We reviewed our finances recently and set ourselves a monthly budget; my aim is to be debt free (student loan, credit cards) in 12 – 19 months and we’ve talked about starting to save for a house deposit afterwards.

I’ve previously spoken about some of the things I do to help budget (see my food shopping on a budget, clothes shopping on a budget and budgeting posts), which I still use, but after recording our finances we found we were spending a lot of our budget on food shopping or meals out and thought about ways to cut back.

We have a budget for food shopping which also includes meals out or take away meals, helping us to use what we have in rather than spending more. We are going take away free in October to see how much of a different it makes to our finances.

I am keeping track of our finances in an Excel spreadsheet, under the following categories:

  • Housing, e.g. mortgage / rent, council tax, home insurance etc
  • Entertainment, e.g. Cinema trips, hobbies cost (for me that’s baking supplies), DVD / Blu Ray purchases etc
  • Transportation, e.g. car insurance, fuel, any taxi / bus fees etc
  • Health, e.g. prescriptions etc
  • Investments, e.g. Money added to savings accounts, pensions etc
  • Food, e.g. grocery shopping, take away meals, dining out etc
  • Pets, e.g. food – we have a small aquarium
  • Personal Care, e.g. hair cuts, clothing etc
  • Loans, e.g. Credit cards etc
  • Gifts or donations, e.g. Charitable donations etc

We’ve also started planning our meals and I have a list of what is in our store cupboards (see photo).


With this list we are able to go shopping fortnightly and don’t need to eat out – unless we want to or it’s a special occasion, of course. 😉

I’ve also been trying to organise our house more around our busy schedules and thought have a cleaning rota or cleaning check list would help (see photo). The parts relating to our dish can be substituted for other pets.


Any other tips for either financing or organising?


A quick and easy recipe a for sausage and bacon pasta bake. It was full of flavour and not too filling, perfect for me to take as a left overs lunch to work.

You will need
300g pasta
Jar of tomato and basil sauce or make your own
6 pork sausages (approx 400g)
2 rashers of bacon – chopped thinly
Oil for frying
1 pinch seasoning (salt, pepper, pasta/pizza herbs)
70g cheese, grated


Cook the pasta according to packet directions, usually 10 minutes in a saucepan of boiling water. Drain well and set aside.

Cook the chopped bacon in a frying pan till crisp, drain the excess fat and remove from the pan. In the same pan, cook the sausages.

Once cooked remove the sausages and cut into pieces, put back in the pan along with the bacon and pasta sauce.

Add the pasta and seasoning and mix thoroughly.

Pour the mixture into a small oven proof dish.


(In progress photo – note my new oven dish :-) )

Sprinkle with cheese to taste.

Put in the oven for approx 5 mins, until cheese has nicely melted and the edges are a bit crispy.

Enjoy :-)

There’s a couple of things I’d do differently with this dish next time – add a pinch of salt to the sauce and add another rasher of bacon.


I like shopping; food shopping, Christmas  (or other) present shopping, going in book stores, charity shops, HMV (film / music store in the UK) but I hate clothes shopping. I find trying on clothes tedious and often end up not purchasing anything (it doesn’t fit or it doesn’t look right on me etc) – great way to save money, I suppose.

The issue is after my wardrobe tidy out / wardrobe revamp, there are clothes I really need to replace and a few gaps in my wardrobe.

I wrote a list last year of clothes I felt I needed to fill in the gaps. I made a start on the list (mentioned in my ‘clothes shopping on a budget’ post) but after another cull of clothes, when I moved into my current place, there are more gaps than before! Oops.

I thought I’d take a look at the original list and reassess if it’s still applicable to my current lifestyle and needs.

  1. What kind of activities do I need to dress for?
    • Work: 5 days a week – smart casual
    • Gym: 2 / 3 nights a week – workout clothes
    • Weekends: Socialising, running errands, home time – casual
    • Special occasions / evenings out / date nights out: less frequent – usually smart casual or cocktail

From this list, I know that the majority of my clothes should be made up of pieces I can wear to work and casual pieces.

At the moment I’d say my wardrobe is mainly casual with more going out / special occasion wear than I probably need.

With that in mind, I went over the original list and revised it to suit my current lifestyle and the styles I like (based on my Pinterest clothing board).

Here’s the my new starter list:

  • 2 pairs of jeans in a dark wash – I have one pair but the zip is faulty, :-( I would like one pair of boot cut and one skinny fit.
  • 1 pair of black skinny jeans – already own
  • 2-3 coloured jeans or chinos – I own a pastel purple pair of jeans and would like a maroon or plum colour and/or olive.
  • 2-3 pairs of neutral coloured trousers for work – black, grey and a lighter colour (beige?) for Summer
  • 1 black skirt – pencil or a-line
  • 2-3 coloured or patterned skirts – I have a blue patterned skirt and would like another or a solid coloured skirt
  • 2 neutral coloured dresses – I have an “LBD” but it’s not really appropriate for work and the sheath dress I have is now too big. :-(
  • 2-3 patterned dresses – I have two already that I love but would like one more in a pastel colour.
  • 2 long sleeved tops for layering – I have a black one and would like a white or cream one for my under my lighter coloured clothes.
  • 2 neutral coloured tops – black (already own) and grey or white (I prefer v-necks)
  • 2-4 coloured or patterned tshirts or blouses – blue, purple, etc. Should be suitable for work and casual wear
  • 1 striped top – decided whether to have short, long or 3/4 length sleeves
  • 2-3 button up shirts – 1 white, 1 black, 1 patterned or solid colour
  • 1-3 solid or neutral coloured jumpers
  • 1-2 patterned jumpers – already own
  • 3-5 coloured cardigans
  • 1 neutral coloured blazer
  • 3 outerwear – already own (leather jacket, raincoat, winter coat)

Of course this list doesn’t include workout wear, shoes, socks and hosiery or underwear, but, it’s a good starting point for me. :-) Now… To shop… and hope things fit well. 😉