The figures never lie – but surely I didn’t spend THAT much….did I?
I thought I had March under control as far as our spending went but sometimes the reports tell a different story.
We had similar trips to last month and trips = petrol which in turn = cost. Our grocery bill stayed at the same average weekly rate which was disappointing and cards and gifts came in more expensive due to a special birthday gift and Mother’s Day. The most expensive categories appear to be eating out and home and garden – could they have been better…let’s find out…..
Transport and fuel costs
Almost exactly the same in March as February – not surprising as we had a visit to Scotland and North Yorkshire yet again. We also spent £6 on the park and ride fare to Leeds for the financial seminars.
The MOT and car service for our estate car was actually done in April so a bit of a reprieve here on the March costs.
Total costs for gadding about and a ticket to ride: £185.65
Health and wellbeing
I never mind spending on this category if it keeps me fit and well. Bendy I am not at the moment – still there is hope.
Total cost for my flexible foray: £8
We switched our electricity provider from Scottish Power in March to a dual fuel contract with SO energy who provide us with our gas. They are a hit with us on two counts; good customer service and extremely clear statements, which come in on time every month so you know how much you have spent. Without the benefit of the good weather we had in February, March was a much cooler month and our gas bill reflects this but only by a few pounds.
Total cost with a toastie transference: £78.00
Grocery and housekeeping costs
The total bill for groceries and whole foods alone was much the same this month as last, £314 with the average also remaining the same at £78. I liken my weekly shopping costs to a Slimming World weigh in – I was convinced I had spent less but in truth I had not, though as with a weigh in remaining constant is better than gain and obtaining a constant average of £75 since the beginning of the new year is I think worthy of a prize.
I have managed to build up a bit of a stock of some items – not intentionally, not for Brexit even, but in order to take advantage of the items on offer – so my figures reflect stock rather than foods eaten. I do have in the back of my mind that when Brexit happens we may face shortages so maybe it is no bad thing to have a bit of a stockpile.Included in this category are toiletries and this month I bought another Neal’s Yard frankincense serum. They offered me 20% off and I had just run out.
I heard on the news that the price of stamps was going up so I called in to our local post office and bought 12 first class and 24 second class for £21.96. As I don’t use many stamps other than at Christmas I will now have them ready and at the old price. I usually prefer to buy the Christmas design stamps for my cards but when you are on a pension needs must. I will decorate the envelopes with some pretty rubber stamps instead.
And I confess to three magazines £10.99 Country homes came with Woman and Home as a deal and Simple Things – who can resist a bit of a spring fling and the ideas contained in them have sparked some creativity.
Total cost for putting away for a rainy day and keeping my furrows at bay: £419.14
Home and Garden purchases
I had no frivolous purchases this month for the house but as spring got underway a few replacement tools were needed for the garden – anvil loppers, secateurs and a very useful small hand fork for tight spaces.
Our one expensive impulsive purchase was the small corded Dyson – not a planned expense at all, bought more out of necessity from thinking ahead. Our Dyson at home is quite heavy now to manoeuvre and carry up and down the stairs, while the one we have at the caravan is so much lighter (the downside being that you have to empty it more often). Presently you can still find old stock in the shops but soon both the corded vacs and the small lighter models will be obsolete. Surprisingly, the exact same model we bought for the caravan in April 2017 with the insurance money was £50 cheaper and came with a larger selection of tools.
Total cost of a moments impulse replacing some cool tools : £340.32
Cards and Gifts
I had two special cards to buy this month – a 70th birthday and a Mother’s day card, for the rest of the birthdays I was using my old stock of bought cards so managed a bit of a saving here. I bought mum a basket of plants £10 and spent another £40 for my friends 70th, a theatre voucher to share with his wife who will also be 70 in May. They like going to see musicals so although this will not buy them a seat each it will go someway to the cost, or if they are hard up too she could sit on his knee!
Total costs to include a musical interlude £55.50
Crafts and Hobbies and Books
Crafts and hobbies don’t come cheap and knitting is one of them. I spent a whopping £15 on patterns – generally they seem to be £3 each in the shops – but I have now enough to keep me going a while.I like to be able to read the pattern before I buy it so I can tell if I might be able to understand most of it. The King Cole Cottonsoft wool for my next project came from Boyes and was a reasonable £12.30 for 3 balls.I came across some cotton lace for the Christening dress from Boyes £8.60 for quite a few metres. I bought two books on knitting for £7.99, a novel called The Bookseller for £8.99 and a much-needed road map of Great Britain £7 to replace our old one that was now so far out of date some of the new roads are not shown. As we don’t have sat nav, a map is essential.
Total cost of my homespun hobbies and a : £63.87
Leisure and Entertainment
It seems that even though we have been here, there and everywhere during March we have not actually paid for any entertainment or leisure activities; they came free.
Total cost of a leisurely life – bingo a healthy: £0.00
The most disastrous month so far this year and not because I had eased up on the packed lunches. If I break the figures down it has been a heavy month because we saw my mum at the beginning and end of March and even though we packed picnics on our days out we still managed a whopping £120.49 in the tea shops and cafes and buying a meal in Saltburn on our last visit in lieu of a Mothering Sunday lunch. But how can I begrudge her a little enjoyment.
We also had the extra expense of eating out for the day in Leeds when we attended the financial seminars – although the seminars were free the food needed to keep us going all day was not! So with other drinks out over the month we managed to hit £63.
Total cost for stuffing ourselves: £193.12
Clothing and Footwear
I have done even better than I thought in this category and spent hardly anything. I bought two more long-sleeved t-shirts, one white and one black, they are so versatile and I had to buy them before they disappeared off the rail and replaced with the summer short-sleeved ones but that was all I bought.
Total cost for a modest attire: £17.00
It is interesting how what you do through a month reflects on how much you spend. Having a visit to Scotland, and visits to see my mum and younger daughter are expensive trips – not only getting there (fuel costs) but eating out during that time.
I notice too that the weather has some bearing on expenditure – now the sun is shining the garden needs maintenance and gardening like crafts are not cheap pastimes. Any outlay now should set us up for the year, or will it?
So I will endeavor to muddle through another month – I know April is going to be harder to keep a tight grasp on the old purse strings as we approach Easter and a family party at the same time as well as numerous birthdays to cope with.
Anyone wishing to read the previous monthly tallies click below