Monday, 14 October 2013

On Budget.....

 

 
 
I'd love to fill this post with lovely photos.....words about all the lovely things I've made. Behind this blog however, is a real woman, with a real family, and living with real challenges!
 
I've told you over this past year, about some of those challenges. Another big challenge for us as a family, and one that's needed quite a lot of thought recently, is how to be On Budget. How to balance the books!
 
We are very lucky, our mortgage has been paid, and we don't owe a bean to anyone, debt free.....a lot of people dream about this. I also know how difficult some of you are finding things in this economic climate. I do not take any of this for granted, not for one moment.
 
We've always wanted to pay off our mortgage early, as soon as we worked out how much interest we were paying to the bank! Occasionally Mr Bea would moan about how much we were saving, can't we spend some, please!!! I would tell him, you'll be so pleased when we've paid it off. We are soooooo glad we've paid it off! (Separate note, why don't they just accept we know what we are talking about!!!)
 
When I was diagnosed with MS a few years ago, it became even more important to have a sense of security. As the main income earner, we knew I might not always be able to contribute to the household income. Paying off the mortgage became a priority, and within a couple of years our home was paid for.
 
Then last year, after my health took another dive, we also knew it was time for me to give up the stressful job I had, take some time out, look after myself. It wasn't a decision we took lightly, we knew the impact it would have on our finances, the impact it would have on our future hopes and plans.
 
Initially our budget was spot on then we got a little complacent, we wanted a holiday. We do save each month for holidays, but we save towards camping holidays where we cook most meals on our little cooker! The wet spring really put me off our usual camping holiday....so a cottage was booked. Then Florence, well that certainly wasn't even on the horizon, very much an impulse holiday!
 
Funny thing is, I don't regret any of this! We've had a super, super summer, loved every minute and it was worth every penny! So although I have no regrets, I now need to be extra, extra careful! Every penny that comes into the household is accounted for, we've cut back on everything we can think of! No more yarn buying for me!!!
 
So, if you don't mind, every now and again, I'll let you know about my 'On Budget' progress, share what I'm doing, ask for help and advice along the way! There's some excellent budgeting blogs out there, and I'm certainly not planning to change the feel of Vintage Sheet Addict!
 
So my dears, whilst we were being 'complacent' we booked 2 nights away in London for the four of us, we're going next week! We're stopping in a Premiere Inn on the outskirts of the city. 2 nights bed and breakfast, 4 of us, £100, now I don't think that's too bad! We are excited, it's the girls first London experience!
 
We had planned to see a show but that's out of the question now. So it's The National History Museum (Eldest Beas choice), The National Art Gallery (Little Beas choice) and we must of course see the famous landmarks! If I get chance I'd like to go to Liberty's....just window shopping of course!
 
We need to do London 'On Budget'......any tips anyone? Places to eat, places to see? I'd love to hear your suggestions!
 
Thanks for popping by, and thank you all so much for your comments on my last post! I shall endeavour to post pretty pictures next time!!!
 
 
Bye for now,
 
Ada :) xxx
 
 
 
Ok! Just a few pretty pictures!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
:) xxx
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

52 comments:

  1. I hope that your budgeting goes well, it certainly sounds as though you have your head screwed on straight and are keeping your eye on things and approaching it with a great deal of sense. You have to get a balance in these things don't you. Wishing you all the best. xx

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  2. Sorry cannot help you with what you asked because I dont know London well.but good for you paying off your morgage.Sorry that you have MS.I once had a friend with the same illness and she had good and bad days.What new treatments are there now? I remember she was telling me of new treatments on the NHS.I hope one day they can cure you and my friend x

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    1. Hi, at the moment I'm managing things as naturally as possible! Thanks for your good wishes :) x

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  3. Good job with the mortgage...if only!
    Mind you we are not excessive spenders, there is really no need, as long as theres love! Re London most of the Galleries and Museums are free. The V&A is good as is the National gallery and Tate Modern. Camden Market and Portabello are free of course, best at weekends.

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  4. Well done with your mortgage - living in the South East makes that a distant dream for us. But so long as it's affordable we are ok.
    We love walking along South Bank in London - had a great time visiting the Tower a couple of years ago - you can sometimes pick up tickets which include a boat ride down the Thames too which my son always enjoyed. We've done the Duck tour too - http://www.londonducktours.co.uk/ - takes you round the city pointing out fun things and then a boat ride too. Do you collect Tesco vouchers? You can often get some good days out in London using those. Have fun. My son is growing up too fast - he's off on a rugby tour this half term! I shall sit at home worrying, and then have to face a pile of muddy, smelly kit when he gets home! x

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    1. Yep, that'll be a lovely 'I'm back' gift, :) x

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  5. I used to work in London...you could spend the whole time window shopping, there's a lot of windows and all the museums, galleries, parks...Covent Garden, Kensington High St, Oxford St.......etc too much to fit in 2 days, you will have a great time. xx

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  6. woo hoo on the mortgage! It is wonderful, when i married my husband i moved in with him on his family ranch and all we have are property taxes. Really it is a WONDERFUL thing. Hang in there on the budget! you will find fun and free things to do, we save money traveling by shopping at grocery stores and having picnics instead of eating out every meal. We also share meals alot eating out because usually there is so much food we cant eat it all anyways. if there is 4 of you order 2 entrees and an appetizer and everyone share like a family style meal! those are some of our budget tricks. lol my husband and i are so cheap we order one drink and one water... we share the drink! ok... thats cheap! lol

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    1. Great advice Tamara! Thanks for visiting! :) x

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  7. I like the sound of budgeting posts, always good for encouragement. It can be hard to stop spending when you get on a roll, especially if it's feel good purposes. It's so good to stay out of debt. London sounds exciting, I feel a bit out of touch with it. I've heard good things about the south bank though, and I like the National portrait gallery. Have a great time, Heather x

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  8. Good for you, Ada. We are very enthusiastic about budgeting too. Last year, we were able to refinance our mortgage at a very low rate to make it a 15-year mortgage instead of the 30-year one we already had. The payment is only a little more per month but we'll own our home in just about 14 years. We are very careful with money and it's so worth it to be debt-free (aside from the mortgage). I would enjoy reading about your budgeting, and I look forward to those posts. :)

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    1. Well done, just think of all those extra things you can do in those 15 years! :) x

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  9. Ooh London. So much to do. I live in London so would agree with saraJ and recommend walking along embankment - lively. You've got the Tate Modern there too. Instead of expensive boat trip, you could take river boat from embankment to Greenwich for example. Greenwich is lovely. Nice crafty market, lovely park which also has the Royal observatory and meridian line. Cheap eat near National gallery is the Stockpot. You don't say whereabouts you're staying but brick Lane in the east and Columbia road markets are fun to visit - on Sundays. Reasonable curry houses on brick Lane and proper bagel takeaways. Have a fabulous time - it's vital to treat yourselves now and again. Xx

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  10. Enjoy London.Just being together as a family is great and doesn't cost anything.You look as though you have a fair stash of wool there to keep you going for a while!

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  11. We got out of debt almost ten years ago, and it was the best decision we ever made. It took four years. It is such a burden lifted off our shoulders, and we never did without anything we really needed.

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  12. Hello 'twinny' ;o)

    This is so exciting for your girls going to the big city for the first time, just seeing the sights is enough, money is not needed. Most museums and galleries are free and the V & A is stunning Ada, you will LOVE Liberty's too. If we stay over night we often convert Tescos vouchers in a pizza express meal (that's if you have them, they are worth 4x their value) and we just do supermarket sandwiches and picnic bits in parks or on benches where we can watch the world go by.
    I am so with you when it comes to keeping out of debt, we have a 5 year plan with our mortgage and are 2 years in, 3 to go to pay it off. We don't believe in giving them bankers all that interest and they didn't like it when we came up with our own plan! Less money in their greedy little pockets. Our holidays are always on a shoe string, special deals and we have a happy frugal lifestyle the rest of the time...although Alice has started to niggle for a few more expensive things lately! We do it firm but fair xox So excited for your wonderful trip to London, have wonderful fun and brilliant memories to be made x Penny

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    1. Keep at it Penny, you'll be so glad you did! I'm looking forward to seeing the girls relations! :) x

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  13. Science museum, national history (both free) and a picnic.... a perfect day out.

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  14. Congratulations! You are such a sensible, clever woman! And enjoy London - I used to work along the South Bank, first London Bridge, then Blackfriars...walk along there from Waterloo, cross over the Millennium Bridge with the kids, it's good fun (I remember walking along the first one that really did wobble!), toodle around St. Paul's, walk back and check out Tate Modern - even the Turbine Hall entrance is fun for kids to experience. Then keep exploring all the way to London Bridge! So many inexpensive but yummy cafes and eateries around there, you'll have fun for free just strolling and looking...Chrissie x

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  15. Good for you to have your mortgage paid off! That is wonderful! Being on a budget is always a good idea...it is so easy to get in over your head. I wish our country could learn to live within a reasonable budget...it would solve a lot of problems! But I don't think they are nearly as clever as the average guy!

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    1. Yes, the politicians could learn a lot from frugal folk! :) x

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  16. Hope you have a great time, there are lots you can to do for free. How about a walk in Hyde Park? If you are there on a Sunday there are artists selling pictures displayed on the park railings see http://www.bayswater-road-artists.co.uk/. Another good site is http://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/free-london. Sarah x

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  17. Wishing you well itch your 'on budget'.

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  18. You should feel extremely proud of yourselves - particularly in the current financial climate - to have paid off your mortgage must have taken sooo much discipline. I'm completely in awe! I can imagine your MS diagnosis was a huge driving force though. Do please allow yourselves a big pat on the back. You deserve the loveliest time in London. I'm afraid I can't offer any tips - my visits to the capital are quite few and far between. Worth a quick google for 'money saving tips' or 'current voucher codes' though?

    Heather x

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  19. Wow, Ada ... And you're asking me for thrifty tips? Queen of thriftiness is your new title, my dear! Very impressed about the mortgage payoff, I need some tips from you.

    We did London cheaply a few years back, stayed in a Travelodge, bought train tickets months in advance and used Tesco vouchers for days out, Tower of Lndon, etc. we ate out a few times, but also bought meal deals and had a picnic on the bed back at the hotel! It doesn't have to cost a fortune, and when there's four of you you haven't be careful. Have a fab time!

    Love Claire xx

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  20. mortgage free!! we have 4 mortgages in 4 houses...its scary at times!!! It's ok when they are all rented but we have had a spate of them being empty and repair after repair after repair! We are in belt tightening stage here as well....jumble sales and old jumpers to unwind for wool....not a London tip but i didn't get as far as that i was hyperventilating too much at you saying 'no more yarn buying'!

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  21. Stream of consciousness based on two days in London with Tall Girl and Tiny Boy last week: Get oister cards, you can get the deposit back and they make tube and bus fares loads cheaper. Tate Britain was great for my two and less busy than the national gallery. Go to the nat his museum as soon as it open because it gets mobbed - the dinosaur bit is ok but the mammals bit is cool too. There are loads of less well known museums that are free too and also less busy (we didn't make it there but the Geffrye museum looks fun) - I am thinking of your eldest who probably doesn't like crowds too much. Pack a picnic, but not a hassly faffy lots of prep picnic: bag of rolls, tub of cream cheese/hummus, plastic knife for spreading, box of little tomatoes, box of grapes, packet of penguins. Treat yourselves to a warming cuppa (you get more if they put it in a takeaway cup). The Diana memorial fountain was fun and walking through hyde park was also liberating from the crowds. There are great playgrounds everywhere. Walk along the south bank and watch the street performers. Look up on the web to see if tower bridge is due to open (very cool). There are free concerts in lots of places esp at lunch time. There is a pretty good website for this sort of thing. Put free London into google, also free London with kids. Some restaurants do early bird menus which can be a better value treat. Hope you have a completely fab time. Eleanor xx

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    1. Thanks, lots of advice here. Yes things might get a little tricky at times, crowds aren't great but as she's getting older we can prewar n her on stuff which makes it easier! :) x

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  22. Sounds like a lovely time you will have!! Enjoy! xo Heather

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  23. There is so much to learn. great goal is to be debt free,too. I too have a chronic illness that may be a game changer for our family's finances. Can't wait for your London adventure. xxxooo

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    1. Yes, it can make you look at things completely differently. Hope you are keeping as well as you can be :) x

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  24. well done with the mortage, I have been mortage free since 1986 but it is still a struggle to make ends meet on a pension.
    The trip to London sounds great, getting about is expensive so use an oyster card that works on buses and underground,Think bus travel is cheaper it takes much longer to get everywhere but the little ones will see more of London from the top of a bus if you have the time. V & A well worth a visit, not sure if it is still free, think it is. There are some beautiful parks if the weather is kind to you, have a lovely time.

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  25. Have a great time. I'm sure with your thrifting skills, you will be able to bring your trip in under budget. Look forward to hearing about it. Jacqui x

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  26. Hi Ada, it is worth having a look on travelzoo... we got theatre tickets in may for about £18. This may still be too much with four of you, but travelzoo has some good deals for all sorts of things and is worth checking out. you'll have a great time...xx

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  27. London!!! Can't wait to see your photos. I left that wonderful city 5 years ago and still miss it. Budgets are good it you have a clear goal in mind. You have done an amazing job at paying your mortgage so are most definitely entitled to mini breaks - I think you should see a show - from memory you can go to the theatre district and buy last minute tickets for shows at discounted prices xo

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  28. Oh Ada, well done on being debt free! That is a huge achievement. Paying off the house is high on our list of priorities too but starting up a business on the farm is more likely a debt-shuffling exercise rather than a debt-reducing exercise! Doesn't sound like you need any budgeting advice at all!!! Have a fab time in London. I have only been once, as a 15 year old on a School excursion when I was on exchange in Germany - I saw the Buddy Holly show in the West End and it was absolutely brilliant. Your Girls will have a ball :-) Mel x

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  29. What a fabulous post, Ada. It's good to know more about the realities of life behind a blog, I think. I'd love to know how your budgeting is going and well done on booking that terrifically good value break to London. Free museums is the way to go, I think! And lots of walking.

    As you may know John took voluntary redundancy back in July and is currently job hunting. We are on a VERY tight budget so this topic is extra interesting to me. :-) xx

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    1. It's amazing how much is wasted, we are at the stage where little is wasted....still very tight though! Good luck on the job hunt! :) x

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  30. Hi Ada, I know exactly where Your coming from with budgeting, Me being unable to work with the Rheaumatoid and hubby being made redundunt last year and being unemployed for a while, then finding a much lower paid job than before. However We count our blessings that He did find a job in the end and We managed a lovely little holiday in Italy too with family :). I hope You have the most wonderful London break and look forward to hearing all about it ,love Julie XXX

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    1. Life certainly throws some curve balls doesn't it! Glad everything is going well despite this fact! :) x

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  31. I'm sure you'll have an absolutely lovely time in London. I know I did (in September), though I'm afraid I did not manage to stay within my budget ;-) Speaking of which, I'd love to hear how you get on with it. Also, well done you for having payed your mortgage. It does give you more freedom (and less worry).

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  32. Ooh London so exciting! We have booked too, Ada....Olivia has her heart set on London Central St Martins, so we are off to the opening day! BUT we are also having a girlie shopping day as we are staying over in of all places The Premier Inn! ~ I find these years as they enter into University are the most costly! ~ so we may as well make the very most of them!! I had many years of living on very little, when we were first married and now I tend to think life is for living...We have a good few years still with our mortgage though....Glad for you though!! I always save our Tesco vouchers for eating out in Cafe Rouge and Spaghetti House..They help alot when we visit Dean in Birmingham......Have a fun trip dear Ada Bea.....I can't wait! hehe..Love Mariax

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  33. Thank you everyone for you're brilliant advice! :) xxx

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  34. Hats off to you for paying off your mortgage early! What a huge relief that must be.
    I wish you luck in living within your budget - it helps to take on the challenge with some determination as you have - and having a few treats too - Londo for £100 is amazing value - hope you all have a great time Ada, just being there at night time is a buzz, seeing the lights on the buildings and the river by night - all amazing and for free!
    Your craft space is beautiful and colourful and neat - i love how you've displayed your yarns!
    Thanks for visiting Ada - I shall be over for budget tips as we too are cutting back at the moment - hubby still trying to get a new contract ( at 60 it gets more difficult....) and still the mortgage to pay - ho hum!
    Take care and have a great time in London!

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  35. I can't help you with advice on budgeting nowadays in London as it is a very long time ago since we lived there but I can echo your eldest girl's excellent choice on wanting to visit the Natural History Museum. It is well worth it . I have been umpteen times with groups of students and they always love it. There is loads to see and do. Enjoy!! Amanda :-)

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  36. Beautiful wool display! No tips for London (obviously!!) Budgeting? ... nah, hopeless at it! Enjoy your holiday, Trudy x

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  37. Very late to this comment but just wanted to say well done you! We too paid off our mortgage with a combo of strict budgeting and my husband's redundancy pay. We may live in a very tiny cottage but at least it is ours!
    I know you have been to London now but anyway ... the parks are great, the museums a must (there are lots of small interesting ones besides the big ones), Columbia Rd and Brick Lane have some lovely interesting shops, Camden buzzes at the weekend, Spitalfields Market and surrounding area is always interesting, The Embankment and Covent Garden are great for watching the buskers. For food we use our Boots points to buy a sandwich lunch and Tesco/Nectar points for meals at ASK, Pizza Express, Bella Italia, Cafe Rouge. If you ever get to go as 'just the two of you' the Hoxton Hotel often has some really good offers - get on their mailing list - we have managed to get a room for £29 and £59. They are more expensive during the week but you can often get a really good weekend price.
    So glad you had a good time. M x
    PS: we've never bothered with Oyster cards .. we didn't really understand them either!! :)

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