Tag Archives: female finances

A house is not a home…


so they say. Today I looked at FIVE of them with my Little Irish Friend. It’s a mugs game. I have a budget, which means, I have a budget. However, houses don’t have prices, they have ‘ranges’. So something that looks like it might be £250,000 could really be £275,000 dpending on a) what the potential buyer thinks it is worth and b) what the vendor will hold out for.

We saw the first at 10:30 and the last at 15:00. We could barely speak for lack of food, talking, thinking, and just dealing with the dozens of other viewers. A snack, some reflection and an offer went in. You can bet your bottom dollar it won’t be accepted – despite being ‘in the range’.

I am exhausted. Time now to finish a 3000 word essay, start a second one and wait for a reaction.

Will keep you posted.



Discounted shopping


Although there are those out there who can bag a whole trolley of shopping for nowt with the nifty use of coupons, cashback etc., I am still on my learning curve.

However, just over an hour online getting £95.35 worth of groceries for £48.16….and free delivery. Woohoo!

I think this is a good effort.



What it’s worth


The Grim Challenge was a big success for the four young things who ran today. Bitter cold winds but gorgeous sunshine made it ok for the few spectators as well. They were soaking and shivering and covered in mud when they got back to the car. The turnout was great and loads of charities were represented.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Grim Challenge, Aldershot, 7/2/2016

There was talk on the way home of getting the mothers to run as well next year….

While waiting for the runners to finish, the smell of coffee and hotdogs was tempting, but at £4.00 for a sausage in a bun and £3.00 for a coffee, there was no way I could afford to or would want to pay that amount….

Of late, my long term financial situation has been playing on my mind. At 55 with only about 7 years of work under my belt in the UK, my State pension pot is paltry. It will be about 18 months before I can hope to work full time again and despite efforts to find a Saturday job, it has not happened (yet).

I am a good saver and big believer in putting pennies away. The problem is that it is hard to save when there is no income! Yes, I do live off the joint account at present, but as He in Paradise is always checking the ins and outs of it, I am careful about purchases.

I mentioned my student loan recently. I invested part of that in a crowd-funding property deal, buying a small share in a rental property in Manchester. The returns (not guaranteed of course) look good. I also have been a long term investor in a peer to peer lending scheme. It returns an average of 4% per annum, which in this market is great.  This type of passive income is good but in order for it to have any significant financial reward, one needs a lot of money invested. At present only the odd tenner can be popped in, now and then.

Without a load of money one needs to be frugal, and I notice that of late, more thought goes into purchases. Where cash back or discounts (or both) can be used they are. £2 coins go in a tin that cannot be opened (need a can opener) and £5 notes are saved. A friend taught me this one. Any £5 s that end up in my wallet at the end of the day are removed and banked at the end of the week.

I have been experimenting with a capsule wardrobe too and after a week of wearing the same ‘uniform’ (washed in between), not a person has commented, which goes to show how much anyone notices, and that we all worry too much about what we wear!

So, all this has inspired me, for what it’s worth, to persist with the collection of pennies, the making of packed lunches and wearing a capsule wardrobe….it all adds up to savings for my dotage.






Boots – as in for feet


I wear lace up ankle boots most of the time that I am not required to wear uniform flats, wellies, hiking boots and sneakers. Oh, and not with summer dresses, but most of the time boots are the footwear of choice.

Clarks have historically been the best source of these boots. One year, when living in Japan, some friends and I ordered Clarks boots from the USA, (getting shoes there for foreign feet that one actually WANTED to wear or could afford was problematic and for some reason it was easier to get British shoes from America…..). Not sure how to gauge the foot size difference we sent off paper tracings of our socked feet to help the supplier get the size right. And they did! We wore identical boots for ages and as you have to take your shoes off and leave them in the entrance of any home you enter, there were three pairs of the same footwear in different sizes in the porch!

Like most of my boots they were worn into the ground.

A few years later I got a great looking dark brown pair, and on a trip home to Australia, my younger sister admired them so much, I gave them to her, sure that I could replace them.

It was not to be. Same style, but only in black….so I wore them for another year and on another trip to Oz the same sister received the boots and again last year…..!

I buy my boots online through Quidco, where at times there is a 12% cashback offer. This time in Australia, my youngest sister gave me her boots, cool looking Country Road things with zips after I had parted with my pair. Alas, they are a fraction too big (but ok with thick socks) but the real issue is that they are loose around the ankle. So after sliding around in them for the last 5 months I have crumpled and have ordered, from the Clarks Outlet Sale, with cashback on top, one of the last remaining three pairs of my favourite boots, in black….

The Country Road boots will be donated and I will have footwear that fits when I head off to Italy to see younger sister who is there now…but she is not getting my boots!

All at sea


It has been a bit of a bumpy ride since the exam. Nothing dreadful, just out of sorts and not myself. Lost focus and lots of niggles.

It feels like pieces of a jigsaw are missing. I can’t move till I find a house and I can’t look for one until the flat sells, and He who lives in paradise is concerned that plummeting stock markets have made it difficult for him to produce the dosh etc, and it is all a mishmash of things not happening.

A 3000 word essay is due Tuesday night and I am about half way through. I have lost my drive. It was the one thing that kept me going, the degree, nursing and the future, but right now, even that has gone. (It will return, but it is not a good feeling when my true passion has faded).

It is a matter of (again) re-evaluating, making priorities, and taking manageable steps to get things done.

It does not help that apart from dog walks there has been no serious exercise. Endorphins really do work!

Oldest daughter had a blip at uni this week, boyfriend and other things and has been packed off home for a few days by her tutor for some TLC. It is hard when you are young and have to learn about the painful side of love. She arrives tomorrow. Having her here will be nice, although she warns me that she plans to sleep a lot!

I have vowed to do SOMETHING on the essay tonight , just to feel as though progress is being made. I have also downloaded ENDOMONDO on my phone – an app I used to have and used all the time.

I do this, flounder and then attempt to rally and boost myself up again,  we all do no doubt. But it is a bit like being all at sea, bobbing around, waiting for other things to fall into place so that I can get on.

But one thing happened today that was very unusual and very welcome. A large sum of money hit my account from Student Finance. I immediately allocated it to various places that will cover upcoming expenses, to my cash ISA and have some left which I plan to invest! (Part of my plan to put something towards my dotage as I do not have a pension here….). There are some who might think that student finance is for living on, it is, but I am so frugal at the moment that I do not for now, have to touch it. That may change when I come to buy my new home, so it may as well work for me while it can!

Wall Street – watch out!!!

A weird thing to do, or is it just me?


Facebook revealed a photo of the ex today, uploaded by a friend, of him and his first wife at their wedding. There was some banter about him holding his stomach in and a comment from someone I have seen in the last few months saying ‘ how nice to see….’ (name of ex-wife).

It hurt, and here is why. That marriage ended in tears and then very, very sadly a few months later in the death of his wife.

The person who commented about his wife, was once a bit unkind about her, to ME.

Since that marriage, we were married, but it seemed as if the last ten years just DO NOT exist.

So, here I am getting all upset and hurt, then I started thinking how very odd to put up a photo that is so OLD. He looks nothing like that now. It was not (according to him) a happy relationship, but there was the photo for all to see. What on earth was the point?

So weird, or is it me just thinking that?

Once I manned up, I started, tentatively tackling my ever growing ‘to do’ list. More stuff for the charity shop, and they are coming with the van next week to take some of the bulkier bits of furniture….

Student Finance has agreed to lend me money – never thought I would be happy to be in debt, but it is going to seriously help over the next few months. I emptied my pound coin and penny jar and had over £50 which was banked.

I am now about to start more work and have a gym date at uni in the morning before hitting the library and seeing the head of the program.






Slipping into 2016


2016 arrived quietly here. Oldest and I were at home, both writing/studying until just before the countdown. We then went out to collect youngest who was with a friend.
Resolutions are not my thing. But there are plans and pledges and an acceptance that major, major changes are heading my way this year.

This small painting (that I own) is called ‘and we came along this road’ and it says everything to me about the future. I don’t know where the road leads, but there are sunny patches and shadow as well as trees and clear blue skies…

and we came along this road

I do know that I will need to be resourceful, frugal, organised, strong and clear about my choices, but it is a pretty road and to be enjoyed….

The tenant in my rented flat has just given notice, so this will no doubt speed up the selling process…which means the search for MY NEW HOME will begin in earnest, soon. (Excited as I love looking at houses….because I am so nosy, and nervous as this time the decision is all mine for me, that’s a biggie).

His nibs has been here since last night and tells me that he is VERY ANGRY about a lot of things….there have been a few sneaky tears on my part, but a lot of standing up to him.

He got a speeding ticket on his first day back, in the car that I now own (as I have to sell it  while he is out of the country). He suggested I take the flack as he is no longer on the insurance (rubbish). When I said no he asked me if I wanted him to go to jail? Then there was some waffle about it all taking so long for letters etc to reach him in paradise, but I said so be it. I will not accept his fine and I WILL NOT lie and break the law for him. Lots of tutting and sighing and rolling his eyes at my audacity.

But apart from that petty drama, 2016 has eased its way in and is here to be lived to the max!

Happy New Year everyone xx








Loans and borrowing


I pride myself in having no loans, other than the mortgage, to which I no longer have to contribute, and no credit card.

Today however, I applied for a student loan. True, I have been fortunate not to have to until now. After weighing up the pros and cons it seemed that the extra will help no end, mainly as although they are both over 18 and not ‘dependents’ and both work hard to live within their means, the girls need a bit of help every now and then.

Billy Bunter made it very, very clear that he wanted nothing to do with the girls’ financial support post separation as they are not his. He was admonished for this by the solicitor but he was adamant.

There is no guarantee it will be approved as I already hold one degree in beer consumption clad only in a toga – oh and Japanese!! But if it works then when they need a bit extra, I can help out.



An hour well spent


For the first time I Boosted my Tesco Club Card points. Don’t shop there often, but do buy petrol so had over £20.00 to use up. The girls’ pajamas and cami tops for Christmas and some running leggings for Em have now been bought using said points and a tiny top up from me.

It was not simple working out how to use the things, but worth the time spent from a money saving point of view.



Standing up for myself – with a wee bit of help


Less than a week and an email has arrived saying that he is struggling with finances and therefore would like to make some changes to the arrangement that we made – pay me less in fact.

This is a man in a 5 star hotel suite room on a tropical island with a fat salary and two pensions…

So this is me, first time I read it, I think, poor him, he is having a hard time. Second time I read it I think, wait a minute, he is cutting left right and centre and has already asked for £500 – yes, which I gave him….FOOL and then he is saying that his making cuts are really to benefit me in the long term as he will be able to save for my new tiny home…..does not that mean in fact that I will be the one saving if the cuts are coming from me?

I almost responded but decided to run it by my solicitor instead. Harsh? No bloody way. He wants to cut the cost of a ‘holiday to Australia’ for me  (among other things). Believe me, it might be God’s own country and holiday heaven to some, but it is my family home, my father is battling two types of cancer and recently had most of his stomach removed. My mother is slowing deteriorating. All my siblings are there and I think I am entitled to see them once in a while. So I do not count the long, long trip home as a holiday. It is a family visit.

And anyway, how can one cry poor when one posts videos of their luxury lifestyle all over Facebook?

So I am standing up for myself with a wee bit of help. I am not saying no to a discussion, but I am saying no to the wheedling, manipulation that has gone on for so long.