Budgeting with Google Spreadsheets

So I’m rapidly becoming all consumed with getting my shit together (sorry for the profanity but sh*t says it all…).

Today I’ve spent the best part of 3 hours familiarizing myself with ‘Google Spreadsheets’ for monthly budgeting. Although I love scribbling on paper and in my daily diary, I have to say after pulling my hair out initially, I now LOVE using this spreadsheet! The one I’m using is ‘Monthly Budget’ under the top right hand drop down menu for ‘Templates’. OK so I know in the 1940’s it would have all been done on paper, and I love to keep things simple BUT having this in addition to fill in and update at weekends is making me VERY HAPPY!

OK, I know you are probably thinking right now “for God’s sake woman, go and get a curvy, hairy, beardy man and misbehave” because quite frankly it is a little bit sad that I am getting so excited about  spreadsheets. Trust me, I’ve been thinking that myself recently…..

Infact I know exactly the man I’d pick (in Barnsley) but I’m still slightly “off” men in real-life and not quite ready to jump back in the sheets and do strange and wonderful things…soooooo for now ‘Google Spreadsheets’ it is!

I’m loving the ‘Monthly Budget’ template. CLICK HERE

First of all I worked out how to change the currency from $ to £, next to add extra rows while keeping the formula which does the calculations, I also then changed the spreadsheet to specify what country and time zone. Once that was all done then it was time to fill it in!

I’m filling it in real-time, once a week. This means that I’m adding in all my planned expenses and income and adding in the actual expenses and income as they come in. So when a direct debit comes out in the week I’ll update the spreadsheet, when my son pays me his weekly rent/bills contribution I’ll fill it in on the spreadsheet. By doing this it gives me a real-time up to date tally….isn’t that cool!

Even cooler is the fact that the template comes with a ‘Transaction’ ledger so when you fill it in on the ledger it updates the spreadsheet automatically!

So I’ve brought my February 2018 budget up to-date on my spreadsheet and I’ve taken a snap-shot and it’s below..

I’m hoping budgeting provides enough excitement for me in the coming months to keep me on the straight and narrow until the call of the curvy, hairy, beardy bloke becomes too much to resist….

C xxxxxx

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PS: I was asked about changing the currency settings on the Google Spreadsheet – here is what you have to do

1) Go to https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets and select Monthly Budget from the template gallery.
2) Open up the sheet and select from the top drop down menu FILE > SPREADSHEET SETTINGS > ADJUST LOCALE/TIMEZONE > SAVE SETTINGS… return to main spread sheet.
3) You will notice that the currency symbol underneath the word format in the top drop down menu has now changed to a £ sign. If the sheet does not automatically change the symbols you will simply have to highlight the cell/cells you want to change the currency symbol in, once highlighted you click on the £ currency symbol from the top of the page and it will change all the $ to £ in the cells you have highlighted.
4) To highlight a cell you simply click once in the box then go and click on the £ symbol. To highlight multiple cells in a row then click on the top cell ie Food then hold down the shift button and select the bottom cell ie category 1 and all the cells inbetween will be highlighted too – then just click the £ symbol to change all of them. Alternatively to highlight several sporadically located cells click on 1 cell, hold down the CTRL key and select another anywhere on the page, keep the CTRL key depressed until you have finished selecting all the ones you want to change then goto the £ symbol and select.

I have changed currency and timezones on a spreadsheet for you. You’ll need to make sure that when you are logged in and save it that it is only viewable by yourself.

CLICK HERE FOR £ CURRENCY MONTHLY BUDGET SPREADSHEET

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5p burger plant-based alternative to mince meat?

So at lunch I was experimenting in the kitchen. I wanted to come up with something I could make up and keep in the fridge for a few days to use in recipes as an alternative to animal mince meat. I looked at a few recipes on the web and decided to make my own only using simple, frugal wholefood ingredients that would have been around on the home front on a good shopping day!

To be honest I wasn’t expecting much with my first attempt but this came out incredibly well. Obviously it’s not a WW2 ration book recipe but I really had to share this because it is very healthy and VERY frugal.

I didn’t have my camera with me just my phone to take a snap shot but hope you can still see that the burger looked quite delicious!

Cost: The mixture makes 6 large burgers (or more smaller ones) and based on 6 big burgers the cost is about 5p per burger without mushrooms or about 13p per burger with mushrooms.

Calories: Each burger is about 150 cals and about 10g of protein and over 10% of daily iron requirement and 25% of daily fibre…high in potassium too!

Plant Burgers

  • 1 cup dry lentils (I used red split lentils but any will do)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped (you could use garlic salt or powder)
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 oz brown mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 or 2 teaspoon dried sage (depending on how much you like it)
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon mild chilli powder
  • 3 rounded teaspoons of sweet chutney
  • Few shakes of ground black pepper

Method

  1. Wash the lentils then place in a saucepan with the two cups of water, the chopped garlic and onion, ½ the salt, the chilli powder, sage and rosemary. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until tender.
  2. Meanwhile in a food processer, put in the mushrooms and pulse 4 or 5 times for just a second or two until finely chopped, add in the oats, chutney and the rest of the salt. Set aside.
  3. Drain the lentil mixture then add to the food processor and pulse again several times for a couple of seconds until a thick coarse paste is formed.
  4. Remove mixture and form into burgers. Will make six large thick burgers or 8-10 smaller ones.
  5. Fry on medium in a pan with a little olive oil until nicely browned on the outside.

Week 2 Day 5 Budget Update.

 

budgetjan10

This weeks budget is going well. Probably eased somewhat by the fact I had some Christmas Vouchers which I used for replacing used up make-up and some nibblies for my birthday tea last Monday.

I’m trying very hard to not spend mindlessly and paying for everything in my weekly budget in CASH is REALLY helping!

So just a refresher for anyone who hasn’t read any of my previous budgeting posts, essentially I have set myself a weekly cash budget to pay for food, car/petrol, and household (toiletries, clothing, batteries, loo roll etc).

Those weekly amounts are:

Food: £25
Car/Petrol: £12.50
Household: £20
TOTAL BUDGET £57.50 PW in CASH

In addition I have a payment in the food category that comes out every week from my bank for a small organic vegetable box for £11.50 (I allow myself £50 per month in organic veg boxes). Some people may ask well why don’t you save yourself a bunch more money and get your veg from Aldi’s? My organic veg box gives me such pleasure every week, it’s something I look forward to, it’s like my treat and I feel good about supporting smaller, independent growers in our country. To me it’s just a way of giving back a little.

This weeks cash budget is once again going really well! I’m on ‘Week 2 Day 5’ and so far my total weekly cash spend is only £14.24.

I’m pretty proud of myself!!! However I have to travel 200 miles down South on Friday and I will have to take money from the household budget to pay for the extra petrol I need. BUT DESPITE THIS by Friday night there is STILL GOING TO BE MONEY LEFTOVER. Hopefully about £20!!

I’m also glad I set myself what I perceive to be a doable budget, not too severe, not stripped back to the bare bones. I have space to breathe. To me its still about enjoying living but not wasting, being more mindful and trying to make do. My next debt on my ‘debt snowball’ list will set me back £317.68 and I hope to pay that in full at the beginning of February.

HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY!!!

C xxxxxxx

PS: How are you doing?

EcoEgg Review: I’m going to save £57.39 per year.

ecoegg review

In my new drive towards getting my financial life in order in 2018, I’m looking at as many ways as possible to make changes that will save me money and maybe even improve my mindfulness towards our environment by taking more responsibility.

I’d been reading about the EcoEgg. I read several articles and watched several videos on the product. I found it intriguing and decided that I was willing to use £9.99 of Christmas money that had been gifted to me, to buy an EcoEgg and try it out. At worst I would lose £9.99 if it was absolutely rubbish and at best I’d save quite a lot of money throughout the year and not continue to send 4200 gallons of water with laundry detergent in it out into our environment. It was worth a shot..

How much money would it save?

I worked out what financial savings the EcoEgg could give me based on my own usage and how much I spend on detergent and softener. Based on using the washing machine as a family 4 times a week (210 ish times a year) here is what I found

Tesco Non-Bio Capsules – 1 capsule = 1 wash = 15p x 210 = £31.50

Tesco softener– 1 bottle per month at £2.99 (yep I used way too much) = £35.88

TOTAL LAUNDRY SPEND = £67.38

Replacing detergent and softener with a 210 wash (£9.99 EcoEgg) will save £57.39 per year!!

 

The egg arrived today. I was excited. I’m not sure why, does that make me sad?

It came in a cardboard box, no thick plastic sealed covering. The egg itself is a type of plastic and also inside the box were 5 small plastic bags of mineral balls (that slowly dissolve over time) and 1 small bag of agitator balls (which won’t dissolve)

EcoEgg states on the back of it’s packaging that it

  • Lasts for 210 washes (the £9.99 size)
  • Replaces detergent
  • No harsh chemicals
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Eco-friendly
  • Colours stay bright
  • Easy to use.

Setting up the egg for use involved pouring three packages of the mineral balls into the larger part of the egg plus the packet of ceramic agitator balls. I then twisted the egg and locked it into position and placed the egg on top of the washing in the drum. It does recommend that for best results to not over fill the machine ( so that the egg reaches the water and can move around freely.)

The EcoEgg does thump around a bit in the machine when the drum is turning slowly. When it speeds up I didn’t notice any difference. The egg is quite light so will not do any damage.

After the wash had finished I removed the egg and set it on top of the machine. I then used the tumble drier.

When the clothes were dry I inspected them. The clothes looked as clean as they normally do. I didn’t notice any difference either way. I did however notice that the clothes felt nice and soft which I wasn’t really expecting as I hadn’t used conditioner like I normally do! The one difference was the smell. The clothes smelled clean with the tiniest hint of fragrance, hardly noticeable. Previously I was always using a lot of highly perfumed conditioner so the contrast was very noticeable. I am happy to do without the highly perfumed pong knowing that I am saving money and probably being a bit kinder to the environment in the process!

I will definitely continue to use the EcoEgg everytime I do the laundry and so far I am very happy with my purchase. I’ll let you know how I get on!

C xxxxxxx

CLICK HERE for the EcoEgg on Amazon UK – all sizes

I do have an affiliate link code in the link to this product. This means I will get a very small percentage if purchased. I will only ever include an affiliate link in anything I personally use or like. C xxx




How did I save money and eat better today?

Today I’ve been trying very hard to eat ‘NORMAL’ sized portions and eat non-processed foods. Not only are wholefoods cheaper but healthier too! So far, so good and the cost of feeding myself today will work out to be less than £1 so I’m doing pretty good!

The things I have done today to save money and live frugally are

a) Made a huge protein rich, red cabbage, carrot, kidney bean and red lentil stew (20-25p a large portion)
b) Made a nice tasty homemade malted loaf of bread perfect with the stew! (50 p a loaf)
c) Changed completely the way I am going to do my laundry in the future. (save £33.51p per year)

I’ve recently been looking at longer term ways to save money and be kinder to the environment and decided that I would spend £9.99 of my Christmas money I got given by family (I now have £40.01 left) on a practical item and try moving over to the chemical free and more environmentally friendly ‘Eco Egg’.

As a family we probably do 200+ laundry loads throughout the year. Our washing machine has a smaller drum so our laundry loads are smaller so we use it more frequently. The ‘Eco Egg’ I bought is said to do 210 loads which would roughly be about a years worth of laundry. I did a price comparison.

  1. Regular store brand laundry capsules 15p per capsule that we currently use = £31.50 for 210 washes (1 year)
  2. Regular store brand fabric softener = £12 for 210 washes for the amount I typically use (1 year)
  3. EcoEgg replaces detergent and softener = £9.99 for 210 washes (1 year)

If I have my math right I make that a saving of £33.51 per year just making that one change in my household.

While £33.51 isn’t a world changing amount of money it is just one small change made and I do feel that if I can make other similar small changes throughout the year in other areas of my life then it does then become significant indeed!

I’ll let you know how I get on with the EcoEgg and I’d certainly be interested to hear how you got on with it if you’ve already used it!

C xxxxx

Working it big time (the budget that is…)

In the spirit of our mothers and grandmothers and great grandmothers, I’m working hard to stick to a good, honest and frugal budget this month. Infact I will be all year (and probably more years after that) as I really want to be in control of my income, to not be wasteful with it, to have a decent rainy day fund (I love that phrase) and become debt free. Further in to the future I also see retirement looming (in about 13 years or so) and that scares me. I need to create safety in my life…

So far everything is working out well and I’ve started 2018 positively with the attitude of ‘make do and mend!’ I’m using up everything that needs using up in the kitchen and looking for cheaper but healthy meals so the wartime recipes are quite useful!

I worked out my complete budget and accounted for every single £1 coming in and going out and even made some observations on what I could cut back on to free up more money every month which will all help to clearing debt faster and saving money faster too.

– I cancelled my gym and saved £47 per month.
– I cancelled Amazon Prime (I already have Netflix) and saved £8 per month.
– I cancelled Envato Elements and saved £18 per month.
– And finally I realised that I was being charged £17 per month as I had the Platinum Select Account with Natwest. I initially got this bank account as it gave me free worldwide health insurance which was great because 2 years ago I was hospitalised in the USA with double pneumonia and hypoxia to my brain (oh and an asthmatic episode during a visit to the Grand Canyon) and NatWest covered my $20,000 hospital fees. But my ex-partner and I split up so I don’t travel anymore so the insurance is not needed. So I converted to the basic FREE select account.

Just these 4 changes will free up an extra £90 in January which I’m thrilled about!!!

Not only that I’ve straight away used that money to pay off two small debts to Utility Warehouse and Nottingham Council Tax! I’ve also been working out what other debts I have and although I have one credit card  I only use it in an emergency and clear off immediately if it is used. However I do have student courses debts and over payment of child tax credits of larger amounts that need paying off so that’s what I hope to clear completely over the next 12-18 months.

In addition tomorrow is my last day of my first full cash budget week for food, household items, petrol/car and entertainment. My total weekly budget for all was £55. I’ve spent £17.56p which means tomorrow night I WILL be putting £37.44p in my cash savings jar!

As a single person there is definitely less of a safety net (and less income!) so to me living to a strict budget and doing without for a year is a small sacrifice I am willing to make to financially get ahead to a safer place… it will give me peace of mind.

PS: I’ve been watching Dave Ramsey videos and sort of following his ‘baby steps’. The guy is a bit blunt and I may not agree with some of his personal views but I have to agree with his basic baby steps to get yourself out of debt and create an emergency fund. Good sound advice. It’s certainly keeping me motivated.

How cheaply could a person live on WW2 food rationing?

A couple of my goals for 2018 are to save a substantial emergency money fund AND to lose a very achievable 60 lbs in weight. The two things that concern me right now are financial safety and health safety.

One area to save on expenses would of course be eating food that doesn’t cost so much but still is healthy. Following a ration book diet, although it sounds austere and boring, could be a perfectly doable way to save money and lose weight in the short term, its certainly worth giving it a go for a month or two…

So out of curiosity I’ve broken down first the guaranteed weekly/monthly ration for an adult into how much each item would cost per person and in addition I’ve also added in the cost of extra staples that a person may typically purchase during the week/month such as bread, oats, pulses etc.

Here is what it roughly worked out as per person per week using today’s prices

2-3 pints milk (Dairy milk 75p- £1.10 Plant milk £1.50-2.00)
8 oz sugar (15p)
2 oz tea- about 25 tea bags (50p)
8 oz margarine/cooking fat (70p)
2 oz butter (45p)
2 oz cheese (40p)
1 egg (15p)
4 oz bacon/ham (40p)
Meat to the value of 1s 2d – could be mutton or small pack of sausages or sliced corned beef (£2)

Additionally you were guaranteed to be able to buy one large jar of jam every two months (£1.50 every two months), 12 oz of sweets every month (£1.50) and were allocated 16 points every month to purchase other foods in shops if they were available (only rationed food was guaranteed).

Monthly 16 points example (I think I would spend my points on this)

Lentils/Pulses 2 lbs = 4 points = (£2)
Rolled oats 2 lbs = 4 points = (75p)
Baked beans 2 cans = 4 points = (75p)
Bread/small flour = 4 points = (£1)

Vegetables either bought or grown weekly (I’ve used Aldi’s prices using Super 6 where I can – I personally use a seasonal organic box delivery for my vegetables but want to show the cheapest way to eat on food rationing)

1 small swede (28p)
1 small bag potatoes (28p)
1 small bag carrots (19p)
1 small cabbage (50p)
1 small bag apples (£1.50)
A few onions or leeks (50p)

Using all the above as a rough example I can see that the monthly amount spent on all the above to feed 1 person for 1 month works out to be

£39.00 ( about $52 USD) for one month.

This unbelievably works out at less than £1.30 per day per person for breakfast, dinner, lunch and extra fruit.

What do you spend? Is it more or less than this? Please share!

C xxxxxxxxxxxx