more than just changing the light bulb.  

I phoned and left a message on their voicemail.  I filled in their online contact form, saying I'd also phoned them.  I heard nothing back.  So after 5 weeks with no response I assumed they were unable to do the job.

So my DIL contacted another local electrician.  I spoke to him on the phone, explained the situation and he agreed to look at the lights but was only available in a month's time.  No problem so we agreed on a date and a rough price.  Access was easy so there was no need for anyone to be present at the flat.

A week after the previously agreed date I got an invoice for £144 to fix the lights so I paid it.  Issue sorted.

Last week we got an overdue invoice reminder of £102 for electrical work to repair the close lights.

Several emails and phone calls later...

Turns out the original electrician I contacted rocked up days after the second electrician had already fixed the lights, replaced the push buttons switches and sent me an invoice.  I paid it thinking it was the second guy that I had spoken to and agreed a price.

I have had zero interaction with the original guy but he went ahead and did the work without contacting me.  That's weird, right??

Saturday, 17 December 2022

Round up of my week

 

The above photo is by The Kilted Photographer, a stunning aerial view of the Wallace Monument yesterday.  The same monument I see from my allotment plot 😊

It's been a very cold icy week here (-9 degrees C at times) We had a burst water main nearby and the school was closed for an afternoon as we had no water.  I had reduced water pressure but many houses were without water for a few hours.  The burst pipe pumped out 1000 litres of water per minute for many hours.  Then it all froze solid!  

It snowed for the first time yesterday.  Snow lying on top of ice made for very dangerous driving conditions.  In fact, I had to walk to work as I decided my wee car just wouldn't make it safely out of my drive, down the hill and then back up another longer hill to get to the main road.  It's normally a 25 min walk but took me about 40 mins to trudge through the snow.  I was late for work for the first time ever!  I enjoyed the walk but the really cold air has aggravated my lungs and I've got my non stop cough back! πŸ™„

 

I got a few decent yellow stickered bargains earlier in the week when I popped into Tesco.  These ones were for my son and DIL.


These were for me!  The chilli chicken was very nice (did 2 meals for me) and we're trying the Chinese sauce on some duck fillets and prawns I already have in the freezer for tomorrow's meal πŸ˜‹  It's just luck when trying to get yellow sticker stuff but I've noticed when the weather has been bad there are more bargains!


I've been experimenting with cooking stuff on top of my woodburner.  There's not enough space to put a kettle or large pan.  But there's room for a couple of our small pans to boil water.  Here I put some sliced peppers in a bit of oil and they sizzled nicely until they were cooked!  I also tried a wee enamel pie dish with stuffing mix and it cooked beautifully too.  It was interesting to see on the news that many folks are trying to get a woodburner installed to save money on heating bills.  There's a waiting list until March apparently!


I got my Christmas dinner meat and fish delivered from Wild and Game HERE  I've used them before.  They're expensive but their stuff is ethically sourced and afterall, it's Christmas!  My son and I are having the 3 bird roast and my DIL is having the wild halibut.  I think I'll do the venison for New Year's day.  I got the pate as it took my order up to free postage!!  It's been a while since I've eaten pate but it's rather delicious!

I now have 2 full days and 2 half days of teaching left.  I'm hanging on for dear life.  At the moment I'm wondering if they'll be my last days of teaching full stop as I'm so burnt out.  We'll see πŸ’”

Saturday, 10 December 2022

Let it snow!

 

It was -2 degrees C here at 9am this morning, probably lower than that through the night.  Basically Winter has arrived with a vengeance this week.  Brrrr!! ❆ My kids are desperate for it to snow.  We have wee flurries that quickly disappear but we're on a yellow snow warning for this weekend.  So I guess be careful what you wish for!!

We had a burst water main round the corner on Thursday thanks to the sudden freeze.  Thankfully our water was ok (low pressure) but my son and his fiancΓ© (who live a 5mins walk from me) had very brown water for a few hours.  We also have a burst water pipe outside our school.  

It made a fab icy slide for the kids in the playground but was actually very dangerous to walk on!!  You can just see the Ochil hills behind the house roofs.  No snow on them on Thursday but maybe today there will be.  That's when we know it's definitely Winter here in Central Scotland!

It was a porridge morning for me, the dog and the chicken! πŸ•πŸ”  Home made jam, walnuts and chia seeds in mine and just chia for Tuppence.


Emma gets to clean out the pot which then gets a thorough clean in the dishwasher!!!  Cheap, hot and filling breakfast for us all πŸ˜‹

I've got a friend popping round shortly to collect some packing paper as she's moving house this week.  Like I did, she's downsizing from the family house after divorce to a smaller house that costs less to run.  It will be nice to have her here in Stirling 😊

Sunday, 4 December 2022

November spending (late!)

 

I put up my Christmas tree yesterday.  Each decoration is a Santa so it's my Santa Tree!  My DIL helped me and she was amazed that every Santa was different.  It's taken years to collect this many, none are remotely expensive and it's definitely a bit tacky.  But I love it!! πŸŽ…πŸŽ„

I realised that I hadn't done my November spending post.  Confession time, I didn't keep a track of my spending last month.  I could go through my statements and check but I'm suffering a bit from frugal fatigue.  I didn't go overboard but I just didn't keep track.  I think hitting my £10k target last month made me relax a bit.  Unfortunately I've had to call out a plumber (twice) and an electrician to fix things at the flat and at home.  So this month I can safely say my savings were ZERO!! 😳

It was our staff night out last night. a party night that cost £49 (paid for back in October.)  I wore a new sequin top that cost me £11.25 from Tesco with black trousers and silver glittery Vans that I already owned.  As I wasn't drinking alcohol my friend bought me some soft drinks and she drank my wine that came with the meal.  So I didn't spend any money last night.  I left before it started getting too wild but had a lovely time.

I have 13 and a half teaching days left until the Christmas break, if I last that long.  My job has become impossible to do with some children who simply should not be in mainstream school.  I will do my best for the other children in my class but I suspect my retirement from teaching is imminent.  

Sunday, 27 November 2022

What was that big yellow thing?

 

It was a beautiful sunny morning here.  I'd forgotten what that big yellow thing in the sky was as it's been a very wet and miserable month here.  It was so lovely to see the sun shining on my gin bottle collection πŸ˜‚

In fact it was so lovely I was able to go the allotment for the first time in 2 months!  Unfortunately there was a new padlock on the gate and no one knew the combination.  So I came back home and pottered in the back garden, which wasn't sunny as it's North facing.  The Winter sun is too low to make it over the roof top!  I whacked down the Himalayan bamboo, beautiful but grows wildly.  Also chopped at some ivy invading the chicken run.


I've no idea what this is as I definitely didn't plant it but the red berries are pretty!


My son helped me move my blueberry pots back to the front of the house (South facing) so they'd benefit from any future Winter sunny days.  My crop was poor this year as I'd moved them.  Silly me!  I also was happy to see the goji bush is still hanging on with a few tiny green leaves.


After lunch it rained πŸ™„ so it was time for some batch cooking.  Turkey meatballs (baked first) in tomato sauce using half of a 750g pack of mince.

The other half I made a sort of bolognaise sauce with added black beans (leftover from the veggie meatballs.)


Veggie meatballs invented from butter beans, black beans, nutritional yeast, seasoning and crushed up rice cakes.  Baked first then added to the tomato sauce I made.  DIL said they were lovely πŸ˜‹

Lazy day yesterday and busy day today.  Pretty much how my weekends roll atm.  2 of my teacher besties at work are ill with the virus that's sweeping the school.  I've still got a cough, I've actually lost count now how long I've had it.  Just 4 more weeks to hang on until Christmas! πŸŽ„

P.S.  I've had a verbal offer on the flat, wee bit below the home report value but might just accept it to get it over and done quickly.

Saturday, 26 November 2022

Better get started

 

Thank you for all your lovely comments on my last post 😊  Striking can raise a lot of conflicting feelings for some people.  Hopefully we won't need to do it again.

As someone pointed out on my FB feed this morning it's only 4 weeks until Christmas 😱  How did that happen?  Better get started then!

We keep Christmas low key in my family now, for many reasons.  Presents are practical and food is simple but traditional.  I picked up a packet of GF stuffing mix earlier this week as it's in short supply nearer the day.  You just can't beat a Paxo mix.  I tried a new one last year that I didn't really like but unfortunately I bought a kilo of it πŸ˜‚  I've almost finished it now!


I got my favourite GF sausages slightly reduced so they'll be skinned and made into sausage stuffing.  These are in the freezer now.  If I can get a decent priced turkey crown we'll have a turkey dinner but last year I just bought a chicken which is much cheaper.  To be honest it's all the trimmings that make the dinner great!


Yesterday my class was given some leftover fruit to have as an afternoon snack.  I have a wee one with an orange allergy so these didn't get used.  I'm going to juice them and freeze the juice to use in my Christmas trifle.  My DIL is a pescatarian so I'll use it with vege gel to make the jelly for the bottom layer.


On the present front, I bought some bottles of Prosecco that was on offer in Sainsbury's.  I chose this one mainly because the bottle was pretty!!πŸ˜‚  I've ordered some bottle lights so the recipients can make a bottle lamp once they've drunk the contents! 🍷

Just a few things so far but I feel I've made a start!

P.S.  Lots of viewers have been to the flat but no offers yet 🀞

Thursday, 24 November 2022

Strike!


I'm on strike today.  I never ever thought it would come to it.  But here I am this morning on the picket line outside our school.  I've just read on the EIS website that the last offer COSLA and the Scottish Government offer made amounted to an average of 71p extra a week.  Yes, 71 PENCE!!!

People think teachers are well paid and compared to some professions like nursing we are.  All teachers are graduates and we worked hard for our degrees. Many still have the student debt to show for it.  But the cost of living hits everyone.  We have several single mums on our staff who are frankly struggling but they came out on strike today to send a message.

In recent weeks I've paid £160 to a plumber and £144 to an electrician, each spending less than an hour on their job.  I do not begrudge them at all for charging a fair rate for their expertise and time.  Today I lost £106, a day's pay for striking.  Public sector workers cannot charge more for our services and expertise.  Even a 10% pay increase is still below inflation and would effectively be a pay cut.  Everyone deserves fair pay.

**gets off soapbox now**  Normal frugal tips will resume soon!

Sunday, 20 November 2022

Just ask!

 


I'm having a very lazy weekend so far!  Although I did clean out the Eglu yesterday while there was a few hours without rain and pulled some leeks from the garden to make a big pot of cock-a-leekie soup.  I had chicken stock in the freezer but no chicken so just used bacon instead.  Using up what I had to hand! That's lunches for next week sorted πŸ˜‹

I've got a little bit of school work to do this afternoon but as I'm still coughing loads (don't feel ill just got this nasty cough) I'm having another lazy day.  So I'm shamelessly stealing Sue's question idea as I'm loving the questions and answers on her blog HERE.  I thought you could ask me any questions you like.  About my life, my job, how I came to be frugal, living with my son and DIL, anything really.  I love hearing about other people's lives and like to pick up good ideas.  Might even get some blog post ideas too.  So, if you're interested just ask.

Thursday, 17 November 2022

For sale

 

It's finally up for sale as of tonight!  They've made it look good in the photos but I did laugh when I saw the living room one.  The cat picture is actually square but it's elongated to make the room look bigger πŸ˜‚ I hope it sells quickly, I'll not be hanging on to get bigger offers.  I'll be accepting the first decent offer.  Have a nosey HERE if you're interested.

I'm currently in my bed (been there since I got home today) coughing up a lung with a sore throat again.  I'm hoping I can get through work tomorrow and then collapse over the weekend.  *sighs*

Sunday, 13 November 2022

A normal weekend at last!

 


For the first time in ages I've had a lovely normal pottering relaxed kind of weekend! 😁  I've done as much as I can with the flat, it's over to the estate agent now.  So I spent my weekend pottering about and doing some batch cooking.  My favourite way to relax and get organised for the week ahead.  I took my home grown tomatoes out of the freezer and made tomato sauce.  I used some rosemary and thyme from my back garden too.  It was lovely!


I used some of the sauce to make a veggie lasagne.  My DIL and I had a portion each and I put 4 more in the freezer.  I also froze the rest of the tomato sauce.


I made a huge Crockpot full of beef stew.  My son and I had a generous portion each and the rest will go in the freezer too.


I sliced up some lemons for the freezer.  I always snap up the unwaxed ones when they're reduced or on offer.   Good for making a hot honey and lemon drink when you feel poorly.  And for a G&T!! 🍸


I strained the fire cider mixture I started HERE and mixed in half a jar of raw honey to each jar of liquid.  It really packs a punch!! 


My DIL made banana bread to use up some over ripe bananas.  She used GF flour so I could have some and it was delicious! πŸ˜‹


And my car key fobs needed new batteries.  So I searched good old YouTube for instructions and did it myself πŸ’ͺ

A very satisfying productive 'normal' weekend!  😊 Shame I've got to go to work tomorrow! πŸ˜‚

Friday, 11 November 2022

Finally done!


The flat is finally ready to put on the market.  It took a lot of woman hours to get it looking like this!

It was grubby and mouldy and now it looks good.  

I just need someone to buy it soon 🀞

Sunday, 6 November 2022

I'm never doing that again!

 

As well as painting 2 rooms, removing an old carpet, moving furniture about and generally getting my son's flat ready to go on the market, I decided to also finally lay the vinyl floor tiles in my upstairs bathroom.  They were a pain!!!!  It might have been the cheapest option but holy moly there isn't a straight wall in the whole room.  I had to cut more than half of them to fit all the corners.  I'll need to add some sort of trim to hide the ugly cut edges πŸ™„

And the floor itself wasn't flat either!! πŸ™„  But they're down and look ok for now but I'm not doing that again.  If they start coming off I'll get a professional in to lay laminate flooring!!

Even with the help of my Lovely Mum, that was too much work for  a weekend.  Especially in the midst of a challenging period in school.  But I have to get the flat on the market asap as the market is about to crash and I can't afford to lose money on it.  Fingers crossed it goes live online later this week! 🀞

Friday, 4 November 2022

It's a sign

 

It's been one of the most challenging weeks of my 35 years teaching career.  I don't know if the 2 weeks holidays plus Halloween plus me being out of class to do training things plus having a student has sent my kids craaaaaazy!!!!  I've almost been in tears twice and I NEVER cry.  I've had crying parents who can't cope with their kids at home and had 2 hysterical colleagues in my classroom.  And it's not even a full moon! πŸŒ•

I came home tonight in a foul mood and opened up my emails to find an invite to apply for celebrant training with the Humanist Society.  I checked back through my emails and I originally enquired in March 2020.  I never heard back so thought it wasn't meant to be.

I'm taking it as a sign that it's something I would be able to do if I retired! So of course, I'm applying! 

Monday, 31 October 2022

October Spending (Woohoo!)

 


I did it!!  I now have £10,022.60 in my savings account πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰ When I set myself the target of saving £10k a year for 4 years I thought in theory it was possible.  But I'm still a little shocked I've actually managed the first £10k.

It's not been an easy month (in many ways) but my spending has all been on food/supermarket stuff or DIY/decor materials.  Total spend was £507.06.  With a few bits and bobs still outstanding technically for October, I put £529.66 into my account tonight to take it over the £10k.

That's equal to at least one year's retirement money.  I'm rather chuffed with myself 😊