At the beginning of May I decided I really needed to get back to basics and start sweating the small stuff again. I needed a money focus month to get myself back on track to scrutinise my spending habits and see where I was going wrong.
Its all very well having a goal of early retirement but when you get ever closer to it and take your eye off the ball its all too easy to let your spending get out of control.
I had noticed in April that my spending was well beyond the budget we had set ourselves and decided that once DD2 was back at university I would knuckle down and set myself some rules for May spending. I called it my May Money Focus and you can see how I got on earlier in the month in this post.
Now May is over I can report back to you dear readers on how the rest of my month fared.
If you just want to know how I got on with DD2 – scroll to the end to read the saga!
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Asda car park
I avoided the car park all week I am pleased to report. Indeed I didn’t buy a single item that was reduced this week (Lidl reductions aren’t regular). PASS
One main shop
I stayed away from Asda all week choosing to only shop in Lidl. Much quicker and no bargain temptations. I gritted my teeth and paid the extra pennies on the items Lidl is more expensive than Asda.
Overall I spent £10 less this week than if I shop at both supermarkets. For me restricting my shops seems to be working. PASS
Top up shop
Also used Lidl and stuck to fresh veg. It’s that time of year when I eat salad for lunch and we have stir fry veg for dinner so we get through a lot of veg. I only have a standard fridge/freezer so struggle to fit everything in! PASS
My brother came down for the weekend and rather than go out for a meal Mr2p offered to cook a sumptuous chinese. As Mr2p created the menu I had no choice but to buy the ingredients he required. Protein was on the list.
In my defence I only bought protein for that one meal. No other meat/fish bought. Can I give myself a conceded PASS?
After the débâcle of Mr2p’s ice creams in my previous post I am happy to tell you that I didn’t forget my list nor forget to put essential items on the list. PASS
DD2 financial demands
None received this week, indeed it was seriously all quiet on the western front – not a peep! PASS (but only because she didn’t ask).
With that week safely under my belt I thought the rest of the month would be super easy – hmmm…..
Shopping and parking
I did ok on these both. I did venture into Asda one day but it was for my top up shop and there were no bargains to be had. Yes, I did look which wasn’t sensible. Not quite sure how strong I would have been if there had been any tempting bargains! PASS
DD2 financial demands
Still a work in progress here for both Mr2p and myself. Bringing him into this as he got involved in my little spat with DD2.
She has a big birthday in a couple of months just after she finishes her uni year. She already has various holiday plans which we haven’t got involved in. However she has already started looking at what we can buy her for this birthday. Given it was over 2 months until her birthday I wasn’t impressed.
Especially when she sent me links to some so called fabulous Groupon deals that she wanted. Giving me 6 hours until the deal closes when her birthday is weeks away funnily enough did not make me react the way a reasoned adult might!
Financially so far I haven’t given in mainly because of my money focus month but I do think I need to work on how I react and behave with DD2!! Mr2p didn’t help matters as his response was “does it matter if she gets part of her present 2 months early?” Yes it blinking well does! PASS on the goal but fail on my behaviour.
Week 5 – May was a long month!
Shopping & parking
Fail on the Asda car parking aim this week. I had to pop into another shop in the town and used the car park and veered to the right instead of the left. I compounded this fail by picking up some bargain protein! DOUBLE FAIL
DD2 financial demands
We had the saga of the half term train ticket to contend with this week. With her 16-25 railcard the cheapest I can get a single ticket home/back to uni is approx £28. However the end of term dates get very expensive very quickly. As in jump to £90 each way.
I can usually get DD2 to confirm which day she wants to return home/to uni and will book tickets as far as 6-8 weeks in advance. This half term she has hummed and aarrd about which day she is going back. Saturday or Sunday.
Previously it was always going to be the Saturday but timings were up in the air so I didn’t book. I had checked Saturday prices and there were plenty of trains with the cheap £28 ticket so happy to wait.
9 days before the day of travel she decides she wants to go back on the Sunday. Cheapest ticket looks like £90 apart from a couple at £39. Saturday is still plenty at £28.
I am fed up at this point and decide this is the point where I have to make a stand. I explain there are only £90 tickets on the Sunday so she’ll have to go back on Saturday.
Cue much moaning and faffing. What about a coach she says? But of course she’s far too busy to check herself. Mr2p gets involved because I refuse to do this research. (I am so petty sometimes!)
Fab – £20 coach ticket but it’s 2.5 – 3hrs longer on the coach – I just know what DD2’s response will be. And I was right the text read “Ewww no”.
To cut a very long, teeth gnashing story short. DD2 went back on Sunday morning and she paid for the difference between the £28 ticket and £39 one.
If I hadn’t committed to this May Money Focus I would not have stood up to her in this way. Which is a good thing. The problem is I gave myself a whole load of stress until the ticket was finally booked. For £11 and my principles.
And this is why I usually give in because its hard work dealing with the vagueness of DD2 and her inability to either plan ahead, make decisions or accept she can’t have everything she wants. I find our financial dealings stressful and I prefer to get them out of the way as fast as possible – paying a premium to do so usually.
And so I give myself a big, fat PASS on that one. And a large glass of wine!
Learning points from my money focus
I knew that DD2 was my financially weak area, indeed I wrote a whole post on the money mistakes I make with my children which was mainly about DD2.
What I hadn’t realised was quite how much stress our financial dealings cause. I still have another year of paying for 6 weekly train tickets so need to find a way to deal with that a bit better than I currently do.
I have decided that after DD2’s birthday this year she’ll get money and a small gift. This is what DD1 gets. That way she can wait until her actual birthday to get the money and she will be responsible for using the money not me!
How has your money month gone? Any ideas on how to de-stress my financial dealings with DD2?