July roundup

Its been quite a strange month. It’s 3 months since I stopped working and have actually enjoyed the time off. I have managed to get quite a few jobs done on the house and have been able to go out cycling at least twice a week. It’s been great having the flexibility to take time in the normal working week to do activities and not be worried about having to get back for 9am Monday morning after a weekend away.

I cycled this morning – a nice 20 miler in the sunshine. I have also had an interview for a job !!!

What?? I thought you were ‘retired’. Well, sort of; I have had a nice 3 month break and a job was advertised that was so close to home I just had to check it out…so close I could walk/cycle there!! . I have been interviewed and asked back for the second round. I may not get this role but it was one of those situations where they don’t come up often and I didn’t want to sit and wonder in the future if I should have gone and had a go at it. I have been considering my ‘retirement’ as a ‘semi-retired’ form, where I could pop in and out of jobs over the years enabling my to choose when to work and accrue more NI credits to get my full state pension.

I could be back in the rat race before I know it – but I will be back under my terms if I do. I can earn some additional income and accumulate some more money into my Honey Pot and also sort out my BTL – so far I have made no money out of the new tenant as they have raised so many maintenance issues it has cancelled out all the rent ( I am not sure if they are breaking everything they touch or if it is just bad luck). It hasn’t left enough to pay the mortgage so this is coming out of the rent account balance. This goes to show how BTL isn’t a gravy train of money and issues can arise that dent the income. I hope that things get better over the next few months otherwise this tenant will be a loss maker.

The good news on the expenses front is that I have managed to get my groceries expenses under my £100 budget for the first time. I have been making my own yogurt and changing my buying habits to reduce any possible wastage – not that I wasted much anyway.

Walking and cycling as much as possible has meant that I have had no fuel purchases for my car this month either. I haven’t had a look at the mileage but I know it’s low. I did my volunteering this month and needed the car to get to the location. I had a great time and feel somewhat refreshed after doing things I enjoy.

The bad news is that my eyes are hurting big time. All that cycling has resulted in fly debris and according to my doctor I now have dry eye syndrome (so I have drops to ease this) and need to get an eye test. Now when I was working I would have qualified for a free eye test, now that I am not working I will have to pay unless I can find a voucher for a free test. I guess I will need glasses this time so that will increase my expenses next month.

Any Frugals out there who know the best optician to use (reasonable frame/lens prices!)  and any free eye test vouchers? I have found a Boots voucher for a free eye check but not sure they have a good price selection should I need to get glasses – I don’t wear any at the moment but age is now catching up with me.

Overall, a happy month and it will be interesting to see what next month brings and if I will be ending next month as an employee and back in the rat race. Time will tell…..


11 thoughts on “July roundup

  1. Get your eyes tested wherever you can (cheapest). Make sure you get your prescription, pupillary distance etc. then go to http://www.selectspecs.com and chose the glasses you want.

    I have been wearing glasses for almost 30 years and used to pay £150 – £200 for a pair at the opticians. Through select specs I am now paying £40 and they are just fine.


  2. Hi Sparklebee

    Good luck with the job interview – as you say, taking up this job will be on your terms, you know that you can live without the job but working will mean more £££s in the honey pot for the future and to sort out your BTL.

    I’ve seen many cyclists wear goggles, whether it is to protect them from debris or if they’re prescription ones I don’t know. Maybe worth checking out.

    In any case, there are a couple of places where you can get free eye tests, have a look here: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals/free-eye-tests-uk

    Incidentally, I get my contact lenses and glasses from Boots, I think they have a decent range, from designer to budget but of course, best shop around to see what’s on offer.

  3. I get a free eye test from tesco, then either order from them if there’s a good deal on our just take my prescription and order from “glasses direct” online. That saved me a fortune the first time.

    Also check out thrifylesley.com for meal plans that’ll bring your grocery budget down to around £50/month or even less depending on what you prefer to eat


    • I’ve been reading thirfylesley.com for a while. I have saved using her great menu ideas. My grocery bill includes all my household items – such as cleaners and washing powers so I think I am doing quite well and now trying the ‘down a brand’ food tasting to reduce the costs even more.

      I saw something on MSE about tescos – I should ask my brother as he works for them. I would have to travel 20 miles to the nearest one with an optician though so may look at the specsavers free deal I have just received through the post and see if I can get a prescription made up online.
      Thanks for the advice – it really helps when loads of people are out there sharing their tips. 🙂

  4. Good luck with the job interview. You must be feeling rested, refreshed and raring to go after your break. It sounds like you’re carving out exactly the right work/life balance for yourself.

    I’m afraid I can’t help with the glasses as I only need them for reading and I buy the really cheap ones that you can get all over the place (if I ever see them in Poundland I buy several pairs at once). Hope your eye condition clears up soon.

    • Thanks Cerridwen. Ah, my mum does this – buys reading glasses off-the-shelf as that is all she needs and she qualifies for free eye tests too.
      Yes, I feel more refreshed than I have for a while. They may allow me to work more flexibly long-term if I earn their trust. I have never had an option of a job so close to home – 10 min drive / 20 min cycle / 40 min walk. If I don’t get it I will not be worried, at least I had tried and I will not have the ‘If only…’ question bugging me.

  5. Hi Sparkle Bee,

    I use safety glasses when cycling. They look just like expensive cycling glasses but cost very little. Check EBay. I never cycle without glasses as there are so many insects about at certain times of the year.


    • My partner uses safety glasses for cycling. I have some cheap and cheerful clear lens cycling glasses as they fit well with my cycle helmet. I use my glasses all the time when cycling, it’s just that those bugs somehow managed to get under them and hit you in the eye! :-0
      I use sunglasses when out walking and always use sunglasses (polarised) when driving when the daylight is strong. I may use my cycling glasses in the winter months when walking just to keep my eyes protected from the wind and any insects that want to dive bomb my eyes….lol….

  6. UPDATE:
    Managed to get an eye test for £10 at Boots. They have done a full test including retinal scan and I have normal eye sight! So no glasses required – Result! 🙂

    ** Most of the free test vouchers I found were on the condition that I purchased glasses as a result of the test **

    The optician confirmed that I have blepharitis and has given me treatment advice and has provided leaflets so that I can obtain stronger treatments from them if required in the future. At the moment the free treatments are doing the job and it is clearing up. He also said that this is the cause of the dry eye syndrome and that as the blepharitis clears, this will improve and I may therefore not need the drops suggested by the doctor either.

    Great news 🙂

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