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April – end of month review

Posted by on Tuesday 3 May 2011 in chickens, growing, less than 12 clothes challenge, making, personal finance | 5 comments

April feels like it’s lasted forever – it’s not dragged in a bad way, just seems about four years since the end of March and the drama production (which finished on 9th April).

April has been a glorious month – gorgeous weather just about every day. *Too* glorious – there haven’t been any April showers around here and it’s mighty dry. I don’t want May or the summer to be a complete wash out but I wouldn’t mind the odd wet day.

Goals in 2011 progress

Since we’re a third of the way through the year, I’ve written a full update on my personal goals over on my blog. Out of the 11 goals and five sub-goals listed over there, I’ve completed one goal (and one sub-goal), six (and two) are in progress, and four (and two) are still to do.

I haven’t really made any separate progress on my additional Really Good Life goals – am reviewing them now to see what I can do over the next month.

Buy less than 12 items of clothing in 2011

Amazingly, I’ve still not bought anything – I’m genuinely shocked! I’ve online window shopped a couple of times – adding things to my basket but then forcing myself to wait until the next day to actually buy it. Each time I’ve been less enthused to finish the order the next day and just closed the tab instead. Saved a lot of money!

After March’s drawers sort through, I went shopping in my wardrobe for shirts in April – reminded myself what I had and found out what fit and what didn’t. I actually ended up getting rid of half the shirts in my wardrobe but have worn the remaining ones more since then so I actually feel like I’ve added to my options by doing that.

Growing stuff and the chickens

Aside from yesterday (which was technically May) realising that my dwarf bean seeds had all rotted in the soil (boo!), my growing has been nothing but positive in April. Those endless sunny days have paid off. The greenhouse & porch are both full of seedlings and I hope to start planting stuff out soon. The fruit trees are all leafy and in blossom, the new fruit bushes all growing well and my wooden planter collection has really boomed – hopefully they’ll be all full and verging on being productive by the end of this month.

The chickens have been a little frustrating this month – that’s unfair, most of the chickens have been fine, just Buff has been getting noisier and Ginger went broody about ten days ago. Because of her broodiness (she’s not been laying and I think we’ve lost a couple of eggs to collateral damage), we’ve only had 180 eggs this month. Only. It’s an average of 6 a day – but down from 200 / 6.45 a day in March. I did remind myself that the only reason we got our second batch of chickens was to maintain production (of about four a day) during moults/broodiness etc so anything above 120 (4 a day) is still very much win.


I’d hoped I’d be able to do a no spend month for April. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Not at all. Another expensive one…

To be fair though, it wasn’t all frivolous fun time. I spent a lot on unavoidable taxi fares in the first week or so – a whopping £80.20 on transport (bus/train & taxis) between the 1st and the 9th. I’m glad I’ve hardly left the house since then ;) Transport for the whole month clocked in at £87.80 – or about a third of my entire spending for the month.

Another third, gosh!, went on out-of-the-house or take-in food (ie food which could be avoided by better planning). Over £80 is a LOT for that stuff but did include me buying dinner for everyone on two occasions — one time for six people (at a restaurant) and one time for three people (pizza at home). Not quite sure how I ended footing the bill twice but really, for that many people on those occasions & the rest of mine & John’s other eating out, £80 is pretty good going!

The other third went on growing stuff (some seeds, compost and an albeit frivolous buy thyme plant – £29.47 – 11% of my total spend), craft training/supplies (we went screenprinting again – £25.50 – 9% of my total spend), on books (I bought 16! But nine of them were work related, and they only cost £20.21 in total – 7%), household stuff (Calpol & Benadryl were my friends during the production, plus other misc stuff – £19.49/7%) and I spent £3.89 (1.5%) on a newspaper & a mascara which I’ve categorised as “misc silly stuff”. To be fair on spendy-spendy me, with all the bank holidays/long weekends/misc time off I’ve had this month, it could have been a lot worse. I actually had two full afternoons of shopping in town/city centres so while I have spent a lot of money for me, it could have been a lot, lot worse!

As per my “save as much as I spend on avoidable/fun stuff” thing, £135.48 is myVAT-able so will be going into my special savings account. I think that, with the rest of my other outgoings & small regular savings, will push me over the edge of spending&saving more than I brought in this month so I really am going to have to be more careful (and less willing to pick up restaurant tabs!) in May so it doesn’t become a habit – I have a little buffer to soak it up this month but not forever so I will have to cut back on the frippery. That was kinda the point of the saving-what-I-spend thing — to force me to be more conscious about what I am spending and spend less!

How was your April? Did you get to enjoy the sunshine? Or have you got our ration of rain? And if you’re taking part in the “12 in 11” challenge, how are you doing?


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Su


    Well April was a frustrating month. Despite sowing 3 entire packets of tomato seeds, I am left with 4 plants, all of which,I just know will be the ‘Marmade’ that I wasn’t particularly bothered about. Saffy kitten knocked the propagator off the window sill (just after I had watered, not a great look down cream curtains!). Then on Sunday the little ‘tent’ style greenhouse blew down, I have lost loads of stuff. What is really galling is that every time I have gone out I have carried home compost, all that effort. So much so that the compost on the floor of the now ex greenhouse went to earth up potatoes, I just couldn’t bear to do anything else with it.
    The shrug that I have been knitting since February, also suffered a terminal catastrophe. It was a fairly complex pattern that was a real challenge to me, it had been pulled back numerous times. I had decided that I would only do 2 rows at a time, which was all my attention span would allow. Anyway, it was in a bag, with a pair of scissors, which somehow cut through about 5 rows! I was well over halfway but it’s all had to be pulled back. Since the yarn came out of my coupons, there is no way I can abandon the project, so I have adapted it. Let’s see how long it takes.
    Bus fares – I have spent a massive £70 this month, I’m not really sure how.
    Clothing – I had a bit of a strange moment, ‘cos I bought a woolly hat on Ebay. I have no idea why as I even have a ball of the wool it’s made from (Noro Kureyon). Anyway it cost me 2 coupons and I have treated it as a learning experience. THINK before I buy.
    May has to be a ‘must do better’ month.

  2. Colleen

    April has come and gone and like you I still haven’t bought any new clothes this year. Actually since August 2010.

  3. louisa

    Su – gah, that does sound like a frustrating month. I spent ages potting on some seedlings the other day and then dropped the tray – it was only 8 pots and most were ok, but that was frustrating enough – not a propagator & greenhouse full. (I’ve got some spare (Roma) tomato plants if you want them.)

    And the shrug – how annoying! bad scissors, naughty!

    I’m susceptible to late night when-tired eBay purchases — I should force myself to do an awakeness test before being allowed onto the site ;)

    Colleen – good going. I last bought something new-to-be in November (some jeans from eBay) and something new-new in September (3 t-shirts). Considering how many clothes I used to buy, I’m quite amazed that I’ve lasted this long!

  4. Su

    Louisa – YES PLEASE! Roma were one of the varieties that I planted and have now lost.
    I did send you an email, stupidly from work, so I don’t actually know if it sent, ‘cos I have hop cuttings that seem to have ‘taken’. I wondered if you wanted those, because I can’t use them, no room! (I don’t really know why I took the cuttings in the first place).

    • louisa

      Hi Su, I got your email but only replied yesterday because I thought I had replied last week when I hadn’t. I’d love the hop plants and will send you some Roma in return :)

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