Archives for category: vegetable patch

My latest financial splurge has probably been the most sensible expense I’ve ever had. Night school.

At the end of September I embarked on (part time) student life, spending Tuesday and Wednesday evening in Illustration class & Figure Drawing class (after parting with £420 of tuition fees and £80 for art supplies- ouch!).

However, I truly believe that this is the best £500 I ever spent. The courses are 11 weeks long and cost £200 and £220 respectively. Each class is 2 and a half hours long so I really feel I’m getting my moneys worth

I have had something really fun to focus on, and have generated lots of work for my portfolio (more on than another time!).

I’m fortunate that my employers encourage learning and offer subsidies to those who wish to study, even if it’s not directly related to work, so I can claim 50% back on completion of the course (to the value of £250 per year).

Another great discovery for me was the ILA (Individual Learning Account), available to low earners residing in Scotland (terms are at http://www.ilascotland.org.uk/What+is+ILA+Scotland/Eligibility.htm ).

The purpose of an ILA is to provide up to £200 per year for a variety of courses, or £500 for a course towards a higher education or professional qualification. ILAs are available for people with an income of £22,000 a year or less, or those who are receiving benefits. Sadly it is no longer available to those living in other areas of the UK – sorry guys!

Fortunately or unfortunately, my annual pay falls into this lower category (hence, the need to budget) so it looks like I qualify for this kind of grant, which is fantastic news as I am already planning to book the next term!

Is there something you’ve been thinking of studying? Whether you fancy brushing up on your IT skills, or maybe baking cakes is more your bag, it might be worth looking into what funding opportunities are available to you. Maybe your employer would help fund a course? Particularly if it is beneficial to the company you work for.

Learning can really lift your spirits, and in these time of recession, I think we could all do with a little pick me up! For me, these courses fit into my grand plan, and sometimes you’ve got to spend money to make money, right?

Evening all! I’m a little bit off topic today with only a snippet about my budgeting efforts at the end of this post. I’ve mentioned the new Potter movie a couple of times in previous posts so I’m going to let you know my thoughts. I went to see the movie on Saturday night with a group of friends who are all HP enthusiasts. I thoroughly enjoyed the finale of Harry, Ron & Hermione’s adventures. In fact I’d say it’s the best one yet.

My only issue was the scene in which Harry ‘dies’. Even in the book this scene annoyed me a little, but right up there on the screen it was most cringeworthy. I realise it was necessary to have a scene between Harry & Dumbledore but that level of brightness was extremely harsh on the eyes and was a bit too much like heaven’s gates – just too cliché.

If it was me in JK’s position, I would’ve set the scene in a more mellow location, perhaps a table at the Three Broomsticks or Madam Puddifoot’s or even Dumbledore’s office at Hogwart’s. It could have still been shot in a hazy, pseudo-reality way, but it would’ve been easier on the eyes and maybe a bit less cringy!

I loved Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall in this movie. Mrs Weazley (Julie Walters) is great too, especially when she calls Bellatrix (Helena Bonham Carter) a bitch when she goes for Ginny: ‘not my daughter, you bitch!’

In other news, my intentions to save money have been fairly unsuccessful today; I took a zip-bagged home made soup (with father-in-law’s allotment grown onions and courgettes) but stupidly forgot I had it and left it in the fridge at work. I have a day off tomorrow so plan on sleeping late and I might make some bananas that are about to go off into banana bread. I’ve also promised my husband I’ll do a large roast chicken for dinner & sandwiches for work on Wednesday. Very domesticated for me – wish me luck!