Better than the guy at Number 11

The figures are in for a complete ‘boating year’ and hurrah! We are well in the black.
budgetOverall, just over 50% of our joint income went on the essentials,, and 38% on everything else, so we even had a little ‘mad’ money!
I never intend to account for every solitary penny. I may be frugal, but I’m not obsessed! Saying that though, at the beginning of the year we were more than a little anxious as to how our finances would pan out, but my first comparison post was encouragingly positive.

chinese foodWe managed to shave almost £200 off our food bill this year, not bad bearing in mind that included £208 on the Naughty Sheet (that is SO going to change). There is room for some additional tweaking though as I shall be making more meals from scratch, and now that we have the pressure cooker, two-day stews are on the menu again.
Whilst house sitting, I’ve been experimenting and apart from the day I made bread pudding, I haven’t used the oven here at all.
hyundaiEven better, by only having the one car, we have reduced our expenditure by almost £665.
However, taking into account the car repairs we had on Hubby’s Partner in 2014, that reduces our savings, but it is still over £300 less as we only have one insurance to consider and the MOT and servicing costs don’t apply until 2017. Funnily enough fuel works out at only £6 down on 2014, but that’s not surprising as our mileage is more or less the same and fuel prices were higher for the majority of 2015.
washingOn average, our laundry is costing us £21 a month, which is much better than the £33 per month the previous year (equated over the five months August to December 2014).

maggie combi

Obviously Maggie’s operation has put a dent in our Dog Fund reserve, but there is still a fair bit in there for emergencies thank goodness, and I shall top it up with what may have been our insurance renewal premium. We had an excess to pay of £100 anyway, so technically adding £200 to the pot is reasonable.

stop 1 wash boatOn the boating front, our annual electricity usage is less than when we were in the cottage, and that includes our winter heating. Of course showers and laundry aren’t reflected in our figures, but it’s still nice to know that we aren’t using more!
Regarding maintenance, mooring fees and licences, they were all covered by the 10% adjustment I added to the 2014 budget.

successAll in all, we are doing pretty well and keeping our heads well above water (excuse pun).

Number 11 Downing Street is the official residence of our Chancellor, Mr Osborne.


About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! In November 2020, we lost our beloved Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney. We now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of Kizzy, my GSD when Hubby and I first met so had hers done too. On February 24th 2022 we were blessed to find Maya, a 13 week old GSD pup who has made her own place in our hearts. You can follow our training methods, photos and her growth in my blog posts. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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27 Responses to Better than the guy at Number 11

  1. Haha, I like the pun! It’s a good feeling, keeping one’s head above water. 🙂

  2. Good for you! Over the years since we’ve retired, we have cut a lot of our expenses. It’s amazing how much clothing I needed for work! I rarely lunch out which allows for my $$ Starbucks treat each morning. We’ve also cut back on our eating. That wasn’t planned. It just happened. My husband cut back on portions a few years ago to drop a few pounds and we’re both happy there. Two pork chops will be dinner and lunch for him (my leftovers). My biggest fear is health. Here in the US drugs are outrageous. It only takes one severe illness to wipe out your savings. You can’t plan for that so we just chug along and do what we can. I am glad the boat worked out so well for you.

    • Thank you, so are we. It has been amazing just how much we DON’T need to live a comfortable life.
      Our eating habits have been modified rather than drastically changed, though since Hubby’s heart scare, more fresh veg (our stews) will be on the menu. We bought smaller dinner plates (actually they are large side plates being 9 inches across), and one chop/chicken breast is sufficient for a sweet and sour dish for the pair of us. I don’t do roast, and if we fancy one, it’ll be ‘out’ as a treat unless we are spending time with MOH in which case I shall be cooking for all of us. Health is an issue for us too with Hubby’s circulatory problems and my diabetes, but we are doing OK. Now that he’s 60, his prescriptions are free, which is great seeing as he needs 5 items every month (we have to pay for each one at £8.65 per item). Luckily I’m on no medication.
      Like you, we also chug along, and things are working out OK at the moment.

      • You are lucky there. Prescriptions here are outrageous even with insurance. There are a bunch of loopholes. Some can be free like plain old antibiotics but the more recent drugs are priced on “tiers.” Many of the drugs are on the top (pricey) tiers.

      • It doesn’t seem right does it, to put a price on vital meds. We are lucky in the UK to have our NHS.

  3. colinandray says:

    The beauty of numbers. They may be considered boring or uninspiring but …. they never lie! Regardless of how delusional we may like to be, 2 + 2 = 4 and never anything else! As I tried to explain to my kids many times, if the “incoming” number is lower than the “outgoing” number, you are in trouble and there are only two solutions: Increase the “incoming” number somehow, or reduce the “outgoing” number somehow. Did they grasp the concept? The jury is still out on that one! 🙂

    • So very true, hence our three little questions before we purchase anything:
      Can I wear it? Can we eat it? Where shall we put it?
      TV ads here are full of loans companies (and horrendous interest rates on some), so if that’s not encouraging people to spend what they haven’t got, I don’t know what is!

      • colinandray says:

        Same here re promoting debts. They will even send you a cheque (uninvited) for $500.00 and all you have to do is take it to a bank to receive the money! Of course they want it back with very high interest!!!! I think if that is to continue as a legal business practice, then the education system should spend more time on “real world” financials!

      • I so agree with you. We don’t deal in apples and oranges (well, not yet anyway, but bartering may well come!), so if sums were to do with real money in a real world, maybe our next generations would have a better concept of income and outgoings.

  4. I have been working on fine-tuning our budget, as well. Our Lyme treatment was crazy expensive, but that is starting to reduce, so I am hoping we can get back on track this year. Life is expensive!!!

  5. Marcela says:

    I loved the way you broke things down and made it easy to follow. This year, I am also going to lower a lot of our expenses and you just inspired me a bit more. Thanks.

    • Thank you. I’m glad you found it useful. I must confess putting everything on a spreadsheet has helped me enormously. Our income is fixed, so we can’t afford to waste anything. We live well though (well, I think so) and still have the occasional meal out. I’m always on the lookout for ways to save money or make things stretch a little further. When successful, I post it, so hopefully you’ll be able to find some more tips perhaps? Thanks for your comment.

  6. It’s always good when you can cut back on monthly expenses somehow. I’m looking forward to the day I can retire (still several years away, alas), and we can drop down to one car. Of course, at that point the electric bill will increase somewhat since I’ll be home playing on the computer all day, but deleting the monthly car payment and half the car insurance, as well as half the gas, will more than offset that.

    We’ll never be able to cut back on dog expenses, however. Cody needs that prescription dog food and the routine vet visits.

    These days, it’s just so hard to save on anything!

    • Oh, I know, which is why I was so pleased to have a surplus. You may be surprised about your electric though. Hubby and I both have laptops, and our electricity usage in the Summer is about 2 kwh a day. In the cottage, it was about 5, but we were all electric other than oil central heating (run by an electric pump of course!) I confess to reading my meter daily then. On the boat, we buy in multiples of 100 kwh .

  7. Capt Jill says:

    Glad to hear you’re making things work under budget, I think it’s expensive everywhere! I’m trying to find ways to cut back too.
    I’m curious about your dock fees. I used to pay $200/mo for the Island Girl (48′ LWL schooner), but that was back in the 90s and it was cheap even then. I talked to someone yesterday who told me her dock rent was $500/mo for a 38′ sloop! That’s more than I rent out my houses for!! And I include the gas and water in the rents on those! I think she gets water included, but electricity will be more. I’m just curious how much of your budget goes to keeping your boat safe and secure (also curious about maintenance, drydock, etc).

    • Mooring fees are calculated by the metre, and for us equate to almost £3000 for the year. This includes water, use of the showers, and elsan point for our cassette loo (we don’t need a pump out, which is about £15 a time). Being liveaboards, dry dock doesn’t apply, and as our boat is aluminium, we don’t need to have her blacked or anti fouled. We pay for our electric as we go, but cost per kwh is the same as what we were paying in the house. A 6kg gas bottle will last us almost a year (£27). We still have to pay local taxes though, that’s another thousand, and then we have our river and residential licences on top of that.
      General maintenance (oil changes etc) Hubby can do, and fuel usage is pretty frugal. We worked out that to run our central heating will use about half a litre an hour, but our oil filled rads are electric and only 500 watts, so are also very economical. The colder months see a hike in our electricity accordingly to about 270 kwh per month, but then in the summer, 100 kwh will last us over 2!

      • Capt Jill says:

        thanks for the details, that sounds pretty reasonable really.
        We don’t pay taxes separate like that for a boat, anything like that would be included in dock fees. Also, we don’t have those licenses you mentioned. We can register our vessel with a state for a certain amount, or we can document it with the federal government, mostly depending on size which way to choose. We are free to go anywhere, we don’t pay any fees for that as far as I know (as recreational boaters).
        I’m paying about 10 cents per KWH, which is a little higher since I chose the ‘green’ plan. My electric bill for the house is usually around $50/mo except in the summer when I’m home, then I have to turn the AC up high and the bill goes up to around $150!

      • Our electric in the cottage was about £23 a month. I paid £25 monthly anyway, but was always in credit at the end of the year. One year, I had a refund of £108 (accumulation over 2 years)!

      • Oh yeah. Love it when a utility company pays me!!

      • Capt Jill says:

        I’ve never had that happen (yet). I want to put solar on my roof, but the system is still WAY too expensive! I could sell back electric every month

      • That was the idea here in the UK, but the goalposts have been moved, and those that have forked out thinking they’d be getting free electricity just get a reduced tariff. Hubby wants to put a panel on our roof as it will provide enough power to trickle feed the batteries.

      • Capt Jill says:

        I see them on sailboats all the time, they definitely make sense on a boat. Prices have been coming down, but not enough to justify a home system yet.

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