dear diary ~ Scotland again

Sorry for the long overdue post – life is, as ever here, busy and chaotic. I just thought I would pop by to give a brief update and apologise for my lack of commenting on my favourite blogs – be assured I am still here and reading along with your stories, my day wouldn’t be the same without.

Since my last post at the end of January we came home from Scotland complete with the haggis and scotch pies for our Burns night (which we had postponed to early February because we couldn’t get up to Scotland to buy the Haggis and pies in time for the 25th January). Only a day after arriving home my cough, that I thought had gone in January, reappeared with avengence together with flu like symptoms and we had to postpone our Burns night yet again as I just didn’t feel well enough to clean the house and cook a meal for 8 of us. Luckily, the haggis and pies could go into the freezer for another day.

After a busy February, which included the continuing car problems (younger daughter not us) and a trip to A&E with little Sweetie one night, we are now back in Scotland having attended DH’s uncle’s funeral a few days ago at a crematorium just south of Glasgow. Although a sad event it was good to catch up with our Scottish relatives and we decided to combine the trip with a visit to the cottage. We have been here for almost a week now and have spent most of the time relaxing after all the travelling.

Although uncle G died in early February there was a bit of a wait until the funeral date last Tuesday so in the meantime I have been on a mission at home to overhaul our savings, pension and the accumulation of papers in the files.

With the recent years low interest rates our ISA savings really were not doing much and even with penalties for moving a fixed ISA we decided we would gain substantially by moving some of them with very low rates to the new higher rate ISAs on offer. This was not an easy task and not like moving a matured ISA to another account. However, they are all done now and well worth the hassle for the furture financial gain.

Did you know that you can still invest into your private pension pot each year if retired or not working and still be eligible for tax relief on your pension contributions as long as you’re under 75, so if you’re a basic rate taxpayer you’ll get 20p in tax relief for every pound you make in pension contributions? You are only allowed to put in £2880 each tax year but the government make it up to £3600 by giving you £720. I found this out a few years ago and realised there was no savings account that would give me £720 in interest over the year on a £2880 investment so for the last 3 tax years I have been feeding in any spare savings into my People’s Pension scheme.

There was only a small amount of money invested in the scheme when I left work and retired as it had only just got off the ground but I didn’t withdraw it and now it has proved a useful savings pot. So far it is doing very well although a word of warning – because pensions are invested in bonds and securities the investment can go down. It is a gamble but so far so good.

The papers in the filing drawer have been hard work – particularly when deciding what to keep and what to shred. I can’t help but remember a period of miss-selling by certain financial bodies (endowment mortgages spring to mind) and having paperwork in support of a claim for compensation was necessary in some cases. So although I want to be ruthless I have used caution and spent quite a long time scanning papers onto my computer so that we still have a record.

I have been accepting paperless bills such as fuel, water and internet accounts for quite a while now but I do like to have the paper copy of a bank statement to check the outgoings each month as I find it easier to tick and cross and make notes on paper when I am balancing a statement. Once balanced I can then shred the paper copy and download the digital version to store on my computer. It is on my mind though to bite the bullet and go completely digital to save on wasting paper.

The clearout continues as the pile for burning (far too much to shred) grows bigger.

I have been clearing out digital files too on my computer and deleting old emails in the folders in my email account, of which there were far too many. Any email of any importance I have printed to a PDF to save on my computer including any online order receipts and guarantees. It has been on my mind to do this for a long time and leave a list for DH of where to find things just in case. I tend to deal with the banks and receipts while DH has taken over all the fuel and internet accounts and keeps an eye on the amount we are using and also new deals. It all seems to run quite smoothly but I have been making sure he can understand my system should he need to retreive anything.

Today is sunny, so far, so the garden is calling. The weather here has been very mixed from high winds, heavy rain and brilliant sunshine to even a dusting of snow on higher ground which didn’t affect us being by the sea. The daffodils are out but the rabbits have dug up most of my other bulbs I planted last year – poor things must have been short of food so I can’t feel too upset.

There is so much to do and top of my list is to weed the lane side border and heavily prune the lane side rosa rugosa hedge – and yes …the same one that ‘machete man’ ruined last year. I will see if I can prune it back to some reasonable shape.

Must go now to catch the good weather.

Do drop by tomorrow for the Scrap Happy Challenge for March. x

4 Replies to “dear diary ~ Scotland again”

  1. That’s what I call an update – thanks very much.
    I was sorry to read about your uncle – much love to you all.


  2. Very happy to hear you are having a lovely time up in Scotland. You sound like you’ve had a proper good sort out of your paperwork and digital files. Well done. Condolences on the passing of your husband’s uncle.


  3. I’m impressed you were able to dig into your files, and make smart financial decisions too! I’m sure Scotland is chilly by the sea but you get to enjoy the greenery and start gardening. I bet you’ll be happy when you finally get to enjoy Burns Night – Cheers!


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