So Summer 2016 is done although you wouldn't know it from the glorious weather we're still having and the blue skies that keep being posted by everyone on Instagram. It might turn out to be like 2014 where Aaron didn't wear a jacket to school until after November began. Very unlike 2015 where he was already wearing one in September. When he started reception 2014 so many kids were in Summer school uniform. The leaves already on the ground though are an indication that even though Autumn is not yet here, Fall, quite literally, begins regardless. The Americans have got it right calling it that.
The back to school bits and bobs are sorted in this house, despite Aaron not starting back till Monday 5th September. I bought all of Aaron's black trousers, white polos AND red sweaters in Aldi before he even broke up from Year 1 this July, as they have school uniform on Special Buys just for one week or as long as it lasts. So it forced me to be organised. In fact, a few of us hopped on the bus straight from the school run and had what felt like first pickings. I got all three things all in the right sizes and was chuffed. The quality seems exceptionally good too but only wear and tear will see the proof in the pudding.
I purposefully didn't get shoes in July. Everyone says "their feet may grow in the Summer!" Blimey, they're so right. He's been a size 13 for well over a year I think (since January 2015 I can now see thanks to blogging his January school shoes age 4 when I realised one pair doesn't last a whole school year) and when we went shopping today I asked to borrow the foot measure and he's now grown to a size 1. It's a big milestone actually after 4 sizes in double figures he is now into a shoe size in single figures and only 5 sizes smaller than me! Awwww. Feels like a threshold into growing up.
I was thoroughly happy with the price. £22 and they're real leather. Skechers wanted £35 for synthetic uppers despite them having a Back To School Sale sign in their shop window. Turns out it was 30% off a second pair. No, I buy the 2nd pair circa January NOT now!
Another thing sorted today as well as buying the above shoes is that I dropped his red sweaters into a school Mum friend who sews the school badge logo on. Saves the cost of buying the official red sweater from the school office. £1 versus £8 and considering I have four that's a huge saving. Granted, some of that saving will go on reimbursing her for her time, but it's still a frugal saving to be had. Plus ironically the school ones are not great quality despite the price. They have a label of a decent brand in them, but neither wear nor wash well. I've learned that lesson two years ago not to be learned again. They're not at all colour fast.
So, with the cost of keeping kids entertained, fed and watered for the 6 week school holidays and then the cost of school uniform (reduced thanks to Aldi purchases), it's no wonder this feels like a time of belt tightening similar to January after the splurge of Christmas. We haven't had the cost of an overseas holiday to contend with, but I am a stay at home Mum so my extravagant days are well and truly behind me. Plus, 6 weeks being a children's entertainer means less "working from home" paid work gets done which worsens the problem.
Thankfully spending time in the garden is free :-)
I've blogged in the past about how I didn't have a baby until I had cleared all of my debt: When Credit is History. Loans and credit cards, not the mortgage obviously. So I am not about to endorse any kind of debt. We've seen globally since 2008, that anything other than responsible lending literally gets the whole world in trouble. So I only buy something when I can afford it, which is why I was so thrilled this year to be sponsored to go to BritMums Live otherwise it would have been the first of five that I'd not attended. Until I catch up with my work and things are back on an even keel the only thing that would be a problem is unexpected costs or an emergency. We have a new tumble dryer and a new fabulous 10kg washing machine, so I guess the only thing that would see us come unstuck would be car related OR given that I cancelled our subscription for boiler cover any breakdowns in that arena with the cold snap on the way would also be problematic with a baby in the house. I hate compound interest (long term loans) or withdrawing money against the property (equity withdrawal) so it'd have to be something like a short term loan to see us through. Vivus has the parameters that the loan is £100 to £500 and payable within 10 to 41 days, to see one through until pay day. The first loan they say is half price as they are a lender not a broker and as I'd see it as a one-off that'd be appreciated. It's not something, touch wood, we've ever had to do thus far though.
I've saved ALL of Aaron's stuff since 2010 for our "second baby" but now we're sure she's a girl ha ha, like she has been in the flesh for 7 months now, I'm tempted to sell all of his "boy" stuff. Don't get me wrong, anything and everything that could remotely be unisex or for a tomboy I am keeping but there are already things I can certainly turn into cash, not that I have ever sold a thing on EBay or Gumtree in my life, but even at my 43 years of age, surely I am not too old to start.
Anyway I plan to make this final quarter of the year one of prosperity - I have my plans. I just need to be self-focused, disciplined and set some goals. Instead of just drifting.