Weekly tweak: Learn to say NO

img_3652How many times have you agreed to do something that you know will put you over budget? FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is a very real thing and it is a devil on anyone with a budgets shoulder. Many times have I fallen victim agreeing to events that I know were beyond my budget but I’m learning  more and more that its okay to say no..

Your friends will understand

As much as they like to peer pressure you into a night out your true friends will understand if you can’t afford to do something. They probably have had to be in your shoes at some point before. Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you have to be a hermit though. Try doing something low cost or set a date for when you know your budget can handle it.

Short term vs Long term happiness

You need to remind yourself why you’re on a budget. If you keep saying yes to things that will slow you down you’re essentially saying no to your goals/dreams. Whether you’re saving for a big holiday, your own house or simply to get yourself out of debt – or if you’re like me all three! I can assure you that when you check your bank balance and see that you’ve went off track will most likely make you feel more negative than if you had said no.

BUT its okay to say yes sometimes..

Sometimes things might pop up that are once in a lifetime or a rare opportunity. If they do appear don’t punish yourself about going off budget too much. Life is short and sometimes its worth it. You just need to be mindful of what is worth going off plan for or aiming to have enough set aside for when unexpected opportunities pop up.

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Life Admin: Changes I’m making in 2019

The start of the year is great to evaluate your life and decide on the changes that you want to make this year. I spoke about this in yesterdays post ‘my personal finance goals for 2018‘. I spoke about my monthly budget and how I plan on utilizing it so that I can save money and get my finances in order.

I have a couple of things that I am going to change within my budget so that I can save more money and are due for a little reshuffle. Some of these are going to take a little time to change and I’m hoping to have them done by June so that I can really get my saving on for the rest of the year.

Changing my car

I’ve been talking about doing this for a little while now. About two years ago I got a call from the dealership that I had bought my car from saying ‘oh did you know that you could have a brand new car for the same amount you’re paying for the car you have now?’ and I jumped at the deal.

By doing this I swapped from paying a car on finance over four years to a PCP deal. This meant I got a brand new car and I essentially lease it for 3-4 years and then either hand the car back at the end and start a new agreement or buy the car with the outstanding balance. I wont be able to afford the outstanding balance, I think its close to £15,000 and my car payment is £300 a month. I chose a car that was my dream car (a convertible mini cooper) but I don’t actually drive that often. My almost three year old car has only 8,000 miles on it!

I’ve loved having my little car the past couple years but I must admit I wish I had kept my old one as it would have been paid off by now and I wouldn’t have to worry about a monthly car payment! PCP is a good deal if you have the budget for it but right now I’d rather focus on saving money for a house deposit and get rid of my credit cards. I’m going to hand in my car once it has had its MOT in April and put a deposit down on a cheaper car on finance with a monthly payment of around £150 meaning that I’ll save about £150 a month – I’ll put this directly into my savings and once I have my credit cards paid off I’m going to try and pay the car off early.

Switch to sim-only

I’ve had my phone contract nearly two years and its due for renewal soon. Within the two years the price of my contract has went up from £55 to £71. I have a high data allowance and unlimited calls and texts and I like having the peace of mind that I never have to pay for extra as I never go over my limits but my contract is still so high. I like the phone that I currently have and its in perfect condition so I’m going to swap to sim only when my contract is finished so that I am paying for my plan and not a new phone which will hopefully save me some money.

Clearing out my closet

Even though I do sell some things on eBay I am a clothes hoarder. In the past I’ve generally just sold things on eBay when I know that I’m going to be a little tight with money that month. I have wedding outfits from three years ago that I’m never going to wear (or probably fit into) again. I’m going to have a purge this weekend of everything that I know I don’t need no matter how much it pains me to part with some dresses, I’ll still have the memories of wearing them without them taking up space in my cupboard.

What life admin are you taking part in 2019?

Hello 2019: My personal finance goal for the year

How sick are you of the inspiring quotes being shared about it being a ‘new year, new beginning’ on Instagram and Facebook? I’m not going to lie, every time I scroll past a post going on about leaving 2018 in the past and talk of new chapters I want to scream. It’s not peoples fault really, its lovely that they have optimism for the year ahead but for me its a glaring reminder that ill be bringing something with me into the new year that I simply cannot wish away: my debt.

I’ve already planned my budget for the year and as long as I stay on budget Ill be halfway to my goal of living debt free by the end of next year. As much as I’m proud of myself for taking the time to plan my budget out and set my goal to fix my finances, whenever I look at my plans it makes me sad and ashamed that I put myself in the situation in the first place. If I hadn’t mismanaged my money in the first place I would be setting goals for the future and not paying off my past.

So my ‘resolution’ for this year is to stick with the plan that I’ve already set in motion. Don’t be too hard on myself when I have a slip up and work towards the goal of being debt free in (not by) 2020.

My plan of attack on my finances for this year is:

  • Follow a set monthly budget for my bills and savings with a set weekly allowance for day to day life.
  • Trying out ‘no spend days’ and ‘no spend weeks’ to grow savings from my weekly allowance.
  • No more credit card purchases. I used my credit card for some presents over Christmas but they are now out of my purse and into my jewelry box to avoid temptation.
  • The snowball method for my debt. I’m working on a bigger post on the snowball method but in a nutshell I’ll start paying off the smallest debts off in whole whilst paying the minimums on my other ones until I’m left with one to work on bringing down to zero.
  • Hustle, hustle and more hustle. I’m booking overtime in at my regular job, clearing out my closet on eBay for cash, learning how to monetize my blog and looking at and trying out other ways to make money online.

Weekly Tweak: Cut the cards out

This is the first post in a series that I will be featuring in which I share one small tweak that I have made to my budget/life to positively impact my finances. Some may seem like common sense and others you may have never realized impacted your budget. Let me know if you incorporate these tweaks into your life and if they help you! now back to the topic at hand..contactless debit and credit cards!

The contactless card

When this feature came out I was initially skeptical. What if someone stole my card and went on a shopping spree? I considered calling my bank and asking for it to be disabled and then I tried it. One easy little tap against the card machine and that was it. I loved it. Then the problem at hand was myself going on shopping sprees. That item in the shops that I didn’t really need or had planned on buying? Tap, over budget. That second bottle of wine when I had spent the money I had taken to the pub? Tap, over budget. I could list a hundred examples of times that I tapped away money from my budget that I didn’t need to spend and probably just as many on my credit cards that made my budget that bit more tighter.

Contactless is a great little feature that makes checking out when shopping that much easier. When you’re in a rush and want home, tap. No fussing about finding the right change or going to the bank before shopping. It takes away the mindfulness of your budget though. Out of sight, out of mind.

swapping to a cash budget

I told myself and others for so long that I preferred paying with card and didn’t like carrying cash. What if I lost my purse or if it was stolen? its easier to cancel a card if it does happen and there’s a bigger chance of getting the money back from my bank or card provider.This reasoning didn’t factor in my overspending though and sometimes you can be your own worst enemy.

Within my budget now I stick to cash only. I have removed my credit cards from my purse. I do keep my bank card in it for emergencies or if I need to withdraw money that I have planned to take out. I set out my budget for the month the day that I get my payslip. Calculating my outgoings (bills, credit payments etc) and the amount I’m putting into savings or special events and then I am left with the money that I divide into either a 4 or 5 week allowance depending on the way my salary is coming as I get paid on the last Thursday of the month so it can vary.

Since I get paid on a Thursday I have it set that its my day to claim my allowance. I take out the money that I have sectioned off for that week and put it into my purse. If I have money remaining from the week before I put it into my change jars. If I have any purchases that I need to make online I plan these ahead and adjust my cash budget accordingly.

I’ve been doing my weekly budget this way since November and I wont pretend like there hasn’t been some slip ups but when I do I give myself a shake and remember my goal. Its also built up my little savings jars which I will be using to boost my holiday spending money. My aim this year is to start trying no spend days and weeks as to boost my savings jars and not overspend on things I don’t need. Carrying cash is just as easy as using my contactless card no matter how long I tried to convince myself otherwise. It also adds in the possible surprise of finding a £5 note that you put in your pocket when leaving the shop instead of your purse that you forgot about!

How do you work your everyday/weekly spends? Do you like using card or cash? if its card do you find it easy to keep track and not go over budget? Let me know in the comments below.

Personal finance dictionary: FIRE

What does FIRE mean?

Fire stands for Financial Independence/Retire early. It is generally split into the two terms as some people strive for one side and not the other. FIRE is a flexible term for people who have the goals of having enough money to be:

  • financially independent to live the lifestyle that they want without worrying about money.
  • mortgage & debt free.
  • financially stable enough to retire early IF they choose to do so. Not everyone who aims for FIRE wants to retire immediately. Rather they would like to have the ability to choose to work rather than have to work.