2017 mid-year in review

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.

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Starting my new business

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.

http://www.atimefornewbeginnings.wordpress.com/

The details of book club are on both a post and it’s own part of the website.

Please feel free to give me a follow and if you are in the are come along and try some treatments

Kirsty

Ruled by money

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.

 

Getting out there Part 2

A while ago I wrote about how I needed to get out more and the things I’d been doing and what the term could mean. Are my travel trips enough – should I spend more time in a bar?
I made a list of the things I could do to get out more so thought I’d give a little update.
One of the things I’ve noticed is how over the last 2 years I have developed a bit of social anxiety. It started as being worried about money and how going out would mean spending and as someone trying to pay off debts should that money be spent paying off bills? I was going to start small and go to some coffee shops. My original post mentioned upgrading from the supermarket to an actual coffee shop but I seem to have without thinking stayed exactly where I am – in the cheaper options. Today I tried a new place and really enjoyed it so much make a conscious effort to get my feet walking to somewhere that is designed for a relaxed experience rather than the get ‘em in, chuck ‘em out fast experience of Maccy D’s.
I also attempted  a few other things. Firstly was my first music gig in about 4 years. And because my plans to start small went out of the window I ended up at a  festival. Thankfully an indoor one as February isn’t the warmest month! I spent the run up to the event in a state of stress. My anxiety levels were sky high, I hated everyone, I was quite prepared to fall out with all my friends. Somehow I got there and guess what? I loved it. We did have a VIP tickets so we could sit upstairs overlooking the barriers rather than be in the crowd and looking down at the moshers that was probably a good idea. But I had a brilliant time so much so that we have tickets for next year already and I’ve also paid to see Green Day later in the year. So major result despite the initial panic.
The next event was the pub. I’m really not into the whole going into the city centre and clubbing to the really hours any more and neither are my friends. So we decided that we would go local. The actual plan went completely wrong but in a funny way and we still ended up having a nice time. Possibly because I wasn’t involved in the planning of the night I was happy to go along with whatever happened.
And the last stresser was a wedding! I knew the bride. I’d met her best friend for 10 minutes the month earlier and that was it. This time I took my anxiety out on my wardrobe. I bought 2 dresses which I hated as soon as I’d paid for them, I had nothing to wear, everything made me look fat. My end choice was a dress I’ve had for years that I used to really love but for some reason had stuck at the back of the wardrobe. Again I had a lovely time and once there had no anxiety at all.
So it seems the build up is the worrying part rather than the event. I need to work on how I can learn to enjoy a build up and actively look forward to things. Easier said than done and when I figure it out I’ll let you know!

2016 in review

Most of my year can be summed up by these two previous blogs Road to Promotion and Budgeting in review

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

Achievement Jar

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

Self Employment

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

2016 budgeting year in review

Last year I had to take out a debt repayment plan after finally admitting my debts were out of control and I couldn’t cope. This year I decided to set myself some money goals to see what difference they would make.

My first decision was to take the advice of  www.moneysavingexpert.com and switch suppliers of various things. (He also has lots of advice and support of people in debt that have mental health problems). Swapping my broadband and phone contract plus the house insurance saved me 20 pounds per month 

Next, after bingewatching 10 series of Supernatural in a row I realised how much I did not miss regular TV so my sattelite channels were the next to go. I do watch some TV but by letting the Sky box switch to a freeview(ish) box (it doesn’t have all the channels of freeview) and getting a Now box for a few other things my bill went from 35 pounds per month to just 7. Huge savings. 

About this time I took part in an excellent 3 week course run by http://www.capuk.org who helped me put together a budgeting plan, see where I could save money and see where I was missing essential things I should be spending my money on (like life insurance which I can now afford). Whilst I used the charity Stepchange for my debt plan Capuk have fantastic debt support themselves and whilst mine is done over the phone and internet; Capuk are excellent for that face to face service. I used them a lot in my old job and both companies are so supportive. It’s important to note they are both charitable organisations and would never charge. Don’t ever let anyone charge you for debt advice when the honest support is out there. 

What else? Well I failed at everything I tried to do. Swapping jobs at easter to a desk job did originally start saving me cash but then I went and got promoted. Sounds good except I often work away and I’m still trying to find the right balance between working away and sticking to budget and wayhey I’m working away let me buy everything!!!!!

I’m a  work in progress….

(In  all seriousness the promotion has been great for finally helping me get on top of things. Once I stop hotel boredom eating to go with the already abandoned magazine buying for the train journeys I’ll be laughing. And I’m sorry but a 3 hour train journey and I’m taking the sweets! I just have to remember to buy from Aldi and not the train station. Life is good and getting better)

And nothings actually a failure, more of a need to review the situation a little further.

I was also meant to start a Christmas savings plan. I didn’t however this is the first year in my memory that I haven’t borrowed money to pay for anything so it’s a plus point. 

I tried to switch my shopping to weekly but it didn’t feel quite right so went back to monthly. I think that’s a piece of advice I was given that’s a bit personal and people will have to see what suits them best. 

So! What to do for next year??? Well I’ll keep an eye on the utility switching. My mobile contract is up in 12 months so will look at that. I am going to start a Christmas fund…honest. I want to clear one of my small debts. And most importantly I’d like to have a week where I don’t think about money at all. I think that’s do-able.

Smal steps that’s all I need and eventually (Jan 2020 fingers crossed) it will all be over x