It's time for me to return to scrupulous savings since two weeks ago my DH got his notice. His company has outsourced 100 of their local contractor jobs to India, and they've undergone massive belt-tightening. It's time for us to do the same. Tomorrow is his last day, and prospects are neither merry nor bright.
On balance, with some juggling and budgeting we can manage on my income for a while without withdrawing money from savings. We are mortgage-free, and I've just paid the property taxes. We don't have a car payment either, but our nasty scenario would be to have to replace one of our aging cars.
Our health insurance is from my job, so that's covered. We are trying to figure out unemployment since neither of us has ever filed for it. I have a full teaching load for spring (Hallelujah!) unlike some of my colleagues. I just finished my adjunct class, so they still owe me for a month there. Another adjunct class begins in March. I've already started to drive DD and DH crazy turning down the heat, but that's going to be the drill. Christmas will proceed as usual, but it's going to be leaner but still lovely. And yeah, I have Swagbucks videos running in the background. :-)
Any advice is welcome.
Viewing the 'No Spend Days' Category
I spent yesterday cooking for my recently hospitalized friend--making pulled pork and coleslaw and baking brownies and banana bread. We ate the same for dinner, and besides returning some library books and doing some laundry, didn't do much else. Happily it was a no-spending day as I hope today will also be.
I can't quite believe it's June 1. June always sneaks up on me as February or March never seem to do.
Today is office cleaning day, a bit more laundry, and packing for my weekend trip to the Twin Cities. I'd be a very happy gal if I can get the office straightened out, some pictures hung, and everything cleaned up in there.
Things are winding down for DD's last days at middle school, and DH is starting to prep for the trip to the UK. On the financial front, I've been in contact with the Education PhD candidate whose dissertation I've been editing. He's ready to go ahead, and although I think it's pretty weak, I'll just be doing the language edits and citation issues. The student's first language is not English which always complicates things. But I need the cash, and it's interesting work. I've also been offered a fall composition course at my adjunct university. I don't much like teaching composition, but again, we need the cash. If our five-year plan is to move to the UK, get the kiddo through the university, and have a two-continent retirement, there's lots of savings to be done.
It's been a lovely few weeks in Londontown, punctuated by a trip to Nice with my girlfriends. I'm really trying to relish every single moment. It's going to be tough to go back to real life in six weeks.
Amazingly Nice didn't cost too much. It's off season, and I shared a room with my Minnesota girlfriends who flew over to join me. Six nights with breakfast and a balcony overlooking the Med cost less than $300 each. With the flight under $100 (thanks to my BA Avios), and the wonderful bus system there, it was just dinners and some misc. spending. We went back to Eze on a day trip, also Villefranche and the fabulous Rothschild villa and gardens, and Antibes and Vence all on the bus. A seven-day bus pass cost 15 Euros (less than $20), and with the enormous breakfast buffet, we rarely ate lunch--just coffee or wine and pastry.
I've had two no-spend days since coming home Sunday, but am off to the National Theatre tonight and will have dinner there too. Next week my students are coming here for dinner ( I think), so there will be a little more grocery spending. They are such super-nice girls; my best group ever.
They were in Scotland while I was in France, and one of the California students slipped at a castle and had a compound leg fracture. She's still in the hospital there. Ugh.
In my very charmed life, I'm trying to decide whether to go to Rome next weekend with a friend. Hotel and airfare is about $500, but I came home with a cold and I'm kind of tired. I'm also fretting a little about money--though I don't think I've spend much--certainly less than in previous years. May all decisions be so nice. I'll post a photo from Eze--a hilltown outside of Nice.
I walked down to Camden Town yesterday and mingled with crowds of people and hundreds of shops and stalls selling all sorts of things and food. I didn't buy a thing and decided there is just way too much junk in the world. I estimate I saw 5000 tee shirts for sale in all those stalls. There was so much stuff it really put me off buying anything. My original plan was to walk down there and take the bus back, but I felt up to even more walking so cut through Primrose Hill and walked all the way back home--and miracle of miracles, without getting lost. No spending!
I taught one class this morning, but came home for lunch and work, then out for another stroll. I see a trip to Hampstead charity shops happening perhaps tomorrow--maybe after classes and my meetings? Two no-spend days? I didn't think it was possible.
My spending today was all about necessity. My new phone was dead as dead can be, and although I tried to charge it for hours last night with the computer, it was still dead this morning.
I took my class to the Imperial War Museum today for a little lesson on WWI. My doctoral research was done there years ago, so it was sort of like coming home. After class I bought a wall plug with a USB slot as I'd read it charges about five times faster. And indeed, in an hour, my phone was up and working.
I got a free cup of coffee from a lovely lady in front of Le Pain Quotidien on Tottenham Court Road and headed home to work. Normally I'd go to the galleries or museums on these short days, but the wind has been awful, and I have a lot of prep for my new class. Horrible gales and slanty rain tonight; I'm happy to be inside.
But now that I have the photos going, how about one from the sunny day of our Parliament tour?
That would be me falling off the NS wagon with a loud clunk. I knew Bath would pose some temptations, and I knew exactly what they would be, Three years ago I bought my favorite ankle boots at a shoe store; they're hands down the cutest most comfortable boots ever. And Bath is full of lovely shops as it's such a luxury area. I guess, in retrospect, it wasn't all that bad. The day trip was paid for, the baths were fabulous even though it was sixth time through them, I had planned for 11GBP for lunch and spent 9 and ended up taking half my lunch home for dinner. But the clunk was the boots.
They're so cute, less than half price, super soft and so comfortable. They were 65GBP which is about $95. Today I've got the rugby match which will require topping my Oyster transport card. After rugby I'm going to stay in and work and have plenty of groceries for the weekend--although I could use some muesli and fruit. Who knows? Maybe I can shave expenditures down the next few weeks to make up for it. But I love them.
And man, am I tired. I don't teach Thursdays, but needed to check out the show at the Victoria and Albert before I take students over. Then I had to go with students to the Museum of London. I enjoy the Museum of London, but this must be my sixth or seventh trip there. Some of my colleagues opted out as this is a field trip for their British Life and Culture class, but I feel strongly student take the cue from us, and it's helpful to have me there.
So two huge museums today with no stops for coffee or sweets despite my almost caving to temptation several times. I came home with over 22,000 steps on my Fitbit, sore feet, and an aching back. But spaghetti, salad, and a large coffee later, I feel somewhat better. And glad of the no spending--and I really enjoyed the Julia Margaret Cameron show at the V and A.
Tomorrow we're off to Bath. I do need to buy a birthday present for a friend and lunch too.
Some solid planning helped my NS Day. I met students in a coffee shop first thing, but had made a travel cup of coffee and a thermos. They ate snacks and drank coffee; I had oatmeal before I left and coffee from my travel mug. The shop doesn't care as all the students were drinking and eating.
I had three classes and managed to eat my ham sandwich, crisps, and clementine between the first and second. The coffee in the thermos helped propel me into the final class. And I was proud of students who packed their lunches.
Things are pretty dire at my home university--another reason to save where I can.
Yesterday's spending =0!
I taught all morning, came home for lunch, and then went for the faculty wine evening. Plenty of good food and plenty of wine, so I spent nothing.
Today was a bit different: I spent 6GBP on two candles and a travel mug for coffee. I hadn't planned on eating lunch at school, but had a 2:30 meeting, and I hadn't packed a lunch. I bought a roasted vegetable salad, but got a free coffee for 2.36GBP. I needed a connector cable for my laptop, and the computer store sold me something for (eeek!) 50GBP. I about freaked out. I went back to school, conferred with more people, and returned it, bought a different one on ebay for under 4GBP. Phewww.
More meetings then off to the grocery store. For 28 GBP I bought easy things to prep. That's important as I have limited kitchen space and not a lot of pots and pans or time. I need no-fuss healthy meals that I can make when I come home late after a full day of teaching and field trips. And I need fast and easy packable lunches. Here's what I got to add to my veggies and fruit at home. Coffee, new potatoes, breaded cod, hamburger patties, meatballs, mustard, milk, beetroot for salad,6 large rolls for sandwiches, two packages tortellini, ketchup, two packages of biscuits (cookies) for class treats, tomatoes, spinach, onions, lettuce, 6 pack of crisps, ham for lunches. I think I have more than enough for the week--especially since I have butter, oil, eggs, and fruit and some veggies and oatmeal. With all my cords, candles, and the mug, I'm at 39GBP. That should be 11 GBP left for lunch in Bath on Friday. Hoping for a no-spend tomorrow!
I've been in London just over a week now;mostly things have gone very well. A student lost her passport and other minor calamities too, but all is well and I've been in the classroom for a week. DH and DD came over for his dad's birthday and left yesterday. It's been a bit of a whirlwind. They stayed in five places in six nights, and the hotel stays and meals out have added up as has the transportation.
They flew Aer Lingus to London via Dublin while I flew with students. We ended up in a London hotel the first night as my flat had tenants, then we were off to his hometown for the birthday. The coach fares were half the price of the train fares, but the ferry was pricey. And DH has a habit of treating his whole family to meals as a gesture of his affection, which I would not, but I figure that's not my business. His dad has moved to a care facility, so we thought we could stay at his house, but because the family was there from all corners of Europe, we stayed in a hotel two nights, had the party and various celebrations, then I returned to London while they stayed with DH's brother.
They came back to London midweek, and we toured Parliament with the students, had various meals with friends, and went to the George, a pub in Southwark because we'd read a book (Shakespeare's Local) on it over the summer, and I'd had fun times with colleagues before at the same pub. So, although we ate in a couple of nights, it's gotten bit expensive. This leads to my budget decisions. I'm trying to sort out how much an ordinary weekly expenditure would be for me. Meals out are very expensive as there's that nasty 20% VAT, so I've bought food for breakfasts and some lunch supplies, and have leftovers. We had a lovely proper tea at the British Museum with students, and I ended up taking mini quiches and some scones home--all of which are in my freezer now. So I'm thinking with most meals in, I can probably get by with 50 GBP a week. Although I can hear Scotish Girl laughing at my indulgent budget, I' hoping to fit theatre tickets and all meals out of that.
I have a few more things to buy: another pillow, a wall poster, computer cable, and some sofa pillows, The flat is lovely, but it's all black and white, and I need some color. It's eleven more weeks after all! This week has a day trip to Bath which is paid for, but I'll need to buy lunch that day. And it's too busy for the theatre this week, so if I can find some nice cheap seats either at Leicester Square or day tickets at the National, I'll spring for that next week.
I've also had to buy a phone as our UK old phone is pretty knackered and we find we need two. In previous years the university and our partners here have lent us phones, but that's not happened. I spent 65 GBP (about 90$) on a cheap pay as you go smart phone. It has some frugal apps, so I'll be trying those, especially the special offers on free coffee and 1 pd Monday lunches. Today I came home for lunch after classes, but am headed out tonight for faculty wine evening--my favorite night at a fancy wine bar with free nibbles for dinner. It looks like a no-spend day in London. How's that for a good start? I'll post photos on Thursday when things settle down. Happy February to all of you!
I've been trying to balance minimal household chores, cooking, and family time with the mountain of grading that is staring at me. Despite some frustrations, it's going pretty well.
We spent some time over the holiday discussing whether we could afford French camp for DD again this year. Those numbers and our weakening water heater has brought on another round of belt tightening. Oh, and there's the plane tickets to the UK for my father-in law's 90th. I've reset the frugal daily spending, making an impromptu dinner at home after Saturday's post-holiday driving, parked in the free zone enabling a long walk to class today, and brought my own coffee. If I can make that work for the next few weeks, we'll call the water heater fund started. Maybe Swagbucks can kick in $100.
It's all about the balance.
Nothing like being stuck at home to curtail spending. I felt good enough yesterday to make some vegetable soup, and my DH spent hours trying to figure out why his car wouldn't start. After all his fussing yesterday, I called AAA this morning, they jumped it at no cost.
I've also managed to photograph and sell a couple items on FB, Add $11 to my totals.
DD is off to a family camp this weekend with some friends. That'll give everybody a chance to catch up on sleep and relax a bit more. It's $100 but includes five meals and lots of activities. And more fun for her than schlumping around the house with sick mom and harried dad.
I spent the morning getting the kidlet ready, going for a walk, and working on school stuff. The walk was lovely although it's been a bit sticky here. That and a load of laundry rounded off the morning.
With DH in England, I didn't want to leave DD alone all evening while I taught, so she spent the evening with a friend. Conveniently the friend's husband teaches where I do, so we drove together this afternoon. I saved a babysitter; he saved gas, and we had a fun time gabbing.
When I got home I realized I hadn't spent a dime. Isn't that lovely? I'm always tempted by the vending machines, tempted by ebay, tempted by fast food after four+ hours of teaching, but I seem to have gotten past all those lately.
I spent a long time today sorting through papers and getting unnecessary papers ready for the shredding fest on Saturday. Sorting papers always makes me evaluate our spending and saving, so I think there will be some changes in our accounts coming up.
Another splendid day with no spending--but with some small FB sales which I'll add to our totals.
Less clutter=more clarity