Friday, 8 December 2017

Frugal Friday...

I was reminded by Sue over at Our New Life in the Country of the number of folk busily counting up sealed pot savings at this time of year. I assume the tradition of this happening in December originates from people using the money to spend on Christmas? That seems logical I suppose, although that's not where ours goes, but I can see for many folk the money they amass in their sealed pot might well pay for Christmas presents or some of the other additional expenditure that gets accrued at this time of year.

Some folk have a "literal" sealed pot - a jar or tin with a slot cut in the lid and the top all sealed up to avoid the temptation to dip in. We prefer to use our family of Pigs for our "coin" savings - one for my £2 coins, 1 for random change, and another for "roadkill" - the money we find discarded in the streets as we go about our business. Oh, and the sheep - he eats 5p's, obviously. Our "Sealed pot" though is in fact a virtual pot - and it's where we sweep the odd pounds and pennies from our bank accounts away to, along with cashback earned on things bought jointly, and interest earned on any of the bank accounts too. not much physical counting involved in that come 1st December, obviously, but no paying bags of cash into the bank required, either. Each time we log into our accounts through the year we simply round down the current accounts to the nearest £5 and then transfer the relevant amount to the VSP account. It means that our accounts stay at nice round figures (which pleases my slight OCD tendancies) and also builds to a nice little sum of "extra" money which can fund - or at least part fund - something exciting.

Although we don't use the money for specific Christmas related things - I've always stuck to 1st December as the start of the new "VSP Year" - I started saving this way after seeing a challenge on the MoneySavingExpert forums some years ago - that was the date they used, so I did the same, and I've just kept on that way ever since.  Both last year and this, the money saved has gone towards helping to pay for our Christmas trip to the Hebrides - this year it will be covering car hire costs, food and any general spending money, and as it totalled a satisfying £475, it will easily cover those costs! It's a great way of funding extra fun and all from money that would otherwise just get frittered, or eventually swept over to our long term savings accounts.

Our savings Pigs (And sheep!) all get counted up in the Spring - as those have always been used for our main holiday, and that has traditionally always been somewhere between Easter & June, so this worked out to be a good time to do the count. Like Sue & her Lovely Hubby we also refuse to relinquish 10% of our hard-earned to the manufacturers of a machine that will count it for us - instead we sit ourselves down and count the lot between us, then MrEH takes it painstakingly 5 bags at a time to pay it into the Building Society and it gets transferred across to the holiday savings account from there.

The other way we still save which was also something we started when we were working to pay off the mortgage is the "money we didn't know we had" - this is made up from savings made when utility bills or similar are haggled down, and the little bit extra from my salary that doesn't have a job elsewhere. Initially that was the money that we would periodically transfer across to pay off against the mortgage, now it again tends to fund the "extras" that we can justify - we're revisiting the island of Lundy with a group of pals next year - not cheap but a fantastic thing to do - and this account will be paying for that. It means that we can say "Yes please" to fun stuff without feeling guilt about raiding our longer term savings.  If someone was paying off debt money saved this way could be paid off a credit card balance, or set aside to pay a loan down early perhaps, it can be a great way of charting savings made on household bills too!



Sue said...

The date for opening of the Sealed Pot was originally chosen by Sft who initiated and ran the Challenge on her blog, the 3rd December being her birthday. We altered it slightly to the 4th as this is our anniversary ... and I'm usually late anyway!!

It's a handy date for Christmas spending of course and gives us plenty of time to think of a good Challenge to use the money for.

It sounds like you post lots of different coins into different places, it's amazing how it all adds up isn't it :-)

Robyn said...

Ahh of course that rings a bell now you mention it Sue - thanks! It amazes us how the tallies add up - especially the "roadkill!"