I had the perfect day yesterday. Last week was not fantastic. It seemed like everything that could go wrong did. I had a cold sore. I got a cold/flu. I had to cancel Oslo. I didn’t have any material ready for my teaching gig even though it’s happening really soon. I was behind on the pro bono work that I’m doing. I fell and sprained or strained one finger and got a couple of blood blisters on my left hand. I also did something to my Achilles while playing badminton and subsequently couldn’t play football.
This week, on Monday morning I got a message from one of my brothers that the middle one had just fainted. In broad daylight. In the morning. Luckily he wasn’t alone. I don’t know yet what went wrong but he’s currently OK. Not great but it could be worse. I guess by the time Thursday rolled round, I was desperate for a positive day. Continue reading
Yesterday, I opened and read an article by Mindfully Spent about the power of habit. She talks about how, as a naturally erratic person, it’s taken her a while to build good habits and the impact those habits have had on her financial status. ‘A while’ was about 6 weeks. She successfully stopped paying for parking, cut back on buying coffee and started planning and prepping meals in advance. It apparently took her around 6 weeks to achieve these goals. She said, and I quote:
How did I know that I’d made a real change? My whole mindset about paid parking shifted. Now, the cost savings and the extra exercise I get when I use free parking feels like a reward. There have been one or two days when I thought I might have to pay, and I dreaded the idea. Once a mindless convenience, the expense of parking now feels like a horrible waste.
Watching P!nk a few weeks ago was super thrilling!
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.
View at Farthing down on my London to Brighton cycle yesterday
I rarely take more than a few days off at a time so when I travel for longer than a long weekend I like to maximise my time away. When I started planning my trip to Budapest, I had a look at the most interesting and easily accessible cities to it and settled on Vienna. It also happened to be on my must-see list so I was happy! Now you might recall that I splurged a little in Budapest so I needed to keep Vienna as frugal as possible. I had no idea where to start but got a good idea of prices and an itinerary from On the Luce’s “Visiting Vienna on a budget” article.
I’ve been buzzing this week about my 8 day long holiday – the longest time off I’ve had since last November – which I started in Budapest last weekend. I have no idea what I was expecting of Budapest but I didn’t expect it to be quite so
modern, western European, I don’t know. It seemed rather London-y. Maybe all of Europe is similar. It’s a city that’s been on my must-see list for years but I never quite got round to it until now and boy, was it worth the wait?!
Stunning Vajdahunyad castle within the City park
One of the highlights of my year is my trip to Paris with my football team. We take part in a weekend-long tournament that usually involves a lot of singing, dancing, drinking, playing football and generally having a blast. I suppose this weekend could rightly be compared to Spring break, a hen/stag do, or other such lads/ladies on tour situation. Last year, my Paris trip was the straw before the straw that broke the camel’s back. I somehow managed to spend three or four hundred pounds more than I planned to and it had the most disastrous impact on my financial situation.
View from Hotel de Ville
Early views for my 5.40am train
The fanciest registration venue ever for a football tournament
I have a diverse set of friends. Earlier in my career as a consultant software engineer, I mostly hung out with fellow “professionals”. My friends were doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects, bankers or consultants too. These friends visited the latest restaurants, travelled on British Airways, took first class trains, and stayed at the Marriott or Hilton. I joined in and adopted this lifestyle even though I had no business living that way. We went to paid exhibitions at galleries and museums, cooked Ottolenghi recipes with exotic and expensive ingredients, bought designer clothes, worked out at expensive gyms and didn’t think much about spending £12.50 on a cocktail on a night out.
I like a good time. I like lush surroundings. Jet-setting. I like the flexibility of being able to change my train or plane tickets. Personal space. Comfort. Cool sheets. Temperature-controlled environments. I like fresh food. In-season produce. Fair-trade and organic food. I like durable clothes. Expensive shoes. The latest gadgets. Wonderful experiences. Unforgettable memories. Instagram-worthy photos. I love all of this but the thing is, I can’t afford it all. Continue reading
How many times have you thought about doing something, or read about someone else’s achievement, and thought “I want to do that, but I’ll do it one day”? I bet it happens a lot. I’d even bet that it’s happened once this week. With the number of things and people and skills I admire, I’d argue I experience this at least once a week. It’s otherwise known as the bucket list but I haven’t used that term because apparently that’s a millennial thing and apparently I’m not a millennial. Continue reading
*Which is not her real name
In the personal finance blogosphere, there is a general derision for any desire to keep up with the Joneses. We are encouraged to chart a different path, embrace different choices and follow the road less travelled. I’ve also recently read an article, possibly from the Our Next Life blog, about how this conversely sets a different kind of target. FIRE enthusiasts are keeping up with a different kind of Joneses (perhaps we should call them the Smiths who seem an altogether more frugal sort). This morning I saw a Facebook post. My friend Yoko is coming back to London after months of travelling. And it got me thinking. Whilst I might eschew living like most people, I definitely want to live like Yoko.