As I write this, I’m on holiday. I’m lying on a sofa sitting out the rain and somewhat anxious about the state of my bank accounts. It’s been nearly 2 years since I started this blog and I thought I’d have paid off all of my debt and been well on my way to financial independence. So far, this isn’t the case. I’ve just spent nearly £1,100 on a ticket to go visit my girlfriend – pulling funds from my savings accounts to manage it on fairly short notice – and am therefore currently in the negative on 2 of my accounts.
If you wondered where I was for 2 months then you might have discovered that I met bae – who I’m really into. The defining thing about our relationship is that our top love languages are “touch” yet we live on different continents. This means that we struggle with the distance possibly more than other people and come up with wonderful little ways to cope. Ultimately though, we both figured that it would be too expensive to see each other at the frequency that we’d like for a very long period of time. So, a big change is afoot by the end of the year.
I’ve spent a lot of today trying to get my budget and spending tracking spreadsheet in a better shape for the second half of the year. It’s no secret that I’ve been dating someone who lives on a different continent the last few months and this new romance plus the challenge of maintaining communication when we’re not together has taken precedence over everything else in my life. I decided last month (and shared the news with some of my colleagues) that I’ll be moving away from London at the end of the year. This has prompted a desire to get my finances in top shape for the move – more on that in my next post – which means I can share my June spending with any voyeurs out there.
After many weeks of not prioritising my finances, I have finally got my act together with tracking my spending. In order to get a sense of what the (new) landscape looks like, I’m going to carry on with money diaries at least through to July when the person of interest (now to be referred to as bae) goes back. What does a week of treat yo’self look like? Feast your eyes:
The last time I blogged was at the end of February. This is also the last time that I tracked my spending judiciously. I’d like to say that it was all down to my occasional extreme bouts of laziness but it’s been a little bit more than that. I have a strong suspicion that I’ve found “my person”. I met a cute girl when I was in San Fransisco at the start of March and even though nothing has happened, I’ve been caught up in a whirl of feelings that has manifested as insanely long phone calls and a complete disregard of most other things in my life.
I thought this might be my last money diary for a while – because I thought I’d got my act together. This is rather far from the truth. The second half of last week saw quite the spectacular increase discretionary spend for the problem areas – dating and socialising. I didn’t feel guilty for all of it though because I had a spectacular weekend. Here’s how things panned out:
Argh! Another poor week. I should stop moaning after the fact. I consciously, willingly and decisively made some poor money choices last week that mean that I exceeded my budget in several categories as well as overall. It wasn’t all doom and gloom though so let’s look at how I spent my money last week.
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.