I am off work ill. I am the sort of person who meticulously plans out my day. Alright, some days it may be a bit vaguer, with a few things on a to do list and a rough structure, and other times every single minute is planned out.
My point is I don’t do very well with ‘free time’ as I feel immense guilt if I waste time. I feel bad if I waste anything but time is precious.
That’s not to say I don’t sit on the sofa and watch three episodes of Frasier on Channel 4 in the morning, but that’s OK because I actively enjoy that (or am working on my laptop or putting on a wash load at the same time) and that means that that has a value for me.
But sick days are different. I am never quite sure how to navigate them. If I go to the shops to buy cough medicine and someone I work with sees me will I get in trouble? Will I look like I am enjoying the trips to Savers to buy lemsip far too much? Will they think I am truanting?
I have learnt the hard way that being too active on a sick day makes me feel worse, so I have settled for some spreadsheet work at home.
I have long been planning on producing some epic spreadsheet work for my spending records since April 2015. I wanted to produce the data to show what percentage of my income was spent on all the various categories I have of spending.
For the moment I have decided that going that far back will be a bit time consuming and potentially very boring even for someone who loves spreadsheets as much as me. So for now, as I have a very comprehensive record for it, I have decided to just focus on how I spent my money in 2016.
First of all I discovered that 32.235% of my income in 2016 was spent on discretionary, non Bill, related purchases.
My ‘income’ in 2016 was £15603 (in today’s post I am using £15603 as my income amount as that is all the money I had come into my life in 2016, either through gifts, wages, selling things, shopping vouchers etc. In yesterdays post my ‘income’ was £10893.65 as that is the amount I earned through employment in 2016).
Since my income in 2016 was £15603, and 32.235% of it was spent on purchases that could be deemed as ‘non essential’ that means, according to my calculations, I spent £4855.55 on stuff I could have lived without.
That would have done an awful lot to clear my debt, if maybe I had visited the coffee shop a lot less and my cafetiere getting dusty on the kitchen windowsill a lot more.
Now you can appreciate why I am doing a No Spend Year.
Also this has decided something for me.
I am soon to be travelling to the South Coast of England for my friend’s hen party weekend, and I was debating about whether or not I would be allowed to buy a coffee from either the connecting train station shop, or on the train from the buffet cart.
I asked my boyfriend and he said ‘of course you’re allowed’, and I think it is an established truth that if someone else gives you permission to cheat that makes it OK, and I was being persuaded to think ‘I will be on a train for 4 hours and people do get thirsty and need to drink…’ So I was ignoring the fact it would be a ‘solo’ coffee without any sort of social interaction to make it OK.
But I have decided that I am not going to die of thirst or lack of caffeine if I have to go a few hours without coffee, and seeing how much money I spent in 2016 on non essential food (£1056.25 or 7.01% of my income last year) is depressing and it may be around £6 I would have spent in total on my journey there and back, but that’s £6 that could be put to better use.
I don’t want to seem like a killjoy and that I am determined to not enjoy myself this year, but this year is about saying No to what doesn’t matter and saying Yes to having a better quality of life on a budget. And to me a better quality of life involves spending more time socialising with my friends, that £6 could go towards my birthday party fund (I think it is lovely of WWE to hold Wrestlemania so close to my birthday, it’s very kind of them.)
It was the ‘I need this, I want this, I deserve this’ train of thought when purchasing that got me into this mess. And I must tell that side of me to stop being so wanton and instead straighten up.