July Review

So how are you doing? Happy that lock down is easing and you’re able to get out and about more or still spending all your time at home waiting for the second wave? Everybody’s different I know. I’m just trying to make the most of having a bit of extra money, saving some and spending a little on a few clothes, which I haven’t done for about eighteen months. It feels very indulgent.

I struggle with bad weather during the summer
Activities

The beginning of July didn’t feel like summer at all as the weather was lousy. At times like these my thoughts always wander to moving to sunnier climes. Fortunately, by the end of the month, when Mr Simple and I had some time off, the sun was shining again. I was meant to be going away with my mum, but decided to cancel. Mr Simple therefore booked some time off and we spent the days, walking, cycling and gardening.

As well as having some time off we met up with some friends for the first time in months, doing a socially-distanced walk along the coast. I also visited a colleague and we sat in her garden for coffee. I’ve got so used to being at home or out just with Mr Simple it was strange to spend time with other people.

As the lock down has eased Mr Simple and I decided that we wanted our bubble partner to be of the four-legged variety. Over the past few years we’ve been boarders for Guide Dogs for the Blind, looking after trainee guide dogs. Covid19 has put paid to that and we have been missing the company of dogs. Occasionally we have walked our neighbours’ black Labrador and so we asked if we could have a bubble with him. Our neighbours have provided a spare harness and lead for us to keep in order to reduce the risk of passing the virus between us. So far we have enjoyed a couple of Sunday mornings walking him on the beach.

Finally, I’ve been doing a few walks locally and have been exploring some areas of our nearby town that I have never been to. I have discovered some disused country lanes running through a nearby housing estate and an old footpath believed to have been used by the Romans.

We’re on our fourth pile of rocks
money in

As we live near the coast and no one has properly dug our garden since the house was built, over the past year Mr Simple has dug tonnes of rock out of the ground. The question has been how to get rid of it without spending a fortune on skips. The answer was to advertise it on Facebook Market Place. We’ve had loads of people coming to collect it to use for rockeries, ponds and dry-stone walls. They’re getting a bargain as I am giving it away and we have saved hundreds of pounds on skips.

We finally received a refund from Brittany Ferries after what seemed like ages and several emails. I ended up putting a poor review on Trust Pilot and that did the trick. They responded within a couple of days and paid the total amount back into my account. I have splashed out and spent my half on clothes. For a while my walking trousers have been too big for me as I am now a size ten, having lost weight a few years ago. There’s nothing actually wrong with the trousers, but I just decided that it would be nice to have some that fit rather than ones that hang off me. Rohan had a sale and so I’ve bought two pairs. I also bought a couple of t-shirts from Seasalt as some of my old ones have developed holes in the elbows.

Although I didn’t welcome having to spend money on ear pods at least I didn’t have to buy a new phone
Money out

In order to listen to podcasts when I am out in the garden I carry my phone around in the pocket of my gardening apron. Unfortunately I think some spilt seed or soil must have got stuck in the earphone jack. Despite attempts to remove it with superglue on cocktail sticks I didn’t have any success. I ended up buying a pair of wireless headphones – a suggestion made by Mr Simple. I must admit that hadn’t even crossed my mind and I was having visions of having to invest in a new phone.

If I could, I think I would never do the shopping myself again
the usual spending

It’s been back to having a regular delivery from Tesco, which has made me realise how expensive the local supermarkets are. Before coronavirus hit you will know that I was having a monthly delivery and topping up with fruit and veg on a weekly basis, which I would buy on way home from work. Now that I am working at home all of the time and the nearest large supermarket is 30 minutes’ drive away, I am having a fortnightly delivery. It costs me an extra delivery charge of £3, but is probably cheaper than paying the petrol to go myself and the produce is much cheaper than buying locally. It also helps that at this time of year we have lots of veggies in the garden.

The total for my half of the food was £140.91 this month. I spent £9.73 on toiletries. My ear pods cost just £24.55. I then indulged and spent £24.98 on books and some hand weights. The book was ‘Indistractable’ by Nir Eyal. I heard him being interviewed by Dr Chatterjee on his podcast ‘Feel Better Live More’. Haven’t yet got around to reading it as still catching up on other books I’ve bought this year. The upside of not having a social life is that I can spend the extra money on personal development books. The hand weights were for physiotherapy exercises for my stiff shoulders.

My ISA didn’t look healthy. I invested £563.65, but my return was only £8.54. My savings totalled £33,623.00 by the end of the month, plus the £8,000 for a new car.  Bills were pretty much what they always are. We overpaid the mortgage by £625.00 and along with the usual monthly payment the balance stands at £64,474.56.

So that’s it. Another quiet month, which as we all know is ‘the new normal‘. How has life been for you? I know many people are struggling with finances at the moment, having been furloughed or even having lost their job. Although I am missing family, friends and holidays we are fortunate that we are both still gainfully employed and as always trying to make the best of things.

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