It being that time of the year when we tend to look at what we have done and what we will be doing the old man & I decided to take look at our finances. The Balance Sheet is looking pretty good (assets v liabilities) but some time the Profit and Loss Account looks a bit sick. Since we bought the family house in Crete we have a pretty big mortgage and at the moment only one income. Beloved has his own business but it is early days and we don't really make anything from it yet. I have had a good pay rise this year and wont be getting another one in the foreseeable future so the only option to improve things in the short term is extra work for beloved until his books fill up a bit and of course cutting down on expenditure.
We are pretty good with our money but somethings do make a bit of a dent in the cash flow. For us it is DIY products to complete the project we have at the house. We have doubled the size of the downstairs of the house & build a new workshop in the garden. The workshop still needs the exterior to be finished, to be fully insulated and to have a lock fixed. The building project for the house still has some electrics to complete, there is a bathroom to fit and the floor to lay. There is also the whole exterior to finish (lots!!). Finally we need to build a porch & laundry room. We have tried to re-use and recycle but something must be bought new and its pretty costly week on week.
Our second big expense is running he cars. Mine is little and old and doesn't use much fuel but occasionally goes wrong. I don't do too much mileage bu i have to travel to other locations for my work so its an essential. Beloveds car is converted to LPG, so cheaper on fuel than it would be otherwise but also prone to go wrong & really pricey to fix. A major expense coming up soon as we get new tires for it.
So we mainly have an opportunity to cut down on expense for the DIY, a bit of lateral thinking here and planning ahead with our needs to take advantage of prices when we find good deals. The bathrooms taps came from Lidl, for example, and all the porcelain from the bathroom was discounted in an end of season sale (really discounted - the toilet was £7!)
Our other main possible cut down is household expenses and entertainment. Not sure how much more the entertainment budget can take. We have already got rid of satellite TV & has only free view. We don't rent DVDs unless we have a voucher. We only go to the cinema maybe once per year and we try to take advantage of Orange Wednesday 2 for 1 deals. We only go out to dinner for birthdays and special occasions unless it is a mystery dining project and we can claim the cost of our meal back. Other than that we visit with friends and family and make our own entertainment. We like it this way because as well as saving money it makes us really appreciate the things that we do.
So, getting back to household expenses. I have this month changed energy supplier to earn £61 cash back from Quidco. My broadband is committed for the next two years, the phone calls are provided by the same supplier and are a bargain too. Water supplier cant be changed. The only option is to go on the meter and with two teenage boys at home that is not really an option just now. Insurance's are already as cheap as i am going to get them. Mortgage is fixed rate so already 3% lower than what is on offer at the moment. Mobile contracts cant be changed until next July but are also not really too high so that's okay.
I just need to ensure that we have a good selection of healthy, tasty and affordable meal to chose from in the house. Today I made a soup/curry which I called Kashmiri chicken soup. It is basically the meat from a couple of chicken thigh chopped up and browned in oil. Cook with some curry power or paste, a little extra cumin, salt and pepper, some Worcester sauce, Add chopped carrots, onions and celery (plenty), a bowl of lentils, previously soaked over night, a tin of tomatoes. It has make a vaste pan full and is really scrummy. I also made two large crumbles with frozen plums from my mums plum tree. The old man astonished me though by saying that he spent £8 on sandwiches a week ALL IN ONE DAY. I was gobsmacked! I have to say even he was a bit astonished when i pointed out that i can buy two chickens for that amount.So we agreed that i would make sandwich fillings to keep in the fridge,for filling rolls or baguettes each day. I cooked 6 free range eggs and made egg mayonnaise. I also grilled two packets of bacon. Surely enough to make lunches for the week? Apparently not as he has just home from work and eaten the lot! I have to say the bacon was pretty skinny and everyone seems to have pinched a bit as they passed bt all the same. Anyway I will have to think of another plan for lunches as I cant have my supplies nicked as soon as I have finished preparing them. I guess it is a compliment on my cooking at least.