Budgeting Success

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll know I have debt issues and am trying to work out the best way to budget for myself.  I have a debt repayment plan and my household bills and food budget is always covered but I rarely make it from one month to the next without having to borrow  or swap money around.

I tried keeping all my spare cash in a tub and just taking as i needed it – didn’t work.

I tried dividing into weeks and only using a weekly allowance – didn’t work.

So this month I tried in days. I had so much per day and that had to cover treats like a cafe drink plus the usual bread and milk. Anything left at the end of the day went in the tub. If needed I could use the tub money and mostly I did. It went on food.

And yesterday at the end of the month I had £1 left over. One whole pound. If you’ve never had money problems you may not understand how proud I am of that little pound. I’d had 2 birthdays (mine and my sons) I’d had a week off work and a trip to NOrth Yorkshire. I even went to the cinema. And I never had to borrow. I didn’t have to juggle money at the end of the month.

I made conscious decisions every day. On my week off I rounded the money into the whole week with the thought that I’d need more on the day trip but less whilst at home. The rest of the time I asked myself constantly if I needed to spend. That £1 is now in a savings tin. I have one of those where the only way to open it is with a can opener.

It stops me taking cash out and overspending. This is what I used to do when I had depressive days and how I ended up in trouble. I tried it last year with just loose change and the result was £90 saved in 2017. However because I was still struggling with the budgeting it didn’t last long. I intend to leave as long as possible this time and either use it for Xmas gifts or if I can avoid that save for something nice.

I can’t say it’s a perfect plan as it’s only been one month. I’m going to try it again and see what successes I can achieve in July

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Loving yourself in style

I’ve just finished a book called Loving Yourself in Style by Shabana Feroze. It’s made me think yet again how depression, anxiety and debt have taken away a lot of what used to make me…me and leave a bit of a shell in it’s place.

There’s quite a bit of information despite being a small book. One section in there is about style. I used to have quite defined style; as a teenager it was all about the bands that I loved and being a rock chick with a bit of 1950’s thrown in. Then as I aged it became a mix of rock chick with 1940’s and 50’s. I love those eras; the music and the styles.

I lost a lot of this when I had my breakdown in 2010. I put on loads of weight and didn’t feel the confidence to wear the clothes I loved. Instead I ended up wearing smart work clothes and jeans/Tee’s day wear. Casual, comfortable and reeking of invisibility.

When reading the book my first thoughts were to shout ‘But I can’t afford it’, my life is on hold until 2020 when the debts are cleared and my money is my own again.

Are you tired of seeing posts where I say this? I’m annoying myself with it. A later chapter though talks about money and starting small. Ok I can’t go out and buy a whole new wardrobe or pay for events to meet like minded people. However I can try and put a few pounds away each month to be able to afford something form ebay or a vintage shop. I can still listen to the music which I have been doing all weekend). I also found a cafe nearby that is based around 50’s rock n’roll that put on special nights for £3. These are things I can do while I work towards my debt free goal.

I was speaking to a friend about restarting her life this week as a series of baby steps and it’s something I need to take on board myself. We discovered one cinema has halved it’s ticket prices and with a 2 for 1 offer on Wednesdays we can see movies for £2.50 each. Another way to have a little bit of a life for little costs.

The answers are out there if you fight the negative brain talk and look around to see what is out there. So I’m going to try and embrace life (within it’s financial constraints) and remember how to have  little fun and rediscover a style that makes my heart sing

365 Day Blog challenge Day 185 Let’s Do This #365daychallenge

Let’s Do This…..

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve said that this month.

‘I need to reduce my sugar intake again; Let’s do this’

‘I need to walk more; Let’s do this’

‘I need to restart my moisturising regime; Let’s do this’

And yet I haven’t done any of it. I really seem, after the brilliant start I had to this year to have lost motivation. I think about what I need to do then I’m not actually doing it.

I’m definitely at that self sabotage stage. I’m 2lbs off my next target and I know from past behaviour that when I get to significant targets I end up unconsciously putting up barriers to achieving this. I wrote some posts at the beginning of the year about the need to be invisible and that some of the sabotage was linked to this but I’ve taken lots of steps since then to combat that. I definitely think more about achieving goals than ever before.

One positive point this time is I am aware that I’m doing it. I’ve managed my inner battles with anxiety and self esteem to the point where my weight has stayed steady at the lower end rather than me gaining all over again so that is a huge plus point for this year. And another one; despite an increase in sugar I still haven’t had any chocolate so that is definitely one battle won.

I just need to work out that trigger to get me moving again.

I’ve had very little sugar this week but I have overcompensated with bread so I need to look at alternatives for boredom eating. Toast is not the answer J

I’m shopping at the weekend so will stock up on fruit and sugar-free jelly.

It’s a bank holiday and I have some walking plans. I still have those 5 minute exercise routines saved on my sky+ box but I have a tendency to forget they are there. I may have to set a reminder on my phone until it becomes habit to do it.

I’ve developed some good habits this year and got rid of some bad ones so I know it’s possible to do this. I also know from experience now that for all the messing about once I achieve the mini-targets the motivation comes back to go further and get at least ¾ of the way to the next one. I just need to find my missing mojo.

I will keep pushing on through and congratulating myself on achievements – being stuck now doesn’t negate the hard work and success that I already have

So again – Let’s Do This 🙂

365 Day Blog challenge Day 184 Motivational #365daychallenge

Today was the total opposite of yesterday. Well apart from rushing out of the house without a coat and nearly being late for a conference call but the rest has been good.

I had a meeting with my mentor who works in a building on the other side of the city centre. We went through the development course I am on and how it’s gone so far then discussed the different steps I want to look at next. She has made some contacts to introduce me to people in jobs I would like to explore so I can set up some shadowing.

Then we looked at the competencies needed for jobs. In the civil service this is the way they recruit and it can be a nightmare trying to give the best example of something you can to sell yourself in 250 words. I have a few already which she’s going to check and going forwards I have a few more to write so I have them to slot into any application. This is the hard part – doing them in the first place. She is going to sense check them and make sure they sell me as much as possible.

I left the meeting really motivated into my next steps. I have a few ideas of jobs I’d like to do and even though it’s never fun writing up competencies I have some good ideas to note down and build into something.

And it’s nice to have that time to just think about yourself and what you want and have a person to bat ideas off that can then help you explore what you really want.

Then I got to walk back to my office on a glorious sunny day. So today has been a good day 🙂

 

365 Day Blog challenge Day 183 Frustrations #365daychallenge

Today has been a bit of a frustrating day after a relaxing weekend. I woke up to the sound of my neighbour having some kind of argument with slamming doors. This was about 6am and he’s normally so quiet so a bit unusual. I also could only hear the one voice so intriguing as well! Sadly he’s not been there long and I don’t know him well enough (as you never see him) to get any gossip.

So I didn’t wake up too well. Then the bus was delayed by 10 minutes. It didn’t really affect anything in getting to work but along with having to go back home before I caught the bus as I’d forgotten my locker key it added to my negative mood. Sometimes I feel a bit anxious going into work. It stems from a previous job and so I often go into the city centre early and spend 20-30 minutes having a hot drink sat somewhere first. Usually this means I get to work unstressed and not rushed. However it didn’t work today and I still felt really anxious until about lunchtime.

Then my conference call to discuss data I need for my job has been put back 2 days. To top it all off my  outlook for emails has been really slow and keeps crashing. All in all I’ve spent most of the day counting the hours down until I can go home again.

I did get some encouraging texts from my friend today so that made me feel a bit better. Sometimes there are days like this where we feel everything is not awesome and nothing seems to work. Sometimes it’s okay to acknowledge that and let it run it’s course. For me it doesn’t usually last too long and so I don’t fight it.

To quote Gone With the Wind – Tomorrow is another day… (and tomorrow is my late working day so if nothing else I’ll get a lie in #positives)

365 Day Blog challenge Day 182 Looking Back #365daychallenge

I’ve done a fair bit of soul searching over the last few months and it’s helped me move to a good place where I’m looking after myself more and thinking about the future. It’s a hard question – what do you want from life?

We’re so programmed that self care is selfish that we don’t always think about we want as an individual but I’m gonna give it a g, put it here and see what blooms from it.

Some easy ones: I know now I don’t want to move unless it’s with a partner to share a bigger mortgage (so romantic!). I want to do my house up nice and add a conservatory and a decent garden.

I want to be debt free and in control of my finances. I want to be in a position to travel again.

I would like to be in a meaningful relationship, one that’s equal and caring. I’m quite independent and set in my ways so I need to learn to let go a little and not let my past define the future.

I want a career where I enjoy getting up and going into work. I do for the most part now but it can be quite dull. My friend asked me what I was going to do once I’d completed my degree and I’m torn between 3 plans. Hopefully as the next 2 years go past one of those plans will become more clear to me as the right one.

And that’s it so far. I’ve been so busy trying to get through day to day that long term plans haven’t been a part of life but with less than 24 months to go with my debt plan and just over 2 years to go to graduation I can finally allow myself to start dreaming again.