Well, 2016 was not the best one for us financially, and it took quite an emotional strain as well. With all the extra expenses of an unplanned house move our budget went way off course. We also had a lot of expenses replacing things that were damaged by our old landlord’s incompetent roofers/builders as well as the extensive damage to our furniture, clothing, and Gabe’s toys from the damp and water leaks they failed to repair.
It turns out the old landlord is also about as stupid as you can get (well, we’d realised that a while back when he refused to do urgent repairs that would protect his own property from damage!) since he is refusing to talk with his own insurers or respond even through his own lawyers. So 2017 will be starting with Court proceedings against them. Not the best start to a New Year, but a necessary one unfortunately.
Thankfully though, we have a roof over our heads – a dry, non-leaking one at that – food in our bellies, and a very happy little boy since Father Christmas delivered him the toy kitchen he wanted (to replace the one he lost to the old house) plus lots of other lovely toys to play with.
2017 Financial & Future Planning
With Gary applying for lots of jobs whilst also doing agency work until he gets a permanent role in the area he wants to work in, we are trying to save as much as we can and make sure we have a buffer zone since employment agencies seem dreadful for getting earnings paid on time (or the correct amount).
We can’t really make any longer term plans at the moment as we may well have to move again for Gary’s work, and if he gets something permanent in the Countryside Industry we will also be moving somewhere bigger locally. This house is lovely, warm, and dry; but it is rather tiny and we still have a lot in a storage unit we couldn’t move with us after the urgent move in August.
So our main goals going into 2017 are:
- Stick to a budget – we pretty much do this anyway, but we want to make sure we have planned all outgoings and set a monthly grocery and household budget – and stick to it! I’d like to try and stay under budget each month to put some money aside, but just staying on track will do for now.
- To keep on track I plan to blog meal plans and budget – most of our expenses are fixed – rent, utilities etc – so the main area that fluxuates is the grocery, household, and social budget. Through January I’ve set myself the goal of weekly blogging what we buy and make, and to make sure all meals are made from scratch. I’ve carried out a freezer and cupboard recce, and we’ve enough in bar fresh fruit, veg, and milk to last most of that month too!
- Get Gary the job he wants – we are already working hard on this one. Applications to everywhere suitable, and as soon as he has a few more hours spare (he’s been working 60 odd hour weeks) to do more voluntary work to build his CV further.
- Clear the storage unit – we’ve a few things in there that we really do not need to keep. The plan is a couple of boxes a week. Sort through, and what we don’t need or want to keep either sell, charity shop, or tip. We will still need a unit for the furniture, books, and other large items that would be costly to replace, but I’d like to drop down to a 50sqft unit or even a 25sqft if we can really minimise.