So last time out, I explained how I got into (and stayed in) debt. I’m getting my act together. I tracked my spending. I’ve written out my goals. I crated a budget. And, this month I signed up for The Frugalwoods’ uber frugal month (#ufm2017) with an aim to reset my hedonistic spending and establish an ideal (baseline) for my desired level of frugality.
#Ufm analysis – first third of January
So, ignoring bills, debt and other savings, here’s an overview of my spending so far:
Laziness, convenience and wanting to fit in – my spendthrift shortcomings
Some of the super silly ways in which I’ve wasted money so far
- Uber to the girlfriend’s on the evening the tube strike began (£23.62): because rain + no tube + extreme tiredness following my first football match of the year
- Lunch with colleague at new job + leaving lunch at old job (£22.70): I didn’t speak up when the others ate and drank more than I did and asked for the bill to be split equally and I didn’t tell my new colleague I brought lunch in because I didn’t want to eat my smelly egg sandwich at my desk (at the moment I haven’t discovered a canteen)
- Line rental on new mobile phone running concurrently with old contract for a few months (£47) : I wanted a new phone with more space & because my screen has been shattered for months and might have rushed through the small print so although I’ll get most of this money back, I would have not incurred the additional cost at all if I wasn’t too lazy for details
- McDonald’s on Friday night after a very small dinner (£10.28): Plain old convenience after a night out
- Transport – when I swore I’d walk or cycle (£34) : It’s been raining and I didn’t want to have to carry a lot of stuff until I’d established I’d get a locker and showers at the new job. I also chose sleep over walking.
It’s not all bad though
I’m not sure why I can’t get frugal enough. I have good intentions everyday. Yet I’m failing. I’ve tried to trick myself. I’ve tried to visualise my goals. I’ve calculated compound interest and years to FI. Nothing works (yet). Is it because I’m an incorrigible spendthrift? Or am I aiming for the impossible (for my starting point?). I haven’t the foggiest. Part of me thinks, well you’re spending but you’re not doing as badly as you used to. I mean, this month:
- Paid down £1 000+ of debt
- I’ve given (even if only to my girlfriend)
- I’ve saved £260 this month so far
None of these would have happened 7 months ago but I know that if I want to hit my target FI number in less than 6 years, then I need to do better.
So what next?
I’ve got to keep my head down. This is not a big bang release. It’s iterative. I’ve released the MVP (minimum viable product). It’s not perfect but it’s a step in the right direction. Now I need to apply my feedback (and critique) to improving the processes. I need to think about what the right aims are. Or decide that it’s OK to fail fast. Because it means I can learn quickly too.
What do you think? Am I being too hard or too lenient? Is there something else I can do to help me stop the trio of flaws that are holding me back? What tips have you got for how you’ve overcome your own shortcomings?