Tag Archives: Resolutions

The Great British Budget – From The Heart, For The Wallet

Join the Great British Budget ChallengeWell, we are nearly a month into the Great British Budget challenge, nearly two into my Frugally Fabulous Year and I thought I’d reflect a little on how I’m doing and, more to the point, how I got here.

Everyone’s financial journey starts somewhere.  I grew up in a single-parent family, money wasn’t something we talked about in great detail but I knew how things were.  We didn’t have a car, we had a lovely little house and I never felt I wanted for anything.  My Mum was truly inspirational as someone who balanced part-time work with full-time Motherhood.  We had wonderful holidays, trips and, above all, a very happy time of it.  Our family has roots deep in memories and experiences, less so things.  I really feel this has shaped my view of the sort of Mum I want to be to my daughter.

In 2012, we were hit with the news that little Daisy was on her way.  We had no savings, we were just about to move into our own rented place and I was reluctantly heading back into full-time work, knowing full well that this was not a long term option, once the babe was here.  Like most people our age, Mr J and I carried a little debt.  Mine was the result of a failed and not-thought-out business model, a struggle to live a balanced life in London and almost ten years of being in over-worked and under-paid managerial positions.  That’s not a sob story, that’s how it was. newborn Daisy It struck me, as I knew I was growing a little, helpless human being inside me, that talk of savings and pensions were a thing of the past, something our parents had been encouraged to do, not our own generation of credit cards, student loans and ‘living for the moment’.  Pensions were not readily on offer in our jobs; our peers and circle of friends lived like we did, from day to day, with little thought to a financial future.  I didn’t take on either challenge because I was poor with money, it was more about learning to budget and contribute to a secure future, in whatever way I can.

Being pregnant completely changed my outlook on things.  If you’ve read my previous posts you’ll be aware how adamant I was about not returning to my former work.  I realised that it was time to wake up and put dreams into action, my life-long dreams of being a WAHM, an author, a freelance writer and an all-round creative home-bird!  With Daisy’s arrival, came the arrival of a fresh start.  And with that fresh start, came the need to clean up financially and start looking to the future.  This means clearing ALL our debts, seriously looking at pension plans and saving money for ourselves and our family.  I have dreams of saving for a family trip to Sweden, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that before (about a million times in less than two months)

As part of the Great British Budget, I signed up to use Money Hub; a great financial tool set up by the lovely people over at Your Wealth, to help you track your money, savings, expenditure and budgeting, by inputting your annual income, assets etc.  The great thing about this tool, is that you can use it as much or as little as you like.  Premium members can link the tool to their accounts so it does the hard work for them, or you can simply sign up for an account and create a budget that works for you.

So far, since joining the Great British Budget, I’ve stuck to my monthly food budget, have even geeked-out and completed price-comparison shops to see just how much I’m saving by changing my food-shopping habits (more on this later – you lucky lot) and I’ll be ending my Frugal February just within budget.  Using Money Hub has, so far, helped me to see exactly what money I have and exactly where each penny is going – for someone who isn’t good with figures, it has helped me to look realistically at the bigger picture and see where I can improve our financial status each month.  Depressing as it sounds, teaching yourself the ‘spreadsheet’ side of frugal is a necessity when it comes to clearing debts and Money Hub has been a wonderful tool in helping me .  I look forward to seeing where it takes me over the next year!  And I hope you’ll continue to read about my journey!

me black and whiteStay Peachy x

DISCLAIMER: As a Great British Budget Panellist, I was offered the chance to try Money Hub for free, though the tool has both free and paid-for options.  All opinions are my own and I was not paid for this post.

Inspiration….Frugal Resolutions

Daisy Park autumn leaves

The Frugally Fabulous Year, despite the appearance of the ‘F’ Word, is not just about saving money.  I’ll be popping my budgeting malarkey advice, frugally fabulous recipes and ‘wardrobe versus wants’ comparisons in, for good measure, but my decision to take on this challenge comes from a place of questioning ethics and psychology in our consumerist nature and the companies from which we consume.  What was once a challenge about clothing, has become a whole heap of politics about whether or not I can spend a voucher in John Lewis in 2014.  Which got me to thinking…how am I going to go about making 2014 The Frugally Fabulous Year?  It’s an exciting yet difficult task in hand and I want to make sure I complete it to the best of my ability…here’s how I plan to do it!

Mirror 2THE BIG FRUGALLY FABULOUS RULES

1. My challenge involves buying for JUST ME and not other members of my family!  As much as I dream of the day I possess the skills to make a whole miniature wardrobe for Daisy, the truth is, she grows and needs things all the time – the Frugally Fabulous Year is about me and my attitude to my wardrobe!  I will however, be attempting some tiny-person sized crafting projects and I will be looking to source her wardrobe from ethically sound companies too.

2. Aside from the making projects I am setting myself; I aim to purchase 100% of clothing in 2014 from second-hand sources such as vintage and charity shops as well as good old eBay.  I am NOT ALLOWED to buy new clothing from high street stores.

3. The above does, however, not apply to underwear and tights – two absolute staples in any fabulous lady’s wardrobe.  I will, however, aim to purchase with a frugal mindset and from a responsible and ethical source.

4. Whilst I am not specifically not spending on beauty and cosmetic products, I aim to research and explore ethically-sound beauty companies that work for my skin and work for my wallet – where they can.  By the end of 2014 I would like at least 70% of my cosmetic products to be organic and ethical (which may well be the case now)!  The same applies to homeware.

5. Throughout my year, I aim to bring exciting and creative projects to brighten up my wardrobe, home, garden, kitchen and general lifestyle; that are easy on the pocket, reflect my taste and personality and are challenging in the craft department.  I aim to resource frugally fabulous, if not free, materials where I can and learn also to work with what I’ve got.

6. The biggest mountain to overcome is learning to use the sewing machine PROPERLY.  Not to mention using up my Yarn and Fabric Stashes – of which I solemnly promise to use PRIOR to buying new bits and pieces.  Where I can.  Honest.

7. Gifts do not count.

8. Wardrobes vs Wants will be a huge part of my blog – once I am able to fit into most of my pre-pregnancy wardrobe that is.  As an ex-employee of the fashion industry, I have a vested interest in trends, clothing and beautiful things.  The challenge is to try and emulate this through my existing wardrobe (I’m lucky enough to have a lot of clothes I wouldn’t be able to afford now) and my botched creations.

And what do I get if I manage to complete my challenge? Well…one or two of the following will occur, I’m sure

1. I will be immediately whisked off and awarded a Nobel Prize for services to being both Frugal AND undeniably Fabulous.

2. I will be able to treat myself to one, expensive, lovely thing that has been on my wishlist all year.

3. I will have learnt how to be even more creative in my lifestyle, will want to continue learning and so Frugally Peachy will live on.

4. We will put the money we have saved into the ‘Sweden’ pot, to fulfil our dream of a family roadtrip around Sweden.

5. On aforementioned trip, I will meet Alexander Skarsgard, will refuse to return to the UK and will, instead, set up home in Sweden running a hand-knitted gnome shop.

One of them…definitely.

I think that’s about all I can do to pick apart my challenge, so it really is all GO!  Are you planning to follow The Frugally Fabulous Year?  What rules are you setting for yourself?  What do you think you’ll struggle with the most?  As ever, I would LOVE to hear from you!

Stay Peachy x