Hello fellow frugalers - halfway through the month already, goodness!
We're now in a position of trying to get things back on a rather more "normal" footing after a difficult few weeks. MrEH sadly lost his Dad fairly unexpectedly at the end of last month, hence this has left him doing a lot of travelling up and down the country to spend time with his Mum and his brothers - and both of us were down there for half the week last week too for the funeral and some family time after. All went very well, FIL would have been extremely impressed with his send off I think.
The higher than usual diesel spend this month is "one of those things" - I knew when I started the challenge that it was going to be a rather different shape to previous ones I've done! Some of the extra is balanced off against less travel into London for MrEH, and two less commutes for me, too. Other "extra" spending has included some food bought out, and our share of a family meal to celebrate oldest brother in law's birthday at the weekend too - we've never been minded to say "No" to the good, quality time stuff when finances do allow it, and the money for this stuff was all stashed away in our "fun" pot ready for when it was needed in any event, so all good. This is why we budget! Had the joint account not been able to absorb the diesel money there were assorted other pots it could have come from and at a pinch, in the circumstances, our Emergency Fund would have taken the hit.
In terms of general personal spending I'm still keeping things pretty low - I paid for a breakfast for both of us while we were down in Devon - we'd gone to meet friends & family out at the Castle, but annoyingly the cafe there wasn't open so we ended up having a slightly more spendy breakfast when we got back into the town. (MrEH bought lunch one day when we all headed to the beach so this balanced out). My personal spends account is still looking distinctly healthy!
The mission for this week has been reviewing some more of our savings pots. Another maturing regular saver has been transferred into the highest interest "Limited access" account we have, meaning it's earning fractionally more interest than it would otherwise - and it all helps. I've set up a new monthly Regular Saver account too - as they finish at the moment we're being a bit cautious about how many new ones we set up as if our current plans come to fruition we will before all that long not be as well fixed to continue "feeding" them - this one should fit in with any new budgets that are needed though. The other thing I've been doing savings wise is giving some thought to whether I should find a new home for our Emergency Fund. It currently sits with a provider where we've had an account for a while - a former "highly recommended best buy" of the likes of one Mr M Lewis, but in recent times said provider has kept up less well with interest rate rises. As a result our funds have been sitting at a rate around 0.5% lower than we could, for the past couple of weeks, have been getting elsewhere for easy access. The issues around moving this money are several: because it IS our EF, it does need to be easy access. Also because it is our EF it needs to be easily accessible by either of us, when needed, and many of the current "best buy" options don't allow joint accounts. Finally right at the moment it doesn't suit me wonderfully well to risk getting a credit check on my file - and while there are options we could take which wouldn't credit check, a lot might, so this is another negative. In the event, this week has seen a (small, but still) increase to the interest rate in question, so for now at least the money will stay put. Sure, it could earn a bit more elsewhere, but it's still earning an awful lot more than it was last year, even!
One money saving thing we have started this week is using our debit cards for grocery shopping - to earn the 5% cashback currently being offered by our bank. We usually use the credit card, then just settle up from the grocery budget at the statement date, so using the debit cards will make things a little more complicated, but as there is a decent payback on it we figure it’s well worth it! Now I just need to remember to use the right card when I pay!