85 Days

I decided not to post yesterday due to it being Blackout Tuesday. It was a small act of respect I could do for the movement.

Today is another small milestone towards my financial journey. I don’t want to hurry down the days. I want to savour each day as it comes. It is important to take in an embrace the days, they don’t come back again.

But in 85 days I will be able to make my final credit card debt payment. I am under no illusion that I will never use a credit card again. I will. For one thing I have a rewards credit card. I am a strategic shopper, I will do what I need to to get the best deal.

But I won’t get into the same levels of unmanageable debt that I once had. I know how to live within my means. Living within my means gives me great comfort, it makes me feel safe, in control. I can handle that.

I want to work on my pension. I have no way of predicting what the future holds, but not having an adequate pension plan in place would terrify me. I will spend some time working on that this month.

Next week marks the 16 week countdown to my first half marathon of the autumn, and my prediction is that next week it will be announced that it will be cancelled for this year. I feel that would be the responsible thing to do. I predict the half marathon that would be the week after that one will also be cancelled. There is still currently enough time for enormous changes to happen so that my marathon can still go ahead, but my prediction is that it won’t. This doesn’t disappoint me as much as it might have done if I had heard the news in January. I know I can run.

It is very hard to feel upset by the sort of things that would have upset me before in this new landscape. They really do seem like first world problems. I just want everyone to be safe. I want as many people to live as long as possible. We must protect people.

I am likely to wake up on the 27th of August still working at home (I will have the day off though) and my previous plans for a massive blow out party won’t be happening, but that is ok. I might make a cake. I had better brush up on my decorating skills as the last time I tried to decorate a cake it looked like a Pinterest fail.

So 85 days to the next stage of my life. Enjoy the journey.

 

87 Days

Today I begin my book writing course. I am trying to make sense of my journey to becoming debt free and maybe telling my story will help others not feel so alone.

Debt is lonely. It is claustrophobic. It narrows your life. It limits you and your options. My life became smaller because of debt. In the end I had to make peace with the fact I was unlikely to have the big life I wanted and I would have to learn to live a small life in a big way. I have actually become happier in myself because of it and I do feel that I have the life I want now. It took a long time to gain that clarity.

I never fully learnt about money and how to manage it from my family. They did try. I don’t blame them. They did teach me to be frugal. My Dad taught me how to find the cheaper option. My mum instilled in me a love of charity shops. I remember very clearly my mum trying to teach me as a child that if I saved my money I could afford bigger things, and that if I spent my money it would be gone.

So it’s not that I didn’t learn anything about money from my parents, because I did learn some valuable lessons. But what I mainly learnt was how to survive on the bare minimum. I didn’t really learn how to make money, I didn’t learn how to scale up my finances. And I don’t blame my parents for that. But what it clearly makes me think of is the beginning of the book ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ by Robert T. Kiyosaki. It took me a long time to like that book and the author. I read it a couple of times before it really sunk in, and although I would say me and Kiyosaki would disagree about a lot of things politically, I have come to learn good messages from this book.

I need to work on my pensions. I have a couple of pension pots from old employers that I want to look into merging and maybe then paying into on a monthly basis. My pension with my current employer is very good. So good that I am reluctant to ever leave this employer without good reason. Due to the way the pension works there isn’t necessarily a benefit to merging the other pots with my current one. But I do have some admin tasks for my current pension to take care of such as appointing who would receive it if I died in service. Not a matter to take lightly during this time.

I have done some shopping today, and hopefully that will keep me out of the shops until the later part of this week. I have enough to be getting on with.

87 days to freedom.

Review of May 2020 Expenses

Hi everybody,

Let us all have a look at how my money left my wallet in May.

I like to put my spending into categories to assess how much I am spending on different things. I also have a yearly spreadsheet to see what I’ve spent each year. Yes, I am a loser.

Here is what I spent my money on in May

GIFTS – £18.09

There were two work colleagues birthday’s this month that I contributed to their gifts. I also sent a couple of Moon Pig cards for people in my life who deserved a card.

BEAUTY – £54.52

I have been experimenting with new products during lock down. I have adult cystic acne and I’ve been trying out some products my friend who is into skin care recommended to me. So far so good. I did end up spending £14 on a conditioner from Lush which when it arrived turned out to be smaller than a can of coca cola (always check the measurements!) but on the plus side it does make my hair smell lovely.

POSTAGE AND PACKAGING – £11.56

This was a pack of first class stamps and posting some letters to Ireland. I like to keep in contact with my family through letters.

BUSINESS – £495

As you know I purchased a book writing masterclass which ate up most of my budget in May. I had to seriously move some money around to pay for it. I’m still not entirely sure if I made the right decision about signing up for this course, only time will tell, so I guess I have to make the most of this opportunity.

STATIONARY – £23.43

I bought two beautiful notebooks. One is for my French lessons on Duolingo, and the other is for my general notes. That should keep me busy for a while.

HOBBIES – BOOKS – £2.99

I bought a kindle book about learning languages quickly and in a way that will make you become fluent. I am yet to read it but I look forward to it when I do.

CHARITY – £27

And finally, in May I donated £5 to the RSPCA, and £22 to a dear friend’s Go Fund Me fundraiser for an operation she needs. I try to donate whatever I can afford to charitable causes each month, I really wish I could have given more last month to my friend. But I guess something is better than nothing.

TOTAL SPENDS IN MAY = £632.59

This definitely seems a lot, but £495 of this was for a course, meaning my other spends only amounted to £137.59 which seems a lot more affordable. It’s not like I’ll be making a purchase that big every month, at least I really hope not.

So that’s it, a review of my spending in May 2020.

88 Days

I am feeling a bit hot and queasy. I think it’s just tiredness. I wake up bright and alert at 5am thinking all will be fine, and then I later crash as the day goes on.

It could be the heat, it is very warm today.

I have become a bit more mature with money. The lock down has made me consider really using up what I already have in stock first before replacing it. I keep extending the time between when I first think I need to buy something and when I actually do. I like this.

There isn’t really anything to spend my money on, which isn’t to say I have lots of money. I don’t. But it is easier to meet my needs now then it was before when everything was making demands on my time and money.

88 days. Palindrome days.

I have had my delivery of notebooks and a French/English dictionary. I look forward to trying them all out in good time. I may be having one of my beer cases deliveries coming today as well. Joy of joys. Though today is a drink free day. And I take that seriously.

I am going to set my phone and laptop aside soon, and just read. Read with a drink feeling the sunshine through the window. It will be beautiful.

 

Things to do with leftover vegetables and fruit

Hi everyone,

I’ve been making a few things this week which I didn’t really feel were special enough to dedicate a post to on their own, so I’ve decided to combine them all in one.

I have some sad looking potatoes and onions, so by adding spinach I made these potato and spinach cakes.

IMG_7713

I cut about 3 big potatoes into tiny pieces, boiled them, then mashed them and left to cool. Whilst that was going on I was wilting the onion and frozen spinach in a pan with some butter, and eventually added to the mashed potato. I added a bit of wholegrain mustard and chilli, 2 slices of bread worth of breadcrumbs, and 2 eggs. I mixed them into about 7 patties, and then baked them in the oven.

I also had most of a bag of carrots looking sorry for themselves, so I made carrot, ginger and coriander soup. Just soften some onion in a pan with butter, add the carrot then add about 1 litre of vegetable stock and cook until the carrots are soft. Add some coriander and then blend and divide into four portions.

Finally, frozen yogurt.

IMG_7714

This was made more because I had some soy yogurt about to go off. For the banana frozen yogurt I blended 250ml of yogurt with 2 frozen bananas in a food processor, adding some cinnamon to the mix. For the strawberry frozen yogurt it was 200g frozen strawberries plus cinnamon and 250ml soy yogurt, also blended in a food processor. What I did was place them in tubs and then put them back in the freezer to go solid.

There you have it, three quick things to do with leftovers. Waste not want not!

Spending Diary 25th to 31st May 2020

Hi everybody,

Let’s hope there are no surprise near £500 writing courses this week!

25/05/2020

Bank Holiday Monday in the UK. I spent it at home cooking, writing, blogging, watching Netflix, running, reading and having a go on Duolingo. What a lovely day it was. And best of all I didn’t spend any money!

26/05/2020

I thought my pay slip would be released today, but I’m guessing the bank holiday affected it as it wasn’t released on my HR portal at work. Oh well, it’s not the end of the world. I will get the information tomorrow. I just like having all my financial information to hand as early as I can. I’m sad like that.

I was fast running out of time to get everything done. Just because I’m in lockdown doesn’t mean time is endless and infinite, there are still problems with getting everything done all in one day and I hope people aren’t getting caught up in the idea of toxic productivity, as that’s not good for anyone’s mental health.

So I needed to think strategically to make sure I fitted in my daily run. So I decided to do my errands whilst running. I ran to the post office to post some cards to my relatives in Ireland, then I ran to the pharmacy to pick up my repeat prescription. Posting the cards cost £2.44, I’m really excited about posting the cards. I’ve become quite addicted to posting letters during lockdown, luckily there are a lot of post boxes near me so I can easily social distance whilst posting letters.

27/05/2020

On the blog post for today (92 Days) I think I said I hadn’t spent any money. What I did very soon after that blog post was buy two notebooks and a French/English dictionary on Amazon. The order was £33.43, but I had a £10 Amazon voucher to use so it was only £23.43, plus free postage and packaging, does anyone ever actually pay for postage on Amazon? A couple of hours after that purchase I decided to research a book I read about in the Metro newspaper years ago about someone who can speak multiple languages, all self-taught. After a bit of digging I found the book (Fluent in 3 Months by Benny Lewis) and I bought a kindle version of it for £2.99. I tend to do things both impulsively and passionately. Before March 2020 I had little interest in learning French, but wasn’t totally against the idea, and now I am throwing myself deep into it.

My run today involved passing a postbox to deposit two birthday cards and a letter to my Grandpa. I rather shamefully didn’t write to him this much before lockdown so I am trying to make up for things now and I will keep up the letter writing after lockdown too. My Grandpa is the strong silent type. I am also quiet and reserved. Although I do love him, I have not always found it easy to communicate with him because both of our natures are to be in the background observing. He needs an extrovert to bring him out, much like I do. My dear deceased Grandmother was definitely an extrovert.

I find it easiest to express myself through writing. Talking I find a struggle. Writing brings me out of my shell and you can see the true me.

28/05/2020

Pay day, yippee! I promptly did some household shopping which consisted of a 12 case of wine for £47.88, a 20 pack of non-alcoholic beers for £36 and I brought my subscription pack of craft beer forward by a couple of days as my beer supplies are depleted, and that was £26.90. The alcohol supplies in total came to £110.78, or £55.39 for my half of them according to the flat mate and my food budget arrangement.

That should take care of my alcohol needs for a good long while yet. I tend to be a boredom drinker and times like these make me drink more, so I am really trying to be careful as I do take being drink aware seriously. I’ve already got a drink free days monitoring app and am aiming for 4 drink free days a week, but I think I will look into another app that monitors the units I drink each week.

I will need to do some food shopping soon but I’m planning on stretching it out till the weekend. I still seem to have enough in the flat and it is good to reduce time outdoors as much as possible.

29/05/2020

Last week I decided to try and organise a virtual bake off with my work colleagues with me as the judge, and due to me being the only one to submit an entry I ended up winning according to my rules. I had decided I would donate £5 to the winner’s chosen charity. I was the winner, but I already have 2 direct debits set up to charities I care most about, so I asked my colleague’s for suggestions for other worthy causes and one suggested the RSPCA, so I donated £5 to them.

I was able to keep myself out of the shops today, I had initially been planning on going to the shops today but I thought I would leave it. I drank the last 150ml of Malbec we had in the house with dinner, saving the 200ml or so of pink gin in another bottle for Saturday’s zoom drinks with my friends. I am debating whether to get some more sports bras this month or next month but I’m going to hold on a little while longer until I see what sort of deals I can get on my shopping. The only trouble with a run streak is I have spent nearly the entirety of this month in sports clothes and it would be nice to wear some pretty clothes for once.

I have also really been craving getting a magazine subscription to something like Women’s Health magazine, I have really been desiring to read it during lockdown. I know it’s not essential but it does make me happy and helps with my wellbeing. But I will hold steady for now as it is best not to spend all my pay day money in the first week.

30/05/2020

I had a terrible night’s sleep, which is such a shame as Thursday’s sleep was so good and it made me think my sleep was back on track. It was extremely hot and stuffy in my attic room and I couldn’t sleep. As a result I woke up at 12pm which I hate. I hate it when I wake up past 10am, let alone the afternoon. I have to work extra hard to get my day back on track.

I went to the shops. Well, just the one. I had to do a big shop so I would be splitting my shop across two days’ worth of trips. I went to Tesco and bought a lot of stuff, vegetables, fruit, dairy, store cupboard, treats, frozen and fresh, a lot of things. It came to £44.89, so £22.45 for my half. I got really grumpy because I saw numerous counts of people lacking awareness over lockdown restrictions. From the person that came right up next to me and reached over me to grab something (about 2cms distance, not 2 metre’s), to a man who coughed and cleared his throat without covering his mouth near a queue of people (who all gave him a filthy look) to another person spitting on the ground. I find all this behavior unacceptable at the best of times, but especially during a pandemic of a virus caused by human contact. Idiots.

I did my daily run, just one more to do before the weekend/month ends to have completed my running streak for May. I’m planning on doing a 10km tomorrow. I’m going to have to plan a new route I think, I’m not sure I can do two laps of my 5k route, I’ll have to look into it.

I had a nice dinner of a brie and roasted red pepper panini with sweet chilli sauce, then I had my zoom drinks with my friends from work which saw the end of the pink gin. There is now no alcohol in the house, so I guess Sunday is a drink free day by default.

I went to bed fairly easily at about 11pm, hoping for a good night’s sleep.

31/05/2020

I woke up naturally around 5:20am, but decided to try and catch a few more sleeps. I woke up again at 5:50am feeling wide awake so I got up and began my day.

I do a weekly pub quiz with my siblings and it’s my turn this week to devise the questions, so I spent my early morning doing that. At around 10am I left the house to do a 10km run, which went very well. I am by no stretch of the definition a fast runner, but I can travel a long distance fairly easily. I came back and had a shower and checked my emails and saw that one of my beer cases is likely to arrive today, as are the notebooks and French dictionary from Amazon. Glad I had my shower quickly.

I was considering going to the shops to pick up cleaning supplies and do the rest of the shopping, but I’ve decided to switch that to Monday instead. I have the day off on Monday, I’ve booked off every Monday in June to have a bit more time to myself. I plan on doing lots of writing and running on those days off.

I was also considering looking into buying some toiletries, but I really do have plenty of them. I could do with some body scrub, and Vaseline and a SPF lip balm, but it seems to place an order for just those things. I can pick them up at some other point.

I did donate £22 to a friend’s fundraiser. She is in serious need of an operation and although we have the brilliant NHS here her only real option at this moment is to have the surgery privately due to the demands on the NHS at the moment.

So with that, I declare the spending for this week is done!

SPENDING TOTALS

FOOD AND HOUSEHOLD SHOPPING – £77.84 (£155.67 total)

PERSONAL SPENDS – £60.86

TOTAL SPENDS – £138.70

 

 

 

89 Days

I felt about using this post to complain about the complete lack of awareness I saw on multiple occasions today in regards to social distancing and keeping the rate of infection down.

But, ultimately, I try to keep this blog clear from thoughts on the pandemic. And really, I think a lot of people are trying their best. I think this pandemic has the tendency to make the good people better and the bad people worse, but ultimately we’re all trying. We’re all scared. We’re all suffering on some scale.

I want to promote positivity.

I am trying my best. With getting to where I want to be, whether it is in terms of finances, or education, or weight, or running distance, or countries visited, or books read, foods tasted, music listened to, films watched. I try every day to be a good person. You are unlikely to find anyone on the planet who has a worse opinion of myself than I do. My utter dissatisfaction in myself is what keeps me going in regards to trying to be a little bit better than before.

In 89 days I will be debt free. That is not the end of my financial journey, it is merely a pause in the road, a time for celebration. Remaining debt free for the rest of my life, remaining conscious of my money for the rest of my life, those are the goals.

I hope tomorrow I am a little better than I was today.

I will at least be a little closer to being debt free.