January Goals

In 2019, I started saving for some expensive things, a boiler, a new car and for private school fees (Annabelle will start High School in 2023!). For a long time, Andy and I just lived with the things we had because they worked, a clunky back boiler, old fashioned wallpaper (that came with the house) and a car where I couldn’t open or close my windows or lock the doors from the driver’s side. I started cutting out things from my daily spending and found that I actually enjoyed the feeling of saving money.

I am now on a mission to save at least £200 a month and thought it would be helpful to set some January Goals in order to keep me on track. I think I will set a new list every month so I don’t feel like I am depriving myself of anything for a full year!

  • No takeaway coffees – This happened by accident in 2019 as I would avoid buying takeaway coffees if I didn’t have my reusable cup. I then began realising how much I was saving by waiting to go home and eat/drink there instead and before I knew it, I had gone months without buying anything from Starbucks.
  • No Clothes – When I started going to the gym in June, I avoided buying clothes as my body was changing. I do need some new trousers and jeans but I am putting this off for this month, and probably til mid March as I have just joined an exercise focus group and want to make a conscious effort to achieve my fitness goal of losing my love handles. Until then, it would be a waste of money to buy clothes that are only going to fit for the next few weeks.
  • No makeup or skincare – My biggest weakness is spending money at Cult Beauty and Space NK! I love eyeshadow, lipstick and cleansers. I would happily spend £100 on cosmetics but I add and then delete the same clothes from my online basket over and over again. In my recent Black Friday blog post I mentioned that I have unsubscribed from a ton of company emails to avoid temptation. I still find this tough as I see lots of ads from these companies on social media but I now have two strategies to combat this:
  • Visualise my working hours – I read online that a good way to avoid buying things was to remove the urgency and see if you still wanted it a month later. This never works for me as I have wanted a Louis Vuitton handbag for the last three years so by this theory, my bank account would definitely be £1k lighter at this point. Instead, I find it easier to work out how many hours/days I would have to work in order to save up the money for this item. So far, this has helped to dissuade me from buying a new laptop, trainers and makeup on offer in the Christmas/January sales.
  • Set a goal – I have two big savings goals, private school fees for the children and a new house. I am tempted to print off a picture of the house I want to buy and the logo of the school I would like my children to go to and to laminate it and stick it in my planner. I can then visualise these two goals when I feel the urge to buy something.

Do you have any goals for January and are you saving for anything in 2020? Bx

No to Black Friday but no cold turkey either!

I have found Black Friday to be a major disappointment this year. I was hoping to pick up a few bargains, but everything I wanted was excluded from the sales. I bought a few Christmas presents for others but compared to last year, I showed a lot of self restraint (On a side note, I think the offers were so much better last year – or is that just me??). It got me thinking, however about what I am spending my money on and why I am actually buying ‘things’.

black fridayI realised that a lot of the time, I have been buying things I like just because they are on offer. I don’t actually need the goods, I just like them. I then remembered this feeling I had when I was on a coach in Greece. I observed the locals, especially the older generation who seemed to live a simpler life. This is by no means an insult. They just seemed happier with less. It made me crave a life where I didn’t want to buy designer handbags, expensive trainers or a brand new laptop.

I have tried to make changes in my life to be more minimalist. I have reduced the quantity of clothes I buy, to the point where I actually need to buy more T-shirts and jeans! So many of mine have have holes in or are unsightly faded from washing.

I am also thinking about the environmental impact of buying less, especially in Black Friday sales. For example, I have made some eco swaps around the home including using soap instead of hand wash, choosing refillable products in glass jars or buying biodegradable/compostable alternatives eg. toddler wipes.

The first step I have made is to UNSUBSCRIBE. The temptation is lessened if I am not aware of the daily promotions in my inbox. I am also less exposed to new products this way, as I am sent a lot of emails saying, ‘Have you tried this?’ as a result of previous purchases.

I am keen to spend less in December but I am obviously worried about going cold turkey (quite apt for the festive season!). I am toying with the idea of a monthly system where I can set a limit to treats for myself. I am not sure of how much that should be but I will definitely let it roll over, so say it was £20 per month but I didn’t redeem it in January, I would have £40 to use in February. I think this would be more achievable than going ‘without’ for a month and then splurging later and spending triple as a result.

What do you think, have you tried ‘no spend’? Did it work and if so, for how long? Bx