One of the hard parts of having a debt repayment plan is that so little money is left for savings or fun. Or planning for Christmas. Yeah I know it’s only just gone…. but when you know money is scarce things like this matter
For many people Christmas is hard going on the finances and that’s without throwing in debt issues. There are plenty of banks, building societies and credit unions that will offer you a savings plan that pays out around October in time for Xmas shopping. These are great and help with budgeting and I would endorse them however for me I feel they don’t allow someone to take advantage of the sales throughout the year.
The UK shops are always having sales and sometimes it can be worth stocking up on gifts when this happens and spread the burden of spending later in the year.
I have actually got 3 gifts already. I spent a grand total of £5 on gifts that before Xmas would have totalled £22. That ind of thing makes a huge difference.
My great aunt used to do this 40 years ago when we were all small. I remember people laughing at it. She was probably laughing right back at them when she went on her three holidays a year!! I didn’t understand as a child but I do now 🙂
So save a little each month, take advantage of the sales and if you have the money left over afterwards give yourself a treat for a job well done.
So in a calendar months time Christmas will be all over and depending on what you do for a living you may be already back at work. This is Christmas blog part 1 as I’ sure there’ll be a couple more before the big day.
This year I’m trying something a little different. As someone with anxiety I usually try to either get my gift buying done early or do it online. I live only 20 minutes walk from a big shopping mall and once we get to mid-November it becomes a nightmare to firstly go do any shopping but also get home after work because of the traffic feeding into the mall.
This year I’ve decided one way of not doing much shopping and avoiding the crowds I am going to make a few gifts for people. I like to craft especially knitting and bead making so that it was what a good portion of the family are getting. I’ve a feeling I’ll be finishing things up to the day itself but hopefully it will be worth it and everyone likes their one of a kind gifts.
Everything is so commercialised these days and I wanted to avoid getting caught up in that trap this year of how much to spend, am I spending more that the receiver, do I buy even though I will get nothing back. It can be one of the most stressful times of the year. So by doing something that comes from the heart but is also one of my stress busters I am aiming for a much less stressful time than previous years.
And if successful, I’ll do it all again next year 🙂
I’m a few months late really for a mid-year review but I’ve just spotted my gratitude/good- things-happening jar is 3/4 full. Without looking through it (that’s a treat for between Christmas and New Year) I’ve been thinking about the last 8 months.
Work – It’s been a roller coaster year. Some days I love my job and some days I just want to hide under the duvet and pretend it’s not there. Pretty standard with most people I guess. I’m just a Geminian drama queen so when the horrible days happen I’m telling everyone I want to quite and having mini-meltdowns (as I did about 6 weeks ago). However I’ve recently taken on the role of well being advocate so I get to put together events such as our team walking challenge. Events like that make me happy enough to push through on days when it’s not so great
Self employment – I had a push to re-start this in 2017. It’s also had it’s ups and downs to the point where I decided to take a step back to see if it’s really what I want to do with my life. Turns out I’m passionate about these things but not so hot on working for myself. I’m just not business minded. There are so many things I could be doing besides updating websites, pushing the business, and doing all that annoying paperwork. As I have a day job guess what – the boring admin jobs don’t get done. The task now then is to find ways to utilise the things I love but maybe not on a self employment basis. Or just plod along and see what the universe has in store.
House – This is an area with lots of success this year. Tomorrow I get a new hall carpet after it twice suffered through a burst boiler. I’ve talked in previous blogs about having a debt plan and little spare cash so this is a big deal for me at the minute. I’ve also repainted all the rooms. Still a little bummed that my lovely coloured walls are all pale magnolia/barest peach but if I follow through on my plans to sell up in 2 years these are the colours buyers want. If I decide to stay then Oh I m going to have so much fun repainting everything red/orange and yellow! I’ve also replaced lots of little things like lampshades, kitchen utensils, pots and pans and so on. By the end of the year the last few rooms (kitchen and cupboards) will have been repainted. I may have to give in to the idea of pale walls but I’m getting my colour in my accessories.
Health – My diet blogs are ongoing. 6lbs so far and I’m keeping up to the diet. I’ve a walking challenge on this month but I’ve been pushing the number of steps for a while now. One thing about being a wellbeing advocate. It means I have to practise what I’m preaching so less pizza more health. I’ve reconnected with a dentist and currently saving for some cosmetic dental treatments. I finally started having the money to get my hair styled and coloured on a regular basis. The second half of 2017 is all about me and these small things are going some way to not finding myself but rediscovering myself.
Fun/Life – Oh this needs work. I’ve been to a few events this year. First music concerts in a couple of years and some drinking nights out. What I’ve discovered though is that I miss being out and about. I’m a sociable person but the debt plan is killing that. Me and my friend who lives in a different city had a heart to heart about this with the plan that we will take turns visiting each others houses per month and go out on the town. That’s one thing to look forward to. I then made a list of who I am and what I like to see how I can use it to start reconnecting with people. How do I get out without much financial investment. I’ve started at a couple of book clubs which are ok. It’s early days yet. One of the things I thought of was a night class. Instead I decided to re-start my open university degree/ I have 2 (part time) years left. That will give me the opportunity to go to some study days and connect with people on Facebook forums. I’ve a little list of some other bits to look at too.
Money – This is a biggie. I am now half way through my debt plan. I’ve managed to reduce the end date by 3 months and most importantly I have cleared 50% of my debt. Seeing the figures last month was one such a happy moment and one I didn’t think I’d see
So when I have a bad work day or a day when my mood is low I can actually look back and see actually this year has been pretty amazing. They’re all small steps but they’re adding up to one great year.
I haven’t updated this page in 3 months. I’ve been so busy trying to start up my holistic business. Talk about hard work and I’m only aiming for part time alongside my day job (for now).
Anyway just a short post – I’ve got a bunch of posts on my various blogs to do over the next few days but I wanted to share my newest one. This is my business one. I’m really proud of it. It covers the type of things I offer as well as (to me) a fab new book club. It’s based in Leeds but feel free to read the book and leave some comments on the post.
I heard a story the other day about a relative who always has the latest technology, a nice house and car and doesn’t ever seem to worry about money. I wondered how I can learn from this so asked him how he does it. The answer I got was that he ”doesn’t let money rule me. If I want it I buy it. If it needs replacing I replace it. I just do it and don’t worry”.
At first this seems amazing. I should just let go. But then how do you let go when you have a debt plan and a limited monthly budget of what money is left after the debt money and bills have gone. Debt plans don’t take into account the need to upgrade a washing machine because it’s 10 years old and not the most economical. Or to save the cash to move house to a nicer area (which I would love to do). So how do you not let it rule you but still cope within the confines of having no cash.
It’s not easy and is going to be a work in process for me. I’ve gone back to the envelope system of diving my money up into weeks. I fell out of the habit and have noticed if I pay by card I spend without thinking and have a tendency to go overdrawn a lot. If I divide my cash into weeks and accept that I can only spend that I pay more attention. For me I worry less – if it isn’t there I can’t do anything about it. It also helps clarify just what you spend your money on. Take out drinks and coffee shops seem to be my downfall. But also going to the supermarket for a loaf of bread and coming out having spent £5 on sweets, fizzy pop and other random things I didn’t need.
What it doesn’t take into account is emergency trips to the vet. So on the one hand I stopped worrying as I was spending within my means and not letting having limited funds bother me…then the cat got sick and I had to borrow from future weeks. Now I know though my spending habits I can learn to cut down on certain things. Do I need a take out drink daily or can I just treat myself on a Monday when I have a late start at work? If I do that I save £6 a week. Not enough to pay the vet but it’s better than nothing to start an emergency fund.
The other theory is does this relative have an emergency fund? Or is it just leftover money at the end of the pay period? If they’ve never worried about money and have been lucky enough to have never struggled and got into financial trouble do they actually know the value of money? Are they then actually in a better position than me? Is it better to have had a struggle and learned lessons than never having to worry or be ruled by money at all? Interesting thoughts from a throwaway comment.
I think then by having my debt plan, leaving the cash in the bank for direct debit bills and then the rest as cash in the envelopes I am starting to let go of being ruled by my bank balance but I think my struggles will make me stronger overall.
The new job is going well. It’s all completely new to me and a steep learning curve but I’m doing ok and constantly learning new things. I’m looking forward to some new challenges and the chance to grow further in the new year.
My attempt at self employment, while I can’t call it a failure, didn’t take off as I got the promotion and have been concentrating on that. But you have to try these things and how will you know if something is right or not if you don’t? It’s something to think about more in the new year and I may just offer my services on a voluntary basis for now.
And I’ve reawakened a love of travel. I’m still tried by budgeting but through work and also day trips I’ve got out and about far more than in previous years. I’ve a few ideas for 2017 which hopefully will pan out.
So it started off bad, full of pain and self doubt but thanks to the second half of the year it’s one I’m quite proud of and I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store
About 18 months ago after a bit of sulking on how my life was going I decided to keep an achievements jar rather than a gratitude jar. I’ve emptied it today to free it up for my 2017 goals and thought I;d take a look at what I’ve done
I’ve given some thought (and written a few blogs) on setting up as self employed. I was pretty much ready to go then got a promotion in my day job so decided to put everything on hold to get to grips with the one that pays my wages. Hopefully at some point in 2017 I’ll revisit as everything is set up to do so and I enjoy it.
I found in the jar:
I qualified as a EFT therapist
I qualified as a crystal therapist
I qualified as a Angelic Reiki therapist
I’ve almost finished both my Business/Life Coach diploma and when I find some enjoyment again for it my hypnotherapist diploma.
I’ve started a course in CBT
My house was redecorated to enable me to work from home. I got the insurance and all the equipment.
I got a promotion.
There are also some Get Out of Debt achievements in the jar:
I gave my debts to Stepchange and set up a repayment plan
I read Marie Kondo’s de-cluttering book and too action by de-cluttering the house. I went through my precious bookcases and gave up any book that I did not love and would not read again, I traded them in and used the money to pay towards bills
I did the same with the shed and my wardrobes. I took part in a number of car boot sales and made myself a little money.
It’s not a huge list but it’s still god to be able to look back and see some of the good things I worked on in the last year. I’m looking forward to seeing what will go in the jar in 2017