365 Day Blog challenge Day 1 – Introduction #365daychallenge

I’ve been thinking of ways to re-start this blog and having seen one of my fellow bloggers attempt a daily challenge I thought I’d have a go. Firstly I was going to wait until January 1st. Then I thought it will soon be Xmas so why wait nearly a year to talk about Santa when we can do it soon (and by soon I mean mid-December as I am fully signed up to the November is Too Early movement)
Then I thought why not just start?? Why do we always do things ‘tomorrow’. There is a set of self help books by John C. Parkin called ‘F*** It’ which is all about just doing something  whether letting go, not worrying or simply taking a step. So today I am starting my 365 day blog challenge. The challenge will mostly be finding 365 things to talk about however it’s not all about me rambling on. I am allowing myself a day where I share some uplifting quotes or cute cat pictures (because everyone loves cat memes right?? Right????)
Who am I?
This blog has been going for around 4 years now. I started it as a way to share positivity whilst rebuilding myself after a breakdown. Sometimes we focus so much on the negative we miss the good things and I wanted my blog to be a safe place away from the horrors of the news we seem to be bombarded with.
I originally followed a few different practises: that of a Danny Wallace book ‘Yes Man’ where the idea is to say yes more. In the book he said yes to everything but I amended it to whatever fits in financially and within my moral/value structures
Plus Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway. Someone asked me if I fancied a team away weekend in a cab on a field. I hate confined groups of people. I hate camping. I did it anyway and had such a great time I did it again 6 months later.
Over the last few years the blog has been full of my debt issues, my attempts at starting something self employed (and putting it on hold due to afore-said debts and trying to hold down a busy day job too), lots of failed attempts to diet and I feel I’ve lost that element of fun and positivity and the Yes.
So hopefully the 365 challenge will bring some of that back as well.
I’ll end this today with a little positive story linking back to the lesser ones above and some links for anyone struggling. Two and a half years ago I finally admitted I had a debt problem after years of stresses, depression and a breakdown. I sought help from a debt charity in the UK. I am have just 30 months left to go as an absolute maximum and have paid back approximately £10,000. It’s hard work sometimes as you’ll see if you read any earlier blog posts but sometimes just seeing the numbers go down is reward in itself. I can see the end of the tunnel and I’m looking forward to it J
UK national
Step change
Christians Against Poverty
Citizens Advice
The first two are charities and do not charge for their services. I have worked in previous jobs with those companies and they are very professional and supportive. They are able to give advice and support but also help set up any repayment plan that is decided upon. They will not pressure you into taking any decision you are uncomfortable with.
Leeds only
Money Buddies
Leeds Credit Union
Money Information Services
Worldwide
There are many charities that offer debt advice and can help arrange repayment plans or give support on bankruptcies and other financial options in your country. Please check the small print beforehand. Being in the UK I do not know whether charities in other countries will charge fees.
Please feel free to leave details of charities and support networks in the comments especially not UK.
See you tomorrow
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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.

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