18 in 2018

De-Cluttering 2018

Thursday, 30 March 2017


6 years ago I started volunteering at a local project that provided breakfast to vulnerable adults, whether they were homeless, had substance abuse issues or just wanted somewhere safe to go.  I "worked" there for 4 years and love it, progressing to team leader.  I meet some lovely people (and some not so) on both sides of the counter.  On of the reasons I did this role was because I wanted to help and as we don't have much disposable income to give to charity but I had time.  It also lead me into my current job as a support worker, which in turn due to my hours meant I had to give up volunteering.  I do miss it. 

Anyway at the start of this year I decided to do something each month to give back.  For January I help collect clothes, toiletries and sleeping bags for women refugees in Paris.  A friend of mine had driven through there last year and her young son wanted to know why families were sleeping on the streets.  She explained the situation to him and he wanted to help.  With people's kind donations she ended up helping so many families.  I admire her as she actually put her money where her mouth is and got up and did something. 

February lead to me having a clear out and donating items we no longer need to a charity shop.

This month a family member did a walk for Blood Wise, a charity close to her heart as she had an aggressive form of leukaemia a few years ago.  I couldn't join her on her walk but donated money.  I again have some items for the charity shop along with 3 bags of clothes to go to the place where I volunteered.  These have been collected from friends having a clear out and a few of my husbands things.

I haven't any plans for next month at the moment but if the de-cluttering continues I guess more to charity shops.

As Oprah Winfrey says "pay it forward".

Sunday, 19 March 2017

On a (permanent!) Economy Drive

We try to save money and to be fair I think we are pretty good at it compared to people I know.  Yes we like going on holidays, both have a car each but each car and holiday was saved for, as well as having an emergency fund put aside. Both of us earn less than the living wage so are on reasonably low paid jobs and I'm proud that we have managed our money as we have.  However there is always room for improvement and at the end of last year we did take our eye slightly off the ball and didn't manage to put any money in our savings which taught us to be mindful of our spending. So how are we doing it? Nothing too drastic but simple things like not putting the heating on as much.  Also we have organised a smart meter to be fitted next month which I think will spur us on when we see how much a day we use.  No food waste.  I don't do a weekly shop anymore as I don't work set days so I tend to do what I class as a big shop when I can for things such as dog (more about our new addition another time) and cat food, tinned and frozen items.  We don't throw food away.  There was left over veg in the fridge this morning which wasn't going to be used in any meals so I've whizzed up some soup for lunches.  We also need a new fridge freezer as the fridge bit of the one we have is very dodgy so trying to eat as much from the freezer to make it easier when we order the new one.  I am still sorting all the years of hoarding out and have a pile of things to put on ebay/facebook selling pages.  I doubt I'll earn my fortune but every bit helps and I have put aside the money I have got so far.  I've also been looking at the best isa's to make the money we have work for us. So as you can see nothing ground breaking but all these small things add up and hopefully over the coming months we will see our savings go up, although we do have a lot of home improvements to do but at least we are going to continue saving as we have to enable these improvements.