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.
Anyone who spends more than an hour in my company gets a sense of how varied my interests and activities are. I often run out of time to do things that I’ve planned in advance, I’ve often double-booked myself and it’s often happened that I have to go to 3/4 different places in different parts of London in one day. I play badminton and football with regularity. I’ve also got various side-hustles. It often feels like I’m doing too much and spread rather thin. It also sometimes feels like I’m only delivering at a level that is a little shy of my full potential.
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:
I need to pay rent in a few days and I haven’t got the money in my current account. I have done some side-hustling recently and am owed enough money to cover the difference. I also loaned someone £350. However, that’s not the only spending I’ve done. I’ve really done some serious damage via my food and socialising categories.
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.
I’m at home today, the third and final day of an emergency trip home to visit my dad who’s not had the best of health this 2017. I’ve been grateful that I could come and visit at short notice and that all my siblings showed up this weekend to visit me. It’s the first time since November 2014 that we’ve all been in the same place and I feel nothing but love and gratitude for this opportunity. There’s a small downside, however! My flights here will take up 12 hours by the time I get back to London and I’d have only spent about 24 quality hours with my dad before I leave. It’s only because I’m currently beholden to work and could not, in good conscience, abandon my colleagues for longer than this whilst we were in the middle of the most important phase of our delivery cycle. So, this morning I woke up and just had to make another attempt at a FIRE PLAN.
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 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 set a few goals at the start of the year and felt like I’ve not been on track for most of them. I’m a lot chubbier than is healthy or optimum, since I like to take part in a lot of sport where heft is cumbersome. I’m not eating as well as I’d like. I neither bring my own lunches in everyday nor make choices that include a high percentage of fruits, vegetables and proteins like I think I should. I’m not reading very much. I’m not spending enough time on the things that I think that I should – creating a professional brand and presence on the interwebs, learning new skills or improving the ones I want to and networking are my top goals in this aspect of my life. Continue reading