Monday Money #166 Challenge time – Booze free and State Pension Spending

I thought that I had done really well with spending last week, until I added up my spending diary. Hmmm.

But the great news is that this week will absolutely be a brilliant low spending week as on Monday I started the State Pension Challenge. Faith Archer and I are going to live off £179.60 for 7 days, the amount you would receive as income from the state pension, once you turn 66 (currently). You can read all the assumptions in this post that I have linked to, but basically we need to pay for everything for a week from £179.60, including bills.

I will be regularly updating my followers on social media this week as to how I am getting on. Day 1, didn’t go too well, bad planning has possibly caused me to fail:-(

This challenge does mean that I won’t be driving anywhere, as I can’t afford to, plus I don’t have enough fuel in my car, and I’m not going to be queuing for hours to buy fuel. NO WAY. I wrote about tons of ways to save fuel in this recent post, at least if you have some do all you can to conserve it. YES empty your boot out, like I did last week, all that extra weight uses more fuel.

There was also the (now feels like) forgotten issue of gas running out, this was a genuine case where supplies were low and prices have increased, read this post for loads of ways to save on your energy bill, its not all about switching, its also about energy usage. But switching to a cheaper provider like Octopus Energy is certainly going to help. Sign up via this link and we both get a £50 credit to our bills, thank you!

I bought a House

Yes!! I had an offer accepted on a house. And I am all ready to move, except I have to wait for an eternity for the checks, legal systems and mortgage etc. to be done. Fingers crossed for a move date before Christmas. Read all about the nightmare of buying a house here. I have shared worts and all of the broken process from the first house we offered, that fell apart, to the successful second offer.

Off the Booze

Keeping this spending diary has been revolutionary in understanding my behaviour and reliance on alcohol. I spend A LOT of money on booze, around £50 to £100 per week. At a rate of £75 each week this is £4k per year! I am taking part in a One Year No Beer 28 day challenge. This is gifted to me, along with the booze free goodies below, full disclosure.

I started on Sunday 19th September and am now on day 10 and feeling pretty damn fresh with high levels of energy. I have had a night out in London with heavy drinking friends where I didn’t drink, and I even went on a sober date. The night out with drinking friends was interesting, I ended up leaving early, I just lost interest in the drunken conversation as the night progressed. And the sober date, the best date I’ve had since I started dating post divorce, sobriety gives you a different perspective and clarity.

If you are interested in doing a no booze challenge, be that 28, 90 or 365 days, One Year No Beer have given me a 25% off discount code, just pop in MUMMYPENNY25 when you sign up.

A Gifted bundle of Booze free goodies

My spending diary for last week

It should have been a low spending week with nothing spent on booze, Neilboy paid for my lovely dinner on Thursday night and my also very lovely first date paid for my dinner on Wednesday night. However low spending was not the case.

Food Spends £195

I always start with the food! I had the boys for most of last week, requiring an Aldi shop. Aldi is back on the table, after too much of Tesco shopping. Let’s face reality Tesco is so much more expensive than Aldi. I got food to feed us for a week, and a nice summer smells candle and it cost me £41. Aldi is great (ooohh and I’ve been invited to the Aldi Christmas event next week, ever so excited about that, Christmas food, but no booze).

Total grocery spend for the week was £127. Let me explain. We popped to M&S on the way to football and I spied the light up Christmas mandarin gin, so bought a bottle to store in the Christmas treats cupboard. This gin was £20. We bought yellow sticker reduced sushi and sandwiches but still spent £40. M&S is lovely but not a place for your weekly shop, in any way.

There was a visit to Bury Lane Farm shop at the weekend and got myself some nice non alcoholic wine as a treat, truffle brie and posh cheese biscuits. I also forgot to cancel Hello Fresh who hit me with a £20 charge for 6 meals, which is actually not bad value for money (it includes a credit for previous errors), cancelled now.

£68 was my eating out spend thanks to Neilboy and date paying for dinners. Much of this was KFC for a sleepover on Friday night for my youngest. I didn’t have any.

This was our dinner at Brat on Thursday night, that Neil paid for, thanks pet. It was INCREDIBLE

Children’s Spending £60

Pocket Money of £10 was given to DJ for his trip to Liverpool for football the past weekend. He also had his haircut for £11. Whilst DJ was away J and I did a little bit of shopping for new trainers for the feet that never stop growing, £32 on new trainers. Plus £7 spent on a new Famous Five book. Bought from WH Smith, the only place you can get books in Stevenage, that shop is surely going bust soon, incredibly tired and no customers, and expensive.

Car Expenses £53

Fuel for £45, getting more and more expensive to fill the car, plus £7 for a new key battery.

Fun Money £180

Whilst DJ was away for football J and I had some fun and went to see Shang-Chi and the ten rings at the cinema. I wasn’t expecting this to be so good. It was amazing, and I got caught up in the emotions of the film, parent/child relationships and cried. £23 spent on discounted tickets via Kidpass with 2 large drinks and large popcorn.

I had a massage last week with my friend Sue, Body Bliss Yoga. An Incredible massage that I had on the day of house offer stress and by 5pm my offer had been accepted. I like to think that the energy created during the massage and reiki session made it happen! £43.

I also did a bit of Sweaty Betty sale shopping whilst in Shoreditch on Thursday night, new leggings and cycling shorts for £78 rather than £135. I love them, there are no better legging that sweaty betty for holding in the flabby tummy.

My other fun spends were in Royston on, where I stopped off after dropping DJ to Cambridge for his tour. I had my own tour of the Royston Caves, I absolutely loved it. The history, the conspiracy theories and no one actually knows when, how, why it was built, incredible. I stood on the actual spot where the ley lines passes through Royston, down to Glastonbury and St. Michael’s Mount, my home.

The earth goddess carving in the caves

Quite a few fun spends this week ahem.

Other Spends

I spent £46 on presents for a couple of birthdays. And got cash back with Top Cashback whilst doing so. I had £90 of business expenses, including £70 for another face to face course at the end of Oct, this one is in Glastonbury with Yoni Oracle and I can’t wait. And finally £25 went into my Plum savings account, which is currently empty after funding Summer holiday spends.

As always thanks for reading. Life is interesting at the moment, so I hope you appreciate the honesty I always share in these posts about real life.

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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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