Well it’s a new year. In 2016 I started the year with £5150 of debt. I was determined to cut back, reduce, and most of all stop spending money. Oh, and to pay off my debts.
I clearly did a great job because I ended 2016 with £5996.12 of debt. Uh oh! How did that happen?
Well I should explain. I had a great summer in 2016, with lots of time off. That’s because I was unemployed!
Yes, in 2016 for four months between one contract ending and gaining a new one I was living off my Ebay sales, my money making scams and what remained of my wits. I didn’t do too badly to have only gained debts of £900 during my summer off, but that’s £900 I am gutted to have added to Mr Big Bad Credit Card.
So somehow I ended 2016 in more debt then I started it in.
It looked like it was back to the drawing board.
Here are my stats.
I am 27 and have a contract at my job until April 2017. I am hoping to be either reassigned immediately after this, or to get a job closer to home (I technically work in a different country to the one I live in). Working closer to home would do wonders for my disposable income and debt repayments as my season ticket to work is a little under £300 a month.
I have five credit cards.
I recently transferred the largest balance from the card I lovingly refer to as Mr Big Bad Credit Card due to how much I hate it and how much pain it has caused me to a 0% credit card. I have 24 months to pay it off but if I was to make the same payments I had to make to the old card then it will be cleared a good while before that.
I have one credit card which has a balance of less than £90 and I am focusing on this card until it is all paid off.
Another card also has a relatively small balance, whilst another is basically maxed out.
And finally I have one card which was a 0% balance transfer card last year and the 0% interest runs out in the next two months. I will be looking to apply for a new 0% balance transfer credit card very soon so that I can avoid paying any more interest then I have to.
I also live in my £1000 overdraft, but am focusing on the credit card debt first.
Anyway, I did some assessment about how I spent my money last year and there were two things I noticed.
I continued to buy things (true, it was at a much lower rate) but I still bought things, including memorably a £30 vintage Barbie alarm clock during my summer of unemployment.
I hardly saw my friends or socialised outside of a house during the whole of 2016.
So I want to flip this for 2017. I want to socialise….and I don’t want to buy anything.
When I say anything, there is obviously a few exceptions to that.
I am allowed to buy Gifts for people, I am allowed to buy food and groceries for the house, I can spend money on travelling, health related costs, essential home ware, work expenses and posting things.
What I can’t buy are things like DVDS, books, stationary, accessories, ‘non essential food’ (takeaway coffee’s, work canteen lunches etc) and Clothes.
I am allowed to spend money on clothing ‘maintenance’ such as dry cleaning (when absolutely necessary), alterations and resoling shoes, but I can not buy one single items of clothing other than underwear.
And of course, I am not allowed to buy vintage Barbie alarm clocks.
I figured I would live this year by a strict budget (being finalised as we speak), by reducing, reusing and recycling (I hate waste of any description and feel bad if I throw away so much as half a mouldy lettuce) and by reconnecting with my friends.
To say I didn’t see my friends because I didn’t have any money would be too simple. There is also the harder fact to face which is over the last year I have developed somewhere between bad and extreme social anxiety meaning I can feel petrified about going somewhere on my own. Also when I get invited to things by my friends I can get into a state of panic before hand and become convinced they only invited me out of pity and would be a whole lot happier if I wasn’t there.
So I have a few things I want to work on in 2017 and they are
My social life
Do you notice what isn’t up there? I don’t want to focus on ‘My Spending’ other than by eliminating the non essential spending. I don’t want to spend 2017 making sure I buy lots of DVDs, clothes and books etc.
So that’s it. In 2017 I want to stop buying things and instead see my friends. I want a life free from clutter. Either physical in terms of too much stuff in the house or mental in terms of too many bad thoughts invading my mind.
It won’t be easy. I expect I may fail, but they do say it’s better to aim big and bold then to aim small.