To be or not to be…Self Employed

The thing about taking action, working on your priorities and making plans is that when focusing on positive stuff your mind goes crazy with so many ideas. I’ve been making lots of notes to try and focus a bit and had some really interesting results. I’ve started making sure I do one thing from my list of priorities daily even if like yesterday it was only spending 5 minutes browsing a website. That actually triggered something towards my ‘day job’ plans so was 5 minutes well spent. 

 My biggest focus seems to be what do I want to do when I grow up….I’ve been doing this for years now and got nowhere and I’ve come up with a few reasons why;

1.     In this Someday book I’m reading it talks about Fear and Faith and making a list under both as to why you want something and what is stopping you. I’ve noticed that when friends try and help my inner critic (chimp if you’ve read the Chimp Paradox) throws an absolute strop and starts telling me people are interfering, they should shut up and go away because it’s not going to work anyway. Then I’ve listened to it rather than them and given up before I’ve even tried to do something. I also recall spending a lot of time reading online articles about how hard it would be to be self employed and paid far too much attention to the negatives rather than finding some small business owners and asking for a counterpoint. I’ve definitely let fear rule me on this.

2.     My mum said a few years ago that she had never known me happy in a job. I think she said something along the lines of ‘Does any job make you happy’? I remember getting into a huff about it (truth hurts…) and well…not doing anything much except trying more jobs. Sitting an doing some honest thinking and looking at what my values are and what I would want from work the answer probably is to work for myself. However, the problem this is WHAT to do. Again I think this is why I’ve got nowhere. I’ve looked at a crafting business, a holistic business and the one that comes back all the time – my tea shop. I think that I spend so much time trying to do bits of each of them I ended up doing none of them. And the fear again I think links into this. If you subconsciously mess things up, everything goes wrong and your inner critic gets to be smug for being right. There is the possibility fo a tea shop that sells crafts and does the odd bit of crystal healing upstairs but blimey that sounds exhausting. Instead I need to pick one (I have) and make plans. My first step is to print off a blank business plan and use it as a goal planning exercise. The questions on these really make you dig deep. I’m going to use it on 2 of the ideas just in case one does turn out to be more feasible than the other. The other thing is something I took from the book which is to ‘make your project visible’. Part of that is to tell people but it also discussed a writer that couldn’t get started. She printed out a mock up of what she thought her book cover would be, pinned it up near her writing space and in no time at all had written her book. So step 2 will be a poster or similar of what I want my business to show.

3.     I need to re-evaluate what I want a business to be. I have some very grandiose ideas which really probably won’t happen. So while ‘thinking small’ can be a terrible thing that stifles people this is probably going to be a bit more realistic in this instance. It’s hard to set in motion plans which are just not going to work (to start with anyway) and again we start feeding the inner critic

4.     Yeah that inner critic really needs kicking into touch…..

So, the ideas are there now and I just need to make a few decisions to take everything forward. I wanted this year to be a year of action and so far I’ve got my wish.




Anxiety and anniversaries

Edit: I wrote this before yesterdays post and was debating whether to post it but after some thought it’s important for me to be able to look back at it one day. I’ve done what I said in the blog: I’ve had my me-time – I’ve finished a craft project, restarted my gym programme, made some rather nice sweetcorn chowder and finished  a book. I feel so much better than when I started to write it.

Anxieties and Anniversaries

It’s been quite a high anxiety week for me this week. It mostly seems to be on a morning and settles down by 1/2pm. There’s no real trigger for it that I could say as the exact reason but I think I know where the root cause lies.

I usually have some kind of issue between the end of January to the end of April. There are the anniversaries of 5 deaths and this is also the time period when I had my last breakdown and ended up with the debt plan. This is something I’m still getting over because until the debts are repaid I can’t seem to draw a line under it and move on. It does dominate everything.

This year has been quite mild compared to other ones. It’s not every day I’ve struggled unlike the last 2 years where my emotions constantly got the better of me. This year it seems to be a few mornings and I feel really tired. It’s not been helped by working away. I don’t sleep properly in hotels and we weren’t in the best area to be able to go out and go for a walk. I think as well spending a full week with people I don’t know really well and so lost a lot of me time I’m used to having. I enjoyed getting to know my team but it’s probably exhausting trying to spend a week away without having mental health problems thrown in.

Working an extra day also lost me some recovery time to balance myself out. I did spend last Saturday afternoon with some good friends and then breakfast with another close friend but then this week has had a few too many late nights for a variety of reasons and on top of the higher anxiety it feels like I haven’t fully relaxed at all. I also think there have been too many things to think about at work, lots of decisions to be made. All part and parcel of being a government employee but it’s especially trying at the minute

So I think Friday and Saturday will be down time days, just doing whatever selfish/self care things that jump out for me. Sunday I’m going to my first ever chocolate festival which I’ve been looking forward to for a while. It’ll be a long day but I think a fun one (as long as I don’t eat too much chocolate…)

I learnt a long time ago that my anxiety is never going to go and that I have peaks and troughs and certain times of the year where it is higher than normal. For me it’s all about self care and taking time away to do the things I enjoy; crafting, reading, baking, walks, days out until things settle again and I know they will. My grandmother died around Easter 12 years ago now and even though quite often her actual death date isn’t always at Easter it’s now synonymous with it and I find it hard. I often book that week off work to take time for myself. I know that once Easter Monday has passed my mood tends to lift and I start to enjoy the rest of Spring and look forward to Summer and the rest of the year.

These insights into myself have come after many years. I didn’t always spot them to start with but over time I’ve learnt to spot my signs and how to deal with them.

The Year of Less – Working Away

No Spend 2019

Another area to research with no-spend is working away from home which is something I need to quite regularly. Next week I will not only be away for my 4 working days but I’m working a full week so I have an extra day of potential spends. In January I spent one night (an afternoon and the next morning) in Glasgow. I set a limit of £5 spends on top of my lunch and evening meal which I reclaim on expenses. I spent £5.50.

The only things I can remember buying were sweets and fizzy pop. So where did the money go?

So I’ve been having a think. As mentioned my lunches and evening meals are refunded so that’s technically a no spend. My breakfasts are included in the hotel deal so no money there. That leaves snacks and drinks. I don’t drink coffee but there’s usually enough teabags and milk per day for 2-3 drinks. If I’m staying 1-2 nights somewhere I’m going to pack an extra bit of milk and some more teabags because I do drink more when I’m stuck in a hotel. If it’s longer I will fill a sports bottle with dilute juice I can add water to. That will top up the hotel drinks. I’m also going to buy a multi pack of crisps or snacks from the Poundshop so I have one snack per evening.

Making sure I bring my kindle or a big book, using the hotel wi-fi and I have enough to occupy myself besides the hotel TV. I can’t think what more I might spend on? I don’t really drink alcohol these days so that isn’t a worry.

So I will set a budget of £10 for the week for any extras I may not have thought of and test it next week. We don’t as a rule tend to visit particularly scenic places so rather than a long scenic walk before the sun goes down isn’t an option but there’s opportunity for a shorter walk around a town centre as long as I stay out of the shops. Good for health and keeps down the hotel boredom. Until you’re doing the same walk for the 4th day! I did a check and my gym doesn’t have a building in any of the places I’m visiting over the next 4 months otherwise that would be an option too.

Another challenge then. I’m not sure how good my resolve will be by mid-week but I’m going to try my best and then evaluate at the end. Let’s see how well that budget lasts.

The Year of Less

I’ve just picked up a book called The Year of Less by Cait Flanders as I want to try a year (or so) of spending less and saving more. I have a tendency to read the reviews on Goodreads when starting new books and I was really surprised by the level of hate for this book. It seems that people are angry because it’s not a book that gives you all the answers on how to stop spending. It’s a book about one woman’s personal journey.

For me that makes it more readable. I’m an emotional spender and an emotional eater. I’ve even been known to combine the two. That’s about 50% of the reasons why I ended up in debt. So I’m interested in how she managed to deal with some life trauma’s and stick to her principles.

My friend has been writing lately about how people are wanting everything now and not happy to have to wait. Everything must be instant access and I think the same has happened with this book. People want a quick fix and all the answers on a plate but a no spend period is personal so you can’t give all the answers.

I’m only at the introduction but there is plenty to inspire. She has listed the rules she created. I’m using this as a starting point but as I said everyone’s journey will be unique to them. So she has noted in the ‘what I’m not allowed to shop for’ list take out coffee. I thought long and hard about this and have put it on my Approved list. I actually don’t drink coffee, I have tea so that’s a good bit cheaper to start with but I also find them good for my mental health. For me then, as long as it’s factored into my budget and I don’t go over it I’m keeping that in. What I do overspend on is junk food so I’m going to work that into my ‘not approved’ list.

Another on her list is no clothes, shoes or accessories. Seeing as I’m exercises and losing weight through a diet change I will within the 12 months need smaller clothes. With this then I will agree with myself a capsule amount of what I can buy but only when it’s needed.

Her approved list includes buying 1 outfit to cover all special occasions. I’ve got 3 party dresses in the wardrobe that are hardly worn so for me that will go on a ‘not approved’ list.

I’ve seen people on frugal minimalist FB sites who make their own cleaning products. I’m toying with the idea of this however when my depression is high I can barely clean using shop bought items let alone put the effort in to make my own products.

I’m not in a place to try and start this. I’ve still some thinking to do on what I do and don’t want and to set my budgets but I’m aiming for April 1st. The other big difference is that she had previously spent 2 years clearing her debts while I have 12 months to go so whilst she could put away a certain percentage of her wage for savings I will have to choose a smaller budget for that and look at what is realistic. I was thinking about putting all saved monies into clearing the debt quicker but not having any savings when a big household item (boiler) was another reason why I ended up in debt so it makes sense to try and do a little of both.

I’d like to say I’ve no willpower however last year when I put my mind to it I started a no sugar/fizzy pop diet and stuck to it for 10 months (ruined by starting Christmas eating 6 weeks early!) so this is something that I can try and do and if I at least set my boundaries right, it will be a do-able and interesting journey. I want to try and be accountable in the blog (like she did) so I will post on her but probably not every week. Maybe a monthly update.

If you could give up certain spends for a year what would they be?

Weekly Gratitude

This week I’m grateful for Time. Time off work. Time for myself. Time to think. Time to regroup. Time to heal.

It’s fair to say this year so far did not get off to the best start. I saw the new year in with flu, then the shoulder issues that saw me spend the majority of January and February on painkillers, then last week another bad cold. I’m almost at the end of 10 days annual leave and I think it’s done me the world of good as I thought it would. I’ve done a lot that doesn’t feel like doing much. I’ve met friends for coffee and lunch, I’ve caught up on missed course work and I finished a few crafts. Nothing strenuous and possibly quite boring to some but my body needed to heal and I’ve made sure to rest and let it do so despite my natural inclination to be constantly doing something. The result being I haven’t had to have any painkillers for a week and I’ve got a lot more movement in my arm. I’m back at work next week but have 2 days in training and all day meetings which while I’ll be busy in a fashion means another two days of rest.

It’s also nearly time to be debt free (see what I did there!). My countdown app has 346 days. I’ve set it to get a little notification daily now because I am so close. This is normally a horrid time of year because from the end of January to the end of April there are so many death anniversaries. It’s also this time 4 years ago that everything came to a head and I had the breakdown over money that led to having a debt repayment plan in the first place. I can’t believe how fast the 4 years have gone when I look back on it. It’s been a struggle but the time has just gone by. Facebook memories is currently telling me about the boiler issues that played a part in that horrid time 4 years ago and this is the first year I’ve been able to re-read those posts objectively without feeling depressed or anxious. Time heals. I’m moving on and there’s less than a year to go before it all ends.

I’ve been thinking about what I’d want to do once I have my wage back to myself. The house needs a lot of work and it’s actually nice to save a few fliers that come through the letterbox knowing I can research them for the coming years and start to make my house how I want it. I’d also like a holiday. I’ve had the odd weekend away but haven’t been on a plane or anything longer than a few days since 2010 so the summer sun is beckoning me. I did once tell a friend the first thing I would do would be to buy some designer shoes that I’d probably never wear just to have them but the more I think about it the more that I take from lessons learned, take from the frugality and minimalism I’ve embraced over the last few years and I have a feeling I will actually just continue to have a peep through the shop window (Kurt Geiger) at the over priced shoes and then go buy something reasonably priced and wearable from Dorothy Perkins like I normally do. Time teaches us what really matters.

So this week I’m grateful for time, time to think about the past without upset, to heal, to reflect and time to plan for the future that is rapidly heading my way 🙂


January Hustle review

I’ve ended my first month of side hustles and I have to say I’ve really enjoyed the little bits and pieces I’ve dipped into which have earned me £135. Of that there are some sites where I still need to earn more to reach a download limit so I haven’t accessed all of it. Then being January and a long month I’ve had to dip into the rest to pay for the dentists and some other unexpected costs but in the end today I paid off £40 towards a high interest loan I have bringing me that little bit closer to clearing it. This is the priority in my debt clearance as everything else at least has a definite end date or a lower interest rate.

I’m really pleased with what I’ve managed to do. It’s been simple and for the most part hasn’t taken up much time. I’ve listed the websites below for anyone that wants to try some of these and also the 101 side hustles blog page that I found my inspiration. (Referral code: BTVSEXDV) (Referral code: (Referral: d2x5r)



Savings Plans and No Spend 2019

In my goals for 2019 post (2019 Lifestyle Choices not resolutions ) I mentioned this year is all about the side hustle and ways to make and save money. I’ve done a massive amount of research over the last 2 weeks and will be continuing to look up these side hustles but thought as I go along I’ll share this journey and hopefully there will be something that will inspire or help others.

Social media can be a pretty bleak place but I spent some time deleting massive amounts of unused Facebook groups and pages and joined ones that will be of benefit to my needs. These include savings pages, minimalism ones and a No Spend 2019 one. No Spend will mean different things to different people as I’ve found in the group. Some people are simply cutting down on spends and others are practically going to live off the land. I’m a bit in the middle. There are things I want to keep like a meal out once a month but there are times where I know I am wasting money. So my changes will revolve around cutting these out for now. I’ll review it each month and see where other changes can be made if necessary.

I’ve also joined several savings groups and found quite a few fun challenges. I’ll add some links at the bottom of the blog. There’s the penny challenge where you put in 1p on day 1, 2p on day 2, 3p on day 3 and so on for 365 days.

There’s the shaded challenge which I am doing. In here you have a sheet with various amounts on it including £10 in 5p and up to £400 in £20 notes. You simply shade in a circle every time you put a 5p, 10p and so on into the tub. If you complete it all you end up with about £1300 in the tin. Seeing as the majority of my cash will be going towards clearing all debts this year I don’t aim to complete but rather accept that whatever is in the tin in December is a nice bonus for Christmas.

Another one is the £1 in coke bottle (on the Facebook group the UK people are using Oasis bottles as the opening is wider) – you simply fill the bottle with £1 coins.

Lastly after seeing an advert on TV I have opened a Moneybox account. This is an investment ISA but with some twists. For a start it’s an app rather than a traditional bank. Secondly you can amend the amount you want to put into the account as often as you like. There’s the option to put away a weekly amount from a minimum of £2 p/w. Then the bit I really liked is the option to round up your spends and input that difference to the account. It links to your bank account (I’m very security conscious and they have lots of measures in place to protect you with this) and lists all the amounts that you can round up. So for example I’ve spent £1.99 – then it will ask if I want to put the penny into the account. You can accept or dismiss each one. It’s very easy to get excited and accept everything so be careful. I’ve given myself the option to round up anything 20p or less as it still adds up quite quickly. It takes the money each week and you also have the option to go in and clear the weekly balance before it’s taken if you are worried you’ve overdone it (or you can reduce/increase the amount). I’m loving this app as despite being constantly skint I feel like I’m in control of actually saving something however small.

So that’s my savings and spends so far. I was talking to my mum on New Years Day about everything I’d found out and how I finally feel in control despite being in debt. I really wish I knew 4 years ago about half the things I found out about in the last few weeks as I think it would have helped reduce my debt quicker but also had a much more positive impact on my metal health.

365 Day 1p Saving Challenge Savings For Holidays Or Just A Rainy Day Pot