Finally, after years of overspending on things I could not afford, resulting in personal debt. It has now clicked in my head that my poor financial situation is my own damn fault.
So, what am I going to do about it? As far as I can see, I have two options;
Option A) Cry like a baby about my financial situation of which I have no control and hope and pray I win the lottery.
Option B) Wake up, accept responsibility and change my spending / saving habits, take control of the situation to achieve financial security.
Well, I have been living under Option A for the past 5 years, when my financial situation changed significantly, which, in turn made my situation must worse because I spent money to ‘make myself feel better’. I think I can safely say, Option A was a failure.
So I am going to give Option B a try. I have to admit a ‘No Buy’ year scares the S**t out of me, but I feel the ‘low buy’ is achievable. So now all I need to do is be clear, and I mean crystal clear on the rules I need to live by. If I don’t have clear rules, I am likely to talk myself into interpreting non-essential items as ‘bloody critical’ to my life.
Below is a list of categories, I will be applying my rules to.
Well we all know food is essential, but there are things I buy which are expensive and non-essential, i.e. does not add to my nutrition / health in any way. One example is a cereal made by Nature’s Path. In recent months I have been eating this cereal as a snack, at £3 for a small box, I only get about 3-4 bowls out of it. I would say I buy about 3 boxes a week. So I’m not allowing myself to buy these anymore. I have reverted back to making my own Vegan Brown Rice Pudding for breakfast, it’s cheaper, healthier and pretty tasty too.
I do tend to treat myself to a very amount of vegan chocolate quite regularly, either Livia’s Cookie Dough Nugglets or Doisy & Dam Maca, Vanilla & Cacao Nibs bar of chocolate from Boots or more recently ‘Enjoy’ from Asda, at £1.50 to £1.99 per bar (and they are very small) a couple of times a week, this could potentially save me £208 per year.
The Key to my success is not going to Boots for my lunches, but to take my own to work.
As someone who would ‘treat’ myself to new ‘smellies’, always looking for the ultimate product that will make me look 10 years younger, to make people say things like ‘Oh my God, you look Amazing, what’s your secret’ (that’s never happened by the way). My new rule is to use what products I have and only when a product runs out, I can then purchase a new one.
In terms of make up, I am not a big make up purchaser, but my favourite foundation is about to run out, but I have another bottle of a ‘not so favourite’ foundation, so, under my new rules, I am going to use that until the bottle is empty.
I love buying things for my home, and I have my eye on a few things that will create more space for me and make my life a little easier. I am not totally writing these off (yet). I have wrote a list what I will allow myself to buy over the course of the year, these include things like collapsible colander, collapsible cups (for taking smoothie / protein shakes to work). They are a relatively small cost and I want to get rid of some clutter in my cupboards and make room in my backpack when walking home from work.
Buses / Taxis
I do usually walk to / from work, but recently have been getting a lot of taxi’s to and from work. This is going to stop, I am only getting a taxi if I have a heavy amount to carry to or from work, which should only be once weekly absolute maximum. At £3.50 each way, this is a significant saving I can make over the year.
Starting my recent hobby of crystal healing has cost me quite a bit of money, as I started to build up my crystal collection. I do have a list of crystals I want to purchase, and may choose 3 or 4 I will allow myself to buy in 2020.
My other hobby is reading, I have made a good effort recently to stop buying books. I have come to the conclusion I have enough books for now, some of which I have not read, and some I want to read again. Basically, I have enough books to last me an entire year (and beyond). If I feel like I really want a book to read, I am going to see if I can get it from the local library, rather than purchase. I have been wanting to purchase ‘The Untethered Soul’ by Michael Singer, my local library does not have it (shame on them). It is a little under £10 on Amazon, but I have just purchased in PDF format from Ebay for £1.12 I am very happy with this, it not only saves me money but I don’t have yet another book cluttering my home. Although, if I really really like the book and feel I will read again and again, I will purchase a hard copy. The old me would have just purchased a hard copy, so I’ve just given myself a little pat on the back!
I really have very little money for entertainment anyway, but on the occasion I have ventured into the city, I have spent between £60-£100. And on one occasion last year I actually lost £200 cash, my own fault I was suppose to put it in the bank, it was a new lodger’s deposit. I didn’t make it to the bank, had been drinking and I obviously got careless because I lost it. I felt like crying at the time, £200 to me is a lot of money, it took me a few weeks to stop getting upset about it and was a lesson learnt.
I will allow myself some money for entertainment, I am only going to go into town once or twice in 2020, I will go out locally, no more than once every 8 weeks to a local pub with cheap food and beer.
There are nights out I have to take into account like someone’s birthday, mother’s day, father’s day etc. I don’t want to be a complete misery.
As someone who used to spend way too much on clothing (I love clothes), this has changed considerably over recent months, so you could say I have been ‘prepping’ for my no / low spend. I have on several occasions restrained from purchases, this is a massive shift for me, as someone who has always felt like a ‘kid in a sweet shop’ whenever I enter a clothing store.
Now, the thing is I do feel like I ‘need’ clothes right now, but am managing with what I have, I do feel like I wear the same things all of the time, but I don’t care. There is one purchase I do need to make, my boots I use to walk to / from work are a little worse for wear, I am actually embarrassed wearing them, so I do need to purchase a new pair, especially with the prospect of snow and ice pending early in 2020.
So, this isn’t exactly a ‘no buy’ year, more of a ‘low buy’ year. I do want to turn my finances around and this will be my motivation. I have released my own limiting beliefs around finances, beliefs that I am destined to struggle financially, that I always have and always will. My new belief, is that I can create financial freedom and abundance, I have the power to do this. The only thing preventing me from achieving financial security up to this point, is my actions / behaviours. Now, my new intention is that my actions / behaviours will support my financial growth. My goal is to save £3000 by the 1st January 2021, this is very ambitious for me, but believe I can achieve this with my new mindset.