Penniless Princess – Saving Pennies in Expensive Months

**Penniless Princess** – Saving Pennies in Expensive Months

How do you save your pennies? Please comment! I’d love to hear how you save – if you have any hints, tricks or habits you use.

Sparkly April

Hello all! April is here!

April is a big month for me, in about four different ways:

1. It’s Mum’s birthday – happy birthday!

2. It’s the start of the countdown to the summer season at work. Lou and I were just saying today how we feel like things should be kicking up a gear. So far it seems to be relatively smooth sailing… fingers crossed, eh?

3. It’s April Madness time in the garden! I’ll be planting out my potatoes on Good Friday, and starting off more tomatoes and beans (mainly to replace the ones that the frost got…)

4. It’s car insurance month!

Now, some of you might know that the reason why I’m a penniless princess is because I own three cars. Three cars! One of them is Millie my Ford Puma, the best car ever, but who isn’t currently a road-going car; another is the Flying Banana, my daily run around – a Seat Ibiza in bright yellow; and finally, of course, we can’t forget the little blue Subaru called Dickie.

Expensive little dude!
Expensive little dude!

April is car insurance time for the Flying Banana and Dickie. The Seat isn’t expensive to insure, however insuring a performance car for an under-25-year-old isn’t ever straightforward. I’ve had Dickie for two years now: the first year, when I was 22, was extortionate. Luckily it dropped by £300 the next year, and this year my renewal came in at about £150 less. Usually what I tend to do is just pay both insurances up front, after haggling with my insurers, pulling a bit chunk out of my savings. This year things will be different!

I’m really focusing on saving this year. I’m trying to save £500 a month, which so far is going OK, but the big thing is to not dip into my savings.

My February paycheck was a biggie as I got an extra week’s wages, so straightaway I put as big a portion as I could feasibly get away with into another one of my accounts, earmarked as Dickie’s insurance.

Then obviously I had some unsuspected expenses. I won’t be the first person in the history of the world to admit that I have underestimated how much money I spend in the average month, and how much money just seems to zip out of my account. So I had to dip into Dickie’s account, here and there, and it went down a little bit.

Luckily I managed to get a good deal from my insurance company. I also decided to pay my Seat monthly – it might be a weeny bit more expensive in the long run, but it’s a little easier on the eye than a big chunk going out all at once. But insuring the Dickster on monthly payments is insane!

April has to be a careful month now! I have totalled up my outgoings and know now that on certain days I’ll be a lot lighter in the monetary weight department. *sigh* I suppose it’s all about learning to be a grown-up, eh?

So, Penniless Princess is all about me documenting my attempts to save my pennies, curb my spending (which has been, admittedly, wild in the past – whoops!) and to share the things I’ve learnt along the way.

Wish me luck!

I’d love to know how you all get on saving. Do you have a good way you’ve found of saving? Have you any good hints or tips on how to save?

Katy

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Our Guy in India

This weekend and last weekend, my current crush, Guy Martin, has been on C4 touring around India. Sunday nights are the best nights on telly at the moment – Top Gear, Our Guy in India, Mr Selfridge; and next week, we have The Casual Vacancy (which I’ve not managed to read yet) and Indian Summers. There seems to be a bit of an Indian theme at the moment going on.

I’ve really enjoyed Our Guy in India. He was on Radio 2 the other morning, and he was just brilliant: he’s just such a normal guy; he loves his work, and he loves working, and being busy; and he can talk the back legs off a donkey.

This evening, he went into the slums of Mumbai. When I did geography at school, it always struck me that in the slums, and not just of Mumbai but of anywhere, there was such an imbalance of priorities: they didn’t have running water or sanitation, but they sure as hell had their massive tellies, satellite dishes and Xboxes. And Guy walked through this huge slum and he too pointed out the biggest TV ever – what did he say? “It’s like Currys in there, innit?”

Yet he went to the house of a family, three generations who lived in what looked like a cube, though the neatest and most orderly cube in the world, and the grandaddy was a Hindu priest. Yet speaking to him, Guy found out that this man was so happy with what he had in his life: he didn’t need to fill his house with things, because he didn’t need those things: he liked eating, so he had all he needed to prepare his meals. It really makes you feel humble. I wrote on my other blog, notmuchofayoungfarmer.wordpress.com, about how we are a culture of rushing and hurrying everywhere: the same seems to be of having things. When I left uni, there seemed to be this enormous pressure on graduates to get jobs with huge salaries: it was as if we had do something with our degrees to make it worthwhile. As if they could only be measured in monetary gain: it cost this much to go to uni, so we have to justify that decision in making a salary which for me, someone who has a relatively professional job in the north of England, is just out of this world. I was reading in a copy of Glamour magazine about disparities in salaries within individual couples: such and such is a made-up professional and earns £70,000 a year; so and so is a bunch of random words strewn together, and earns £55,000 a year. Why must our decisions be measured by a salary? What even would you do with £70,000 a year? I’ve never shied away from spending; I like my luxury; I like my Mulberry handbags and my Dubarry boots; but I spend more of my money on books and CDs and – to be honest – diesel. Guy pointed out a huge skyscraper that was the home of the richest man in India: he had 200 servants for four people: himself, his wife and his two children; his empires in whatever, real estate or building or what have you, had made him £15 billion. £15 billion! That’s a scale of money I can’t even comprehend. What would you do with that? I think I’d buy myself a Porsche, and then be like, right, OK, I don’t rightly know what to do now. I’ll stick it in the bank. No, I’d just give it away. £15 billion! I can’t deal with that.

At the very end, Guy said, “be happy with what you’ve got.” Around me, people – people my age, people I went to school with, people younger than me – are obsessed with getting this, owning this, having this, and then making it bigger, getting it bigger, upgrading, upsizing. I was once one of them, and probably in a few months, I will slip back, and become one of them again. But at the end of the day, if you have a roof over your head, food in your belly, and people around you that you love and care for, you should be happy with what you’ve got.

Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to look at dresses on the internet.

Katy
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