Money Wise Talks 17/02/2022

This is turning out to be one of the best weeks!

I won’t keep you waiting ….I GOT THE PROMOTION!!

I found out yesterday and am still smiling ear from ear. I just can’t believe it! I am so very proud of myself and proof that if you work hard and DON’T give up, you really can get what you want.

As you may know, I left teaching last year. It was such a hard decision because I’d not only left a great career in banking to pursue a career in teaching, a career I thought would be best as a single parent … LOL! But because after leaving the bank, I’d then gone on to do a full time degree in biology and a one year teaching degree. All when my daughter was only two! Let me tell you, it was bloody hard work!

So four years of hard work to then decide teaching wasn’t for me. What a nightmare. But after months and months of not seeing my daughter and being so unhappy I knew I had to leave. I had no idea what I was going to do and was working at an agency at the time just to make a bit of money. I wasn’t earning much though, just a minimum wage. I’d not been on minimum wage since 1998 so was feeling pretty low.

That’s when I decided to go back to banking. It was a career I’d done for over ten years and I enjoyed it so why not. But what role to do? Whilst I was pondering what role I wanted to go into at the bank, a friend of mine told me about a job going at an organisation she’d just started to work at. She said it was perfect for me with my previous experience of banking and teaching. I looked at it, liked what I saw, went for it AND GOT IT.

I started with an agency but worked for the organisation and smashed through my training. I really enjoyed it. I worked from home, wasn’t on minimum wage anymore and only worked for 37 hours a week. I had never had so much time off in my life lol! I loved the extra time with my daughter, no commute, no paying breakfast club or doggy day care. It was a dream. AND I LOVED IT!

I knew this was the place for me and after a small interview I was successful in gaining permanent employment on 4 January 2022. Now I was a permanent member of staff I could work overtime, which was double pay. OMG – This meant I could give up my courier job which I had been doing the last 18 months in attempt to pay off the debt quicker.

My daughter was made up! No more freezing mornings in the car driving around delivering parcels. Secretly I miss it, but I do have to think of her aswell.

Pretty much as soon as I started working for this organisation, I had my eyes on the next role as I thought it would be perfect for me. It still had an element of case work which I love doing but then you also looked at the more complex cases and training new starters. I thought this role would encompass all my skills into one. But then the doubt starting setting in and I starting thinking about whether I should consider going for a promotion when I’d only been there officially 2 weeks (by the time I’d put the application in). “Stuff it”, I thought, “what’s the worse that can happen?”.

So I applied, had the interview last week and got it!! I’m still in shock but can’t wait to start my new role.

And it’s £6000 more a year – that’s £500 a month! WOWSERS!

What will this mean for my debt pay off journey? Hopefully it means I can bring my debt free date forward from July 2023 but I haven’t worked it out yet. I have an idea of what my new monthly income will be and will be soon redoing my budget to maximise the time so I can debt free sooner.

As you know for February, I haven’t really set many finance goals. I knew this month and next would be expensive so wanted to take the pressure off myself and this has resulted in me spending millions (in my eyes).

From Spa days (mums present) to giant vet bills to half term, this month has been an expensive one! And a naughty one with most being put on the credit card 😦

What I Have Spent This Week

£10.30 Takeaway

£9.98 Macdonalds

£149.45 Vets

£10.73 Birthday cards, valentines card and gift for daughter

£35.28 Morrisons

£310 Spa day

£16.00 spa breakfast

£32.97 Dinner, cinema and snacks

Total £574.71

WOW! Told you it was bad!

Even without the usual analysis I do with my weekly spend, it easy to see that I am spending too much on takeaways. It’s also obvious I am going out a little more with my daughter and family and friends which I’m not going to beat myself up about. It rarely happens and these last few weeks it seems to have come all at once.

I just can’t wait to know what my bottom line is that I’ll be bringing in so I can redo my budget.

I usually run my budget month by month as it worked well when I was being paid weekly from the agency, but now I am being paid on the 25th every month, I think I’m going to run my budget from 25th to 24th. I’m also going to rejig what I put into the sinking funds which should allow enough in them that they cover the costs like the vet bills without them being put on a credit card.

I also need to think about whether I want to continue the focus on the emergency fund or spread amount over the next 12 months. I have saved £750 in the emergency fund so far, so only have £2250 to go. This is saved into the Help to Save (HTS) account at £50 per month and then the rest into a cash ISA. By the end of the year, I’ll have put another £500 into the HTS, which leaves me needing to put £1750 into the ISA. If I split that into payments from the end of Feb to end of Dec it works out at £160 a month. (1750/11=159.09). Or I could just focus on putting £1750 into the ISA now and leave the debt overpayments until it’s done.

I don’t suppose it matters either way, but I feel I need to get back to paying off debt again and I need the emergency fund building before my car dies. Maybe I’ll do both! Will let you know what I decide next week 🙂

Have a great week

H

Money Wise Talks 10/2/2022

Do you ever have one of those weeks where the whole week goes by and you have absolutely no clue what you’ve done or if anything has happened?

Well, that’s been my week!

I’ve had the all important two day interview for the promotion at work. Still don’t know how it went. I think most of it went well. I made a couple of errors on my written test 😦 and my mind went completely blank when answering one of the questions but the rest went ok.

Did I give my best?

I think I did, but on reflection I’m thinking I could have done better. Urgh, hate the wait but I should find out next week.

But I want the job. I really really want it. No, I don’t just want it, I need it.

I really can’t go another year or so paying off this debt before I do anything else with my life. It’s so boring!

Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way!

I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel going full pelt and getting nowhere.

I don’t like being a negative Nelly so will try to look at the situation rationally.

I think that I’m feeling so impatient because I have gone from weekly pay to monthly and therefore I have to wait the whole month before making any dent in my plans. That’s the obvious reason anyway. I think I’m also feeling flat because I’m not overpaying on my debt. It’s weird that it makes me feel like this, but if I’m not overpaying on the debt it makes me feel physically sick. It’s like I’m choosing to be in this current position forever.

In January I paid £529.73 to debt. The majority of that is minimum payments apart from a couple of extra payments to the MBNA card.

My side hustles in January came in at £379.22 (£375.22 from courier work and £4 from Vinted). Not bad but did include the extra parcels I delivered in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

February Goals

For February, I decided to have a rest from financial goals and focus on getting more sleep and exercise. I still want to track my no spend days as I’d made a new Owl No Spend Tracker to try out. However, I can confirm that this last week has been shocking!

I did join the council gym though. I know it’s an extra expense but I really need to start going for my health. Since I’ve stopped teaching and working from home, I literally just sit around on my laptop all day. Also, I’m not getting any younger and don’t want to be someone that starts looking after themselves before it’s too late and damage is already done. I managed to get a rolling monthly gym membership so can cancel anytime I like. It’s only 22.99 per month, which is pretty cheap in comparison.

Emergency Fund Update

I have a total of £750 in the Emergency Fund now against a target of £3000, so only £2250 left to go!

Not paying the council tax this month helped me to put a little extra in. I’m hoping I’ll be able to pay a good chunk of cash in there on payday too.

TMWM Energy Experiment

With the huge hikes in energy bills this year, last month I decided to do a little experiment to see if I could reduce my energy consumption and see what that would look like in pounds saved.

Part 1 :-

The first part of the experiment, which ran for 31 days from 4 January 2022 to 4 February 2022 was just to see what my actual usage was for gas and electricity from our normal daily life.

Part 2 :-

The second part of the experiment which runs from 4 February 2022 to 4 March 2022 will be where the heating is reduced, plug sockets are switched off at the wall and not left on standby, lights are always turned on and lots more.

When the experiment is complete I will compare usage of gas and electricity between the two months and see what difference (if any) it makes to my bills. I will do a full post on this because I will include all the amounts and costs I currently pay on my gas and electric – will keep you all informed!

What I Have Spent This Week

£19.76 Gym membership for Feb

£35.11 Morrisons Food

£10.20 Tesco snacks

£1.79 Morrisons – cheese!

£103.00 Vets

£65.00 Petrol

£90.00 Meal, drinks, taxi there and back

Total £315.86

Vet bill was due from the dog having a consultation because she was limping :(. Luckily it was nothing serious but she was given an anti-inflammatory to help. She was also due flea and worming treatment. This was put onto the credit card, as I only had £80.00 in the vets sinking fund. I’ve also got both cats due their boosters, flea and worm so this is going to be an expensive month and will all be going on the credit card.

Anyone else have sinking funds but still not got enough funds to cover things!

Just going slightly off topic here, but my daughter and I were in a pet shop at the weekend picking up some bits and she asked to have a rabbit, gerbil or hamster and I said no. Being the animal lover I am, I have always said yes but my mind seemed to work a little differently this time and I started to think about the long term costs of having a pet and not just about how lovely it would be. We spoke about it and discussed food costs, toys, costs to get them looked after if we went away and also vet bills. It was such a grown up conversation, and not just for my daughter, but for both of us! And ultimately, we both decided it was for the best we didn’t have anymore – I mean we do have 1 dog, 2 cats and 2 fish!

Petrol costs of £65.00 but this was for a full tank. I was fed up of going every week so I think this should cover me until I get paid. I think I will change the weekly budget for petrol to monthly just to save time. I hardly use my car now which is great so going monthly should work.

First night out of the year with a girl friend from uni! I was so excited to be out after 7pm and have a catch up. We ate amazing Mexican food and drank lots of passionfruit martini’s and even though it cost an absolute fortune, it was worth it! I was even home for 11:30pm – I’m such a lightweight!

I’m off out again next week with my ‘Gossip Girls’ with dinner and a cinema date. I can’t wait to see them! Although I won’t be spending close to what I spent on Saturday!

You know as I’m writing this blog post, I’m seeing a common theme of spend, spend, spend! I guess this what happens when you stop the focus. I think sometimes it’s needed though, as it can be really restrictive. I mean, I’m still on my journey towards debt freedom but also want the balance of having a life. Hard isn’t it. Especially when you’ve been on the same, boring journey for so long. February and March are usually expensive months for me anyway as I have my mums and daughters birthday and then there’s mothers day. So, I’m going to give myself a break and stop being so hard on myself.

Hope you all have a great week

H

Money Wise Talks 03/02/2022

Welcome to the first Money Wise Talks of the month!

Considering I am usually very motivated by the start of a new month and love reviewing goals from the last month and setting new ones, this month I’m not feeling it at all.

I’ve been thinking of taking a month off from setting goals and maybe how I feel at the moment is a sign that this month is the right time to do it. The journey of me paying down debt has taken a back seat whilst I build my emergency fund to £3000 (a figure that came about after me paying just over £2000 in car repairs last year). I have saved £650 so far and have £2350 left to go.

I am hoping my wages in February will have my overtime and the monies back from when I paid emergency tax in January and then I can look to pay a large amount into the emergency fund. My plan was to have £3000 saved by the end of March 2022.

At the end of January I totalled my debt up and it stands at £16,666.85.

The debt has still reduced since December, but only by £28.57. Which although is pretty disappointing, I have spent on my card and it was expected.

I had some good news this week and started to receive weekly amounts in from child maintenance service (CMS) again. These stopped completely last year so it’s nice to see them again. Unfortunately, I am unable to rely on them as they are so sporadic, so don’t include them in my monthly income figures. I am currently using the money that comes in to pay down the MBNA card – which I am pleased to report is nearly paid off!!

In this last week I have sent two payments of £78.37, so have been able to colour two lines 🙂

And I only have £391.85 left to pay on the MBNA card before it’s paid off in full!! Although, since December interest is now being applied so it may be a little more than that. It won’t be much though.

The No Spend Month lost a little momentum by the end of the month and I ended up having another out of budget spend. That being said, I had a total of 18 no spend days which isn’t bad at all.

For February I have made a new Owl No Spend Days Tracker which looks to track days of no spend and spend, instead of it being based around whether I’ve stuck to a budget or not. Clearly, I’ve not started strong but I hope to have 20 no spend days.

You can of course download it for free :). Let me what you think of it in the comments below.

I successfully completed Dry January, yippee but have no current plans to have another dry month yet lol! Let me know if you’re doing a Dry February. You can use my Dry For …. Tracker for free

What I Have Spent This Week

£7.76 MacDonalds

£35.00 Dog Groomed

£11.00 Single Duvet

£57.47 Daughters Coat, gloves and head torch

£20.68 Desserts

£8.46 Present for party and birthday card. Photo frame for us.

£ …… Morrisons

Total £139.38

Absolutely no idea what I spent in Morrisons for food and petrol! This is due to me using cash and not keeping the receipt. As soon as I get home, I scan the receipt into a receipt scanning app and then bin it. This WILL definitely be a learning point for me to take forward this next week.

My daughter was in desperate need of a new coat and gloves so I bought them from Mountain Warehouse. I love buying from there and they had a 70% sale on which was even better! We also picked up a head torch for her camping trip she is due to go on in September. They will soon have a kit list and that will be one of the items, so my plan is to get something off the list each month so it’s not a huge expense.

My daughter also went to her first birthday party in two years! It was so nice to see her socialising with friends from school. I never spend much on presents and managed to pick up a lovely stationary set for £3.99, a pop it key chain for £1.49 and card for 99p. All those gifts looked alot more expensive than they were anyway!

The £20.68 I spend on desserts was ridiculous! However, in my defence I am starting the gym and a new healthy eating regime so wanted one last blow out before I did that – Lol, how my mind works sometimes makes me howl!

Finally, I have my interview set for Monday and Tuesday – it’s over two days! Monday is a written test and Tuesday is a mentoring exercise and then the panel interview. So the next time I write my Weekly Money Wise Talks, I’ll be able to tell you all about it. I really want this job, so I hope I get it 🙂

Hope you all have a great week 🙂

H

Money Wise Talks 27/01/2022

This week has been an absolute whirlwind!

From being paid my first months salary at my new job, to the realisation I forgot to give them my P45 and was then taxed at the emergency tax rate to then being offered an interview for the promotion I applied for!

My nerves are a wreck lol!

Anxiety is through the roof.

Anyone else feel like this or is it just me? Life is so UP and Down isn’t it?!

The plan was – be paid for the month so I could see what the minimum was I would take home after tax, national insurance and my student loan payments were deducted. When I saw that I’d been paid so little, I checked the tax code that had been applied and BOOM – Emergency tax code – and an extra £300 gone 😦

I then spent the next hour pausing standing orders to our ISA’s and the payments to the sinking funds. Luckily by doing this I have found the £300 needed to make the other payments on my fixed bills like rent, utilities and credit cards.

I’m such an idiot lol.

I have now given my employer my P45 and they have confirmed it will be all sorted for February. I hope I’m given the money back next month so I can make double payments to the ISA’s and sinking funds.

Just before I started typing this blog post tonight, I received the most wonderful news that I have been invited for an interview for a promotion at my new job. I know I’ve only been there for a few months but believe I would do a brilliant job in that role.

If I did get it, it would be a huge payrise and my debt free date could even be brought forward! Ekk exciting!

The worse that can happen is I don’t get it. But at least I will know the interview process and will be better prepared next time.

I’ve been trying to cut our variable expenses down even further and managed to save an extra £124 a year by reducing the number of times I go to the hairdresser over the year. When I go the hairdressers I don’t have anything fancy but like to get my roots done as soon as the grey starts coming through.

  • Going every four weeks means I’d go 17 times a year = £31.00 x 17 = £527
  • Going every three weeks means I’d go 13 times a years = £31.00 x 13 = £403
  • The saving difference = £124!

I know using box dyes would save me even more, but I find they don’t go well with my curly hair, so this is the next cheapest option. I stopped having my eyebrows tinted and waxed and my nails done so am happy to leave the roots to the hairdresser. It makes me feel SO OLD when I have grey hair and unlike others who look trendy and cool when they allow the grey to come through, I look washed out and aged.

No Alcohol Update

I’m 27 days alcohol free! Whoohoo.

I’m not a huge drinker anymore, probably because I hardly go out but if I had a bottle of my favourite from Asda every week it would cost £5.99. This saved over four weeks is £23.96. It’s only a little saving but it all adds up.

Over the year that’s a whopping £311.48

I have no plans to stop drinking for a whole year though. I stopped for a year in 2018/2019 and although I felt great and saved loads of money and calories, I don’t want to do it this year. And hopefully with covid restrictions easing off I can finally get out, see some friends and have some much needed cocktails.

No Spend Month Update

It’s not going too bad, I started the month quite strong (as everyone does) but have become a little more relaxed as the end of the month approaches. It’s always the way isn’t it.

So far I have:

  • 15 days No Spend
  • 7 days In Budget Spend
  • 5 days Out of Budget Spend

The 5th Out of Budget spend was today! But in my defence, it’s a treat for me and my mum. An expensive one lol. Half for her birthday and half for just wanting to do something special with her. She may read this so I’m not going to put anything on here about it until after the event lol!

For February, I am not going to do a No Spend Month, but focus on the number of no spend days and to only use cash. My budget for the next four weeks (until payday) is £50 a week which will cover our food and petrol. My mums birthday will be a separate expense. When I remember to go to the bank this week, I’ll be drawing out £200 in cash and will split it into weekly pots for food and petrol.

Other things I’m going to do to GET BACK TO BASICS are:

  • Take my cards out of my purse and phone wallet.
  • Meal plan – I’m going to try and do this for the month instead of the week to see if that makes a difference

What I’ve Spent this Week

£11.96 Just Eat, takeaway

£6.99 Car Wash

£15.99 Hello Fresh

£24.15 Morrisons Food Shopping

£18.49 Home Bargain, Cat Food, sinking fund

£31.00 Hair, sinking fund

£10.00 Morrisons Petrol

£42.00 Clarks, daughter school shoes

£2.99 Superdrug, leave in conditioner

Total £163.57

I’ve spent this week on things I wouldn’t usually buy, like a car wash and Hello Fresh. I paid for a car wash just because I ran out of time at the weekend and didn’t get chance to do it. It desperately needed it done as I couldn’t even see the number plate it was that dirty lol! I’m not going to beat myself up about it though. There’s just not enough hours in the day to get everything done is there?!

Hello Fresh was something I tried for the first time as a friend had a voucher to get some money off. I’m really enjoying the different meals we are having but my daughter is not a fan. It’s a nice treat but not in our budget to have every week. Great news though, Hello Fresh give you the recipes so I can cook any favourites anytime I like!

The shoes are from Clarks and are always super expensive. I’ve tried other cheaper brands but they just don’t cut it and I end up replacing them more often. So the cost you originally save, you end up spending anyway on extra pairs. I always think with shoes, buy cheap buy twice but that’s only my view. If you know of any other cheaper brands that don’t fall apart, please let me know as I’d LOVE to save some money on shoes.

Thanks for reading and for all your comments. Have a great week!

H

Money Wise Talks 20/01/2022

Why does it always feel like there are 9 million days in January! Payday can’t come soon enough!!

I guess that’s the downfall of being paying monthly, you have to wait to be paid!

As you know, I have just gone permanent at my main job and will be receiving my first months pay this month. Once I have received it, I’ll know exactly what the bottom line is that I’ll be bringing home and I can start planning on exactly where my money is going.

I have my debt free date set for July 2023 but this is dependent on £800 a month being paid off debt so I need to make sure I can afford this much. I am 99% sure I can, as I’m on the same salary as before when I worked on a temporary contract but I like to see the actual figure first.

Now I’m on a permanent contract I can also do overtime on a Saturday which is DOUBLE TIME!! Whoo-hoo!

I have done the overtime for the last two Saturdays as well as doing the courier work on Sundays and IT WAS A LOT. I know I want to be debt free and want to buy a property but I don’t want to spend the next year completely exhausted. And I want to spend some time with my daughter whilst she still wants to spend time with me before she hits the dreaded teenager years!

So, I made an absolutely huge decision to NOT DO COURIER WORK ANYMORE!

I wrote down a list of pros and cons and decided it was a better choice all round to stop.

Pros – Overtime

  • More money
  • Work from home
  • No cold/wet/windy days
  • No having to drag my daughter out of bed
  • No dragging myself out of bed
  • Daughter doesn’t have to be bored
  • No wear and tear on my car

Pros – Courier work

  • I liked it
  • Exercise

One of reasons I wanted to carry on with doing courier work was for the most part I really enjoyed it! I would rave about it each week on my Instagram page and still think it’s a fantastic job to do especially as a parent and the struggles around childcare. Whether that’s being able to find work only during school hours or find childcare outside school hours, it’s bloomin hard work! For me, being a courier ticked all those boxes.

I always did it on a Sunday, mainly because Sundays you make the most money per parcel and I gave myself Saturday off. I have always worked full time in the week doing my main job so courier work was extra to help me pay off the debt quicker. I took my daughter along and never worried about childcare – it was perfect.

But now I’ve been given an even better opportunity and a chance to make some extra money, working from home, whilst nice and warm so of course I’m going to take it!

I will miss courier work, but onwards and upwards.

I have just found out there isn’t any overtime on this weekend (it’s usually on 3 times a month) so for the first time since August last year I have the WHOLE WEEKEND off!

Not going to lie I am definitely looking forward to having two lie ins and spending some quality time with my girl.

No Spend Month Update

It’s going well in terms of the number of days I am NOT spending. So far this month I have only had two days where I have spent outside of the budget. The first time was a swimming bag for my daughter and the second was on a deposit for the holiday I have booked for me and my daughter to go on.

12 / 20 no spend days

6 / 20 In budget spend days

2 / 20 Out of Budget

I had planned for no holidays until I was debt free, but I had also planned to be debt free in December 2021 which clearly didn’t go to plan.

Having yet another year of no holidays just made me feel so flat.

I think it’s really hard to be motivated for years when paying off debt. And that’s what it’s been for me. I started to focus on paying my debt when I had £35,907.04 in 2019.

The fact we have yet ANOTHER YEAR AND A HALF to go before the debt is paid off, I decided I would get us a small holiday abroad booked this year. Therefore I am pleased to announce we are going out of the country for a whole day! 😊 😊 😊

Yes, you heard it right! A WHOLE DAY!

I have wanted to take my daughter to Lapland for a few years and looking at the prices around Christmas for a 3-day break, you’re talking £2500! And that was for half board only! I know I said I wanted to go somewhere amazing and I’m sure it will be, but £2500 for 3 days is insane.

I just can’t justify it.

Therefore, I have compromised. We are going to Lapland but on a day trip instead. It’s probably going to be the longest day of our lives as everything will be jam packed into the day, but I can’t wait.

We are going to have a husky sledge ride, see igloos, reindeers, the ice hotel, have lots of snowball fights and of course see the real Santa!

The cost is £1385.11 and that is with £200 off. It includes airport parking and insurance.

I have promised myself this will be cash flowed and will not go near the credit card. I have already paid the deposit of £176.91. The next amount is due April with the full amount paid by September. My plan is to pay a little bit off each month so by the time September comes it will be fully paid. That works out at £151.15 per month.

The TUI app has a countdown on it’s app, so I know we have 331 days left until we go! Ekk Exciting Stuff!

I can’t wait. My girl is growing up so fast it’s scary, so I want her to go before she gets to high school and the Christmas sparkle starts to disappear.

It’s made me realise, you don’t have to put absolutely everything on hold whilst you pay off debt. And as long as it doesn’t affect my debt free date of July 2023, I’m actually happy to spend a little on us making memories.

No Alcohol in January Update

This is going absolutely fine with 20 days of no drinking. I’ve had the odd craving, probably caused by the fact there is still alcohol in the house and when I see it next to the fridge, I want one lol! But other than that, not bothered at all.

I do have a catch up with friends in the diary for next month where cocktails will be had so I don’t plan to continue with the no alcohol challenge but I have enjoyed it and will do it again.

What I Have Spent This Week

£55.98 Pet Food

£34.00 Remote Control

£30.00 Petrol

£70.42 Food

£28.47 Takeaway

£176.91 Holiday deposit

£11.96 Takeaway

£102.73 Tax Bill

Total £510.47

Blimey, I’d not realised how much I’d spent this week. Quite a lot when you see it written down like this instead of looking at a banking app.

Petfood is covered by a sinking fund which I pay £50 a month into. This covers our two cats and dog for all their food, treats, toys etc…. I always buy the pet food in bulk as it works out cheaper and lasts longer.

Petrol was within the normal weekly budget of £30.00.

Food was over the usual budget of £30 as I decided to try some new things on top of what we usually buy, just incase we don’t like them. I am also in the process of getting some money back. I use an app called Shopmium, where products are listed are either free or have money off. Once you buy the product, you scan the receipt and the product and complete a review of what you think the product is like. After a few days Shopmium pay’s you through PayPal. I should receive £5.40 back for products I tried this last week.

If you fancy signing up to Shopmium, here’s the link https://www.shopmium.com/uk/referral/ek5c5v it’s completely free and if you use my referral code you get a free pack of pringles (the big tub!) Just enter this referral code: EK5C5V.

Our remote control broke, so I had to buy a new one. I couldn’t believe how expensive it was, but I wanted to get the exact same as the one that had broken as I hate trying to work out technology. It wasn’t until I realised that I bought a remote control you can talk to that then I realised why it was so expensive! My daughter however thinks it’s amazing!

A couple of naughty takeaways this week, one because my parents came over on Saturday to help me so I of course fed them with the most gigantic pizza ever! 18 inches of pure cheesy amazingness!

Final Exciting News

I have applied for a promotion at my new job! I know I’ve only been there for a few months and have only just been made permanent but I feel it’s a perfect job for me and thought, just go for it! What’s the worst that can happen?

I mean, if I got it, I’ll finally be back to the same salary I was on when I worked in finance in 2014. Also, it will have an element of providing training to others which I’ll love as I still have a passion to teach! If I don’t get it this time, I’ll definitely try again. That’s one of my yearly goals – GET THAT PROMOTION!

Hope you all have a great week, let me know if you use any of the trackers I make. They are free to download here. I would really appreciate anyone’s feedback!

Thanks for reading

H

How to Plan a Christmas Budget

It’s January, so let’s talk Christmas!

Ha Ha – No really!

It’s the New year and the perfect opportunity to reflect on the previous year and of course the Christmas spending!

  • Did you stay in budget?
  • Did you have enough saved for everything you wanted to do?
  • Are you saving now for Christmas?

If you answered no to any of the above, I would get your thinking caps on and start planning Christmas now in January!

For a few years now, I have saved a monthly amount for Christmas in an instant access account. I have a regular payment, known as a standing order, that leaves my bank account a few days after payday every month and is transferred straight into the account. I don’t have to think about it as it’s automatically done.

If you have followed me for a while, you’ll realise I am still tweaking this amount to suit our needs and still haven’t quite got it right – but I’m getting there!

My intention is to have an amount that covers absolutely everything, so cards, presents, wrapping paper, postage, Christmassy days out and gifts that I always forget about until the last minute – teacher gifts, pets and stocking fillers!

The ultimate goal for me is to complete Christmas without a single pound spend on a credit card but this is going to take some serious planning. I still think it can be done though.

Over the years, I have made a list of everyone I wanted to buy for and put down an amount of what I wanted to spend. Although this has worked for most part, I have never given myself an amount as a contingency and also never thought about including Christmas days out and activities.

As you know, Christmas activities are usually super expensive anyway so this needs to be definitely factored into the budget. And it’s something we always love to do so I’m not prepared for us to stop doing something we get so much out of.

Just the memory of us at Christmas spending £24.00 on four marshmellow sticks that we roasted over an open fire and had covered in chocolate still sends shivers through my ‘trying to be frugal, without ruining Christmas’ brain. I mean, I want to do these things – occasionally as treats but also want them to be accounted for. Even if they have to be labelled as the category, ‘the most ridiculous things to spend – NO BLOW, your cash on’!

Wouldn’t it be lovely to save an amount for Christmas and NOT use it all up so you had some left to roll over? I mean that would seriously be the dream.

So, let the planning for Christmas commence!

1) Write a list of people you want to buy for. Remember to include pets, neighbours, teachers and anyone else who usually forget (if you’re like me anyway!).

2) Set REALISTIC budget/s. I say realistic because there is no point in thinking I am going to be really good and only spend £10 on this person, if in reality, the last ten years you’ve spent £100 on them.

3) Add a small budget for contingencies and slight over spends. YOU’RE NOT PERFECT AND THAT’S OK! You don’t have to use it but it’s there as a Christmas emergency fund if you need it.

4) Think about what activities you would like to do at Christmas (if any) and price up how much it’s going to cost. What I found last year, is by leaving the booking of these activities till Summer it meant they were booked up or the prices went up so they were super duper expensive . In fact, last Autumn when I tried to book Lapland UK, it was booked up completely for the whole of December! So last Summer, I ended up making a diary note for January this year to book for the coming Christmas. That’s how far advance you need to think about these things. Another thing, by booking things out of season you may get them cheaper. WIN WIN!

5) Check your wrapping, cards and Sellotape stock. What will you need to buy? Could you buy it now out of season cheaper?

6) Check what you spend on food and alcohol last year whilst it’s still fresh in your mind and use that as your food budget.

7) Are you planning to buy the family matching pj’s this Christmas? How much will they cost and add this into your budget.

8) What were the costs from the kids activities this year? Parties, donations, fairs etc. How much did that cost?

9) Do you already know of some expensive gifts that people may already want, that you can start saving for now?

In answering all these types of questions, it will help you to have an idea of the type of Christmas you want and most importantly can afford, without getting into debt – or further into debt.

I have made another couple of trackers for saving for Christmas, which as always can be downloaded for free. This one is Saving for Christmas in 12, for if you want to save on a monthly basis. You can colour each part as your savings grow.

This Saving for Christmas in 52 is if you want to save weekly, so it will have 52 pictures to colour in – Coming soon!

I find seeing savings grow or debt decreasing visually using trackers and money pots really encouraging for me and it keeps me motivated. See if it works for you. I’ve even got my mum into them now, ha ha ha!

In 2020 I saved £40 a month and 2021 I saved £50 a month. Both of these amounts haven’t worked for me so don’t be afraid to get it wrong and try again. Maybe this year I’ll get the amount right!

This year I’m going to save £80 a month. I’m still tweaking my list of who to buy for and what budget I want to spend on each person. I’m even considering not buying for some this year. Not in an awful way but I feel I have to be realistic. I also hope this year I don’t over spend at all. In 2020 I over spend by about £900 and in 2021 I overspend by £300. And unfortunately it all went on a credit card 😦

But although I overspent, I still noticed a huge difference in my attitude towards money and the choices I made this year compared to last. I was more thoughtful on what I spent the money on. For example this year I said no (to myself) to buying the matching family pj’s, amongst other things. And noticeably, I spent £600 less than the previous year.

So I’m definitely not there yet, but I’m getting there!

What do you think about starting Christmas Planning early? Nuts or Definitely good to do? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading

H

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.

H

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.

BIG NEWS –

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!

H

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

Specific:

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

Measurable:

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.

Attainable:

£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.

Realistic:

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.

Timely:

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

H