Money Wise Talks 13/01/2022

Welcome back to another weekly Money Wise Talks!

Thirteen days into the New Year and my motivation is still pretty high, how about yours?

This month I am doing a No Spend Month and I have been recording:

1) Days I don’t spend

2) Days I spend but within budget (e.g. food and petrol)

3) Out of budget spends, basically things out side of the budget. 

So far, I have 9 no spend days, 3 days where I’ve spent in budget and 1 day out of budget. The spend out of budget is when I bought my daughter a swimming bag for school, so not a naughty spend, but not a planned one either! At least it’s not a takeaway anyway lol!

I am also doing a No Alcohol Month in January, which I’ve made a new tracker for (as always, the trackers I use are made by me and can be downloaded here for free). Tag me in them on Instagram when you use them, I’d love to support you!

This month so far, I can confirm NO ALCOHOL HAS YET BEEN CONSUMED.

I must advise though, I’m not a huge fan of drinking on my own and thanks to covid my diary is pretty empty so these days my consumption of alcohol is much lower. I still have those days where I want to reach out for a glass of bubbly when unwinding and have had a few urges so far this month. But I’ve been very good, so far 😊

I set my goals for January in last weeks post, but a few days ago I decided to add a new one which was to build up my Emergency Fund to £3000. I did some what pluck this figure from the sky but as my car costs in 2021 were in excess of £2k, I thought £3k would give me a bigger piece of mind. It’s great that I don’t use my car for my main job anymore, as I work from home, but I do use it for my courier job (second job) so it’s really important to keep it on the road.

I already have £500 in the Emergecy Fund. I could have paid it towards my car repairs and the credit card but when the £’s kept adding up, I just put the full car repairs amount on the credit card and left the small balance in the emergency fund.

You’re probably wondering why I haven’t used the rest of my emergency fund. My current emergency fund is a Help to Save (HTS) account, so if I withdrew it, I’d lose the bonus which is 50 % of the balance at the end of the term, so it’s amazing really when compared to other saving accounts paying 0.01%. I plan to continue my regular monthly payments into the HTS account (£50 is the maximum you can pay in each month) and then put the rest in a cash ISA.

I plan to have my Emergency fund completed by March 2022. This is because instead of overpaying on debt, I am going to put all spare funds in there. Here’s my new emergency fund tracker.

AND I have been given the opportunity to make extra money at my new permanent job! As I’m now a permanent member of staff, I’m now eligible to do overtime, so I immediately signed up and completed 8 hours last Saturday at DOUBLE TIME!

I did 4 hours in the morning, had a lovely afternoon with my daughter and did 4 hours after I dropped her off at my parents. I am hoping to do overtime every Saturday as long as it’s on, because it’s such good money! I don’t even mind working 7 days for a while because I know it will get me to my goal quicker.

It’s even made me think I can bring my Debt Free Date forward from July 2023 at the rate I’m going but we’ll see!!

All this ‘work’ hasn’t allowed much time for reading but I’m not going to try and do too much. There’s no point in putting pressure on myself when I’m doing so much anyway.

I did want to do record my first YouTube channel vlog this month and it’s coming, I promise!

I started to film it last Friday but then found so many excuses to why I couldn’t use it – the light was too dark, I look so tired, I feel silly, no one will watch it anyway so I ended up deleting it! I think the ‘other’ Heidi was definitely trying to sabotage me. I think I’ll be fine once I do my first one. Like I was when I did my first reel on Instagram – that was hilarious!!

What I have Spent This Week

£15.50 Daughters swimming bag

£30.07 Petrol

£43.96 Birthday and New Home present (Birthday Sinking Fund)

£3.05 Greggs

£6.00 Funsters

£11.00 Tesco food shopping, cover in full by Tesco vouchers (not included)

Total £98.58

I knew my food costs would be low in January and that’s because we are still eating through the huge shop I did just before Christmas where I spend £250! And with my food and petrol budget being £30 each a week, the other costs like the bag, Greggs and Funsters just came out of that instead of other money. So in my mind I’m still in budget.

This week I found out loads about shopping apps, like Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Asda. If you download their apps onto your phone and you forget you points card, they can scan your phone – I never knew this! Also, when I downloaded the Tesco app last week, I saw I had £11.00 of vouchers ready to use, which was fab because I usually have to remember to go online and print them off. It was so easy to use aswell (I’m not being paid to promote Tesco’s app, I just think it’s great!).

Let me know you think about shopping apps in the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Money Wise Talks 6/01/2022

Happy New Year!!

I absolutely love the start of a New Year! The Christmas break for us is usually quiet and although we try and see friends and family (when covid allows), its usually just me on a night time and I love it!

Well, it’s something I’ve gotten use to anyway. I usually spend that time catching up on films and Netflix, doing jigsaws, reading, thinking about what the future holds and planning my next move. If you know me personally, you’ll know I’m ALWAYS planning. I can’t help it and do secretly love it 😊.

This last week I wrapped up 2021 and starting planning 2022.

I have set my goals for 2022 and made them SMART. If you need some help in settings goals, I have a post that may help you – Setting goals.

I’ve have also set my monthly goals for January, which are;

  • No spend month in January
  • No alcohol for January
  • Read/finish reading one book
  • Post six blog posts
  • Post first YouTube Video

I have not set a goal for paying off debt this month only because I am going from weekly pay to monthly pay so don’t want to over pay to much to debt and then leave myself short. I am also not 100 % what money I will get until I have my first pay check either.

I spent a little time over the Christmas break looking at reducing my outgoings and cancelling any subscriptions we don’t use anymore. This week so far I have cancelled;

  • Amazon prime subscription £7.99
  • Swimming lessons £25.00
  • Reduced Sky from £90 to £55 (this was by the removal of Disney plus, HD, Sky Cinema and Box Sets as my contract was up 1/1/2022)

I have saved £815.88 so far this year just by reviewing my subscriptions!

I urge everyone to do this at least every year and every time a contract comes to the end. You can save a fortune just by making a few phone calls and/or cancelling some payments.

I still want to look at broadband so that’s my plan for this next week.

Both the No Spend Month and No Alcohol Month are going GREAT with nothing spent or drank so far this year!! Go check out the trackers that you can download for free and join me!

What I Have Spent This Week

£12.26 Subway

£2.42 Food shopping

£30.01 Petrol

£35.00 Boots Hairdryer

Total £76.69

That’s a much better week compared to the weeks before Christmas. There’s nothing like the start of a New Year to get those motivation levels up!

And yes you’re reading right, my shopping bill was only £2.42 this week because I received £40.00 food vouchers from school. I will do another post about this in more detail, just incase it helps anyone else. But until then, if you have any questions you’d like to ask me, please put a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer them.

I replaced the hairdryer that blew up just before Christmas. I was going to use my points I’d earnt at Boots and a voucher and annoyingly I completely forgot to use them. I didn’t have the face to go back in and return it to buy it again as the voucher was only for £5. I was kicking myself though, £5.00 is £5.00 at the end of the day. The hairdryer was the cheapest in the shop but the diffuser looked as good as all the other ones, even those priced at over £100 and when I tried it out, it didn’t disappoint!

I also had Boxing-day off at my courier job but was back to it on 2 January 2021 with a nice and easy 80 parcels.

80 parcels = £80 (gross)

I’ve had some lovely messages on Instagram from people who have started to deliver for Hermes off the back off my Instagram posts and reading my post about ‘A New Side Hustle – Being A Courier’.

I only work on a Sunday but it’s something I really enjoy. I love the fact I can take my daughter with me so I don’t have to worry about sorting childcare. I download her a film, take some snacks and a colouring book and she is happy as she could be for the couple of hours I deliver for. And I use all the money I earn from this job towards my debt.

Being a courier is just a perfect job for any parents, especially single parents that may have childcare issues outside of school hours.

Let me know what your goals are for this year.

Have a great week!

Money Wise Talks 30/12/2021

In a flash that’s it – Christmas is now over!

It’s almost the New Year and soon we’ll be back to school and work.

Christmas this year has been the happiest I have been in a long time. Even though my hair dryer blew up and the oven door broke lol.

Since I left banking and a career I loved very much, I have drifted around whilst getting a degree but never really settled on a job I liked. I thought teaching was the answer, especially as a single parent. I mean all those holidays that teachers get and not having to find childcare outside of term time for 13 weeks a year, really sold it to me.

However, teachers don’t really get those holidays or anything close. To be honest, in the nine years my daughter has been born and since I became a teacher, I have never worked so much in my life. I was so unhappy. Don’t get me wrong, I am a hard worker, always have been but when you chose a career thinking you will get more time with your kid to find you have no time for them, things had to change.

Last Christmas, I was a teacher, unhappy, stressed and spent no time with my daughter.

This Christmas, I’m no longer teaching and I’ve found an amazing new job. Even though I only had one week off instead of two, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it! I didn’t forget to move the Elf on the Shelf once, I’ve spent time with my daughter, my parents, my stress levels are zero and life is just bliss.

My advice to anyone out there that’s unhappy in their job, please look into changing it. No job is worth your health. Even if that means having to go back to school. I left banking and started a full time course at university when my daughter was two years old. It’s easier than you think to study when you have young children. I found it more difficult as she got older.

Confession Time!

I did NOT need to buy my daughter more presents for Christmas!

There I’ve said it! If you remember from my Money Wise Talks 9/12/21 post , I spoke openly about feeling guilty that I’d not bought her enough because as her presents are getting more expensive there was less to open. Stupid really, but it’s so hard to ignore those feelings that tell you you’re a bad parent! If anyone has any tips for me, please let me know.

What I ended up doing was buying her some clothes to bulk out the number of presents she received. I would have bought her clothes in January anyway because she has out grown hers so I thought I would bring it forward to satisfy my feelings of not getting enough.

This is something I’m going to work on this next year because I know I’m a good mum. In fact, I am the best mum I can be. It’s just annoying that occasionally my feelings make me think otherwise.

Goals for 2022

I have set my goals now for 2022 and have a post on setting ‘End of Year Goals if you need some direction.

I have decided I need to be more specific in setting my goals, especially when it comes to getting out of debt. For the last few years, I have always said at the start of every year, “I’ll be debt free this year” and it’s not happened. Probably because I had no plan of how I was going to get there. Maybe, unconsciously I didn’t really want to find out the actual debt free date knowing it would be so far away in the future and that it would make me feel deflated. What I found out this Christmas though is how deflated I was by not knowing.

After crunching the numbers, my debt free date is July 2023.

I feel sad that it’s so far away, but this is based on my current income and being able to pay £800 off every month. If I get the promotion I am planning on going for in 2022, I will be able to pay more. Fingers and toes crossed I get the promotion, I can increase my payments and can bring that date forward!

What I have spent this week:-

£35.78 B&Q (Pots and compost)

£15.44 McDonalds (two trips)

£22.30 Just Eat (Curry and Pizza)

£12.34 Marks & Spencer (Bedding)

£16.00 Dunelm (Bedding)

Total £101.86

For Christmas, I asked for some kitchen things, a true sign that I’m getting old. I still can’t believe how excited I was to find a yellow bread bin and funky dinner set from Sainsbury’s that I’d had my eye on since the Summer. All this excitement made me want to finish the kitchen off so I popped to B&Q to get pots and compost so I could replant the plants I have in the kitchen. I also received a £100 Marks and Spencer voucher so treated myself to some much needed pillows and bedding. I’m ashamed to say I’ve had the same pillows and bedding for 16 years and they have definitely seen better days! Frugal living or just gross?!

I put them on my bed last night and the pillows were so plump, it was like being in a hotel. I also treated my daughter to a new duvet and pillow set – Hers was only 2 years old but had fairies on, which apparently is for younger girls now 😊

A couple of naughty takeaways just because I couldn’t be bothered to cook. We still have lots of food in the house from the huge shop I did a few weeks ago, so we will be eating that first before we go for another weekly shop. Apart from fresh bits for my daughters’ lunches when she starts back to school. But I’ll be doing a meal plan Saturday for the following week.

I will do a separate post to go through my 2022 goals, but I have decided not to do a no spend year. I will continue to track my expenses daily and aim for 25 no spend days in January.


Ahhhh I’m so excited and very nervous to announce, I am going to start a YouTube channel for The Money Wise Mum!!

This will start in January 2022 and will be to document the rest of my ‘getting out of debt journey’. I’m hoping this will give me the last push I need. You can subscribe here so you don’t miss my first and probably very awkward post.

July 2023 seems so far away so I need to make sure I stay motivated.

I hope it helps others too. I know watching my favourite You Tubers blogging about their debt pay off journey has helped me. It can be daunting having so much debt that you feel that there is no way out of it, especially as a single parent. But there is a way, it’s just usually a long and tiring one.

But we can do it together.

We got this! Here’s to a fabulous 2022!

And Happy New Year!


Setting End Of Year Goals

As the end of the year draws closer, it’s time to think about what I want to achieve in the next 12 months and beyond.

In previous years, I have always made a list of goals on New Years Eve and placed them in an envelope ready to open on New Years Eve the following year.

It’s something I have always done privately and never shared. But as sharing helps me to focus and keeps me accountable, I thought this time I’d share a goal with you and provide you with some tips on how you can go about planning your end of year goals too.

When I worked in the corporate world of banking, having a plan to achieve goals was fundamentally one of the most important tools you used. It underpinned future promotions, showing managers what you were capable of and gave you a pathway to help you achieve what you want. It can also be applied to personal goals, for example if you want to lose weight or retire.

We spoke about goal setting a lot in banking and from my early banking career I was shown that I should always keep my goals SMART.

SMART is an acronym for – Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. It’s used so you can see exactly what you need to do to achieve your goals.

It turns your dreams into reality

SMART is explained in more detail below;

S – Specific

Don’t just generalise and say I want to be debt free or I want a new job. Be more specific and write down exactly how you are going to achieve this.

For example, you may want to be debt free, get a new job or start a new business. You may even want to retire early.

  • Will you try and increase your income, if so, by how much?
  • Will you look for another job or start a side hustle?
  • Will you need to gain extra experience?
  • Are there people who could mentor you that you could contact?
  • Are there courses you could do to help you stand out from the crowd?
  • Will you need further education or qualifications?
  • What is your outstanding debt? If you want to pay it off in 2 years, how much will you need to pay off each month to reach your goal?

M – Measurable

How will you measure your progress? Weekly or monthly? And how will you track this? If you’re on a debt payoff journey, will you review it each time you’re paid? Or at the end/start of the month when all the bills are paid?

A – Attainable

Are your goals reachable in the time limit you give yourself? What are the limitations, if any? Is there something in your way to stop you? If you want to be debt free in a year, can you afford to make the monthly payments to make this happen, or do you need to earn more, review the budget or get another job? If you want to go for a new job, will you need to find childcare? And if so, could you afford it?

R – Relevant

Do your goals align with your long-term plans of what you want to achieve? If you want to be debt free, why? Is this so you can reduce your working hours, give up work or afford to buy a bigger house?

T – Timely

Set a realistic end date. If your end date is a few years away, it may be helpful to break it up into monthly and yearly updates so it keeps you motivated. There’s no point in saying you want to be debt free in 1 year if you don’t have enough disposable income to make overpayments. In this case, you’ll need to either earn more or extend the end date.

When setting goals;

1) Write down all the goals you want to achieve in your life.

You may find goals on your list you won’t realistically get to for years but put them down anyway. I always look at immediate goals and those I want to accomplish first, followed by those within five years and then ten years.

You may find you have a really long list and this is good!! Some goals may feel unachievable right now but that’s ok.

Put them where you can see them. I have a notice board in my bedroom so I see them as soon as I wake up in the morning.

2) Put the goals into categories

For example, if you have a number of goals linked to health, like drink more water, go to the gym and lose a stone put them all under a ‘health’ category. I have categories for my main job, my side hustles, health, debt, saving and investing.

3) Look at your list and highlight what you want to achieve the most/first.

You may find that goals on your list naturally follow each other. For example, if you’re paying off debt, need to save for a deposit and want to buy a house, these would in most cases naturally follow each other but that being said, there is nothing wrong with paying off debt and saving for a house at the same time. It all depends on individual circumstances.

4) Take your first goal and apply the SMART acronym.

5) Review your goals regularly and at least every year.

I always feel that my mind naturally wants to review my goals every year before the New Year starts, but you can do it whenever feels right for you. It’s ok for goals to change and for new ones to be added. It’s also ok to have a break and take some time away from the focus. I am a goal orientated person and like working towards something but not everyone is like this. It’s your journey and your life so you do what’s best for you.

Here is an example of one of my goals.

Goal: Debt free


I want to pay off £16,695.42 as soon as possible. I can afford £800 a month so it will take me 1 year and 7 months to pay off.

  • This calculation is worked out by £16,695.42 / £800 = 20.9 (months)
  • 20.9 / 12 = 1.74 years
  • If I can increase this payment to £1000 a month, it will take me 1 year 4 months
  • If I want to be debt free in 1 year, I need to pay £1391.29 a month (16,695.42/12 months).

I will do this by:-

  • Using all income earnt from; my courier job, Vinted sales, CMS (Child Maintenance Service) to pay towards the debt, this will be mostly be overpayments.
  • Reviewing the budget and cutting any expenses.
  • Once I start being paid monthly (from the end of January), I will be drawing food and petrol amounts out in cash for the entire month.
  • Take my cards out of my phone wallet and not carrying them at all times.
  • Continue to do no spend months through out the year.
  • Contribute to sinking funds monthly to avoid large expected bills, like MOT and vet bills.
  • Weekly meal planning
  • Daily spend tracking


Every month when I have made my three credit card payments, I will check the overall balance and add it to a spreadsheet so I can see the amount decreasing. This motivates me. I also post my progress to my Instagram page because I find the finance community inspires me to keep going.


£800 a month to debt is achievable on my current income. I have a plan in place to go for a promotion and plan to increase my emergency fund to £2000 first as a priority. My car cost this amount in 2021 in repairs which impacted my payments made towards debt so I don’t want that to happen again.

In January my income will be changing from weekly to monthly so I need to leave enough to cover this before making overpayments on debt.

My side hustle of being a courier has now become a second  job. But I can still do this without needing extra childcare because I take my daughter along with me.


Becoming debt free will allow me to buy a bigger house in a nicer area. Currently because of the debt payments, I am unable to borrow enough on a mortgage to achieve this.


One year 7 months, although seems forever away is achievable and is the worse case scenario. My debt free debt is July 2023.

I think it’s important not to be disheartened when you finally see the date (like I am). You will achieve your goals. Honestly, seeing that date makes me feel down but before I used SMART, I’d only made a generic goal of ‘being debt free in a year’ which when you look at what the monthly payment is to achieve this, it was an almost impossible task – almost, because nothing’s impossible, right?

It makes me a laugh a little that I have so many of these tools like SMART in my head but I never really applied them to my debt free journey. And I don’t even know why. Maybe I thought it motivated me more to feel I only had one year left of this incredibly hard debt pay off journey. But actually when I think about it, it makes me feel more sad at the end of the year when I haven’t reached my goal.

But now I have set a SMART goal and know my debt free date is July 2023.

And although it seems like forever away, its a goal that should be achieved based on my presumptions above. My debt free date of July 2023 is at the end of the day the worse case scenario. I’m always going to try and make it happen quicker, as I’m sure you all will too!

Good luck


Money Wise Talks 23/12/2021

The last Money Wise Talks post before Christmas!

As I said last week, excitement has been brewing in this house for over a week now and it’s ready to EXPLODE!

I’ve not yet broken up from my full time job yet which is a little strange as for the last few years of teaching and studying I have always had two weeks off for Christmas. But it’s been no problem at all, my daughter spent time watching all her programs on TV and generally chilled out, which in a normal week we don’t do much of and the lucky girl even had a few days out with my parents being completely spoiled – as always!

We are still watching a Christmas movie a day. Both old films and new. Two of my favourites this year are “The Boy Called Christmas” and “ELF”. The Boy Called Christmas is a magical film that brings back those lovely memories from my childhood. And the film Elf – well I have not laughed so much at a film as when I watched Elf. The part where he gets excited about seeing Santa is my favourite. Both are definitely worth a watch.

This last week money wise has been bad. I have my head completely in the sand with regard to what I’ve spent. I know I need to face it and by preparing this post I am forced to look at some of the damage. I don’t know how I get it so wrong. I know most of my spending is emotional – feeling I need to make it up to my daughter in gifts for the lack of her not having a dad in her life. I’m tight all year and then Christmas it goes out the window! Single parent guilt sucks!

This week I have spent lots of time thinking about my current debt position and how I feel about going into another year with debt hanging around my neck and to be honest it’s pretty depressing.

Yes I’m making progress

Yes my debt is going down

So why does it feel so urgh then?

I think it’s because this debt payoff journey has been going on so long. As I’ve mentioned before in my story, I have been focusing hard on paying this debt off since 2020 but really my journey started before that, just with less focus.

To focus on something intensively for a long period of time is mentally exhausting. That’s why I have so much admiration for people who take a little longer to pay off large amounts of debt. Even when compared to people who may have paid off a larger amount of debt but over a shorter period of time. That focus requires a real determination and strength. Sometimes I just don’t feel I have the fight for it anymore. And then the positive Heidi is like, no stick with it, go hell for leather this year and it will be your last!

But’s that what I said last year!

Car costs and a change of job – well career (not planned, but the best move I have ever made job wise) changed the projectory of my debt free journey. And with a few ‘mess ups’ along the way (completely expected) here I am with what I think is the same amount of debt I had mid 2021. I feel like the last six months of paying off debt has been for nothing.

So plans for 2022 are currently between – Stuff it V Go for it one last year!

Hopefully after Christmas, it will be the latter. I will sure update you all very soon!

Options currently include;

  • No spend year
  • No alcohol for a year
  • Cancel subscriptions – Sky, Disney plus
  • No investments, sinking funds
  • Cut up all cards including debit cards and only use cash
  • Get a promotion in full time job
  • All of the above

What have I spent this week?

£10.40 Snacks

£60.00 Cash out

£7.88 Macdonalds

£45.32 Home Bargain Teacher presents and stocking gifts

£26.92 Post Office posting cards

£5.38 Macdonalds

£249.16 Morrisons Christmas food shop, covid food shop- hoping it lasts till the end of January!

£42.61 Petrol

£10.99 Amazon Fish accessories

£113.46 Amazon Fish accessories

£3.69 Amazon treasure hunt cards

Total £575.81

I don’t even want to acknowledge that figure.

How many times is it ok to fail at something before it’s time to throw in the towel?

Asking for a friend.

Over this journey I have tried and am still trying to understand my own relationship with money. Whilst I love reading about other peoples stories about their own debt journey’s, I seem to miss the parts about it being bloody hard work! Or is it just me? I don’t think for one second I am the only one who finds paying off debt really hard so it must be that people miss that part out. But I want to share mine because as I’ve said before, its not all sunshine and lollipops. It’s emotional and draining whatever your situation, but even tougher doing solo.

I want to be the one at the end of 2022 who has no debt. I want to start the next part of the journey of saving, investing and buying property. I want to show other people out there – single parents, parents, young and old that paying off debt can be done on a low income. That financial success is available but the road towards it isn’t paying for courses or resources but good old fashioned hard work, focus, grit and determination.

We. Can. Do. This.

Whatever you’re doing this Christmas, stay safe and have a lovely break.


Money Wise Talks 16/12/2021


I’m starting to get really excited now – possibly caused by the decision to watch a least one Christmas film a night to get into the Christmas spirit!

And it’s working alright! I’ve never heard of there ever being a time when there was too much Christmas spirit. That wasn’t alcohol related anyway! Lol

I’m not sure why I’m so excited this year, but maybe because it feels so different to last year. My Christmas shopping is all done and wrapped. I’m not working every waking minute, completely stressed out and missing time with my daughter.

This week I received my official offer of a permanent job, the one I’ve been doing through an agency since September. I was successful at the interview the other week and have been waiting for references and checks to come back. My new start date is 4 January 2022.

What a way to start the New Year!

I have a really good feeling about this next year. I feel this is the year I will finally become debt free. It was my plan to become debt free by December 2021 but when I made this plan I had no plans to leave teaching and when I did leave teaching, I found myself without a job. I immediately signed up to an agency so at least I was earning something but in that instance, I lost 10k in wages. I’m still not being paid as much as when I was a teacher but I have plans to get there within the next 12 months for sure.

This week has been full of positivity but I can’t ignore the fact I’ve gone over budget.

I planned Christmas last December and after going ridiculous over budget last year by £900 I vowed to never be so stupid again and I set up a standing order for £83 every month to cover Christmas 2021. At the time, I thought I needed approximately £1000 to cover everything I wanted. This included; nights out, food, Christmas days out with my friends, family and daughter, decorations, presents and well basically everything Christmas.

Then I got smart – too smart and after a few months I decided to change the amount from £83 to £50. I told myself it was silly to spend so much on Christmas. I scaled back everyone’s gifts and continued to save this amount for the whole year, giving me £600 for Christmas.

And you know what, it’s not enough. Everyone’s budget and personal finance is just that, personal. And for me it’s just not enough. I haven’t brought any decorations or lights this year or Elf on the Shelf things like last year and I’ve been out once with work for a Christmas meal. I was right last year – £1000 for me would have given me the budget that I need to get everything I want without going over budget.

This is a huge learning curve for me. If I compare myself to what I should have spent this year, I’ve failed massively. However, if I compare myself to last year, I’ve made progress because I haven’t spent £900 over budget. I’m going to take it as a positive step in the right direction because this is the first time in forever I really know what I spend at Christmas. Next year I’ll have £1000 saved and I’m really interested now in how it all pans out!

I’ve still got to work out exactly how much over budget I’ve gone over by – I’ve been putting it off I’m not going to lie.

I did succumb to my daughter’s puppy eyes at the weekend and brought a moving model village fair ferris wheel for £135. WHAT WAS I THINKING!

It wasn’t until a few days later I saw she had stuffed her tiny teddy in it so it could go for a ride that I decided she didn’t quite understand that it was an ornament and not a toy so I took it back. Sometimes when you go a little crazy, you just need to take things back.

What I Have Spent This Week

£50 Christmas money given to my daughter for my present

£40.60 Gift and food at Harry Potter Forbidden Forest Experience

£35.17 Tesco food

£20.00 Tesco petrol

£169.90 Garden centre – spent on model Ferris wheel and other bits (135.00 has been refunded)

Total £315.67

Considering my weekly budget is £50 per week with no budget for anything else, you can see now why I need more room in my budget for Christmas. Things I’d not accounted for, like my daughter wanting money to spend on me for Christmas so she can experience shopping for Christmas with my mum. And the annual Christmas trip to somewhere really special, this time to Harry Potters Forbidden Forest Experience – again not considered.

This journey I’m on is not just about paying off debt and having all the answers. It’s about having a better understanding of my spending behaviours. Trying and failing and trying again with budgets, finance plans and everything money related. As they say “To learn to succeed, you must first learn how to fail”.


Money Wise Talks 9/12/2021

Following a super hectic and fun weekend, I welcomed the quiet week that followed in The Money Wise Mum household. I can’t believe how organised I am this year and how less stressed I am. I’ve not forgotten to move the elf on the shelf once and all the Christmas shopping is done apart from one gift left to buy. Christmas cards have been brought and will be written and posted this weekend and then I’m done. I have even had time to buy the cats and dog new beds.

In last weeks Money Wise Talks, I mentioned feeling like I’d not brought my daughter much this year, due to the fact that what she’s interested in now is more expensive than previous years. My whole budget for her went on just a couple of gifts instead of the usual lots of less expensive gifts and I was worried that these feelings would make me go out and blow loads of cash – cash I don’t have. Well you’ll be pleased to know I didn’t go out and blow loads of cash to satisfy that emotion – But I did reason with it.

I’m an emotional spender so now I always try and analyse why I want to spend if it’s out of the ordinary and what my motives are before I hit the shops. In relation to how I feel about my daughters gifts, I’m not sure whether all parents feel the same but maybe it’s because I just don’t want my child to grow up! Either that or I’m not quite ready to have the living room not completely covered in a vast amount of multi-coloured presents. Even though they would be less expensive gifts, the room was full. Maybe it’s me holding onto to my daughters childhood that little bit longer. What I do know for sure is they are only young for a small amount of time and every year I feel slightly more desperate to cling on to all tiny details that remind me when she was smaller. A room full of presents on Christmas day being one of them.

So how did I reason with that part of me that wanted to spend, spend, spend?

I spent!

I know what you’re thinking, but don’t worry! I felt like I needed to buy more, not because my daughter needed more and not because I felt I didn’t spend enough but because psychologically I felt I’d not done enough. Although I’m in no way an expert in psychology, my understanding is that most of our decisions are based on emotions and how things make us feel. Spending money, eating and working out or not as the case may be is all down to how we feel. Change how we feel and we can somehow change our path.

After last year I didn’t want to go mad and knew my Christmas budget was almost gone so instead of buying her more presents to make me feel better and that I couldn’t afford, I decided to buy her clothes instead. I was going to buy her some new clothes in January anyway as she has outgrown them so I’ve used the clothes sinking fund, brought them a few weeks early and wrapped them up. Psychologically now I FEEL like I’ve done enough and I’ve not broke the budget.

Even though I have gone slightly over budget, it’s not by £900! Like last year!

I think as well, as long as I’m always improving I don’t mind. I know for next year’s Christmas budget I will increase the monthly amount by a little more so hopefully next year I won’t go over budget at all.

For December I am doing another plan to pay off £850.20 worth of debt.

This is going to be broken down into five payments of:

  • £113.00
  • £368.08 (Extra) Hermes pay
  • £25.00
  • £290.75
  • £53.37 (Extra)

So far, I have paid off £113.00 and £368.08, so three payments left to go. If I can keep paying off £850 a month I should have the debt cleared in a little over 12 months. But thinking about that and another long year of paying off debt gets me down, so I think it’s best just to focus on it month by month. Especially as I had expected to be debt free by December 2021 😦

What did I spend this week?

£9.00 Train to works Christmas party

£6.95 Drinks at work Christmas party

£35.00 Food at Christmas party

£3.48 WH Smith

£0.15 Tesco

£12.20 Morrisoons

£0.87 Parking

£10.47 Macdonalds

£24.00 Car parking

£100 Train for two to London

£100 Drinks and food in London

This week has been so spendy! But also super fun!

A total of £302.12 was spent this week.

The work party and London trip were all put on my credit card. Not ideal but I don’t go out very often. Its also made me aware that I need to consider adding in entertainment to my Christmas budget as this is something I’d not planned for before.

On Thursday, I hopped onto a train to where my work is based (I work from home) and we all met up for a Christmas meal and drinks. The three-course meal finished me off, so I couldn’t manage my passionfruit martini. Loved seeing my work colleagues though, even more as I don’t work in the office.

Managed to have the passionfruit martini at the UKMB event

Then on Friday, I took the afternoon off and dragging a friend with me, we headed off to London for a networking event where I was able to meet lots of other money bloggers. We drank the drinks, ate the bar snacks and talked all night. Well mostly all night – until we had to get the last train back anyway. It was great meeting new, like minded people. Next time, I will definitely be getting a hotel so I can stay out gossiping for longer!

Have a great week


Money Wise Talks 2/12/2021

Don’t you just love it when you start to feel well again after an illness and start feeling like your smashing life!

This was me this week. House was tidied and deep cleaned, clothes were washed and ironed. And everything feels clean, tidy and organised.

Christmas presents are mostly brought and wrapped, just a few bits left to do – This has never happened before in my life!! Who even am I?!

I have massive parent guilt going on right now and I’m struggling to deal with the feelings that my daughter won’t have lots of presents this year. This isn’t because my budget was too tight, it’s because she wanted an expensive present this year which of course costs £££’s and because of this there isn’t much money left.

I know this will happen as she starts to get older but I’m not sure I’m ready for it. A room full of presents (which ultimately I couldn’t afford) to just a few, but more expensive presents.

Last year, I went mental with my spending at Christmas and I vowed not to do that this year. But I’m finding it hard to resist the urge to spend more because I would just hate for her to be disappointed. I mean, could you imagine your child being disappointed on Christmas day. It would destroy me. All we want as parents is our children to be happy and I’m not saying she wouldn’t be happy if she only a few presents and nothing else but it’s a risk isn’t it. One that I’m not sure at this moment in time I want to take. Being a parent is so hard sometimes isn’t it?

I remember the feelings well from last year. I like to give presents because it makes me happy and I hope the people receiving them are happy too. Sad isn’t it that we have become so commercialised that we feel we only make people happy by buying them something. Or is it just me? I mean, it could just be me, I’m an emotional person and I base most of my actions on my emotions and how things make me feel

Anyway, currently I’m fighting the urge to spend a little more. I haven’t yet and that’s good.

I finally managed to set myself up on Twitter – I’m not sure why I thought it would be so difficult. It really wasn’t. Pop over there and say hi @themoneywisemum .That would be great 😊

Update on the Debt Pay Off Challenge. I was able to colour in four more lines this week, so my pig is starting to look super psychedelic now! 14 lines left to colour of £78.37 and MBNA will be paid off in full! The interest free period ends 31 December 2021 and I did want to pay if off before but with the car repairs in November I’m not going to do it. I could transfer the balance onto one of my other two cards but they both have higher balances and I feel quite focused in paying this off, I think as it’s a smaller amount so I’ll stick with the snowball method this time.

My no spend days for November were 14 against my goal of 18. Although I was on track, being ill caused my spending to get a little out of control with daily stops at the chemist for things and takeaways because I had no energy to cook. That’s the problem with being a single parent, just because you’re ill, you still need to cook and feed your child. I think my daughter enjoyed the four takeaways she had whilst I was ill. She’s not that impressed this week with all the veg I keep making for us to eat to make up for it though 😊. Swings and roundabouts!

I have found out my earnings for December for the courier work, a whopping £368.08 which I will pay all towards debt as an overpayment. I started this job to pay off debt so it’s only right, it should all go towards it as an overpayment. If I just spend it, I’ll be in debt forever.

My plan for December is to pay £850 off debt in December. I could pay more but I need to pay my tax bill in January for my self-employment as a courier and I start my permanent contract with my main job so I’ll be leaving weekly pay and going monthly. My first pay will be the end of January so I need to make sure I’ll have enough to cover me for the month. Exciting though. Permanent job for me = eligible for a new mortgage, obviously after I have saved a deposit of course.

What have I spent this week?

£27.91 Meal out with family – some I haven’t seen in years!

£33.54 Asda food shop

£10.58 Just Eat

£16.50 Morrisons

£11.05 Co-op

£9.66 Macdonalds

£1.40 Parking fees

The total comes to £109.24. Weirdly looking at this list, I can honestly say I don’t know why I went into Morrisons and the Co-op – isn’t that bad! This is what used to happen when I kept my cards in my phone case which as you know I took out. But you know what I have on my phone I have for some reason started to use – Samsung pay! OMG! How did I not think to remove this? I’m going to do this now. Done.

The elves have arrived at our home … if you’re looking for a whole December’s worth of Elf ideas, check out my previous post Elf on the Shelf on a Budget. If you have any ideas that you would like to share, please let me know in the comments below.

December Goals

  • 850 off Debt
  • 6 Blog posts
  • 1 Book
  • 18 No spend days

I haven’t gone hell for leather on goals, if I can pay £850 off debt and relax over Christmas with my family and friends then that will be more than enough for me.

Have a great week


Products I’d Recommended

I always think it’s great to buy things that people have already tried and would recommend, so I thought I would come up with a page dedicated to things I have brought in the past that I think are definitely worth buying.

I don’t know about you but I tend to shop for most of the things I want online now and 99% of it is through Amazon. I much prefer shopping in the comfort of my home rather than facing bad weather, crowds and over priced parking, so the items you see here on this page are from Amazon. I will keep adding to it as I go.

It’s important for me to explain that some of the links in this post are Amazon affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalise a purchase. I want you to know I will only recommend products I have used and which I feel will benefit you.

LED Garage Lights, Garage Light 15000LM 6500K Deformable Lighting Fixture with 5 Adjustable Panels – E26/E27 Bay Light, Garage Ceiling Light for Basement Workshop Warehouse (Silver)

What My Blog Made In The First Year!

This post is a celebration of my first year in blogging!

The details within the post I will use as a tool in the future so I can look back every year and see it’s progress.

I guess if you like figures, statistics, tracking progress and all those other things you learn whilst climbing the corporate ladder, you’ll love this too.

And if people are out there wanting to start a blog for passive income or for fun, you can get an idea of the slither of income you can make for all the work you put in initially – ha, I’m not even kidding!

Blogging is definitely the long game I will tell you that with 100% complete assurance lol

The reason why I started blogging was to have a platform to discuss in more detail about the highs and lows of my debt free journey. You can only say so much on Instagram and I always have so much more to say. I use it not only to keep me accountable but as a way to release any feelings of negativity. Being on a debt journey is lonely when you’re on your own and feelings can be left to build up if you don’t find a release. This is mine.

As I have developed over the last year in blogging, I have grown to love it. Leaving teaching this year and finding a job that gave me my evenings back was the best thing to have happened to me because now I have the time for blogging. I’ve never really been much of a tv watcher – films I love but not tv. So with my evenings free I blog away. Instead of making experiments for the classroom every night or marking, I’m making trackers, planners and other free resources for anyone else out there who is in debt and wants to get out of it.

Why? Because I love it. As I get myself debt free, why not help out someone else? And it makes me feel great which is good enough for me.

If my blog makes nothing forever, that will be ok for me because I get so much more out of it than it making money. Obviously if it made me lots of money, well that would be completely fine also! We’ll see. For now let’s look at some figures in the first year of my little blog The Money Wise Mum.

November 2020168360.01
December 202021971210.01
January 202103681840.01
February 202104741790.01
March 202136822290.08
April 202125311700.18
May 202118552880.26
June 202104841440.11
July 202105111900.06
August 202112971300.06
September 2021610013300.07
October 2021714644700.08

As you can see, the more posts I do the more visitors I get but that doesn’t have a direct impact on the money earnt from ads and I think that’s to do with whether people click them and how long they are viewing the page for. If they are viewing the page for longer then this may make more money.

I’m not an expert in blogging or how the ads work but I can say that being consistent and posting regularly and providing content people want to read about will generally be the ticket to more views, visitors, likes, followers and revenue. But what do I know lol, I’ve made £0.94 😊

Also you don’t get paid out any money until you have made over £100. Like I said, blogging is definitely the long road. I don’t know how long it will take me to make £100. But being the curious little cat I am, I want to find out 😊.

Hope you stick around for the ride too 😊