Happy New Year! I hope your holidays and the new year have been as splendid as mine were.
Today’s post is not a good one. I had a relapse on the spendthrift front. I’ve spent far too much money in the last few months, especially around the holidays. Here are my confessions to the universe.
I know, I know. We’re nearly a third of the way through July and I’ve only just got round to figuring out how much I spent in June. This should have been a half-year review too but I’m doing this at an airport because I was too cheap to pay for a night at an Airbnb following a post-midnight arrival. I don’t know how terrible this decision will prove to be but although sleeping on airport benches is proving not to be my thing, it turns out that early morning calculation isn’t either!
Moving used to be a super stressful event for me financially. Scraping together a month’s rent in advance as well as a 6 week deposit has always been challenging. This time round, I’ve not only got my rent and 6 week deposit ready, I have also got enough cash lying around to cover (one of) my housemate’s deposit which will then be returned to me via the tenancy deposit scheme where we’ve got the deposit for our current place. That’s a total of nearly £3 000 and I haven’t touched any of my proper savings accounts.
I’m going to miss a private garden but I’m not going to miss maintaining it
This spell of my life isn’t the first time that I’ve tried to cut back on my spending. I’ve been in tons of debt since 2010 and made various attempts at sorting out my lavish spending from 2011 till 2016. Since I didn’t know that my day-to-day spending was my biggest issue, I tried to do the sensible thing and made an effort at reducing my fixed spending – rent and transport.
- In 2012, I moved out of my £1200* room in a 2-bed Canary Wharf house that I lived in mostly alone, to share a 4-bed house with some mates near Turnpike lane. This saved me £500 a month in rent and bills.
- In 2013, I let my girlfriend move in with me. She paid me £250 a month for her share of the rent and bills. She was also a keen cyclist so I started cycling about 80% of the time, saving a total of around £300 a month on rent, bills and transport for a few months.
- In 2015, I made some radical (at the time) changes. I moved out of London into the cheapest place I could find for £400 a month including bills. It was also 3 miles / a 15 minute bus ride / an hour’s walk to work. I was certain this would be the move that allowed me to kill debt fast. IT ALL WENT SO WRONG!
I watched Collateral Beauty earlier and Will Smith (how is that man still gorgeous at 50?) plays a character who loses his young daughter. His major postulation is that there are only three abstractions to life. Three things that unite all of mankind. The desire to love. The fear of death. The wish for more time. Continue reading
As anyone reading the last few posts might know, I’ve been fairly rubbish at curbing my spending the last few weeks. When I started tracking my spending in August, I meant to do it for a few weeks (a month really) and use the data to create a realistic budget. At first I was pretty good, I discovered where my leaks were and made some progress plugging them. Then my parents got scammed and I paid their Airbnb charges, I went to Houston and then Edinburgh, and now Christmas.
Having read this article by Mr Money Mustache, I’ve become quite fixated on figuring out what the average monthly spend (for a house sharing, child free Londoner) would be so that I could work out what the 25% spending level I should be aiming for might be. I scoured the interwebs for hours on my mobile (with its spider web crack that makes reading a pain) and on my laptop at work and came up with the following. Please note that the numbers below assume an average take home amount of £2000 after tax, saving just over 10%, eating out or having lunch a few times a week and going out once a week, a weekly round trip taxi, and getting around zones 1-2 by public transport. Continue reading