94 Days

I think a lot of people are beginning to be annoyed at the large amount of bank holidays during lock down.

I am of course only pretending to be annoyed by this. In the grand scheme of things it is not important.

It is still nice to have some time off work. I am debating whether to take a full week off work as annual leave or to take 5 Mondays in a row off work. I am now leaning towards the later.

I am feeling a lot recovered from the long weekend and I feel perhaps I am over the worse of my lock down burn out.

I have looked over my ‘June 2020 Finances’ spreadsheet which is where I detail my money in versus my money out. It is not entirely up to date given that I won’t get my pay slip until tomorrow but the prognosis is next month isn’t going to be as bad as I initially feared. My savings are going to take a hit, and I am still in two minds as to whether I am doing the right thing prioritising paying off the debt over saving. In the book I am writing I did just go over why it is better to prioritise savings over everything else on a financial journey and I really don’t want to be a hypocrite. I will see what I can do. I might partially transfer some of my new debt on to my 0% balance transfer cards and pay off the rest in full, and then the amount on the balance transfer card I will pay off over four payments.

I shall investigate.

It is nice to spend time in the house and make the most of things. I think I will watch A Streetcar Named Desire on the National Theatre YouTube channel later. Or some Netflix. Who knows, the world is my lobster (I know that’s not the actual expression, it’s something my flat mate and I say).

I still have a decent amount of jam tarts left. Just like Grandma used to make, literally.

I have some batch cooked Tuna Pasta Bake to see me through to pay day, and some potatoes that need eating up. All is good really when you think about it. What I mean is I’m trying to make the most of a bad situation.

I really do wonder what life is going to be like when ‘normal’ service is resumed. They keep talking about the ‘new’ normal and I wonder what that will involve. What will we keep from lockdown and what will go.

I am happy in myself.

My diet has completely fallen apart. I used to religiously eat my five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. For the last week or so that has fallen apart. Boo hiss. I don’t want to come out of lock down looking like a diagram of the covid-19 cell, big, round and with spiky bits (my hair is a bit wild). Despite running daily it turns out if you eat a lot of cake and jam tarts you will still put on weight. Who would have thought it?

I base my day around a to do list, it gives me an enormous sense of achievement though how much of that is actually real? I mean, putting ‘Hoover’ on the to do list takes 10 minutes if that, and is an easy win, but it contains the same real estate on a to do list as ‘write 3000 words’ which will take significantly longer. So it is important to do what I call the ‘Macro’ tasks first. I live my life by thinking macro over micro. What I mean by that is I prioritise the things that will give me the biggest pay off, the 20% of effort that produces the 80% of results. It doesn’t always happen but that’s what I work to in theory.

I have the urge to spend money. This is because it is a hormonal time for me and for people who know what I’m on about a little known fact is that people who menstruate tend to feel the urge to go shopping around ‘their time’. So be nicer to your significant other if they come back with half of Primark during their time. I am aware of this so I am quite good at ignoring this, or again I tend to go for purchases that will give me an investment rather than a bunch of tat.

Anyway, I’ve waffled on enough. I wish you all a pleasant Monday.

 

99 Days

Hi everybody,

I am now in double digits of days left till I am debt free.

I have a habit of not being able to enjoy the good times. I am always fearful of the next bad thing to come along and take over my life and my finances.

I am in a good situation, I should enjoy the journey of life. But it is hard when I am publically making a declaration that I will be debt free on the 27th August 2020 as I feel the universe is going to smite me.

I’m sure the universe has bigger things to worry about than me.

I probably was rather impulsive signing up for the master class. I want to write a book, I want to write a book this year, I want to write a book during lockdown. I feel passionate about this. I want to do the best I can out of life.

I just have a real sense of seize the day and live for the moment due to lockdown. So many things I put off in life thinking I would always have the time for them only to find you can never predict what is going to happen next.

I want to keep a happy balance of prioritising my future, but living a little in the present as well and really making the most of what life has to offer.

Obviously my care free, live for the moment attitude is partly what got me into trouble debt wise in the first place. I don’t want to go back to that. I never want to use debt to fund my life. But I do want to be less fearful about spending money and accepting that sometimes a modest splurge is a good way to make the most of my life.

I just want to enjoy every stage of my life, the past, the present and the future. I see no reason why I can’t have this I just have to be sensible.

Today will be probably my best day at work for getting things done. I have mapped out my week and I highlight that I had the most uninterrupted periods of time today to get things done, so the things will get done.

It is a 4 day week for me this week as I have Friday off, then there is the bank holiday on Monday. I have big productivity plans for the 4 day weekend. That will keep me safely at home other than my daily run.

I don’t know what the next 99 days will bring. Maybe everything will go well. Maybe everything will go wrong. I don’t know, but if I worry about what might be then I suffer twice if it does happen.

Just enjoy the journey. I’ve made it this far on my debt free journey, I will survive whatever comes next.

 

100 Days

Hi everybody

Today marks 100 days until I can make my last credit card payment and become debt free.

I begin this in the spirit of honesty by telling you that yesterday I increased my debt by paying for something on my credit card. It is for a masterclass about writing a book. It had a 50% discount. I had been doing a free challenge with the leader of the masterclass all of the last week, and the challenge has proved invaluable. I also great respect the leader of the masterclass, I have read all of his books, and he is considered a great success. Yes, paying for this course was slightly impulsive, but it wasn’t as impulsive as you think.

Yesterday I did not have the money in my accounts to pay for this course in full, but by the end of the month I will. I bought it after having first determined by looking at my budgets as to how I was going to pay it back so that it doesn’t impact on my debt free date. Knowing that it won’t made me feel like I could pay for the course. I have a plan that won’t impact on my savings either. It’s all gravy, baby.

The Flo of 2015 and before that year would have just paid for the course with no thought as to how she was going to pay it back, and she wouldn’t have reduced her spending or looked at her budgets first and as a result she would have got into trouble as soon as that credit card bill landed on her doorstep.

This new Flo is not a twat. I know what I have to do to get myself out of debt and to get the most out of my life on a small budget. I honestly believe I can afford whatever I want in life I just have to have the plan in place first.

I feel so good about my life at the moment. Feeling good makes me worry, I worry that the universe is going to think I shouldn’t be this happy and will do something to make my life go terribly wrong. But that’s a bit egotistical to think that the universe is totally concerned with me. Ultimately life is just a serious of ups and downs, there is no other motive behind that.

So, my 100 day countdown to being debt free begins today. On August 27th if all goes well I can make my last credit card payment and become debt free. There is a chance that the old way of life won’t have returned, and my plans for a wild party will be just a dream, but it will be a joyous day either way.

I will posting every day, or at least trying to, on the 100 day countdown to being debt free.

I remember the first 100 days of my debt free journey and just how different a position I was in then compared to now. It was still arduously hard then. It remained really difficult for years. It is only really in the last year that things have become the easiest they have ever been.

I have changed so much as a person, and I know I have the financial skills to see me safely through the rest of my life.

Losing Weight the Frugal Way Week 4

2 weeks for the price of one in this blog post.

Over the last two weeks I lost 3 lbs on the 3rd of Feb, and a further 1 lb on the 10th of Feb. I knew my weight loss would naturally slow down as my body adjusted to the increase in exercise and decrease in high calorie foods but it was still slightly sad to have only lost a pound, but that is better than a gain.

I am doing really well at the gym, I am genuinely enjoying it, but it comes at a price. Long time readers will have noticed a decline in blog posts from me, and I haven’t been on my favourite forums for weeks, I have had to strip my life of the excess, not just in terms of food but in terms of keeping on top of things.

I work, I go to the gym, I try to do my 4 times a week Couch to 5k training, I do housework, I watch wrestling at times, I have regular baths (baths are such a treat for me as I usually only have time for a quick shower) but this leaves little room for browsing the internet, which I guess is fine? I mean if anything had to be cut it would be that, but I would like a little more free time to read and to write.

The panic is, and I am getting a little off topic from weight loss now, that I pretty much need to get a weekend job. Not in that it would be a good idea, or that it would help me clear my debt quicker, but I am only earning 15p above minimum wage, my income is less than £1000 a month, and I have increased my expenses by £50 a month with my gym and personal training.

Things are tight financially.

I need to buy new trainers, my current ones are 2 years old (nearly), but I don’t have the money. I need to pay back my sister £70, ideally by her birthday in April. I don’t have that either.

And Queen are touring the UK again.

But I am already struggling with my health and weight and ability to keep on top of everything and that is without a part time job on top of a full time job!!!!!

The other worry is I currently have the time, admittedly at the expense of chilling on forums, to dedicate to exercise and batch cooking and cooking from scratch.

If I get a part time job I am scared I will put the weight back on.

I survived (for the most part) doing a No Spend Year in 2017. I can clearly commit to a year long challenge, I could in theory do it again.

But a No Spend Year is a removal of something. Getting an extra job is an addition. I don’t think my life can take any more additions.

But time is running out. My goal is to be debt free and fat free by my 30th birthday.

Yes, it is more than a year away, but I have £4000 (nearly) of debt, and I am at least 3.5 stone overweight still, minimum.

I have a long way to go and things are difficult.

 

Christmas Preparation Part 1

I got a little bit excited/anxious today about Christmas and bought the remainder of the Jillett’s Christmas presents this morning. I did it mostly with Amazon vouchers I had earned, not as epic a saving as last time, but a nice and much appreciated £45.55 was saved on my shopping. I spent £12.35 which is probably the most I have spent on an Amazon order since February.

I say I got a bit excited/anxious as I could have saved even more money as I have about £20 in Amazon vouchers from my various side hustles (all legit, promise!) which are waiting to clear, but this second batch of presents I bought today contains my little bro’s Christmas present, and part of his Girlfriend’s present, and I am seeing them next weekend and plan to exchange presents then. I didn’t want to risk the presents not arriving in time.

I have so far spent just over £40 on Christmas 2017. I need a further £80-100 in order to buy the in law’s presents.

As for the other costs-the Boxing Day football match, sending Christmas cards, Alcohol gift bags-well, I still haven’t figured out how I can afford them. I made good headway on Friday with the job hunt, but it is artificial headway, by which I mean it seems that I have progressed, but I am still in the same position.

(I applied for 2 jobs and called a temp agency who asked me to send my C.V. over)

So despite working so hard to prioritise my debt this year, where has it got me?

Sure I paid off over £3000 in a combination of bank debt and money I owed The Boy, and yes I have cleared my overdraft…but I had to borrow £750 off The Boy on Saturday to pay my bills. That’s the rate of debt I will get in every month I am unemployed.

I once heard the average time it takes someone to find a job is 4 months. 4 x £750 = £3000. Maybe I would have been better off saving that money instead.

Today I will sit down with whatever remains of my Irish Cream, put on the Christmas CD for about the 20th time already this Winter, and wrap the presents that have already arrived.  I can toast my success in getting nearly £200 worth of presents for about £36 in cold, hard cash.

But maybe what I am toasting is I get to save face in front of my family, that I can provide them with gifts when I have zero net worth.

I’ll Drink Anything, As Long As It’s Poisonous

I am re-reading Alexis Hall’s ‘In The Red’ for something like the 5th time this year. This is because when I feel that I have f***** up my life royally due to my debt (such as facing the crisis of my contract at work ending with no savings in the bank) then I like to take comfort in the tale of someone who has been there and done that.

I said to the boy that I wouldn’t say this year has been bad, but it has been one of my most challenging years (or certainly the most challenging non childhood trauma year).

I finally told the boy’s parents that my contract is ending and they said they would have worried in the past but they know I always get another job very soon, which I interpreted as ‘We’re used to you losing jobs, but somehow you survive’. I know they didn’t mean it like that, I just seem to only be capable of assuming the worst about myself.

I feel a lot more indestructible now that I have a raincoat. What’s that expression? There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes?

You know you are old as f*** when you get ridiculously excited by your raincoat. The last time I felt this excited about a coat was when I bought my fake leopard print fur coat. Despite the fact it doesn’t fit me I am still unable to part with it, as I am determined to fit into it again one day.

I have also contemplated buying another fake fur leopard print coat in a plus size and being done with it all.

Realising I have spent most of my 20’s overweight is startling. I will never get that time back. I want to be attractive.

No one has ever made a comment on my weight, apart from one person, who shall remain nameless.

The trouble is food is such an emotional thing for me. I need to be happy to lose weight. I say this because when I am low, or depressed, or my life is going down the toilet like it is now, then pretty much all that gets me through the day is knock off Bailey’s, or a cheeky cheese sandwich, or portion sizes that take liberties with the term ‘generous’.

I comfort eat, I stress eat, I may connect this desperate mastication to when I gave up smoking and used nicotine gum and now I associate the sensation with stress release.

The diet will have to start on Monday. We are having Chinese takeway for tea.

I am a Consumer, Therefore I Consume

I have been flexing my shopping muscles.

Restrained, considered purchases, contraband in terms of the no spend year but not wild and decadent items in them self, they were all practical, but still I have anxiety.

Things needed replacing in our house. The clock in the kitchen broke, we didn’t realise how essential it was to our ability to get ready until it was gone. The silicon whisk broke ages ago, but I had ‘fixed’ it, but then when a piece of the silicon found it’s way into one of my vegetable muffins I knew it needed replacing. We needed a tin opener, because our old tin opener took about half an hour and lots of strength to get round a tin.

The boy bought the clock, because he has money, whereas I have raided my penny tin several times already this month. The whisk and tin opener were partially funded by the household budget.

I bought an SD card for my phone almost exclusively funded with amazon vouchers, it cost me just £1.21 (which was primarily the postage). I needed that, yet it is still contraband according to my rules, but I am certain it will save me money in the long run as it will extend the life of my phone (and give me space for money saving apps).

And for a long time I have felt that I need a rain coat. Something that is light weight as it may rain all the time in the UK but it gets pretty humid when it does and I’m a sweaty Betty at the best of times. I wanted something that went past the waist as I had a rain coat in the past which ended at the waist which just meant all the water ran off the coat and into my pants. Fun times.

I decided to look at the Tesco website on the basis that I have been saving my Tesco Clubcard vouchers for 18 months and had a hefty £26.50 to my name.

(To anyone who is confused by this I’ll explain. Tesco’s is a big supermarket chain in the UK, I think they owned Fresh and Easy in the USA, and you can sign up for a free clubcard which gives you 1 point for every £1 you spend in their stores. I want to assure you I took advantage of some great deals they put on to gain extra points, and didn’t actually spend £2650 in their stores in the last 18 months)

So I looked on the Tesco’s website and there was a lightweight, yellow (I secretly wanted it to be yellow) rain coat which went past the waist, and yes it was £32 but I decided that the fact Tesco’s clothing range is called Florence and Fred and that the coat was sold out in every size apart from my own as a sign the Universe wanted me to have it.

So yes, I have spent £5.50 on a contraband item, AGAIN, but I feel good that the sum total of my spend on clothes this year has been £5.88 (£9.83 if you include a free item I ‘bought’ but had to pay postage for)

I think my shopping habits this year, whilst being a bit flexible with the rules of a no spend year, are a complete change for the better from the habits that got me into this mess of debt.

I am debating whether I am allowed to buy a orange scented reed room diffuser this Winter like I did last year which made me feel all Christmas-sy and made the Winter a bit more bearable. I know I’m not allowed, but maybe I can find a voucher somewhere for one.

It’s just with every purchase I make I feel anxious. I don’t feel tempted, I don’t feel ‘this feels great, let’s bend the plastic so far my credit card gets a spinal injury’ but I am scared of spending money now.

To be honest I am anxious doing anything financial apart from making money, which means it’s just as well I sold my two guitars today, one to the boy for £15 and one at a cash converters for £10 (it was a piece of crap).

I actually don’t mind selling my things at cash converters because in their buying department they have figurines of the wrestlers Jake the Snake and The Ultimate Warrior which makes me feel happy and like I am with kindred spirits.

I just want to say one more thing. Not including food/household purchases, which are split between the boy and me anyway, but if you take all the money I have paid towards my debts this year, and compare it to how much money I’ve spent on me this year, then I have spent about a third more paying back my debts then I have spending money on things like socialising and yellow-lightweight-past the waist-rain coats.