The month of July has been a bit of a juggling act with lots going on and lots of smallish outgoings for various things as the school term came to an end. The very beginning of the month saw our Little Bird taking her first solo flight on a trip with school for 5 days. We missed her, but enjoyed a few nights out which is a very rare treat for us, having no family living close by. A night at the cinema, a night at the theatre and a night at the Jazz club and we'd had enough of going out, staying home the rest of the time.
Once Little Bird came back, the end of term seemed to come around really quickly. There was the summer fair, school day trips, sports day, new logoed school uniform to buy before the end of term and school class photos. Luckily I had bought the teachers small gifts earlier in the year, so was reprieved from spending money on those as well at this time. We then had a family christening, involving a trip up to Yorkshire for the weekend, plus of course the first week of the school holidays, which has involved swimming sessions, sleepovers and a day at a local festival in the Olympic Park.
To be honest, I was quite glad to get through the month relatively unscathed. The last week was a bit tight financially with a very slim shop and an emphasis on using what was in the cupboards and freezer. As a consequence we have used up most of the food in the freezer and for once have no meat at all left in there, just a couple of pieces of fish, plus vegetables and leftovers frozen to use at a later date, which I'm hoping to use up before we go away.
I managed to pay off one of my credit cards again in July. It was a bit of a mix up really as I managed to misplace the statement and couldn't send off the payment. I remembered in time to request another statement, which the credit card company said they were going to charge £5 for, but which didn't come for another 4 or 5 days. If I had waited this would have made me late in paying and I would have incurred a £12 fee so I decided to pay online, which luckily went through successfully, avoiding the late payment fee. I intend to use this method every month from now on and save on postage costs. This might sound petty, but every penny counts. In the end their lack of urgency has done me a favour.
A lot of my focus this month has been on my small business and thankfully the hard work has started to pay off and generated more income. Next month will be a totally different story I suspect though, as our holiday is going to mean a drastic reduction in business income. I can only hope that some planning I've done this month to maximise business in the run up to Christmas, will serve to make up the shortfall.
At home, I have continued to try to declutter our bedroom and have made important inroads in this respect. It is almost a very relaxing space at last. Just a couple of simple solutions left to find and a bit of structural and decorating work and we'll be there. It might take a while as it isn't me doing it, but it's great not to have piles of stuff lying everywhere now.
I haven't done much making this month, dressmaking particularly, has taken a definite backseat. I have done some patchwork, but even this has ground to a halt in the last few weeks as I need to cut out some more pieces. I just haven't had any motivation with the weather being so hot. My energies have mainly been focussed on keeping on top of the allotment which I've been attending regularly. We've had quite a bit of salad, rhubarb, potatoes, broad beans and other produce from it, but no tomatoes and few courgettes and cucumbers yet. Hopefully there will be plenty of these to come next month and in September.
The No Spend Days tally now stands at 52 so far this year and for the first time in a couple of months I haven't had to put any major expenditure on my credit card which is good. A couple of small things went on right at the end of the month, but these will be paid off shortly. After our holiday I will definitely be in a position to start snowballing my other card in the hope of paying it all off before the end of the year. I really can't wait to be credit card debt free.
So, what is in the pipeline for August? Apart from trying not to spend too much money on holiday, I will be trying to just to get to the end of the month on what I have left when we return. I placed an order with Approved Food which arrived the other day and this will hopefully help us through the month and beyond, meaning we will have plenty of food to come home to after our holiday.
I have paid for Little Bird's trampoline classes starting in September and already put aside a few things for August's food bank donation, which I will add to and take to the food bank on our return from holiday. Haircuts have been procured for both Little Bird and myself in readiness for our holiday and the new school year. Some school uniform has been bought, but the remainder will have to wait until the week before school starts, which hopefully won't be too late to get what is needed.
I will be continuing with the beauty challenge set by El from A Thrifty Mrs blog, whereby the aim is to spend less than £100 on beauty products in a year and instead use up products I already have. I am also aiming to complete a challenge set by Mortgage Free in Three blog before we go on holiday, to discard 100 things in 10 days, which I am part way through. (Blog post to come.)
Finally, one credit card payment has already been made this month and the other I will make when we return, but unfortunately this will not be a large payment. I just have my niece's birthday to send a present for, before we go away and then the main focus will just be to relax and enjoy our holiday without worrying too much about anything. We all need a break from reality now and again.