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Here at last!

May 2nd, 2006 at 05:13 am

Fiance arrived on Saturday, so I haven't been here much. But I am so pleased to have him here at last! We spent a relatively frugal weekend, which is good, because the gravity of supporting another person on just my wage has hit home. I know we can do it, but it's going to be a struggle until he can finally work in September. Need to buckle down and do my books for last month - I've been letting them slide.

2 Account System

April 14th, 2006 at 10:54 am

For quite a while now, I have been using a 2 account system for my regular ingoings and outgoings. Basically, I have a regular current account with a large UK bank. The interest on this account is negligible, but it provides me with a debit card, free cheque book and free overdraft. I also have online access to this account. With the same bank I have an online only instant access savings account, which has unlimited withdrawals and instant online tranfers to my other accounts with the same bank. It also has a much better interest rate. (I'm talking a difference between 0.1% and 4.2%) As soon as my salary hits my account in themiddle of the month, I transfer it to my savings account, and then as I need the money to pay out rent and things, I draw it down into my current account. I also draw down an amount each week to cover any spending on my debit card - groceries and such. At the end of the month, I transfer any remaining money to a savings account I have with a different bank (one that is much less easy to access, but has a slightly better interest rate - the difference in the interest rate doesn't matter to me as much as the fact that I can't just get at that money whenever I want) This system has been working well for me for a while, as I actually make some interest on my salary while it's sitting in my account. I have also discovered that once the excess money is in my second savings account I almost never use it, even in emergencies (what it's there for). I usually just find that money from somewhere else - perhaps by going superfrugal on mygroceries for a while, or forcefully calling in any loans to friends and relations!
I also use my first savings account for the regular monthly amount I put away for gift buying, car maintenance and road tax, and regular health items (sight tests and dental check ups). This isn't working so well for me at the moment. I don't like having the 2 sets of money in the same place - it's just so untidy. I've resorted to keeping a note on a scrap of paper to remind me how much should be in my "regular expenses" account. And I keep losing it! It's not possible to "subaccount" money with this online account, so maybe it's time for another savings account?

£3000 not disappeared into the void

April 11th, 2006 at 07:23 am

Received a letter from my tax free savings account to say that they received my money Ė it squeezed in at the last minute on the 5th of April. I wonít be making that mistake again, and intend to open this yearís sometime this month Ė even if I only put £20 in it, itíll be there for me to add to later on in the year.
About this time each year, I compile all my financial information together and add all the totals together on a sheet of paper. This week some of my end of tax year statements should start to come through and Iíll be able to do that. Iím waiting for Ė my pension illustration document, my AVC statement, my 2004/5 ISA statement, my student loan statement (I phoned for an automated update on this last week, but the system ďcouldnít access my informationĒ).

Finally made a decision

April 3rd, 2006 at 05:31 am

3 weeks on, and I still haven't had anything back from the bank I opened my savings account with. They promised to get back to me in 2 weeks, and I need to get my money in there by Wednesday. Long story short, spent another 20 minutes on the phone to them this morning to get the details for the account (which they assure me is open) and finally get the details and am told to call my regular bank and get them to transfer the money today. I told them I have internet banking, and ask if I can transfer the money that way, and the reply is yes, but I must do it at once. So, I've transferred £3000 to an account I don't have any paperwork for. This does worry me slightly, but the bank is a reputable high street operator that I already have a regular saver account with.
However, because I was only given about 5 minutes to decide how much I was going to put in, I decided to suck it up and put the maximum amount in, leaving me with £15 to last me the 10 days until I get paid. Probably a good thing - it'll be a challenge but a manageable one as long as I don't have to do any unforeseen work mileage.
This brings my current saving totals to:
2004/5 ISA £3000
2005/6 ISA £3000
Regular saver £120
Next week I should get my interest statement for my 2004/5 ISA too, so that probably has more in it.
On the wedding front, I've got an appointment to go for my final dress measurements next week before the dressmaker starts cutting it. I spoke to her last week, and she started to tell me about some new fabrics she has in. I thought I'd made this decision last time I was there, and I wouldn't be surprised if she was trying to direct me towards something considerably more expensive. I've already set my budget for the wedding though, and I'm not in a mood to be swayed!

A fool and my money

March 22nd, 2006 at 11:23 am

Last year, I lent my sister some money to pay the tuition fees for her MA. It was money I had from an inheritance. My sister had received the same amount, but couldnít release it until her 25th birthday. It made sense to both of us for me to lend her the money until she could release her inheritance and pay me back in time for the wedding and some other stuff. However she approached the solicitor in December and he still hasnít sorted out the release. When she phoned him (after him not returning her calls for 2 weeks) he told her he forgot. All of this wouldnít be a problem, but for the fact that I wanted to maximise my tax free savings allowance for this year Ė and the deadline is the 5th of April. He has now told her there is no way he can clear the money by that date. So now, I canít decide what to do. Do I miss out on my allowance for this year? Or do I scrape together every penny I can from my current account and the easy access savings I have for emergencies and heap it into my allowance pot? And take a risk that this cash will clear before I incur any other major expenses so that I can pay myself back? Itís not too much of a risk Ė because in a real emergency I can always take this money out of my tax free savings. I just canít put it back again, because the limit is on how much you can pay in any one year and not how much you can have in it. Another advantage would be that once the money cleared, if I found that I had managed to pay back my emergency account out of my regular income, I could put it straight into next yearís allowance. The main downside to this is that apart from my student loan payment I would have to reduce my outgoings to almost nothing until payday in the middle of next month. I pay all my bills the day after pay day so it is only small incidental stuff left to come out, but the idea of having no safety net, for however short a time, worries me! Itís one thing not buying anything for 10 days, itís quite another not being able to!