In October, I evaluated how being more intentional could help me become luxuriously thrifty. I don’t know whether minimalism, intentionality and thrift are always intertwined. It’s certainly been the case that since I started reading personal finance blogs, I’ve also started reading and/or following bloggers that include articles on minimalism and intentional living. At the heart of it, the FIRE movement mandates intentionality since it promotes spending in line with your values and that requires some deliberate decisions.
In February, I realised that I needed to focus as much on today as the future so I attempted to #giveuplazy as well as documented my one day list. Both of these things were part of a concerted effort at living my best life now so that I no longer had to wait for one day. For years I’d put off stuff with a “bucket list” and I had to prioritise my money and time if I wanted to go from wanting to doing.
How is intentionality working out so far?
- I am spending in line with my values. In my half-year review, you can see that whilst I’m spending more money than I’d planned to, I am generally spending on things that are important to me. Giving and support was my highest spending category. I now have savings. A significant proportion discretionary spending was on travel and nurturing relationships – two of my whys.
- I diversified my income streams. For at least 2 or 3 years since I changed to my second career, I’d wanted to go freelance but didn’t dare because of my debt levels and general financial stupidity. So far this year, I’ve earnt nearly £6 000 in side hustle income – the majority of which have come from my 2 freelance clients.
- A wee bit of my money is now working for me. I don’t fully understand it yet but now I have some pocket change in stocks and am saving to use a stocks and shares ISA to invest in Exchange Traded Funds by the end of the year.
- There are no more ‘can’ts’ in my vocabulary when it comes to my finances. I used to think “I can’t understand pensions”. “I can’t understand investing”. “I can’t save”. “I can’t plan ahead”. “I can’t get out of debt”. I didn’t sign up to any pension at all till I’d been working for 7 years and even then, when I left that company I asked them to give me the money I’d put in (How could I have been so stupid?!). I have a budget. I’ve got three pensions and am on track to increase my contribution at my main job to 10% by the end of the year. I am educating myself so that I can make better decisions everyday.
- I’m aiming for a promotion: When I first started working, I got promoted twice in 3 years. I was motivated, I was hardworking and I had a plan. Then I had 3 years of putting up with a job I detested and my career floundered. When I got into my second career, that I love, I thought I was too new to aim high. I was also comfortable with just doing enough to get by. So I just got by. Since I decided that I needed to step things up at work, though, I’ve seen a difference in the quality of work I produce and how people view me. I am perceived to be the most senior member of my team, an “expert” at certain things and have gained a serious level of visibility within the company. At my last performance review, my boss told me that I’m on track to be promoted within the next 3-6 months.
- I’m putting myself out there: I want to be a thought leader in my field. I also want to lecture in it as my next career. I’ve been afraid to put my money on myself and share my better-than-average skill set on display for years. I finally started. I’ve only taken a couple of baby steps but I can see the way forward and have got good feedback so far.
Doing instead of wanting
I have an extensive and non-exhaustive list of things I want. I want some of those things more than I want others. I’ve also wanted some of those things for years but always put them off because I couldn’t “afford them”, “didn’t have enough time”, “didn’t know how to get them” or just plain old “I’d do it one day”. I’m actively ticking off items from that list now. In the last few months, here’s what I’ve done:
- Visited Vienna and Budapest – they’ve topped my must see list for years but I just never made them happen
- Finally booked a trip to Berlin. Same as above
- Started coding
- Cycled from London to Brighton
- Deleted Candy Crush (yes I have spent countless stupid hours of my life trying to best my ‘bestie’ but I finally deleted the app)
- Written a blog that I’m updating more regularly and for longer than I’ve ever done in my previous 4/5 attempts
- Bought a domain
- I’ve started practising Italian again
- Got rid of people who don’t align to my values – I used to spend a ton of time and money on people that just didn’t add much to my life. Now that I value my time so much more, I’ve stopped socialising unnecessarily with such people . I even ended my relationship when in the past I would have settled for comfortable instead of aiming for great.
It’s not extensive but I am so much happier, less stressed and feel a lot better. I’m working on the biggest problem area in my life at the moment – my health and weight. I’ll hopefully have some positive information to share on that front in the not-too-distant-future.