Friday 8 January 2016

New Year, New Finances

I had really hoped that 2015 might be the year I found my fortune, but alas, it was not to be. There were no winning lottery numbers and no unexpected cheques arrived in the mail. All in all, a most disappointing year. Now that it’s 2016, I’ve been thinking about how to manage our finances this year and trying to come to terms with the fact that I will probably never be a lottery winner. Here are a few of the financial resolutions I’ve set for 2016:

1. Budget better
I am usually good at budgeting, but I’ll be honest and say that last year I went a little off spreadsheet. I think after spending three years surgically attached to Ebony, it felt good to enjoy a little bit of freedom. I didn’t turn down nights outs or worry about money when I agreed to meet friends, I just decided to make the most of the freedom I was finally able to enjoy. Now, I can safely say that freedom comes at a cost and that I need to stop doing this. So for 2016 I need to be stricter with myself about how much socialising I can actually afford to do.

2. Pay off debts
I think 2016 should be the year we all get our finances in order, you too. Get those personal loans paid off, tackle that overdraft and try and build up some savings. I’ve noticed that I just keep getting older so really feel like I need to get these things under control. We don’t have any bank loans, but we have borrowed money from our savings into our checking account that we need to pay back, so I’m hoping we’ll manage that this year.  

3. Be realistic
I have so many plans for this house. At the moment they all feel completely unachievable, but I know that one day we’ll get round to them. Every room left to do needs something big doing (built in wardrobes removing, walls knocking down or artex ceilings destroyed) which means none of the remaining jobs are small or cheap. I think this probably means we can’t afford to do any decorating jobs this year, and while that is quite soul destroying (so much magnolia) I know it won’t be this way forever. I was really hoping we’d be able to get our room done before the end of the year, but then we booked a holiday, which brings us nicely onto the next point…

4. Value your valuables
You should spend the money you do have on the things that make you happy. For us, that’s quality family time away from the stresses of work and everyday life. We didn’t manage to go on a proper holiday last year, so we’ve booked a holiday for this summer. It’s been two years since we went away as a family, and our last holiday (you can read about it here) was so lovely I’m really looking forward to the next one. If we don’t go away, Laurie doesn’t really get a proper break from work. I need to get him away from wi-fi and phone signal in order for him to truly be able to relax. We could have spent the money on sorting out the bedroom or doing something else around the house, but uninterrupted family time feels like the most important thing we could spend the money on, so we did. There’s truly nothing better than just getting away from it all for a couple of weeks.

5. Planning for the future
I think part of the skill in budgeting is looking to the future and trying to plan for it. I’ve already started saving for next Christmas so it won’t be a surprise for my purse when December arrives. I know that some months will be more expensive than others thanks to birthdays and family commitments, so it’s about planning ahead for those things.

What are your financial plans for 2016?

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