My 21-day thrifty workout

I need to pay rent in a few days and I haven’t got the money in my current account. I have done some side-hustling recently and am owed enough money to cover the difference. I also loaned someone £350. However, that’s not the only spending I’ve done. I’ve really done some serious damage via my food and socialising categories.


What’s the ballpark damage I’ve done?

In the last week, here’s some unnecessary spending that I’ve done:

Wednesday 13/03

  • Lunch with colleagues (£8.95) – because I couldn’t miss out on hanging with some of my friends
  • Lunch with a new friend (£40.92) – I didn’t pick the restaurant in Mayfair and Prosecco adds up
  • Drinks at Kamio (£10) – because rounds
  • Dinner with the friends (£18.40) – because the food was good. I also forwent drinks so that was one small positive

Friday 15/03

  • Breakfast (£3.00) – Scrambled eggs and avocado
  • Lunch with new some friends at Ping Pong (£36.00) – because I’m a sucker for dim sum and need to foster my new friendships
  • Pret a Manger (£10.75) – because I was hungry and greedy. I ate 5 croissants! (They were so soft and yummy and I have no chill)

This is a small snapshot from the last week. The entire month I’ve been taking the piss with my social spend. All in, I’ve got to find £500 – 700 to see me through to the end of the month. I’m going to dip into my emergency fund. Yes, I’m well aware that I’m not supposed to use it for stuff like this but I’m grateful that I can.

How am I going to recover from this?

  1. Side-hustle my way out of trouble. I suppose there’s a bit of good news here. I’m expecting side-hustle payments for at least £800 at the start of October. I’ll also be getting a refund of my expenses (£168.30) for flights to meet my freelance client in Germany. This will more than cover off the amount of money that I have to borrow from that fund. I’ve also put myself down for shifts at my theatre job that (should I get them all) will generate another £100-200 for the end of October.
  2. Exercise my frugality muscles: I’ve really taken the 21 day habit-forming technique to heart now. As of yesterday, I’ve written down 8 habits that I really must develop. 4 of them should have some financial impact.
    • Drink water or black tea and nothing else – should help me detox / break the caffeine cycle as well as stop my inability to say no to a round at the pub
    • Eat home-made or free food 85% of the time – Even if I meet people for the next three weeks, we will have to be at home or they’ll have to get past their discomfort at my not eating anything.
    • Walk or cycle 100% of the time – If it’s within London and I can’t cycle and/or walk to it then until October 13th, I can’t go to it. This will eliminate transport costs & help me get fitter.
    • No-spend days – I’m really cutting back all non-essential spending over the next 21 days. Since Friday last week, I’ve had 3 no-spend days and no non-essential spending. That’s probably more no spend days than I’ve had in the last three months.
  3. Save till it hurts a little I read an article that The Luxe Strategist wrote about tweaking her saving rate until it hurt a little. Unfortunately I can’t remember which article it was but I’m totally borrowing that strategy. My money strategy each month has been:
    • Pension deducted automatically from pay: At first it was a middling 1% with 1% match but now I’m eligible, it’s up to 5% and I get a 6% match.
    • FI fund: This was originally £250 a month because I was targeting £3,000 by the end of the year. I had to dip into it to help with some family medical bills so I upped it to £400 (the max) to be able to meet my goal. This money is supposed to go into a stocks and shares ISA next year and will earn 3% interest by then.
    • Moneybox: I have an auto investment for £10 a week at the moment. From next year, this will go up to £20 a week but I’ll leave it this way.
    • Bonds: I buy NSandI bonds worth £100 every month. This is somewhat ad-hoc but so far I’m on target to have saved £1,200
    • Debt & Support: Debt should be my top priority at the moment but I’ve made it second tier while I build up some savings because only my overdraft accrues interest. I’m still on track to pay off all debt by the end of 2018. While I was contributing to medical bill payments, I kept my debt payoff to the minimum three accounts I needed to complete. Now, I’ve got between £900 and £1,000 dedicated to debt payoff. This is the category that I’m going to boost from October. I have £2,685 of debt to friends / family that I need to pay off by the end of this year. I will take my repayments up a notch to ensure I’ve got at least £800 going towards those payments at the start of the month. Another £400 will go towards eliminating the last of my corporate debt. This way, I won’t have to hope I have enough money left at the month. I’ll just have to manage what I have to prioritise what discretionary spending I can do.

That’s it. For the next 21 days, I have to be as good as I can to hopefully see out the rest of this year in luxuriously thrifty style.

One thought on “My 21-day thrifty workout

  1. Pingback: The cost of thrifty | An update on the 21 day thrifty workout | Diary of a reforming spendthrift

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