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Friday, 25 January 2013

Make do and Mend!

So this year we have finally started saving for our new house.  I am excited about the prospect of a garden, and dream of my own vegetable patch and possibly even a few chickens, but I'm not so excited about the whole saving saga.  We need at least 17k to have a chance at buying a wee house, hopefully we should free up 7k from selling our flat, but I know that I cannot depend on this figure as the market is so unpredictable at the moment.  For those of you that don't know, I am an interior and home selling addict!  Sarah Beeny and Ann Maurice are my idols and Phil Spencer is my selling compass ;)

I understand the realism of our task and am trying to save every single penny possible - after joining Money Saving Expert last year, all the tips and advice are being put to use.  We now use a thermos to store boiling water from the kettle and use this throughout the day for tea, cooking etc.  I'm battling my squeamish side and showering at the gym to save my own hot water - my gym membership needs to justify it's expense as I can't bear to part with it!  Lights and appliances are being turned off when not in use (I'm the worst culprit for this) and after being introduced to a plug in energy monitor by my Father in Law, I am very tempted to get one.  Electric suppliers are being compared and for the first time ever, I have paid in full for my annual car insurance - this has cut down my monthly outgoings and saved about £60 in interest fees.  

Shopping has a strict budget of £45 a week (including delivery), when we come under this amount the difference between is paid into a separate ISA which means we have leftover money for shopping top ups.  We have always meal planned, but now I am tackling it in a whole new light!  Scouring the cupboards and freezers to take note of food items that can be used up in the week ahead and adjusting my menu accordingly.  Milk is being frozen and taken out to defrost for use before the old one runs out - it's scary just how much extra money is wasted from popping to the shops for milk as it's never just milk we come out with!  So far we have come under budget each week (sometimes only by a few £s) and we have enough money building up in the ISA to top up shopping should we need it :)

I'm really driving both businesses hard.  The last year has enabled me to take a step back from Nursing to focus on the behind the scene business running and I loved it!  Sadly this was only making enough money to just about pay the bills - no extra and definitely no safety net.  As much as it pains me, I am being sensible and putting myself forward for daily hours.  The jewelry business is still ticking along, and the new plan is to deduct expenses and place all profit straight into the house deposit ISA, have managed it with a few orders and although it is only the odd £10 here and there, it will soon add up!

So, with all of this saving in mind, I was in a bit of a jam when my bathroom storage unit decided to give up the ghost for good :(  It's 4 years old, was a cheap flat pack unit purchased from Argos, which pretty much died during the last move in 2009.  Because it was relatively new when we moved (18 months old) I refused to buy a new one on principle, now though it has got to the point where opening a drawer risks having the whole structure collapse.  The January sales were on and there were prettier models on offer for under £20, only downside is that Chris needs one too basically doubling the figure.  In a lightbulb moment, I decided to get out the glue gun I had stolen borrowed from my Mum and see what could be done!

As you can see, the middle shelf was pretty much none existent.  The wooden struts had broken in such a way that they just wouldn't stay in - this was what was causing the collapse of the unit whenever a drawer was opened.

On closer inspection, I was a dowel missing and a couple of struts broken on the upper and lower shelves too :(

Using my trusty glue gun, I trimmed down an unused lollipop stick to dowel size and glued it in.  I then glued in all dowels and fixed all broken shelves with the sticky stuff!  Make sure you put down protection for work tops as the glue likes to leak!  In true thrifty style I used junk mail that was destined for the recycling bin ;)

The glue dries pretty quick - just 10 minutes and it was ready for re-assembly!  Word of caution, you won't be able to remove the dowels once glued, meaning that you need to make sure everything is in the correct place before you glue and be aware that the furniture will not flat pack anymore.

I won't say as good as new, because it still has superficial scratches etc that the cheap veneer wont allow me to buff out, but it does have a few more years life left in it!  My only boo boo was that I didn't tap one dowel in far enough before the glue set - when I re-assembled it pushed through the wooden veneer, but it is hardly noticeable!

Next task is to tackle the other unit in the main bathroom - that one was no-where near as bad as mine, so can wait a little longer ;)

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