2017 review | A bit rubbish at frugality but equally rubbish at being spendthrift

I’ve loved reading all the 2017 round ups that have been doing the rounds (yes pun!) this week. Last year I had a big hairy (financial) goal of saving more. I also had associated goals related with eating better, getting fitter and de-cluttering. Here’s a summary of my progress, or lack thereof last year:




Overall I wanted to save a bit more money than I’d managed in previous years. Here are specific steps I wanted to take:

  • Increase Moneybox savings by £520: I increased my contributions to £10 a month from £5. PASS
  • Provide support to family and girlfriend: I guessed I’d need to pay out £6,000 to meet this goal. I ended up spending £9, 137.67. PASS
  • Save up a £1,000 baby emergency fund: I started out contributing £55 a month to the amount that I started 2017 with. I had to withdraw the money in May to help pay my dad’s bills and so I finished the year with only £644 in the fund. FAIL
  • Save up enough money to invest in mutual funds in 2018: I started off with a £250 standing order (auto-payment) to an account I called my “FI fund”. I had to withdraw from it to help with the medical bills and then upped that figure to £400 a year. I ended with a balance of £2,936.19 by the final payment in December (with interest) but had to withdraw £1, 500 from it for additional unplanned support. FAIL
  • Pay off all personal debt as well as my only interest generating debt: I still have £4,000 of personal debt and my overdraft of £1,750 left to pay but I paid off 3 corporate accounts and made a significant dent in another couple that I hadn’t planned on paying off. FAIL
  • Set up a pension and get old pensions into Pensionbee app: I got auto-enrolled into the mini pension scheme at 1% contribution and 1% match after 3 months at my job. When I was given the option to join the maxi scheme at 6 months, I upped my contribution to 5% with a 6% match. I also tracked down all my old pensions and moved the ones that I’m not currently contributing to into Pension bee. PASS

Health and fitness

Overall, I wanted to change my lifestyle so that I’d never have to make another weight-loss related resolution. Here are the specific steps I tried to take through the year:

  • Eat less meat:  I wanted to have 1/2 meat-free days a week. I didn’t manage this. I might have had a couple of meat-free days all year. FAIL
  • Walk or cycle 75% of the time: Once I got my bike sorted in March, I did pretty well at this goal. Sadly, I had a knee and ankle double-whammy injury at the end of September that put paid to those plans for the rest of the year. FAIL
  • Fit into my clothes from 2007 that are currently cluttering up my room: I gained 16.2lbs (that’s over a stone!) last year which means that the clothes I wanted to fit into still don’t fit and I’m in danger of not fitting into the clothes I’ve got now. FAIL


I wanted to grow professionally after a year of stagnation and years of not aiming for promotions.

  • Become the go-to person for something within my organisation: I gave 2 company-wide learning sessions at work last year. I also established myself as a mentor to the other members of my team. I also established myself the go-to person for accessibility and inclusive design too. PASS
  • Establish and act a plan to teach:  I reached out to three different companies for a part-time instructor role. I’m giving my first course in a few weeks having been accepted on a trial sometime in October. PASS
  • Aim for a promotion: As at last conversation with the head of my department, I have been approved for promotion and the HR processes just need to establish how much of a raise I get. I was told that this should be finalised by the end of January. PASS


I really wanted to own a little less stuff and buy only what I really needed:

  • Sell some of the stuff that I’ve had lying around: I have lots of clothes, shoes, sports equipment, old phones etc that are taking up room but could generate money. I sold a couple of things on Shpock but not nearly enough. FAIL
  • Try out wearing only one pair of shoes 90% of the time: This was to help me trim down my shoe collection from the current 20+ pairs to 4 (1 regular, 1 running/other indoor sports, 1 fancy/wedding, and walking boots). I wore my lovely Vans trainers 90% of the time from July, when I got it, till the end of the year. PASS

Wrap up

I wouldn’t say I had a stellar year. I hate that I failed so badly at meeting my health-related goals but there’s still time for improvement on that front.

In fact, it was an even split on the passes and failures. Considering I missed my financial goals because I diverted money that should have gone towards paying off debt and padding my emergency fund to support people, I’ll take it as an overall win. It was great to see that I could do things like save money even when I felt like I was failing at frugality. I went past a motorbike shop last night and realised that for the first time in a very long time, I could pay cash for a vehicle if I wished to. That’s a very powerful feeling!

3 thoughts on “2017 review | A bit rubbish at frugality but equally rubbish at being spendthrift

  1. Stopped by to say hi!

    Girl, you had some ambitious goals! That’s what, like 15 of them? So yeah, I think it’s an overall win considering the circumstances. How many people not only have the funds, but are generous enough to support family like that? Also, reading this made me feel like I should count my lucky stars. Part of the reason why I’m OK with money is because nothing major has ever happened to me or loved ones. So thank you for reminding me of that of that!


    • Thanks so much for stopping by.

      I guess there were a lot of broken things I wanted to fix but it’s possibly clear from the outcome that I couldn’t do quite so many things at the same time so my 2018 goals will be a bit leaner. Yes, it’s not great when you have other people that are dependent on you but I was ever so grateful that the storm hit the one year that I was in a financial position to be able to support them.


  2. Pingback: Should I be aiming for a lifestyle change or early retirement? | Diary of a reforming spendthrift

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s