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

Advertisements

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 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.

 

365 Day Blog challenge Day 178 Mental Health Awareness Week #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek #365daychallenge

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

So today I did a thing….

My first day back at work after a week off and straight into a team meeting I’d helped to plan. The post-lunch energiser was to have come to the meeting with 4 or 5 songs that you felt represented you and we had 15-20 minute doing some arts and crafts decorating our CD of the songs. Then we had to talk about why we picked them. When it came to my turn I explained I’d picked songs based on the 2 parts of my personality; on the one hand I’m one of the most laid back people you might meet, on the other side I have a Sever Anxiety Disorder.

I’ve flirted around the subject between a few of the team but never sat and said it out loud with it’s full title to everyone. I was less anxious than you might think. I’d planned the songs and what I wanted to say so just came out with it.

I was sat opposite my bosses boss and he was nodding and smiling the whole time which made me feel good. Then the host of that segment discussed her songs and the energiser was over. I didn’t expect a conversation and we didn’t get one. I also had the following exercise in the meeting so could move the meeting along at my pace.

My exercise was for everyone to think of one nice word or phrase to give to each member of the team. This way at the end each person should have had 13 positive words about themselves and we were going to reflect on this. Often what we think we are  can be all negative and it can surprise you what others think of you. As the host of this exercise I didn’t take part so it was a nice surprise that 11 of the team gave me words.

Three people gave me the word ‘brave’ with one colleague saying it was in response to admitting my S.A.D. Going back to how others see you I didn’t feel brave, I was feeling determined. There’s a big thing at the civil service called ‘I can be me’ with people with disabilities, faiths and sexuality writing blogs about these things and how it affects them. I write this blog, I don’t need to write one for work but I do want to within my team free to ‘be me’.

Of course the next steps are important, how my line management team follow up on this. What I want to happen is for them to say ok fine and move on. What I don’t want is for them to not offer me opportunities because they think I couldn’t cope. That should be for me to decide.

I summed that up (I hope) with one of my song choices: So What by Pink. The line So what, I’m still a rock star is the mantra I live by. So what… I have anxiety but it doesn’t define me. I think I’ve found a work team that accept that 🙂

 

365 Day Blog challenge Day 176 Starting Again #365daychallenge

I’ve noticed over the last couple of months that my sugar consumption is creeping up. I still haven’t had the chocolate and I’ve not had the fizzy drinks but I have had more biscuits than I should have and too many times I’ve ordered a cake or pastry when buying something in a shop.

Cutting it out as much as possible in January did wonders for my health and I obviously haven’t been paying enough attention to my behaviours for it to creep in again and I don’t want to keep making excuses to myself. I started the reduction of sugary products yesterday and keep thinking I need something sugary in the afternoons but I’m on leave from work for 6 days so I’m sure it’s just a boredom eating thing. I’m not hungry. I need to find more things to do!

The other thing I’ve let slip is a beauty regime. At one point I got myself into a really good routine of moisturising, using toners and so on and it’s lapsed. I keep saying I will do something about starting this again as it did help my skin but I haven’t. Again no excuses except my own laziness. So from tonight the creams are coming back out.

I remember at the beginning of the year watching something called Fat;The Fight of your Life or something similar. These people had often 10 or more stone to lose and first of all started off doing amazing then had a relapse. Some then picked themselves up and continued their journeys, some sadly gave up. At the time everything was going great for me so I couldn’t understand the lapse but now I can.

Magazines just tell you the success stories to sell whatever product they are peddling. They don’t tell you how hard it is to continuously carry on thinking about your weight, your body and what you need to do to change things. No one is perfect and set backs will happen. The key is whether you pick yourself up or give up. I refuse to give up so I have to accept that my journey won’t be perfect and every so often I’ll have to regroup and start again in some way. I’ve come so far though this year to stop now and for the first time in many, many years I don’t want to.

So new start, fresh start, onwards and upwards 🙂

365 Day Blog challenge Day 173 Temptation #365daychallenge

This year as I’ve mentioned several times I gave up chocolate and cola/pepsi and it’s diet versions. I’ve never managed to last as long as I have this time and the habit really has gone. Over Easter I was surrounded like everyone in the supermarkets by chocolate eggs and managed to not be tempted at all.

I was more concerned about the fizzy drinks. I’ve caved in so often with this. However last week my son brought a bottle of coke zero into the kitchen saying he didn’t like it any more. Old me would have drank it all that day. New-me said that I would give it to my nephews and nieces and if they didn’t want it throw it away. It’s still sat on my kitchen work top as I keep forgetting to take it round to their house. This would never have happened even in December!

I’m so pleased with myself. They say it takes 30 days to break a habit. Even when I’ve tried to give things up for Lent (40 days) I’ve always caved straight after. It may sound like small things but to me they are huge achievements and proof that I can change other things if I put my mind to it.

I’ve really probably started eating too many biscuits and cookies instead which is why my weight loss isn’t moving fast so this is something to tackle now that I have proven to myself I don’t need these bad sugars in my life.