One of the reasons I was very pleased with how my January spending review turned out was because I experimented with living January the way I wanted 2018 to go. I didn’t do an uber frugal month. I socialised (frugally), did tons of sport and ate really well. I came in at £1696.24 – excluding support, debt and £135.23 of travel that was enabled by the side-hustle income that I made of £150. In a recent post, I reviewed a couple of other options that I could pursue other than early retirement because 6 weeks into the year and I’m not sure that I can keep my discretionary spending at the level that it needs to be to retire within the timeline that I desire. As a result, here’s the budget that I’m working with this year.
In typical reforming spendthrift fashion, last diary’s awesomeness could only be followed by sub-par frugality last week. I ate out three times and bought groceries from the small, high-brow grocery store that’s conveniently located as opposed to the large one about a twenty minute walk away. Here’s where my money went:
Discovering the FI/ER (Financial Independence / Early Retirement) movement has changed my life in more ways than most people probably realise. This year I’m aiming to eat 80% of my food at home, other homes or for free, I walk or cycle or take the bus into work as much as I can, I average a taxi or less a month, have savings & a pension and pay cash upfront for everything. Yesterday, I went to a paid comedy show for the first time in two years.
This is a far cry from the years I spent racking up debt because I didn’t think anything of spending £50 on an evening dining out several times a week, paid for the gym even when I never went, forked out £70+ a month on a Sky subscription and took Ubers to work almost everyday. One of my motivations for this change in lifestyle has been because I aspire to make work optional by 2028, when I will turn 45.
I don’t know what the rest of 2018 will be like but last week was one of my favourite weeks of the year so far. It’s not so much anything to do with the fact that I successfully completed Dry January and so had my first drinks of the year but more to do with nailing a really good week where I worked hard, ate well and got to hang out with really great people while coming in under budget. Here’s what my week was like.
I survived! January felt really long. This was mostly because the pay cycle was about 6 weeks long. Why, oh why, do we get paid before Christmas? It’s the end now and I got to do the very exciting task of reviewing how this first month of the year went. I initially thought I’d be doing the Uber Frugal Month challenge but then when I started looking at 2017’s budget – more on that in my next post – I figured that I had set some unrealistic targets for last year and wanted to use January as a template for what I really want my 2018 spending to look like. Let’s see how that went
In the last few days of 2017 I thought I might do the ultra frugal month challenge this month and then I looked over my 2017 budget and realised that for many categories, I’d made rather unrealistic spending targets. Sure, I’d known at the start of the year that I had a fairly lucrative side-hustle that would fund some of that spending but I really wanted to be able to budget more accurately for 2018. This week’s money diary means that I’ve got a more accurate picture of what I would spend in a month where I was dating, socialising and living the way I’d like to carry on doing through 2018. The only thing that isn’t quite reflective of how the rest of the year might go is that I’m not drinking at all. Here’s what I spent last week.
I know that I’ve spent more money than budgeted for last week but I don’t feel bad about it. I can only make a plan and if life gets in the way – positively – of executing that plan there’s very little I can do about it. I was thrilled to finally execute my teaching gig and get paid for it, preview early retirement life with a perfect day off and generally live what felt like I was on the path to luxuriously thrifty life.