My November Goals 2018- Monthly Linky

 

One thing that I really love about a new month is setting monthly goals. I feel this helps me to keep focused and on track, and motivates me during the month.

In fact, I also set yearly goals, and I’ll share those with you on New Years Eve. But for now, let’s concentrate on my November Goals.

 

 

  1. Start Matched Betting Seriously.

My Friend Charlotte over at Charlotte Musha has really inspired me to start thinking about Matched Betting seriously. I’ve heard many people describe how they’ve made hundreds of pounds from Matched Betting. Best of all, it’s totally tax-free! In this post, Charlotte describes how she made £230 in 5 hours! That sounds like a good money-maker! This ties in very nicely to Goal number 2.

 

  1. Try and earn £350 from Side Hustles.

This is a scary one, and quite a big goal. I do have some dog walking clients starting this month, so hopefully they will bring in the majority if that money. As well as Matched Betting, I’m going to start doing Surveys too.

 

  1. Start my Volunteer Job.

I really want to concentrate on getting some experience under my belt, for my dream job. I’ve applied for quite a few volunteer jobs recently, but there is specific one that I would really like to start this month. I must have my DBS check, plus wait for my references to come back, but my ‘taster day’ went really well. So, fingers crossed!

This is the most important goal for me this month, as I desperately need the experience. Plus, they will pay for my training if I stay with them for a minimum of 5 years. So, I get the experience and funding that I need to get my dream job in the long-term.

 

  1. Stay within my food budget.

This is something I struggle with EVERY month. I hate keeping an eye on how much I spend on food. I’m a real foodie, and have expensive taste, so my food budget easily goes out of the window by the 2nd week of every month!

 

  1. The No More Excuses November Challenge.

Every month in my Facebook Group we have a different challenge. This month I am running a ‘back to basics’ challenge, where we will be the most frugal we can, in all areas of our lives. No unnecessary spending, meal planning and sticking to it, using up the food we already have in our houses, pay as much off debt as possible, or save as much money as possible.

If you’d like to join, here is the Link. We do ask that everybody answers BOTH of the questions when requesting to join. It is a group that is based on the Dave Ramsey 7 Baby Steps, so please do some research on this if you want to join.

 

  1. Post all the Christmas Presents.

I need to post my families Christmas presents this year, as we won’t be able to meet up beforehand. I want to get this done by the 15th November. Last year I was late posting them, and they didn’t get delivered until New Year. That didn’t go down very well!

 

  1. Finally, my last goal is to put £300 to debt this month.

On the last day of November, I want to have enough money in the bank that I can put £300 to debt this month. If I do well with my side hustles, this shouldn’t be a problem. I have written my November budget, and have worked out that as long as I stick to my food budget, and earn money from side hustles, I should easily make this goal.

Those are my November Goals! I’ll be back at the end of the month to report on how I did, and whether I achieved these goals, or why I didn’t!

Do you have Monthly Goals? What are yours?

Until next time,

Claire.

 

I thought it would be fun to open up these Monthly Goals posts as a linky for bloggers and Instagrammers from all niches to be able to share their plans for the month and update as they go along so we can all be cheerleaders for one another.

 


Preparing for Christmas In October

 

I know it’s only Autumn and Christmas is about 9 weeks away, but I always like to prepare for it ahead of time. While some people look at my early prep and roll their eyes, there are others who think that by starting in October, I’m leaving it too late.

There are several reasons why I plan ahead of time for Christmas, and why I think you should too.

 

  1. First, and most importantly, you need to make sure that you have enough money for Christmas. If you have Sinking Funds (see HERE for more info on Sinking Funds) then you are more than likely safe in the knowledge that you have exactly the right amount of money for your family to celebrate Christmas. If you don’t, then by the time October rolls around, you only have 2 paydays to pay for it.

Making Christmas a Debt-Free time of year is so important, you don’t want to be paying for Christmas 2018 in December 2019! If you don’t have Sinking Funds (and even if you do!) then its not too late to write a Christmas budget, but you’ll need to keep it realistic. Maybe scale back slightly, or only buy for the children in the family, for example.

 

 

  1. It means that you have time to find bargains. You don’t have to run around a week before Christmas, paying full price for everything because you don’t have time to look for bargains, coupons, vouchers or good quality second-hand items. You’ll also have time to make any handmade gifts and change them if a mistake is made. This really does help with the budgeting aspect of Christmas, and making sure that YOU are in control of Christmas, instead of the other way around.

  1. You have time to enjoy the festive season instead of being rushed and stressed. You can relax the week before Christmas Day, because you have bought and wrapped presents, cooked food ahead of time and planned everything that needs to be done. You can enjoy spending time with your friends and family, go to festive activities, spend quality time at home, because you know everything is taken care of.

So, those are all the reasons that I think EVERYONE should prepare for Christmas as early as possible. In 2019 I’ll be preparing as early as January!

When do you prepare for Christmas?

Till next time,

Claire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn Bucket List

 

 

As much as I love Summer, there is something magical and cosy about Autumn, and I just adore the change in season! Especially because Summer in England this year has been SO HOT, it’s refreshing to have some cooler weather. Crunchy Autumn Leaves, misty breath, crisp early mornings, there are so many things about Autumn that I love. No wonder it’s my favourite season!

 

When Sue from suefoster.info asked me to come up with an Autumn Bucket List, the only struggle was keeping it short enough!

So here are 5 things that I am doing this Autumn

 

  1. Hygge

I’ve spent a lot of time watching YouTube Videos and reading blog posts about Hygge. Essentially, this is the Danish word for ‘Cosiness and Comfort’. What better time to do this, than Autumn! For me, Hygge activities are things like reading a book while snuggled up on the sofa with the dogs, hot chocolate in hand. Or practicing meditation by candlelight, while its raining outside. Just the thought of doing these things makes me feel all snug and cosy.

  1. Save more money

I always feel it’s easier to save money in Autumn! I love warming stews, curries, 1 pot dinners, basically anything easy. Luckily enough, these are all relatively cheap to make.  Meal Planning is also easier because meals like stews can be made in huge vats, and then spread over 2 or 3 days if you like. There is nothing like mopping up the last bits of stew with a large chunk of crusty bread.

  1. Blog/Vlog more

I have a LOT of blog post ideas and am determined to break my habit of not posting because I worry my content isn’t good enough or provides enough of what people want to read. The same with my YouTube Channel (LINK). So, I want to redesign my blog and write more about things that I’m interested in. I want to make videos and blog about my dogs, my home, and of course, money!

  1. Get out more with the dogs

Living in Cornwall, I have a lot of beautiful places to go walking with the dogs. At this time of the year, many of the beaches open to dogs again, after being restricted during the holiday season. There are lovely National Trust houses that we can walk around the grounds (some allow dogs, some don’t. Always check first). And of course, we also have the South West Coast Path. I am aiming to take the dogs to at least 2 of these places in Autumn. Normally we walk around town, or walk at the local lake, but I really want to get us all exploring new areas.

  1. Be more social

With the shorter days approaching, its so easy to hibernate during the colder, darker months! I am guilty of doing this a lot and it can really affect my mood. This year I’m making a conscious effort to get out and meet friends more. Not only that, but to meet new people and join more social groups. I’ve recently joined a new Church, so I am going to be seeing what social groups they offer, plus our local council run a lot of walking groups (and who knows, I might even take my dogs and kill 2 birds with 1 stone!).

 

So those are just a few of the things on my Autumn bucket list. I’d love to hear yours, so let me know either here on the blog, or over on Instagram

You can also look at more Autumn Bucket Lists by checking out Sue’s Post Here

 

 

 

Debt and Mental Health (UK)

 

 

 

I really want to preface this blog post by saying that everybody experiences mental health issues differently. People with exactly the same diagnoses can have polar opposite experiences.

Also, if you are struggling with Mental Health issues, please reach out for help. I have linked some mental health resources and helplines at the end of the post.

 

 

We all know that managing our money can be difficult, even when we are healthy and our lives are calm and running smoothly. So it makes sense that it gets even more difficult when we experience mental health problems, and approximately 1 in 4 of us do.

 

Issues like depression can make us blow the budget as we aim to try and make ourselves feel better, and problems such as bipolar disorder can find us spending like a millionaire when we are in a manic phase.

 

It is no coincidence that poor mental health is very strongly correlated with high levels of debt (Approx 50% of people with debt, also have mental health difficulties).But the opposite can also be true, that high levels of debt (or ANY level of debt) can cause mental health issues.

 

66M people live in the U.K.  That means that 16M of us currently have some sort of mental health issue. And out of that 16M, 8M are in debt.

 

BUT I FEEL ITS CRUCIAL TO NOTE THAT DEBT IS ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS SOLVABLE. The solution may not be a quick or easy one, but it is still possible. There are plenty of charities and organisations that can help you if you are struggling with debt and you have a mental health issue.

 

Sources of help (This list was taken from The Royal College of Psychiatrists);

 

National

The MoneySavingExpert website also has a wonderful FREE booklet to download which explains the topic in more detail. You can read and download it here https://images6.moneysavingexpert.com/images/documents/mentalhealthguide_new_march_2018.pdf?_ga=2.42162853.1413502628.1535804009-1252977763.1534859923

And there is a wonderful blog post on Debt and Mental Health that is well worth a read,over on My Debt Diary

 

Until next time,Claire.

Sinking Funds- How to save for large expenses

When sticking to a budget (If you need help writing a budget, you can find that here ) my biggest priority after paying for my fixed expenses, is to contribute to my Sinking Funds (SFs). This is because SFs stop me from acquiring more debt.

In this blog post, I’m going to talk all abut SFs, what they are and how I use them.

What are Sinking Funds?

Essentially, all of the things that you expect will happen at some point, are covered with small amounts of money that you put away into an account every month.

I like to think of Sinking Funds as lifeboats on a sinking ship. All is going well, you are sailing along quite happily on your debt free journey, your budget is running smoothly, you are paying off your debts using your Debt Snowball (or Avalanche), when BAM! All of a sudden, you hit an Iceberg. That Iceberg may be a broken down car, or School Uniform costs, or whatever the case may be.

What Sinking Funds do is take away that panic of hitting the iceberg. So you aren’t left panicking about how you are going to cover that expense. In reality we know these things WILL happen at some point. Its unheard of for you to buy a car and NEVER spend a single penny on it and then sell it 10 years later. All cars need money spent on them, whether its expected or unexpected. The same goes for lots different categories.

Some examples are:

Christmas- It’s on the 25th December every year, plan for it!

Birthdays-Similar to Christmas, birthdays are

School Uniform Costs

Car Maintenance/M.O.T

Pet Expenses

Home Repairs

Clothing.

 

How to start Sinking Funds

The general rule of thumb is to work out what Sinking Funds you need, then work out how much you’ll need for each fund, divide by 12 and save that amount every month.

So, if you’ll need £250 a year for car repairs, you’ll divide that by 12 (approx.£20.80) and save that amount every month throughout the year.

Where that may not work is when you’ve only just started SFs and you have a shorter time to save for expenses. For example, it’s September and you haven’t any SF for Christmas, or is August and you haven’t any SF for School Uniform costs.

In that scenario, I would work out the BARE MINIMUM you can get away with spending for that item, and save for that first. It may mean having to scale back significantly on Christmas for example. In 2017, I only spent £250 on Christmas in total. I never thought that was possible, but I managed it. And I’m sure you could manage on an equally low budget, if push came to shove.

 

At What stage to I set up Sinking Funds?

If you are following Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps (as I do) then you will start SFs once you are in Baby Step 2 (paying off your debt).

This is not something that you ever stop doing either, it will continue to serve you for the rest of your life.

Where do you keep your Sinking Funds?

 

It’s really up to you. I keep mine in a separate bank account, and transfer the money to them every month. I don’t have them in a high interest account, I just have them in a cash ISA that I can withdraw from quickly when I need to.

I know of some people who keep their Sinking Funds in cash in their house. If you are going to do this, I highly recommend checking with your house/contents insurance to see how much would be covered by them in the event of an emergency (fire, robbery etc).

 

I hope that helps!

Claire.