Where growing, making & good living come together

May – end of month review

Posted by on Thursday 2 June 2011 in goals, meta | 5 comments

Another month that seems to have lasted ages but in a good way. Lots of long weekends too – but enough stuff going on to fill them with. I meant to write this post yesterday but was in the garden ’til past 10pm — so much to do!

Goals in 2011 progress

Things are still progressing in the garden – but slower than I thought in some areas. I only had my first fully homegrown salad last week – compared to regular salad from the garden in April last year. (I’m saying “fully homegrown” because we got two tubs of living salad from Lidl at the end of April and have cut-and-come-again from them several times – really been good value for money but not the same as growing from seed.) I’ve successfully taken cuttings from two perennial herbs too, so that’s another step – and I realised I should make that goal more measurable by coming up with a list of applicable plants/shrubs.

We’ve baked a good few times so are probably almost on track for the “once a week” goal, I’ve been making more stuff from wood so again improving those skills, and we went on a “learn to fly-fish” course while we were in the Lakes the weekend before last, which obviously isn’t the same as fishing in the North Sea but again, steps in the right direction. I like the idea of trying out the various different styles of fishing – see which one suits us/me best.

Not great goal progress but not bad :)

Mini goals

I set myself a few mini-goals this month – just a to-do list for myself really. Out of the five goals, I managed to complete one of them (pressure cleaning the coop) and half do two others (spent a lot of time looking at phone options and have decided I have to go see some in the flesh now; and, also I’ve sorted through nearly all of our kitchen cupboards). The other two things have been, um, forgotten. Will have to add them to my next to-do list…

Buy less than 12 items of clothing in 2011

I actually bought something this month! I bought three second-hand but BNWT bras on eBay – they are pretty but the focus is on functional, and they’re all replacements: I ripped one bra at the start of the month (not sure how), which spurred on my purchases, but earlier in the year had mentally retired two others because they were old and uncomfortable — so they’re on my exemption list.

Perhaps that purchase sated my previous “want new clothes” desires as I haven’t really been bothered about looking/thinking about buying anything else. Still no new clothes for six months now!

Growing stuff and the chickens

As I said above, growing is going well but slowly in some areas. We’ve got lots of fruit appearing, and flowers appearing on other things – hopefully June will be a productive month. (I am going to train Carla to kill cabbage whites btw…)

The chickens had an uncomfortable start to the month with a red mite infestation and between that and Ginger’s broodiness at the end of April/start of May, it’s been a lower egg production month – only 159 eggs over the month (compared to 180 last month and 200 in March). Again, as I said in April, we got the additional girls to ensure a steady flow of about four eggs a day (which we got most of the time from our four girls last year, and was enough to eat plenty and give them away too), so anything over 120 a month is a bonus really.

Incidentally, Buff, our problematic Leghorn, hasn’t laid for a few weeks now – first I think because she was being attacked by the red mites and lately because I think she’s got a bit of an impacted crop and is being picked on by the others — she’s currently separated from them for the days but wants to sleep in the coop at night so I let her.


Another expensive month, sigh.

I spent a crazy £129.90 – 45% of my total post-bills spending – on transport/travel costs: I had to get expensive taxis four times (because I was at meetings/events in Bingley which finished after the last bus) and also went over to Liverpool for a day for my mum’s birthday (which was expensive, but you know, necessary), and to York for a work-related (but personally funded) course. I’m seriously considering doing an intensive driving course over the summer to cut down on those taxis from Bingley – I’d rather not drive but with the car available, it would cost me about £3 in fuel return compared to £2.20 single on the bus plus £13-15 in a taxi (it’s only £3.50 return on the bus so I’d still use that when possible). It would have saved me around £55 this month.

Another big expense, as ever, was out of the house/take-out food – £81.14 or 28% of my total spending – again another crazy amount. That included four meals out at restaurants and two lots of takeout. By the way, I’ve realised I double up on this food spending – I include the total bill if I pay for it all, but still include my half/portion if someone else pays for it all – I’d rather over-account for it than under-account for it though.

Since between them out-of-the-house food and transport made up 73% of my spending this month, the rest of the stuff is pretty negligible/unnoteworthy. I’ve got to add £132.69 to my “save as much as I spend on frivolous stuff” bank account.

June should hopefully be a lot cheaper from a transport point of view (hopefully no taxis!) and I’ll try to cut down on the eating out food stuff as well – I think they’re my biggest concerns these days…

How was your May? Did you meet your goals for the month? If you’re doing the 12 in 11 challenge (or similar), how’s that going for you?


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Taphophile

    So impressed with your commitment to your goals. I won’t be posting my 12 in 11 as time and internet access very limited right now.

    I bought a pair of totally frivolous shoes (leopard print heels) from a charity shop on 30/05. Brand new, still in box for $20 instead of $275 retail. I’m kidding myself if I think they are anything other than frivolous. A bit of “buying some happy” and “what a bargain”.

  2. Su

    I bought a pair of black trousers (8 coupons, meaning that I have now used 17). I spent 2 days looking for a decent pair that actually fitted and eventually found them…in the British Heart Foundation shop for £4.50!
    My bus fare spending is on track to be under the annual limit I imposed on myself, but my shoulder is so much better now, so I will be back on my bike very, very soon. I can’t wait.
    I did only spend £4.50 on craft materials during May, that must be an all time record for me.
    Growing stuff is not going that well. My apple tree has 3 (yes 3!) embyronic apples on it, still I suppose it’s a 50% increase on the 2 I got last year! No sign of any plums, courgette plants bar 1 have died, birds got the lettuce and I’m very unsure about my cucumbers, chillies & peppers. Still have got some blueberries ready to pick and strawberries ripening.
    Worst till last.. my old cat died on Friday. Not totally unexpected, but still, you know how it is. He spent the afternoon in the sun (on next doors patio table, they are very tolerant), came in, went to sleep and never woke up.

    • louisa

      Oh Su, I am very sorry to hear that about your old chap. It sounds like he had a wonderful last day though and I’m sure he had a great long life with you. Still though, :(

  3. Su

    Louisa, a thought occured to me after I had posted a reply on Friday, either bus fares in your area are considerably lower than here, or taxi fares are very much higher. Round here a 1 mile bus fare is (dependent on bus company) about £2.20 (hence why I don’t get the bus for short journeys), £3 would get you about 2 miles (ish). If it’s a return journey or more than 1 bus ride, it’s always cheaper to get a day, 3 day, weekly or monthly ticket, return fares don’t exist here. The last time I got a taxi to work (about 18 months ago) it cost me £14, the equivalent day ticket £5.40.
    If you are planning to learn to drive, you need to factor in the cost of lessons, test, driving licence and insurance as well as petrol. If you are not going to drive a lot, it will probably still be cheaper to use public transport. Learning to drive was the biggest waste of money ever for me, I never enjoyed driving and was always convinced that my car would break down!
    Thanks for the kind words about Mulder, like I said it wasn’t unexpected but it’s still horrible.

    • louisa

      Hi Su,

      Thanks for the advice. And I thought our dayrider tickets were expensive!

      I actually started learning to drive a couple of years ago (and it was super expensive!) and got to almost the point of taking my test before the rest of my life got super stressful and I put it on hold until things calmed down. I suspect if I start practising again in good time, I would only need a few more polishing-up lessons before I could take a test. I’m already insured on John’s car as a learner driver – but that would probably go up when I passed the test and we have spoken about how it might impact his insurance if I had a crash — certainly something to consider.

      I wouldn’t be considering it if we didn’t already have an underused car – it definitely wouldn’t be worth it if I had to buy/insure/tax/maintain my own car. I will though look into how much extra the insurance etc will cost before I sign up for a course though – I don’t really have any interest in driving, I like being a passenger ;)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *