Hi everyone and happy new year! I hope you all have some well-deserved rest and fun over Christmas. Now that its all over for another year, its time to get back on the grind!
Every year we make resolutions that most of us never stick to. This year instead of having one major, out of reach, goal I've decided to create 12 mini-goals to complete for one month at a time. I always find that giving yourself a year to do something is actually too long, most of the goals we set ourselves can be done quicker. We just put them off, most of the time because they require hard work. The long term aim is to gain 12 great habits and lessons that will follow me through life, or to find flaws in the idealistic habits we force ourselves to complete.
I always see Instagram and Pinterest posts on habits we should adopt in order to successfully better ourselves. Not only do these belittle our own lives, but most of the time they do not apply to normal, working life. Most of us don't have time to do the things we actually need to do, let alone adding more to our plate.
Although I do have a few long term goals I want to achieve this year, I find they can be so hard to grasp. Last year my new years resolutions were self love, confidence and to focus more on people who care about me the most. While I don't feel like I didn't gain these, I kind of lost track along the way. When making resolutions try to keep them specific, that's where I failed last year.
I am going to be blogging about my successes and failures throughout the year. To find out what works for me, what doesn't and hopefully along the way I'll find a way to actually progress.
My first goal for the year, and what most people want to do in January, is to manage my money and to save. Although I've been telling myself that I've been budgeting for years, I still seem to be addressing the fact I have very little in savings. For a while last year, I was debating whether it is better to live life to the full and worry later, or whether planning and managing it is better. While it sounds like the latter is the better option, it's stressful when you attempt to manage your life and you still can't quite get it right. Plus, living in a capitalist society consumes all of your time, money and effort. It can sometimes feel better to just jump on a plane and never come back.
Step 1: Set yourself up to save!
Saving is difficult, and it's even more difficult when you have zero resources to do it. Don't let yourself fail (or quit) before you've even started! Last year I set myself up so I am ready to save my way through 2020. I opened myself two savings accounts, one help to buy ISA and one general savings account. I am planning to deposit into both accounts each month, with the goal of hopefully being able to replace my car and also save for a house.
I also opened up another current account, which is currently empty. I find that I live paycheck to paycheck regardless of how much I save. I'm never usually able to save whatever I have leftover each month. This year I want to work out whether that's because life throws us some rubbish to deal with, or if I just spend more because the money is there. So instead of 'saving' this money, the plan is to put it into this account at the end of the month and see how far into the next month I get without it. If you can save it then you didn't need to spend it.
Step 2: Track where your money is going.
I think being more aware of what you're spending, and what on, seriously helps you cut back. I spend too much money by lunch at work, when I have all the resources to pack a lunch. I've just been too lazy to do it. Food is where 99% of my money goes, the other 1% being on petrol. When I looked through my bank statement for December pretty much all of it was spent at restaurants or supermarkets. There is just no reason for me, one person who lives at home, to spend so much money on food. It is purely down to being unorganised, with my money and my meal plans.
Step 3: ORGANISATION!
Create a plan that will prevent you from 'needing' to spend your money where you don't need to. Spend time, not money! Save yourself the cash by making sure you're ready for the days ahead.
A lot of people suggest that it can be easier to save money when you use cash payments, rather than a card. This is because you can monitor what you're spending more when you use cash. While I do get this, I tried it and still seemed to spend a lot. Being organised and holding yourself accountable is more effective. Like I said, saving money takes more effort than earning it sometimes. Make a budget that works for you, and make it realistic. I have tried so many different saving techniques and none have them have worked in the long term because they don't cater to my life. Save what you can, and spend what you need to.
Let me know your 2020 goals and resolutions! Also, feel free to join in alongside my monthly challenges and let me know how you get on!