Frugal half year review | Need to step on the gas

I know I only just reviewed June but while I was at it, I remembered that reviewing June meant that I was halfway through 2017. At the start of the year, I wrote down several goals (2017: The year of the saver) that can be summarised within 4 categories

  1. Financial – including things like maxing out my baby emergency fund, supporting family and being able to invest properly in the stock markets by the end of the year
  2. Health – Change lifestyle gradually and permanently so that I never have to make another weight-related New Year’s resolution. Sleep more.
  3. Professional – make money using 9-5 skills, learn new skill, become go-to person at work for something.
  4. De-clutter – Intentional ownership. Sell, donate, or throw away stuff that doesn’t provide joy


Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 21.29.37

  • Max out baby emergency fund – Pass! Did this in June
  • Support family financially to the tune of £6,000 – Pass! So far this year I’ve given £6,234
  • Save £3,000 for investment in the stock market – On track! I’ve got £910 in my FI fund and have increased my monthly deposits to £400 (the max) to meet the goal by November. 
  • Pay off interest generating debt (overdraft) and debts to people (as opposed to companies) – Off course! As you can see from above, debt is letting me down at only 7% of my spend. I’ve set up payment plans with companies and that’s eating into money I should use for this. I’m however turning my side-hustle efforts into paying off the critical personal debt by November. That’s a total of £6 000 I’m aiming for in this category.

I’m going to dial down the giving and support as well as ensure that future travel is funded exclusively by money I earn via side-hustles. I had planned to kick off my financial tasks with the Uber frugal month challenge and failed hard and fast. In August, I intend to either try it again or go for the Zero day challenge instead. Hopefully I’ll find enough money to achieve my remaining financial goals.


  • Walk or cycle 85 – 90% of the time – Failing! I’ve been cycling around 50-60% of the time but I’m not meeting my 16 500 step goal. Need to step things up once I get back from my holiday and blitz this goal August through November at least.
  • Lose weight slowly and sustainably through incorporating more exercise and eating healthier – Failing! I’ve held the same weight (10 kg more than I hoped to be) all year which is marvellous for my ability to keep a constant weight but rubbish for my goals. I’m pretty sure that my diet is the main issue here. I’m cycling, playing badminton once a week and even did some Pilates etc but haven’t lost a jot. From July 20th till August 18th I’m going to give up all drinks except water, pasta and bread.
  • Go to bed at 10pm on weekdays – Failing! Ok, I’ll put my hands up and admit this goal is actually unachievable. I’ll adjust it and aim for 6 hours of sleep on weeknights and 8 hours on weekends. Let’s see how that works out. 
  • Eat less meat – Failing! I’m guessing. I think I didn’t buy meat as planned in January but I haven’t avoided it since. Since I’m going high protein and struggle with plant protein, I’ll dial this one back to having 2 meat free days a week. 

This area is quite the disaster and I really hope that by the end of the year I can turn a couple of these green at least.


  • Be the go-to person for something at work – Pass! I gave a talk on my go-to subject that was received very positively. Since the talk, people have also been directing questions and interesting content they find on the web to me. I’d like to give the talk at an external conference or networking event by the end of the year and actually implement some of the principles in my organisation.
  • Side-hustling with 9-5 skills – Pass! I’ve had 2 freelance clients so far and have earnt nearly twice the amount of money I budgeted for this category for the year. I hope I can finish the job with one of the clients and pick up at least one more client by the end of the year. 
  • Learn a new skill – Pass! I started learning a new skill. I am the teaching assistant for a super beginner’s course we run in it at work. I attended a one day course last week and plan to attend meet-ups with that group at least once a month. I’ve got a new domain to pull the trigger on doing some ground-up projects with the skill by the end of this year. The measurable goal will be to have 2 projects completed by the end of the year.

I officially passed my probation at work this week. I wouldn’t normally be worried about this sort of thing and wasn’t but turns out I should have been. Someone on my team is getting theirs extended. Hopefully, this means I can now focus on getting promoted by the end of the year.


  • Book buying ban – On track! I’ve still not bought any books this year. I have borrowed a couple and acquired 3 or 4 more that friends were planning to throw out. 
  • Reading the books I own – Failing! I’m not reading much. Period. Perhaps for the rest of the year I just need to read 6 of the books that I’ve owned for a long time but not read and then give them away.
  • Getting rid of clothes I don’t wear – Ish! I gave away quite a few things during my move. In fact I think I accidentally gave or threw away my football kit in my fervour. There are still quite a few clothes I haven’t worn at all this year and we’ve gone through the entire seasonal cycle. I must review my wardrobe every month, apply a 1-in-1-out rule and also get rid of stuff that fits that I don’t wear within a particular season.
  • Getting rid of shoes that I don’t wear – Ish! I got rid of a couple of shoes when I moved. I need to sell a few that I like but don’t wear because they are a little too tight instead of hoping that one day I’ll feel like walking around in tight shoes.

There’s been some progress but there could be so much more. There are 5-10 items that have been earmarked for sale including my mobile phone. I need to sell everything by the end of July or concede defeat. I’ll be trying both Shpock and eBay as soon as I get home.

Looking at this has really made it clear that I’m taking work pretty seriously this year. I’ve had good feedback, i’m being productive and I’m growing. I’m doing terribly on the health side of things and if I achieve nothing else this year, I really ought to ensure that those health goals go GREEN!


5 thoughts on “Frugal half year review | Need to step on the gas

  1. Thanks for sharing! Looks like everyone’s having a tough go in the area of health. Same here, I’m failing pretty bad in that arena. I have like 50lbs to lose…which is really weird given that I’m a personal trainer. LOL!


    • 50lbs of muscle? I know some pro sports people have problems like that – Nadal had to lose a ton of weight to protect his knees. I lost most of my muscle mass after a year or so of being really lazy and I think that’s why I’m struggling so much this time. When I had muscle beneath the fat, once I started working out, I’d see some results within a few weeks and stay motivated.


  2. Pingback: Living a more intentional life | Diary of a reforming spendthrift

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