Welcome to the very first issue of Me, My Money and Monday Musings which I’m hoping to publish every Monday for no other reason than I’m slightly obsessed with alliteration! Every week I’ll be rounding up what I’ve been spending my money on, what deals I’ve taken advantage of as well as my money fails and what I’ve been getting up to in general.
My debt free journey
Some of you know that I haven’t always been good with money. In my late 20s, my ex-husband and I were in £16,000 worth of debt. We worked hard, partied hard and shopped hard!
Finding out I was pregnant was my wake-up call. Anyone who’s tried to survive off maternity pay will know exactly how I felt. But it forced me to change my spending habits and my whole outlook on money.
Fast forward 13 years and I’m a completely different person! The debt is payed off and I’m a homeowner – despite being a single parent and with no financial help from my family. I’ve a new mindset when it comes to money and I love nothing more than living off a budget. Sometimes money is tight because I’m self-employed but, even when it isn’t, paying less for everything means I can treat me and my daughter to something special every now and then.
The longest month of the year
Like many people January has been quiet as I’ve had to make up for spending a little bit more in December. Also, my brakes failed leaving me with a £500 garage bill! That’s where my 0% credit card from HSBC came in handy, but as it was only 0% on purchases for the first six months, I’ve had to stop using it now.
I dipped into my overdraft before Christmas, but I won’t be doing that again now that they’re charging 40% interest. You’d be better off getting a 0% interest free credit card as long as you can be strict enough with yourself to pay it off in full every month and stop spending once the 0% deal ends.
My blog and social media took a bit of a backseat during January as I’ve been incredibly busy with my other business and also because I’m now mum to a new fur baby! It was love at first sight when I saw a picture of Caramel (then Carmel) online and I couldn’t believe that such an adorable pup had been abandoned on the streets with her sister and mum and was being looked after in a shelter in Romania.
Little Miss Diva had been nagging me for a puppy, and I’d not been able to find anything suitable locally, so I paid £285 to cover Caramel’s passport, jabs, chip and travel and she endured the three day trip from Romania to come and live with us in Bristol a few weeks before Christmas.
Caramel is the sweetest little soul and she’s changed our lives for the better. She hasn’t had the best start in life, but you’d never guess. She is the happiest little thing and loves everything and everyone – especially playing with other dogs and mummy cuddles. I have so much respect for the charity Caroline’s Caring across the continent and Ville Shelter in Romania for working tirelessly to save these abandoned street dogs and I really would urge people to adopt if they can.
Meerkat Movies and Meals
Dogs aren’t cheap so one of the first things I did was look for the best pet insurance deal. I went through comparethemarket.com so that I could get access to 2 for 1 Movies and meals on a Tuesday or Wednesday every week. We haven’t taken advantage of it yet as we’ve not wanted to leave Caramel alone for too long, but it’s our New Year’s resolution to have mother and daughter time together and go to our local cinema most Wednesday evenings.
I paid just over £6 a month for my pet insurance from Animal Friends, but if you don’t need pet insurance you can just get any insurance product for a couple of quid and take advantage of 2 for 1 movies for the next 12 months. An absolute bargain if you go to the cinema a lot. I also use my free Gourmet Society card for money off the cinema and up to 50% off at certain restaurants any day of the week.
Speaking of restaurants there’s a new one opening in town! Truffled of Totterdown on the Wells Road is the brainchild of local chef Tim Owen of Dinewithi fame and Sharon Lowick. Both of them are good friends of mine and they’ll be having an opening party with free food and fizz for local residents this Friday February 7 from 6pm – maybe I’ll see you there?
I hope you enjoyed the first issue, please feel free to let me know – Broke in Bristol - & beyond is on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter where you can share your money saving tips with the bargain loving community.