I recently spent a week on the isles of Scilly and spent a lot of time walking, thinking and talking. A discussion that stands out is with my friend Charlie who joined me for some of the holiday, we were talking about how we spend money.
I shared that I often feel guilty about spending money on treat purchases for myself, particularly clothes. Even when I can afford it I get an attack of guilt that I should be putting that money towards something more essential or into my savings/investments or pension. This week I went shopping. I was in London for a trip to the theatre and dinner so went to visit my favourite dress brand Hush and bought two dresses and a denim jacket.
Do I feel guilty, yes a bit. But also I had the money sat there in my bank account to spend, I didn’t go into debt to buy the clothes (unless you count my Amex that gets paid off every month). And I’ve worn the dresses already and will be wearing one in a photoshoot that I am doing for The Mirror today!
Thursday was an expensive day
So yes Thursday in London which included shopping, drink and dinner came in as a high spending day! The theatre tickets had been booked ages ago but dinner as booked by my friend Neil was rather expensive, a very lovely Sushi place in Soho that felt like we were sitting in Las Vegas. We ate and drank and had a very wonderful time. Theatre was to see Cock starring Jonathan Bailey, a love story about a man trapped between his male lover and new female relationship. Loved it, Jonathan Bailey is beautiful.
Last week also came in at a high spend due to paying for our summer holiday in full. I have bee saving up for a few months. This is a summer holiday with my boys, and I have to admit I’ve gone for a holiday where everything will be done for us, including entertainment, water sports, food. Its a Mark Warner holiday in Greece, we have previously been on Mark Warner holidays before. And with it being at the start of the summer holiday the prices were hiked up. BUT..I did manage to save £250 by going via a travel agents rather than direct with Mark Warner. We are very excited and cannot wait.
Avios and Nectar Points
I was very excited last week to realise that my Avios points had been building up, mainly as a result of American Express monthly spending (paid off in full each month). I had 35k in Avios points that I won’t be using for flights. These were transferred these in Nectar points which means £278 of vouchers to spend in Argos or Sainsbury’s. Perfect for a few pre-holiday essentials or maybe just weekly shopping!
Checking my Energy Usage and Account Spending
I like to stay on top of my energy usage via my smart meter and detailed information in my Octopus Energy account. I am really pleased to see that my usage has dropped hugely, I am using 2/3rd less of both electricity and gas compared to January. A big chunk of this relates to my hot water and boiler. Previously I had an always on hot water supply, no matter how much was used there was always on ongoing supply of hot water and this was costing a lot!
I now just pop on the hot water to heat up the water as and when needed and this has made a huge difference to my usage and bills. My direct debit was raised to £165 in the March price rise but I can realistically move this down to £100 to £110 with my new usage. I might need to move this up again when we eventually have to put the heating on again but for the moment I’m keeping my direct debit to as low as the energy I am using!
I was very excited to see me in the monthly Tesco magazine last week, with my tips on Savvy Savings. I am often asked to comment and be part of a wider article in magazines and newspapers, Tesco magazine has a huge distribution with so many people picking up their free copy. Grab a copy when next in store, my article is near the back.
Walking Miles -Free exercise
Last week I didn’t have my boys at home which generally means less exercise without the daily school runs, so I made extra efforts to get out about in the beautiful Hertfordshire country side. The fields are looking stunning currently with the corn at the lush green stage and I said hello to the pigs.