Saturday, 31 October 2009

Day 79: Ethically...

...ethically... is it ok to break the rules of the system in order to support and advance a good cause? I used to think not... but in the last few days I have felt ok about that fact that sometimes we can be a bit sneaky. Was Robin Hood wrong and should he have remained faithful to law and policy... or was he a bit revolutionary? (I have reason for my questioning but I'm being careful not to get myself in any trouble!)

PS I haven't robbed any rich people though.

Friday, 30 October 2009


Very long day... financially speaking ...eeek down to £9 and PHEW ...payday!
Clothingly speaking - today I wear a holey item... I suspect our washer has a problem as it keeps attacking our clothes... thankfully this victim is a primark item that I don't love so much but still :(

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Day 77: Ikea possibilities

Aaaaah, a well deserved cup of tea at 8.45 and finally back from Ikea - car full of really heavy boxes I may not be able to get out ever again. Today Beth and I have bought office stuff!- having fought against all odds to find anything we could use as table legs for our new desks - since apparently the 'students have just gone mad for them in the last few weeks and they come from China' we managed to find an 'A' frame and have remembered some we can borrow from another table so that we can sit at our new desks! So I've realised it IS possible to go to Ikea and spend under £50. Though we spent more than that of our grant money... my personal spend was 89p x 2 for glass jars. Now I'm home I realise I have no need for them... good value as they were... but I was strong against the purple plant pot , the swirly picture frame, the novelty biscuit cutters and the cake stand. I did pretty well. Point proven.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Day 76: must must must keep on

Tonight I am extremely too busy to write... I'm exited about something I'm really excited about and I must must keep on keeping on... my picture is a secret clue :D

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Day 75: Living within what it means

Thank you to Charlie for the encouraging comment on my day 72 comment - Maybe you come up as info - as google deems you to be just that - a bit like The Oracle in the Matrix ;) You're right - we're struggling so much at the moment because I'm trying to pay as much as I can onto the overdraft. We're also struggling so much because I'm ... for the first time... actually AWARE when we're running out of cash AND we're not borrowing from every possible source to do all the things we expect to be able to do. It makes me realise just how much I had my head in the sand before I started this. If we 'needed' something we would get it - we'd go overdrawn and be charged up to £75 extra because of that, but we'd also have 3 credit cards and an overdraft to balance and borrow between. That's why they've all grown out of control as its been a few years of spending way more than we make - I'm not only feeling the restriction of cutting back - I'm also feeling the restriction of NOT calling on those extra lenders to get us through a tight spot.
Tight as it is though... we SHOULD be able to manage - there are people who manage on less income - and yes - if we weren't paying so much onto debt we'd manage a bit easier too. This month we've failed once - our Alliance and Leicester account has been overdrawn (as in OVER the overdraft) once for a day - it hasn't happened in this shiny clean account and I was GUTTED - but when I got the notification through its only costing us £5. (Much better than HSBC may I say!) But 3 days to go to the end of the month and we might just manage. Yesterday we walked everywhere and ate weirdly as we were down to £17 and didn't dare move from that... today we've got a child tax credit payment and expecting an expenses cheque to clear... giving us £80 to spend on petrol and food for Joel's parents visiting - which strikes me as comfortably manageable - especially as I already spent money on cheesecake ingredients to try that feature piece again - that could keep us all going for a week on its own I should think!
Still ... struggle as I may - its all fun and an exciting challenge - treating is as a game makes the whole thing more interesting! But today Joel is home, he's teaching Holly to make a cup of coffee downstairs while I just opened the curtains to a happy light coming into my bedroom and I can sit in my cosy bed and write... the children have been gorgeously well behaved all week and make me laugh so much and today we're making a family day out of visiting the garage, the supermarket and the recycling banks - the simple, free things can make a happy life. :)
Ooooh and tonight I'm driving down to Stoke to be on radio - Cross Rhythms radio are interviewing GoldDigger tonight at 7ish and playing some of our stuff so that should be fun... I'm slightly worried - not about the radio bit ... but about driving there without getting lost... more money? I'd like a chauffeur please :)

Monday, 26 October 2009

Day 74: The clothes fast

So many people know I'm doing this clothing fast. It was obviously a facebook status that people noticed and now everywhere I go people are asking me how its going. No one I know other than Charlie believes its possible or that they'd be able to do it and its proved to be quite a talking point! However it IS going fine and being quite a way in I feel I should reflect to see how I'm doing and what I'm learning from it. To set the record strait - as I always struggle a bit when people ask me how long I've been doing it for and when it ends as its a bit confusing... To be fair to myself I am going to backdate my fast to the last time I actually bought something... rather than having ages of trying to save and not buying anything added onto the beginning... so since the dress I confessed to on day 48 actually genuinely falls under the 'gig clothes clause' I'm not counting that and going back to day 15 when I bought 2 dresses... which I already had actually by day 15 so I probably bought ...ah! - I bought them in my 2 week lapse in writing between day 4 and day 5! (I know that's true cos I didn't really want to write and admit that I'd been shopping) Which pretty much lines me up to finish if I carry on this 365 to 370 days instead - fair? deal? ...only 296 days left to go then, yeah?
What am I learning then? The picture above is NOT my wardrobe but that's what I'm aiming for in life. I do think I'm learning to organise my stuff better, take more care of it to make it last and try to enjoy it more. The other day I put a big silver hairclip in my hair and thought..oooh this needs silver earrings... went for my silver hoops and realised they didn't go as well as I'd thought as they were actually orange with that nasty jewellry muck. Not sure if silver cleaner works on tin or whatever these cheapy things are made from but normally I would opt for going out to buy another cheapy pair and chucking these but I CAN'T! So somehow I will have to clean them, or tile paint them or something silver... in the meantime I went for clashing my silver and dull copper and hoped no one would notice that faux pas.
I'm also trying to wear something different everyday in a bid to make sure I do make use of everything I have bought and to teach myself how much I actually do have. This has been tough - I have been a bit scared by the fact that having an ill week has meant I have used up nearly all my hoody and jeans combos already and its only autumn. But... looking at what is left...there's nothing I won't wear or that I dislike, or that doesn't fit so though I may have to layer a few summer dresses in the mid-winter I think I'm not far off having worn everything already. So it's actually taught me that my impulse buying is not so bad - I may buy things I see within seconds but thats because I generally know what I like and have fairly consistent taste.
Another thing is that I still REALLY love looking in shops and internet shopping... like I learned with my red duffel coat and amazing Peter Jensen boot - just a picture of these things can make me happy - yes I am very sad but its basically true! I think that so far - its not feeling too different - financially we're no better off and have really really struggled this month... so much so that we've run out of food and petrol and Joel has an expenses cheque come through that he needs to try to bank while he is away just so we can buy some food for when his parents arrive TOMORROW! aaagh! so there would have been no nice clothes for me anyway so far. :( The one thing that I think will be the hardest thing actually - as everyone keeps saying 'bet you go mad shopping when you've finished this year!' -is that I really don't think I'll be able to! Unless I do get paid this year - Please please God - then I'll get to the end of the year and it might just be no different - I'll not even be able to buy a celebratory item and :( - that will be a bit depressing! please please God - please please can I have a wage?! (does God read blogs?)

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Day 73: Christmas time!!

So Christmas prep has started. 2 months to go - and actually I've been legitimately Christmas shopping for ages in an attempt to spread the cost and now...this evening...I've even been wrapping! Again... my premature Christmas time is legitimate, and not JUST excitement, because I have to get things over to Africa and normally they arrive by March as I'm normally late and the post is so slow. We're having Joel's parents over this week on their month back from Africa where they live so I'm attempting to double their luggage and send it all back with them! Those things all form one bag of the 48 or so bags that now hang from every peg, doorhandle, coathook or just sit by the door blocking the entrance. The 'project' has progressed and this evening we have been busy! We had to have breakfast in bed today simply cos you can't get to the kitchen table. We also had tea in the lounge for the same reason and it is still covered in carefully placed piles of categorised stuff that I'm just not sure where it should go off to. Parts of the house are now really tidy. The top of the microwave is clear and for the first time since we moved in the big kitchen cupboard is clear... well the shelves not so much - but you can see all of the floor! It was piled waist high with plastic bags... and under all those plastic bags were all the things we're always looking for and can never find. I feel satisfied and excited but then I remember that having a clear top of a microwave is all very well and looks great ...but the four of us can't sit round and eat our dinner off it so I can't really congratulate myself till I've sorted the table maybe. However, amongst our mess we've taken a crate to the bottle bank and had a good look at all the different things we can take to the supermarket recycling so we're on the case with lots of other things... blocking my door is a crate of plastics and a crate of paper and card as the paper bin is full :s, bags of shoes as well as 2 charity bags for Tuesday collection... one of which said bric-a-brac on the list that it DOES want - hurray! I've been through the emotional trauma of throwing out some old teddy bears :( - its horrible - I just have to pic one up and they make me feel terrible for bagging them up. Makes me really think twice about buying anymore! I've also noticed I seem to have an addiction to shop bags. Why do I keep bags from every item of clothing I buy? Why? I obviously won't be getting any more this year but I have - across the house - probably 15 bags that each contain about 30 bags folded inside. I know my brain process says 'keep it - it might be useful'. Some of my bags are 6 years old and I still have the same brain process -ok, right there- I have a weird OCD.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Day 72: The project

Today became project day. It is essentially a positive twist on 'lets tidy up this dump' but instead of resorting to getting annoyed I got Holly on board with a recyling project and she wrote a list of all the things we can do this week to recycle and sort things out. The great money saving thing about this is that it enables me to have a good clear out and realise that there's so many things I'd forgotten we have, meaning less is needed all round. Today the kids have started 'treasure boxes' of pictures they've done that they want to keep - I'm the worst at that as they draw such cute pictures and I love their artwork so much I really struggle to throw anything away and we have tonnes and tonnes of pictures! So we've filled the paper bin, had a clear out of felt tips and pens to get rid of the ones that have run out, got all the bottles ready for a bottle bank trip and started filling a few charity bags. The house is a tip but we had to leave it and go out to the shops and then my brothers engagement party... the project can take all of half term perhaps!
Going to the shops was fairly sucessful. I did manage to buy some Christmas cards on impulse - but ... well I'm not making any excuses... they were cute and I didn't (note I'm not saying 'couldn't') resist. But I did go in Accessorize - which is my second favorite shop and I saw loads of things I wanted and didn't get. I almost bought a little birdcage keyring which was really cute but then wondered if it counted as an accessory so I put it down again and said goodbye :( This year's going to be tough but I'm pretty sure I CAN do it.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Day 71: Back to square 1

Well I'm not really back to square 1 ... I'm on a different game board now since last time Joel went away and I had creative thinking to do... its half term - I'm still at work for some of this week but at the moment Joel is away and I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with my gorgeous children. I'd love to take them out and do some crazy fun things without watching the budget but I think we'll plan a few nice things for Christmas time and I'm happy to settle for being grateful that they are such content little beans without needing lots spent on them. The thing they most want to do this holiday is go to Cocoa together. So thats a civilised thing for a 3 and 5 year old to choose ... which happens to be the place I chose to go for my 30th! Cocoa is a gorgeous little chocolate shop...the prettiest shop you can imagine full of sweets and gorgeous boxes and posh chocolates, ribbons and loads of vintage things to make your house smile. The back room is a quaint little tea room with a billion things to look at so its hard to ever leave cos you feel you might miss something and upstairs is their butterfly room where the room is covered in butterflies and full of cushions and the hot chocolate is amazing....just like a cup of chocolate that is hot!... Joel isn't so excited by it all but I am and Holly and Elijah love it and love making friends with everyone who's gone in there for a quiet chat and they also love the vintage fisher price tea pot they can play with. I also love it there as I totally don't think they charge enough - all of the things the sell that I've seen somewhere else are cheaper in Cocoa and that makes me want to buy it all from them. Back in July when Holly broke up from being in reception I was daunted that I needed to buy 5 presents for class teachers - in the good old days we had 1, right? So I sacked off trying to find boxes of roses in the supermarket on offer and headed down to cocoa. In there I was able to openly be as tight as possible and they helped me to work out my options! I ended up with 5 sets of non 'commercial' and really pretty and exciting chocolates each inside a blue vintage gift box which they tied with their real ribbon each inside their own gift bag -ALL 5 for £13. To my calculations that was a £7 saving on the roses option and aprox 127 times nicer. Since this has become an endorse cocoa post I'll put a nice link.... here!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Day 70: money money mnoey moeny meoony

Well I feel ridiculously monied out today - I have no idea of my own balance or financial situation - other than I think we have a bit and I spent £9 on tuck for work today... but I've been stock taking, cashing merch money, costing and pricing for a funding grant, cashing tuck money and trying to understand how so few teenage girls can eat quite so much haribo in such a short space of time and then followed a trustees meeting of budget balancing... and that was my 12 hour day at work today! I feel totally overwhelmed at how to make earning a living happen but overwhelming challenges seem to be the ones that are more exciting so I'm interested to see how we manage to increase our salaries column by about 6 times! It seems impossible that small charities can ever grow...How is it that some charities run based on so much personal support, business backing and have such a good profile that they just seem capable of generating income - I just can't believe how hard it all is... however today I know I saw a y9 girl change when we talked about the way she felt about herself and the things she worried about and I was able to point out to her how she was beautiful and no matter who she was jealous of she'd always have things about her that no one else would ever have. Whether I am never salaried or not, or even out of debt or not I just wouldn't trade the opportunity of being able to be a voice of encouragement to girls like the sort we were with today who might not hear much positive stuff from anywhere else in their lives. Yes I'm tired and emotional and I love my job and its totally all worth it.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Day 69: phew

Hurray for Child benefit and tax credit... I've been able to transfer some to use and some to my overdraft. We've been balancing very precariously on £24 for a few days now and thats not such a nice place to be - 1 bill or forgotten cheque is all it takes! So again being a bit inventive with our meals I've managed to put enough out in the kitchen tonight for us to make bangers and mash, 'orkstra' puddings (Elijah's word) and peas. A fairly normal meal - unlike Joel's attempt on Saturday with that well known 'potato bolognese' :S New balance news...£322.09 D !!!
Other news (Rach you'll be pleased to hear this) having not heard anything official yet about the grant for office furniture for GoldDigger I emailed them to ask as politely as I could when we might hear - in a 'we're not desperate or in any rush at all' sort of manner. The lady replied to say the cheque and letter would be sent out in the next couple of days and we'd been awarded MORE than we asked for!!! How does that work! Thats kind of unusual and unheard of but BRILL!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Day 68: busy bee

I can't actually believe how busy life is at the moment - particularly work... I've got a billion deadlines and things to sort and I'm just waiting for a day that isn't totally jam packed with things in it. However at 8pm this evening I prioritised a bit of ebay time and I've finally started on the lounge collection. That took a long time to get round too and I've only posted 1 thing :S
So tomorrow we've got a merch stall at a fundraiser - so in the morning in my office time I've got to finish getting all that ready, respond to a lot of emails, order some fliers, plan 4 set lists, fit in a rehearsal (we're doing some songs live on radio next week and sort out the girls course session, come home, somehow print all the girls course files, play with my children, including a school run, get to Makro, get back from Makro, get Holly some passport photos and apply for a licence for her to be in A Christmas Carol, have some tea and be ready for whatever we're doing in the evening to go and set up and hopefully sell things. I think I'm going to add times to my Things To Do tomorrow. Ugh

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Day 67: :(

I don't want to write anything today... There are just some days when everything gets to you and its all crap... waking up ill to a 3 year old telling you he'd got poo all over his bed and having to clear up diarrhoea and shower said 3 year old pre 7am was perhaps the highlight of my day... Money wise I'm feeling the pressure. I just don't understand how we've run out of money when we've been given £100 this month that we don't normally have and we've not bought anything. Some days it all just sucks :(

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Day 66:

Scarily running out of money to live this month so may need to take some of this back but for now ... £379.98 D. I'm fairly excited by that when I remember how excited I was to see the 3 figure when I hit £1300 D just a couple of months ago!

Friday, 16 October 2009

Day 65: aaaaaaah squash

The title of today is appreciation of high juice. I'm normally a tea, coffee, water drinker... but for those 'need a drink and energy' moments high juice is a good alternative to the lucozade I could have done with tonight. Although I've been rushing around for 12 hours solid today at work its been a good day and I'm glad its a day off tomorrow! I'm just in from a gig so my photo is gig clothes but today I wore my checky brown shirt which I actually put on yesterday ... but when Beth arrived in practically the same thing I got changed before our girls course rather than turning up to meet the new girls dressed identically... doesnt really work when your session is individuality! So yesterday I wore my green going out dress ... and was ready already for going out for mums birthday.
Not having a second car has been a nightmare today. Joel needed the car to go out tonight as he was going quite far away but that left Beth and I with no car to get to a gig. Yesterday we'd worked out how we'd get the schools packs and some of the merchandise there on the bus but then when we realised we also were going to have to carry a minidisk player too. The idea of getting a tram and a bus home from town on a friday night carrying a bag of merchandise and a minidisk player didn't really appeal but we were a bit stuck for solutions. Thankfully one of our lovely trustees stepped in today and came out with his lovely wife to come and collect us. We had a great night, performed one of our brand new songs 'really live' for the very first time and it seemed to go down well I think!
I'm so glad its Saturday tomorrow, I want to spend the day with my kiddies and stay in my pjyamas as long as I possibly can ... maybe till Sunday in fact.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Day 64:

Phewf - what a day... worked all day, started a new girls course that was great. Strait to mums birthday meal...and home to tones of emails which have all been put onto my TTD list for tomorrow... plus the lovely surprise of a cheque from some very very lovely people! So tired zzzzzzz

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Day 63: Earnings

So tomorrow I do something I get paid for! Yay. We start a new girls course tomorrow and then have another paid thing on Friday... I estimate I'll have worked a 40 hour week by Friday... since Monday that is... and I'll bring in a grand total of £40 for that! You have to laugh... ?! What does make me laugh is when we advertise that some of our merchandise is fairly traded. It doesn't have the label but in designing the GoldDigger T shirts I made sure we sourced ethical garments for printing and environmentally friendlier processes... Actually I am where the process lets us down- its me that doesn't get paid fairly :(
Today I'm wearing something borrowed and something blue, old and definately not new... This is the jumper Joel was wearing when I first fancied him... its a cosy blue hoody and since both children have been off school today a bit ill it seemed like a cosy hoody sort of a day... and it makes me feel nostalgic.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Day 62: Update

Well.. the bank have removed their chosen £15.01 to punish me for borrowing off them... but hurray that its less than last month. My balance is.... £419.98 D
Today has been busy. This is Beth and me in our office. OOOH - apparently ... so I have heard unofficially but not properly yet... we were awarded the grant we put in for office things. We're sat in there at a borrowed table and there were 3 nice office chairs in there already. (They're the cool big comfy swirly whirly ones) but we've nothing else. When one of us needs to print something we have to write it down and I have to take it home at the end of the day and print it ready for the next day... with this grant we can have a printer that stays there and shelves and a table and some desks! That's what an office is! I feel a road trip to Ikea coming on... which is dangerous territory for anyone - let alone a spendaholic banned from clothes.

Monday, 12 October 2009

62: :(

Note to self - if I'm taking pictures to document what I'm wearing - I should really take them when I'm not this tired! Today is a hard stage. Realistically that is ridiculous as I've only got to not buy things - which I don't normally do on your average Monday but I did go to the shops today and enjoyed looking at lots of shiny things but felt a bit sad... but that's cos I'm feeling the deprivation... I just need to not think about it and keep focused on the overdraft. Realistically though I'm not earning much at all - if anything -this month - next month is better but I have to wait a while for that to come through... so its all a bit slow. Joel says there'll be lots of times like this ... which makes me feel slightly worse.
Zara quality is rubbish. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Everything I buy from Zara has holes in and falls to pieces - there is just no excuse for that. Today I wear 2 layered tops from Zara and they are both holey. I will NOT buy anything from Zara again. On a positive I've had a nice evening of tea, homemade cookies and big chat with Louise tonight ... I'm so pleased she's moved back to Sheffield - everyone should do that! And I made some nice new friends this weekend... who ate the cheesecake and have not died and had seconds!... and this week at work is somehow the busiest busiest week. We've got an exciting day tomorrow where we're making some big decisions which I can't talk about yet ... but I'm always excited by big choices , strategy and new direction ideas, we're getting our new tracks back to us and need to pull our performance together for Friday night and we seem to have billions of things to do as well as starting a new Girls Course this Thursday. I'm really looking forward to getting all set up ready to meet a brand new group of girls who'll be total strangers but yet we know that we'll know them really well by the end of the session! Thursday we also get to meet an MP who I think is coming there to see what we're up to - another act like a grown up situation I feel - I need to not be so intimidated by people with posh titles! Might do a bit of googling her before she arrives!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Day 61: Yay for £50!

Having left my power cable at the office for the weekend I have very time left to write my post before this dies. Great meal at a friends house - those Sunday afternoons are great when you spend time being looked after, chatting for hours and put the Church to rights -until poor Joel realises its got to 5 already and being all chilled and relaxed he has to head off to work again! I arrived home to find these 2 envelopes through the door - for Beth and me. The note inside them tell us its a personal gift for us and not to use for GoldDigger and £50 each! I know Beth's is the same cos I told her on skype and she wanted me to open hers too - £50 is a HUGELY amazing help to both of us at the moment and it was anonymous so we can't say thank you ...but are so grateful! Joel says - gutted that you can't buy clothes! Its ok - the overdraft novelty is still big so I'm still truly excited to pay it all into that!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Thank you!!

Thank you!! Someone out there 'somewhere beneath the moonlit sky' must be responsible for a Pixie Lott CD delivery from Singapore that has just been put through my door! YAY!

Day 60: A proud moment

Off the point but had to share my proud moment. Haven't yet tried it but I made a cheesecake! I had to do a waterbath in the oven and everything with a tin I knew was leaky and there was great potential to go wrong... I kept reading things about not letting the cheese split so when I got up this morning to assess what I had left in the fridge overnight I wondered what a cheese splitted cheesecake would look like - so I googled it and it turns out - from articles and articles of troubleshooting with a cheesecake - mine actually looks like a good one!

Deciding what to wear today was a bit stressful. The realisation has hit me that I've got the rest of a year with what is left and anything I choose to wear today means I may not be able to wear it again. I'm mentally trying to find days where I can get away with staying in all day so that I can wear my ropier things! I'll be fine when I'm about half way in but thinking an outfit only has one chance is a tough thought 3 days in! Today I've got a school fair, a class party, housework and meeting new people tonight as Joel's bringing some friends of his who have been speaking at the South Yorkshire Youthwork conference back for tea (who hopefully like cheesecake) so I could almost get away with a fancy dress option other than the meeting new people part!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Day 59: The Rules

Oh what a weird day! Its amazing just how much stress you can put a family through to get a last minute free babysitter, share the 1 car between 2 ends of the city with no time to get ready and moments to spare, to try to communicate with Beth, who's currently in a schools meeting and then needs to get 2 buses home to get changed all for the opportunity to earn £50 BETWEEN us in a last minute stand in of a gig. In the end it never happened but its funny how much we'll put ourselves through when we're desperate for a few quid! Otherwise works been good today - I'm in my smart clothes today as I've had to go and do a schools meeting - which I normally don't have to do but there were 2 booked in for this afternoon so I had to get over my fear of smart clothes, and institutions where you are expected to behave like a grown up and off I went. We've managed to get a schools day booked out of that for next term and a possible girls course which is great.
So clothes fast wise... (as in clothes buying fast that is actually - not wearing any clothes for a year is not going to be something I'll get dared into) I feel I've had a bit of a false start as yesterday was supposed to be my big launch. So to lay it out on the line... I am not going to buy any clothes (other than my gig clothes clause) for ...I think I'm doing it for a year... but maybe for as long as I do my 365... I'm including accessories to my fast - because I'm hardcore and if I'm going to do something I'll do it properly. I'm happy to accept gifts of clothes I think, but I'm not allowed to hound Joel for more Christmas presents than I've ever had before... it will be a learning exercise about clothes but its mainly a financial journey I'm on so free things are great!
I'm adding a twist to my challenge... I am going to try to wear a different outfit everyday. I can mix things with other things and wear them again but I will see how long I can go before I need to repeat an outfit. Not that I'm snobby about wearing the same thing lots but because its another experiment...I'm excited about this bit... I think I'll learn 1. How much I really have got and 2. How to shop better in the future as I imagine I'll be forced to wear things I am not sure I really want to, I'm not sure why I bought them and yet have invested my money into.
Now for another totally different personal challenge - tonight I'm going to conquer a cheesecake (making one that is - tomorrow it will be eating one)

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Day 58: Anti-climax

I was so exited about todays post - I have just embarked on another massive challenge to add to the massive challenge that I am already on and have loads to say as well as a nice picture I took in the office today of what I have decided to wear part of the challenge to to see how long my clothes last if I wear something different every day. However I left my laptop in the office with my picture and this brrowed one is about to turn off :(
Most people so far think I am crazy and don't think I'll do it or don't think I should do it.
I'm looking forward to tomorrows post and I'm excited about what I'm doing!
Also I've suceeded in not buying any clothes today!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Day 57: Well I MIGHT...

Well thank you Charlie for the initial challenge, and Jenny for the link to a very inspiring post link. This article is a lady who has committed to buying no new clothes for a year... not only that but I foolishly linked on to read what had inspired her to make this pledge which was a project where one woman decided to make a brown dress and wear that for a whole year - EVERY DAY. Though I do find that a captivating idea and I am very inspired - I think I'd find it easier and less mundane to eat value mash for 3 meals a day for a year and nothing else (though I may suffer malnutrition that's out as the alternative). However I am also really inspired by another blog to the opposite extreme. One guy dedicated a blog to his girlfriend, Katie. 'What Katie Wore' He thought she had great style and he was challenged to do something romantic. Everyday he would photograph her and post the photo... HER challenge was to wear something different every day for a year. A more expensive and opposite in outcome to the other ones!
A few weeks ago I was embarrassed as I nearly had to sync my calendar with Beth and Rachel's - we need to know each others diary... sure... but mine was full of a couple of weeks worth of what I was going to wear everyday!... Sad as it may be I love the idea of doing this- all the time. If I think of the times I rush to get ready in the morning ... getting the school run done on time being the target so just ending up wearing exactly what I last took off which is inevitably just whatever is on the top of the pile next to my bed. Well I'd felt challenged that I used to be far more imaginative with clothes than I am these days and decided to plan out a different outfit for every day. I did this a few years ago and loved it. - Everything I owned appeared somewhere on a monthly plan - meaning I got wear out of everything and didn't resort to same old thing all the time. Its always great to challenge yourself to wear something you've forgotten about and I must say THAT does appeal in the challenge to not buy anything new. I've become lazy about that again - the heating in our new office is governed by a man, who is also a dad. Need I say more. It wont be allowed on until at least the February snow so I've been piling on the hoodies over the past couple of weeks! I'm wondering if I would have enough to combine the 'no buying' with the 'something different everyday' would I have enough to do that? I reckon with mixing and matching allowed I might just!! PLUS it would give me a proactive challenge which I'm better at than just crying over what I can't have.
So... though I seem to have been better at posting a 365 on why I SHOULDN'T have to do a clothes fast ... Joel did remind me that the bottom line is basically - I don't have the choice if I remember its not my money. And yes - the reality is I've paid off £1000 of an overdraft. I feel proud of myself BUT our current account is also in its overdraft - with no interest - but still an overdraft, I have a credit card to start on after this which is 6 times what I've paid off and 2 more that I've not even looked at.
I would HAVE to put a clause in about gig clothes. There are things I can wear for work that can be tatty and worn but not in schools and not at gigs. Though officially we should have all of that paid for - it doesnt work like that yet - we're finally getting charity funding for lots of costs now rather than everything being covered by our time and money but I've not read of any grant making trusts that fund sequined dresses as yet. As I have our gig wardrobe in my dept of work I know I have something of a big say...but if either of the others said they wanted to wear only old stuff on stage for the rest of the year which they were also wearing in everyday wear I would say a big NO WAY to that. So the way I'll work that is that anything I have to buy for stage is ONLY for stage - no sneaking it out to a party and its all planned out through work.
So I do want to do it... I might fail if I do - I can't underestimate how I'll cope if I see something I love - its not the pressure to be 'in season' for me but a genuine love for a pretty shape or fabric. I'm also not sure when to start... I am going to Clothes Show Live in December... I might be able to manage it without buying anything... but I really might not!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Day 56: I am old mother hubbard

I am feeling a little more anxious about this month... its only the 6th and for some reason half our food budget is gone already and the fridge and cupboards are not looking that well stocked. So back to a few creative meal ideas and I might need God to do that thing he did for that widow Elijah stayed with and making her supply of olive oil and flour never run out so she could always make bread - we have an Elijah here so we're part way there. I heard of a couple recently at St Toms Church, not sure who, but they'd been struggling with their money and just didn't have enough. They felt God speak to them and say 'Dont fill up with petrol until I tell you too' and have been driving round on that same tank for 8 months now! Thats amazing!
So I'm still pushing on with the overdraft. I'm cutting back still wherever possible and the only thing is that I'd like our presents budget to go up - thats our budget for treating people, giving and generally being kind - I never want to aim to be more stingy - even though I think bargain hunting for class presents for the hundreds of children's parties is very much a necessity!
So today I've put a child tax credit across so my total is now £461.18 D woop woop - we have gone over the £500 hill!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Day 55: The battle of the impulsives

So I'm still going on about the potential 'shopping fast' and its unlike me to have not made a decision on something within 2 minutes... I am incredibly impulsive and incredibly decisive. It bugs me that I'm struggling and for something to be battling around my head for this long is really unusual. I do quite like being like that (impulsive and decisive that is)... means I don't worry, means things get done quickly and I like the buzz of making a decision which can alter life's direction within a matter of seconds. I could be more guarded than I am but I find that when I try that my impulsiveness finds a mighty strength from somewhere and always wins in the end. For example... a few years ago now (pre-relationship) Joel took me for a cappuccino at Nonnas on Eccy rd. He wanted to give things a go and I told him I didn't think we were a sensible idea for a couple. I knew his free spirited nature would clash with mine and we'd really frustrate each other. He'd also told me previously that I was the only person he'd ever met who made him angry. I went home from that cappuccino and told my housemates that I would NEVER go out with him. That was on the Saturday... by Wednesday we were together, I was head over heels in love and seriously couldn't believe it. By Saturday I was battling a ridiculous urge to tell him that I was in love but thought it would a) scare him off b) I couldn't possibly be so soon and c) I'd be a neurotic female and let the side I was quite relieved when he said it first that very day. We stayed inseparable and I think my Dad took on the worry of all the things I'd said on my sensible cappuccino day and I freed myself of all of that and just went with it. We got engaged dead quick and though life has sort of slowed down a bit more recently I don't regret being part of an exciting whirlwind - it was so amazing... and I know that because of how strongly I felt - I could never have managed to not be with Joel - so it was an easy decision. (So right now as he is sat next to me laughing at youtube clips of sheep with LED lights sellotaped onto them and being hearded to look like a space invaders game from a distance I know that I can appreciate him for all he is)
I'm also very determined. In my 3rd year at uni 2 of my housemates were doing the typical 'we need to stop eating so much rubbish and go on a diet' They obviously read a magazine or heard someone who had lost 4 stone or something on the Carol Vordeman detox diet and went off to buy the 28 day detox plan. They brought the book home, sat me down with quite a well thought out sales pitch and then actually BEGGED me to do it with them. They said they needed me to do it with them as I had self discipline and I think they were hoping I had enough of that to see them through it. I looked at it, thought it seemed ok (unlike the nasty Atkins diet that was the other big thing at the time) so off we went to Holland and Barret and 'Down to Earth' to buy millet and rice milk, quinoa, rye bread and 100 varieties of seeds for our detox meal plan. It was strict- no bread, pasta, white rice, milk or any dairy, potatoes, mushrooms, no chocolate, sugar, salt, tea or coffee (which was the killer for me) - basically nothing except from a selection of vegetables and strange pulses... so we got going with great excitement and everyday woke up (with a terrible headache at first from the tea and coffee denial) in anticipation of what todays 'weird brown grain in a bag' tasted like. So a week in and Jen and Susan could keep it up no longer...not the meal plan... the pretense. They confessed that on day 2 they'd been to the chip shop and had been sneaking kebabs and pizzas between our crudites and vegetable soup ever since. But, though I'd not been dead keen in the first place, I'd made a decision to do it and I was going to carry on... and did the whole month. I must say after the first few headache days I did feel amazing... I woke up first thing and felt like getting strait out of bed full of energy for the day... and actually the only thing that I really craved was for a coffee. I must do it again sometime...
So back to the shopping fast debate...I think what I am having is a battle of impulsiveness. I impulsively want to take up the challenge - its a challenge, a chance to prove something to myself and a project to run with... but it's up against the most impulsive activity I do... I never plan what I'll buy - its all based on seeing something and falling in love at first sight with it and taking it home. What if I meet the super-dress of dreams and I just have to leave it there... I won't be able to stop thinking about it... I'll dream about it, become obsessed and I'll probably end up like that priest in 'chocolat' who breaks in and devours all the chocolates and falls asleep in the window shamed in front of the whole village. You might find me collapsed under a pile of mannequins in Topshop's window display wearing everything from the whole shop.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Day 54: The ebay monster

My lounge is now out of control. Posting things to sell on ebay for some reason just takes ages. That's why I still have half a lounge full of stuff and a double buggy which has been outside in the garden for nearly a week now and I haven't put anything on for about 3 weeks now. Why not lazy girl? What I would have is 1. a tidy house 2. much more space 3. more money. Simple.
This week is the week. Challenge set.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Day 53: Life just costs a lot

Back in my new baby days when Holly had just been born and we were going through a particularly un-managable time I bought a book called a girl and her money. It was a Christian book and it had a well designed cover so I took that as a pretty good sign... however a lot of what I read made me feel far more hopeless than ever before... one of the pieces of advice for example was to take a bus instead of a taxi to save $$ per year... not really the league of teaching I needed when we couldn't afford a pint of milk and Joel had to cycle up the Sheffield hills to work on a borrowed broken bike... It struck me that in our western society you just aren't allowed to be poor. Unless you are actually declared bankrupt and are homeless you just don't get a chance for a time out. Fact is - you get a salary so you're bound to your rent, council tax, electric and gas bills and aren't even allowed to stop with any of that without being fined even more of what you can't afford.
So my mind process at the moment.. while I'm weighing up whether I should take up the challenge of fasting my clothes buying for 6 months... is sorting through all the outgoing costs we have and working out if there are any areas having a big financial drain on us that we can do without. I don't buy clothes that often... so I'm not sure it will have a huge financial impact... but I'm interested to know which things do drain us so much... So going through our budget:
- non-optional but we're close to being able to remortgage to bring our monthly paments down a bit - even if it adds a charge onto the overall cost- in the longrun we'd be better off doing that.
Council tax, gas and electric, insurances are all necessary... and we are totally careful with all of that. If the heating goes on its only for 5 mins, everything must be turned off or unplugged, if anyone leaves a computer lead plugged in they're in big trouble etc. And Joel does whatever Martin Lewis says about which companies to go with... If Martin Lewis turns out to be a big fraud and on commission from EDF I'll be livid.
TV licence - we only pay the basic TV licence - no fancy sky packages- We could do without TV and have considered it before but that would be hard when you just need a bit of cbeebies for half an hours peace to cook the tea, and what would I do without x factor?- still its an option
Nursery - currently we have to contribute a pound per session to Elijah's nursery place - it works out £23 a month and will stop when he starts school
Phones and internet - ok so there are a few charges here. £18 for broadband, £25 for my phone and I've only just started my contract having already battled against 'the want' of the I phone. Joel's is more than mine but his could come down in a few months to the same... its about £30 now. Thats a lot of money though... just for communication... but life now without internet or phones?! tough. If my blog suddenly stops you'll know what I've decided about that one!
Water - yep
Credit card repayments - yes I'd like to opt out but we're already trying to pretend our student loans aren't there. BUT credit cards are all on no interest, we're paying minimum payments on all of them but they are all in queued up for the fight after I've beaten the overdraft - COME ON!
Gym - I have 2 months left and am going to (I don't like to think of it as stopping going - that makes me feel sad... positive twist needed) ... save £52.95 a month on me and Hollys membership!
Food - still trying to keep to £200 a month... I'm making everything I can from scratch, soup, bread, pie, sauces etc and its so much better anyway... I always have done- apart from lazy days where I've opted for sliced bread. And Holly is still the only one in her class who has sandwiches because we can't afford school dinners - she has to sit amongst tomato ketchup and crisp sandwiches eating her peppers and houmous and homemade soup and breadrolls- I'm glad she's a very confident child - a friend of ours is still traumatised by his hippy mother who gave him museli in a recycled sandwich bag when all is friends had their walkers french fries!
Petrol - we made it on just over £100 last month- but that included a couple of big journeys so hopefully that can come down.
The only other things we pay for are presents, clothes and coffees/ trips out occasionally ... so yeah, I suppose there's not much give... fasting buying presents is a bit mean... so its down to coffees, going out anywhere, clothes... hmmmm... thats a bit depressing... I was kind of hoping in doing that I'd maybe find out that we'd been paying £500 regularly to some subscription of uselessness that I could cancel and it would all be better... there is no subscription to any uselessness.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Day 52: Have that!

So a good £25 today from my Quidco account - if you don't know quidco but do any online shopping google it and use it and you can have news just like my £25 news! That £25 was just because I linked to Virgin buy my phone from the quidco website. The cookies get tracked (an internet term for something... not a biscuit muncher) and money of various percentages is credited to your account - eg. tesco, asda, all saints, topman, loads of insurance places - nice one!

Little Boots news ... I now am the proud owner of just 1 Little Boots CD. I took one back to Sainsburys and gave one to charity (the charity known as Beth who has moved to work for GoldDigger and is currently, like me, paid for aprox 2% of her work time - but still has rent to pay - so she can enjoy one - its really really good apart from a bizarre Kate Nash impression as a hidden track which makes me a bit uncomfortable - otherwise brilliant!

I'm still thinking about the clothes fast. I asked Joel today what he thought... which I was a bit scared of doing incase he said 'definately- you must do that' but he also pointed out that I'd be missing the point if I was expecting 6 months worth of clothes for Christmas to make up for it.

So thanks to quidco my new overdraft total is... £518.06 D :D so close to the 2/3rds mark!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Day 51: Up late

I'm typing really slowly cos we're recording vocals - some backing vocals for our new tracks and I can't be caught making noise...shhhh... its 12.30 and we're tired and thinking of silly ideas now out of pure exhaustion but these things are good- I'm never happier than writing and recording and seeing what you can create with sounds - love it! We're having a Kim Wilde inspired BV section that we're loving recording at the moment- TOTAL hurray for the 80's revival - so many fab songwriting opportunities!
So in some of my recent posts I'm dealing with the challenge of the 'thought' of giving up buying clothes for 6'll have to read those posts and associated comments to follow properly. Charlie - I did ask to be challenged - you're dead right... and yep - I suppose that even if the money isn't actually coming from my overdraft itself it- the fact that I'm overall in debt means nothing I spend is actually anyone's but the banks.
I still hate the idea and it makes me feel sick but its sitting in my head ...which is a way of saying I am thinking about it.