Budget, Save, Spend (& Eat)

Last month I wrote about my first month using envelope budgeting and giving myself a weekly allowance. It had worked really well. I’d also tried reducing my sugar intake again working really well.

However for February I decided to tweak things a little. Instead of things like book club etc coming out of my weekly allowance I decided that I would count them as ‘bills’ and then with the remaining money set up a new weekly allowance that would be less. It failed. Badly…

I found that my smaller weekly allowance often left me running out of cash mid-week resulting in me taking out the ‘fun’ money, often forgetting I’d done that and still using the money anyway. I also relied a lot on my debit card rather than having the cash in my purse.

Not being able to see my cash money go down by using the card also meant I wasn’t always aware just how much I’d gone over. I ended up using the £15 I’d done so well to put aside and the £8 I’d made selling some books and I’m still £7 overdrawn as the month ends

Note to self: don’t tweak! Don’t mess with a system that works. 

It had a negative impact on my eating too. I’m an emotional eater so when stressed I head straight to the chocolate aisle. Guess what I’ve been doing a lot of this month??? So back to too much sugar, sweets and candy is expensive so is coming out of the money I don’t have and so very easily we’re back to all the old habits.Not to mention I put on 2 of my much fought for lost pounds. I’ve managed to pull it back the last few days and stop the sugar and lose my 2lbs again but there are definitely lessons to be learnt.

I attended a money course today (1 of 3 sessions) which gave me lots of support and left me feeling positive for once about money. Despite the debt plan I’ve found over the last 12 months I am a terrible budgeter. So from payday on Monday I will be back on my envelopes and over the next few days reviewing my outgoings to see where I could save money. I’ve already downgraded my TV package saving myself £27.50 a month as my old deal had come to an end and was due to go up. The mobile phone is the next to be looked at.

It’s hard and this is a slow work in progress but like any issue accepting you have a problem is the hardest step and getting help while scary often is the best thing you can do. Right time to go assess my phone contract!


25 year plans

I was sent an email the other day by Hay House publishing where they talked about reading a book which encourages a 25 year life plan.

I’ve read articles and books about 5 year and ten but never as long as that and it got me thinking. I’ve got a bit of a 5 year plan at the minute (possibly more of a 6 1/2 year…) in which I will clear my debts, finish my studies to be a Life Coach and Hypnotherapy and start working for myself even if only part time.

Following that I want to sell my house and move somewhere nicer as well as saving up to return to America for a holiday. After that I have nothing so maybe I should look at something longer term.

And to be honest I’m a bit stuck. The only things I could think of are more holidays! I’d love to travel further than I have – to New Zealand and Australia. More Europe and maybe some cruises. That could probably take me 25 years to save up anyway 🙂

In 25 years I’ll be 69 (now that’s depressing in print). In the UK the retirement age for women my age is 68 so a 25 year plan will actually incorporate my retirement. And now I’m really depressing myself! I guess then I’ve got 25 years to create a business that allows me to pay my bills and save up enough money so that when it comes to retiring I can do it comfortably enough that I have money for holidays and I don’t have to worry about mortgages.

Options so far?

  1. Stay in this house. Even though the area has gone downhill my mortgage is cheaper than most rental properties these days
  2. Pay bills off and use the spare cash to pay the increased rent instead of a mortgage (current plan)
  3. Find a new partner, move him in and he can pay half the bills so I have more cash for all of the above whilst hoping he does actually want to go swanning off around the globe on retirement. I only thought of this one today. I should probably do some of this.

There’s winning the lottery but apparently they sold it to the Canadians and made it impossible to win now (or something… I only skim read the newspapers).

I really really need some more life goals. Long term not short term. I’ve spent a life time living for now and not thinking of the future and seeing the numbers in print in this blog brings it home that 25 years is probably not as far away as you’d think. Time to get my thinking cap on.

Do you ever smell and old perfume, hear an old song…

or pass an old hangout space… And it really breaks you inside for just a few minutes???

This was a meme I saw just before Christmas and I had an instant response to it.

A smell for me…Polo Sport by Ralph Lauren (the one in the green bottle)

It reminds me of a love affair I never had with a man I never met.

Twenty-five years ago i spent my days working as a chambermaid for a small hotel in Manchester and one particular week we had several guests staying whilst on a works training programme. Each morning I would go to my floor, go into one of the bedrooms, turn the TV to the radio channel (XFM I think) and start the days work. This week I opened the first room at the end of the corridor and was hit by a wave of steam and cologne.

Having only ever dated lads whose idea of metro-sexuality was a quick spray of Lynx this aroma was possibly the most erotic  and manly smell I’d smelt in my eighteen years. Who would wear such a fantastic smell??? It was something to set my imagination into overdrive – I didn’t work in the fanciest of hotels so probably not working for the most well to do company. Cleaning the room I saw business suits so possibly someone older than me (I really didn’t know any office workers back then). But what could he look like? In my idealistic eyes:- tall, dark, handsome with a smattering of curls (always curls when picturing Mr Right!). Maybe he worked out but not too much and keen to move on in his career what with owning a suit and everything.

Every day for a week I cleaned that room, entertaining flights of fancy with this perfect unknown man. Everyday I’d dab a little bit of cologne on my uniform cuff (I was a cleaner – it wouldn’t last a minute on my wrists) to take the scent with me throughout the day. Over two decades later it’s the only male spray I can recognise by smell alone and every time it takes me back to the days of being an imaginary princess waiting to be swept off my feet. And I still cannot resist a quick spray in a department store 🙂


Learning to let go with Harry Potter

The other day my friend said she had bought us tickets to a Harry Potter themed night of activities. I really wasn’t sure about going  – what on earth could grown up activities involve?? The mind boggled.

As a teenager I never cared what anyone else thought of me. I was geeky and proud. I knew my tastes in music, books, films and & I was proud of who I was. That all got lost during the depressed years. I hid so much of my true self I became a whole new person. One I wasn’t always so keen on. One that would enjoy my old tastes but quietly and then to the outside world be caught up in whatever was fashionable at that time. I was surrounded by judgement and probably judgemental in return.

These days I am almost back to normal. I am happy again with my tastes in the choices of enjoyment and will happily talk about them but sometimes I find it so hard to just revel in things. Which brings us back to Harry Potter.

My day job brings me in contact with the most deprived & chaotic people in Leeds at the minute and I work with others to help move them forward out of debt, trauma and poverty. Most times I do my job, go home and relax and put everything to one side. Some weeks it’s harder to do. After a day where I had one young girl in tears that she may have her children put into care and another absolutely distraught after being told her kids were to be adopted I found it so hard to let go after work.

So I welcomed the Harry Potter night as a way to break free of the lingering negative emotions of the day. We got to see a bunch of owls up close, one narrowly missing my head as it flew across the book store we were in. We played balloon keepy upsey, threw cork squares at a drawing of moaning Myrtle, Quidditch pong and took part in a quiz in which I realised I really should read the books again. I was silly. I ran around trying to keep a balloon in the air with a fake wand. I realised I missed fancy dress. And I let go of the past worlds, the past day and past judgement.

I really need to do more of it. But preferably sooner than the next HP night in 2017! 🙂