I had a dreadful nightmare last night involving hiding out and being surrounded by dozens of flesh eating zombies. Had to get up and make a cup of tea to calm my heart rate down! I knew I would suffer for watching The Walking Dead on telly!! Result - very tired today and still thinking zombies!
I took some photos when I went to the book fair on Sunday but haven't had time to upload them yet. Hopefully I'll get that done by the end of the week.
My focus this week has been on budgeting and bringing down the bills, so I've been examining my outgoings to see what I can happily do without and what I can get cheaper. My broadband, TV and home phone costs are more than I want to pay and whilst I'm quite happy to do without the cable channels I need the broadband and landline for future income possibilities. So I've been looking for the best offers and then I'll ring my supplier and see if they can match it. Otherwise, I'll be changing. My gas and electric cheap tariff has just ended so I've been doing some research to find the cheapest supplier and if there's any cashback offers to be had. Then finally my mobile. I have a very cheap tariff at the minute but I don't use the mobile much so I'll be ending the contract and buying a PAYG sim card for the phone instead.
One expense I find hard to lower are charity donations. At the moment I have one monthly direct debit to a charity and I make one off donations to others. I've decided to keep the direct debit whilst I'm still working because I can afford it and charities are having a hard time at the minute (I worked for one till I was TUPE'd across to the local authority 2 years ago). When my income drops I'll end this and will instead offer my time - part time working will mean more of this to spend! I'm really looking forward to doing some voluntary work - it's important, to put something back into the community I think. I used to volunteer at the local primary school and I loved doing it.
One off donations will be scaled down but will always be a part of my budget as I think we can all afford a little to help. One thing I like to do is make a donation to a homeless charity at Christmas and I fund this by doing without something myself over the Christmas period. I could afford just to give the donation, but I think the doing without bit acts as as reminder about how wasteful we are at the time of year and how others could make so much better use of that money.
Well, that sounded very serious and sermonising, didn't it?! But we're all individuals and others will have a different take on this.
Workwise, I have a few courses coming up that I hope will be useful for my future plans. I'm very lucky, in that, because of all the restructuring and redundancies, the council I work for has put together a fantastic package of courses and workshops to help people affected. So far I've signed up for a finance workshop, one on self employment and another on carreer change. I also fancied the 'handling stress' course because you get to practice some relaxation techniquques - useful for when zombies strike in the middle of the night!