So I started the challenge as a way to try and get some stability back into my finances – and see where my money was escaping most often.
The first few days haven’t been as hard as I thought they might – I’ve bought food within reason, had dinner out with Lou and Julia (2 of 3 allowed for June, oops) and resisted buying all manner of bits and pieces I’d usually have bought without thinking.
Among these were Computer Arts Branding bookazine (£15.00), various fabrics at the Range (£8.50/metre so at least £17 saving), Fiji water because it was in a pretty bottle and umpteen small and ultimately useless things from exhibitions I’ve been to.
Have also resisted buying the $100 Startup book, although this I may give in to before the end of the 100 days.
I have acquired a bike and all the trappings, which I will collect next Sunday, and Mum bought me breakfast out at the weekend – which doesn’t count! The bike is going to help me stay healthy and get to the station faster (therefore possibly to work on time? A girl can dream…)
And instead of buying, I will be borrowing the infamous Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy from Em at the weekend. I am highly reluctant to read these, as I hate jumping on literary bandwagons, I’m conscious it started as a Twilight fanfic (and I’ve never been able to get into Twilight) and I keep being told there’s no plot, just sex scenes… but I’m also curious to know what all the hype is about. The most unlikely people tell me they sit up all night reading it – so I’ll have a nose and see. Might even review them if they’re worth it!
Whoops… have just checked my bank accounts on the way to work. One is overdrawn, one is down to its last £10, and I still have £206 I have to spend on train tickets this month, quite aside from anything else.
There has obviously been the rally, which is why the savings account is down to its last £10 – I shall be transferring some more to cover the flights which are due to be paid off my credit card on 9 October, and then I really shall be knuckling down to not spending so much and getting my finances back on track.
This month has been a bit daft – aside from the trip, I’ve bought a couple of ponies and a few bits for the house, and done my usual ridiculous spending on magazines, plus stocked up on cosmetics and toiletries, and my Asda shop replenished loads of storecupboard staples I’d run out of like sauces, marinades, oils, spices etc. October will be better 🙂
So parts of Project Thrifty Chic, which I touched on briefly a few weeks ago shall begin in earnest! I have already embarked on meal planning, sat down on my return from the rally and decided that as well as helping my budget, planning food would also help my health and enable me to experiment with new recipes – I love to cook but the constraints of my job and the lack of time I have in the evenings mean I often fall back on making the same old food time after time.
My fridge and freezer are full, my slow cooker is bubbling away at home as I speak (ragu sauce for lasagne tonight) and the dinner I was meant to go out for this evening has been put back to next month as we’re all busy and broke. So, you know, at least I’m in good company! Work lunches are what usually do my budget in, but I have cheese and butter in the fridge, so am going to buy myself some bread and crisps and make my sandwiches. From a health point of view I’m bringing cereal to work in the mornings, and I aim to stop buying so much chocolate too – they’re all small costs but they really add up. I’m also not going shopping again till the end of the month – I have plenty to keep me occupied in the evenings and at the weekends.
There’s only one more weekend left between me and payday and it shouldn’t be too costly as I’m going down to see my godmother with my parents, the MR2 is due an oil change on Sunday, but Dad usually pays for the oil & filter. Worst case scenario I’ll put it on my credit card and sort it out in December. The intention is to have a really good October and a well planned November, then I’ll be out of overdraft and able to pay for my car insurance without too many issues in December. Christmas this year is going to be less about the gifts and cards and more about spending time with my family and making a donation to Woking Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Care in memory of Nick, who they helped so much before he died.
I love the independence of adult life and living alone, but the financial side can be the teensiest bit stressful! But life is too short to get down about it – I’ll just tighten my belt a bit and sort it. I always think that good money management is not never going over your means, but knowing when you’ve exceeded them and taking measures to bring yourself back into the black.