Confessions of a Personal Finance Blogger – July Update

Confessions of a Personal Finance Blogger – July Update

You will recall I wrote back in April about my debt confession. I came clean about a problem that many people in the UK have but maybe not a personal finance blogger? Well I am an exception to the rule. We have a chunk of money that we owe to credit card companies. April saw us return from my 40th birthday celebration to Las Vegas a couple of thousand more into debt so that was the time to add it all up and see how bad it was.

July & August have the potential to cost a lot

Now it’s July and potentially the most expensive time of the year for us as a family. The summer holidays are here and the Football season has started back up again. Potentially expensive times. We have six weeks of no childcare and three children to keep amused. Plus, we have football training twice a week and pre-season games most weekends at places like West Brom, Tottenham, Colchester and Ipswich. Petrol, entertainment and food costs will go up, last week alone we did 370 miles to football training or a game, costing £50!

Here is DJ as an U9, he is now an U10 player.

The past three months have seen us make some significant changes to our budget that have resulted in a big chunk of the money being paid off, focusing on the £2,000 that was interest chargeable. The £15,500 is now £13,400.

The focus has been on saving money in big chunks and making extra money where possible.

The most significant changes have been to the following, maybe you can look at these things to save yourself some cash or make some money.

Food Shopping

We swopped from Tesco to Aldi 18 months ago and have saved so much money since. What I do now is to go do a big shop once every three weeks, I buy enough food in that shop to cover all meals. The only top up shop stuff required will be fruit and veg. This means that we can get away with spending around £50 per week on groceries.

Aldi for the first time

We do get the occasional treat of a takeaway but we normally go for fish and chips (Rowes in Stevenage is amazing) it tastes good, can be healthy and is fab value for money.

Cancelling Sky

I have changed our sky contract to be just our fibre broadband, landline and basic TV package. This is now costing is £50 per month rather than £90 per month as we used to have sports and movies on top.

No spend month

We made May a no spend month, it was a quiet social month so we were able to keep the costs right down. We managed to spend £700 less in May than we would normally spend in a month, that saving went straight onto the credit cards.

Still planned for the future

We have 2 big things planned to restructure our finances. First, we are selling our five-year-old S-Max as we own it. Hopefully for around £8 – £9,000. We are then going to lease a more efficient and smaller car, something Japanese and hybrid.

We also have our house on the market and are relocating from expensive Knebworth to lesser expensive Godmanchester. We can buy a bigger house, detached with a bigger garden for £100k less than what our current house is worth. This will half our mortgage and will save us a ton of petrol as we will live much closer to Cambridge for football. Moving to a new house will free up the significant chunk of equity we have in our house that we currently cannot touch due to being self-employed. And will make us £1000 per month better off as the credit card debt can be absorbed into the mortgage so no monthly payments there either.

Once we know where we are living and when, hubby will be starting up his own business. Until then he is working for a mate bringing in his half of the monthly bills. Cycling to work every day to save some extra money.

Feelings about Frugality

Living frugally and being strict about spending money is tough. And when you do go to spend a chunk of money there are strange feelings that go with it. There is the guilt over spending a significant chunk of money on things. There is anger at anything being wasted, I was very silly upset last week about some chicken breasts that I had bought from butchers for £8 that when I defrosted had gone off.

We have been used to having nice holidays every year since adult life began so we are going on holiday this summer. We were just going to have a cheap trip to Cornwall for which I have paid a small refundable deposit. I have now cancelled this holiday as we instead got an amazing deal because of my blog on a Mark Warner holiday to Corsica. It includes everything from food to sports activities to childcare, so we have taken advantage of that deal and have been away for a week.

I have figured out cancelling Cornwall will save us around £1500, when you add in all the petrol to get there and the food we would buy, eating out and activities for the boys. Also, hubby will be able to work that week, otherwise it was going to be a week’s lost earnings. We are pretty much back to evens there with an amazing luxury holiday that the boys adored.

Living on a budget is hard and it required significant change. I never wanted to up route our life and relocate, but sometimes when you really look at the pros and cons of moving it’s better to move. And to be living in a house with a mortgage of £500 per month rather than £1000 per month? And making a clear saving of £1000 per month, well that sounds good to me.

Enjoy your summer holidays whether you be working or at home with the family. And try to do lot of fun and free things with the kids. Have a read of my guide top 10 free things to do with your family in the summer holidays.

personal finance blogger


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Lynn Beattie

Aka Mrs MummyPenny

Personal Finance Expert

I write about personal finance made simple, lifestyle choices that will save you time and money, as well as products and services that offer great value.

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8 Responses

  1. Love the blog Well done, it feels really good to make such a big achievement like that.
    I have also seen a big difference in shopping at Aldi to.
    I also try to buy as much as I can going through cash back sites. Nectar points buy my school uniforms once a year or this year it was more value for money to exchange some for cinema tickets.
    Tesco points (gained from fuel) I used to use when you could double them up and it filled my freezer or bought some xmas presents. Now I exchange for a meal out as it’s better value and a nice free treat.
    Keep it up

    1. Fab money saving from you too. I love the freebies that you can get from the loyalty cards, I just got my rings resized thanks to Goldsmiths and cluncard vouchers being worth three times their value!! I have heard that Tesco fuel is not great quality though:-( I know its cheaper but isnt as efficient as maybe shell. Thank you for your kind encouraging words

  2. Brilliant news about cutting a couple of grand from the total, good for you. Glad you and the boys were able to have such an amazing holiday too! Good luck with the house sale, never an easy process.

    1. Selling house is just annoying. Now I’ve got into my head that each month we stay here its costing us £1000 in extra mortgage costs/petrol and credit card repayments 🙁

  3. Totally right, planning ahead is so important. And trying to save for big things before they happen!

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