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.
A couple of days ago I reviewed August’s spending and surmised that I need to do better with dining out. Then I promptly went out and spent £72.05 on dim sum, tons of Prosecco, an excellent cappuccino & Baileys as well as a below average burger. I really need to cut back on dining out and eat more meals at home. So I went to the grocery store to get ingredients that I love individually and hopefully create some tasty yet healthy meals that would prevent me from dining out and hopefully help me lose some weight.
I was torn between reviewing August and reviewing how frugal my recent Berlin trip was. The August review won because I really need to get a handle on my spending for the rest of the year. This month was super important for two reasons. Firstly, it’s been a year since I started tracking my spending and trying to control my money. Secondly, I was able to make a decision (since I now have savings) to go home to see my ill dad albeit for only 3 days. How did August go?
I’m at home today, the third and final day of an emergency trip home to visit my dad who’s not had the best of health this 2017. I’ve been grateful that I could come and visit at short notice and that all my siblings showed up this weekend to visit me. It’s the first time since November 2014 that we’ve all been in the same place and I feel nothing but love and gratitude for this opportunity. There’s a small downside, however! My flights here will take up 12 hours by the time I get back to London and I’d have only spent about 24 quality hours with my dad before I leave. It’s only because I’m currently beholden to work and could not, in good conscience, abandon my colleagues for longer than this whilst we were in the middle of the most important phase of our delivery cycle. So, this morning I woke up and just had to make another attempt at a FIRE PLAN.
In October, I evaluated how being more intentional could help me become luxuriously thrifty. I don’t know whether minimalism, intentionality and thrift are always intertwined. It’s certainly been the case that since I started reading personal finance blogs, I’ve also started reading and/or following bloggers that include articles on minimalism and intentional living. At the heart of it, the FIRE movement mandates intentionality since it promotes spending in line with your values and that requires some deliberate decisions.
Work has been busy or my time management has been very poor over the last couple of weeks. I think it’s more the latter. This is the first morning that I’ve woken up feeling rested and the first time I’ve had a bit of time to relax and do important stuff this week. I won’t lie, I’m very excited about some of July’s numbers so let’s get into those.