I want to do better. It seems a bit pointless to write post after post in this vein but I really want to do better and there is currently a disconnect. When I first started this financial journey, I was in a dire state. I had no savings. I had over £30,000 of debt and was unsure about how much I owed. I didn’t have a place to stay because I was subletting my room to pay the bills. I had a frayed relationship with my family because they were tired of my irresponsible behaviour and frivolous spending. My 2 closest friends were barely speaking to me. I’d lost my girlfriend. My life was fraught with the direct consequences of poor financial decisions. It was kind of easy to make changes because I needed to change to survive. One year on, things are better, more stable and there isn’t a burning need to change further.
My financial knowledge was eerily shoddy in the past
I just found some tracking that I attempted to do in 2015 when I first realised that I was on a sinking ship and the cupfuls of water I was bailing out would no longer suffice. Here’s how bleak my life used to be 2 and a half years ago
The last week of September was weird because I busted my knee and ankle and had to spend the better part of a week resting, icing and elevating my left leg at home. I didn’t see many people or do many things and I got lulled into a false sense of [spending] security. Today, I went through the books and here are the findings on my spending last month:
So a few days ago I decided to do my best to reverse the crush of my overspending. I set out to side-hustle, drink only water/black tea, eat home-made or free food 85% of the time, walk or cycle everywhere and try to rack up the no-spend days with an overall goal of raising my savings rate till it hurts. Here’s a review of how the first 7 days went.
I need to pay rent in a few days and I haven’t got the money in my current account. I have done some side-hustling recently and am owed enough money to cover the difference. I also loaned someone £350. However, that’s not the only spending I’ve done. I’ve really done some serious damage via my food and socialising categories.
I was lucky enough to take a city break in Berlin a couple of weeks ago. My mate’s a nanny and gets time off when her “family” is away. She happened to be going to Frankfurt so we tacked on our first visit to Berlin – a city that has been in the top 5 of my travel list for a few years now. Here’s a breakdown of what we did and how much the trip cost me.
Yesterday, I opened and read an article by Mindfully Spent about the power of habit. She talks about how, as a naturally erratic person, it’s taken her a while to build good habits and the impact those habits have had on her financial status. ‘A while’ was about 6 weeks. She successfully stopped paying for parking, cut back on buying coffee and started planning and prepping meals in advance. It apparently took her around 6 weeks to achieve these goals. She said, and I quote:
How did I know that I’d made a real change? My whole mindset about paid parking shifted. Now, the cost savings and the extra exercise I get when I use free parking feels like a reward. There have been one or two days when I thought I might have to pay, and I dreaded the idea. Once a mindless convenience, the expense of parking now feels like a horrible waste.