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Recently I heard a piece of advice which has shifted the way I view my finances.  And it's so simple.



I honestly feel a little stupid that I've never considered it this way before.

My first step on the road to money management was to sit down and work out my income vs outgoings for the month.  And I was surprised by how little I was left with by the time I'd deducted "non-negotiables" (rent, car payments etc) and any debts, plus factored in the purchasing of general household purchases and putting petrol in my car.

It was an eye opening experience and it's no wonder I'd been running out of money with my previous mindset of "buy now, worry later".

I decided to use the piggy banking method as a way to keep funds separate and manage my money better.  This is where you have several bank accounts and transfer money into each to cover a specific expense.  For the time being I'm keeping mine simple and have just three accounts: a main one with my bills and direct debits, a savings account and a newly-opened current account into which I've been transferring a certain amount each month for those general household spends plus any regularly occurring social events.  I'm finding my feet with this one at the moment, so for the time being have transferred just under 20% of my monthly income and will adjust this in future if necessary.

Truthfully the idea of a zero sum budget scares me so I'm easing myself in gently.  I don't given every pound in my bank account a destination, but do budgeted for all foreseeable outgoings and am trying to steer clear of the excess in my main bills account as much as possible.

At the end of the month I've been transferring whatever's left the two accounts across to my savings account.  At the moment I have a specific savings goal in mind (a trip to New York) but once that's out of the way I want to leave any excess in my household account as a buffer for the following month, with a view to eventually transferring that as well if it reaches a substantial amount.

So, to summarise my tips if you're just starting out on a savings journey:

1.  Be realistic about the money you have available as disposable income each month.  Write it down.  Being unaware of what's happening in your bank account is a no no.

2.  Assign every pound a purpose.  Until now I'd half-heartedly committed to saving "something" each month, only to run out of money and be left with nothing to save.  Now, with everything divided up, I feel much more confident I'll be able to put savings aside.

3.  Find a system that works.  So far piggy banking is doing the trick and I can't believe I didn't try it sooner!

Conversations Around My Money: How I Tackled My Personal Finances

21.9.17


Recently I heard a piece of advice which has shifted the way I view my finances.  And it's so simple.



I honestly feel a little stupid that I've never considered it this way before.

My first step on the road to money management was to sit down and work out my income vs outgoings for the month.  And I was surprised by how little I was left with by the time I'd deducted "non-negotiables" (rent, car payments etc) and any debts, plus factored in the purchasing of general household purchases and putting petrol in my car.

It was an eye opening experience and it's no wonder I'd been running out of money with my previous mindset of "buy now, worry later".

I decided to use the piggy banking method as a way to keep funds separate and manage my money better.  This is where you have several bank accounts and transfer money into each to cover a specific expense.  For the time being I'm keeping mine simple and have just three accounts: a main one with my bills and direct debits, a savings account and a newly-opened current account into which I've been transferring a certain amount each month for those general household spends plus any regularly occurring social events.  I'm finding my feet with this one at the moment, so for the time being have transferred just under 20% of my monthly income and will adjust this in future if necessary.

Truthfully the idea of a zero sum budget scares me so I'm easing myself in gently.  I don't given every pound in my bank account a destination, but do budgeted for all foreseeable outgoings and am trying to steer clear of the excess in my main bills account as much as possible.

At the end of the month I've been transferring whatever's left the two accounts across to my savings account.  At the moment I have a specific savings goal in mind (a trip to New York) but once that's out of the way I want to leave any excess in my household account as a buffer for the following month, with a view to eventually transferring that as well if it reaches a substantial amount.

So, to summarise my tips if you're just starting out on a savings journey:

1.  Be realistic about the money you have available as disposable income each month.  Write it down.  Being unaware of what's happening in your bank account is a no no.

2.  Assign every pound a purpose.  Until now I'd half-heartedly committed to saving "something" each month, only to run out of money and be left with nothing to save.  Now, with everything divided up, I feel much more confident I'll be able to put savings aside.

3.  Find a system that works.  So far piggy banking is doing the trick and I can't believe I didn't try it sooner!
I don't know about you, but September seems to be nearly finished before it's even begun.  How is it over halfway through the month already?  Not that you'll hear me complaining now that we're on the countdown to payday (September was expensive) and New York (hurrah!).

So technically not last week, but the Sunday before I had my hair done and I'm so happy with the results!  We mixed toners to get a really creamy beige blonde without being too ashy.  My roots had grown tonnes since it was last done (back in June!) so I'm loving the refresh.  If it'd grow a little faster I'd be even happier!

I stopped off at the library on Saturday to return a couple of books and not take out anymore.  With the long plane journey to America in a week or so I only really want to take my kindle so definitely do not need to be gathering any more books - especially those with a deadline for reading them.  But, the inevitable happened and I ended up leaving with four new books.  I'm determined to get through them before their due back though and have already finished Tin Man.  I loved it.  If you've heard the buzz surrounding it and are thinking of reading it, you definitely should.

Two things. First, is there any way to take a photo of your plate and Nandos and get it to look good?  Second, this crammed plate was the waiter's sneaky way of not making two trips.  I didn't devour it alone!  Lizzie and I met up for a little wander, browse + lunch date and the bottomless drinks were calling my name in Nandos.  I picked up a few last minute bits for the plane ride (did I mention I'm off to New York?!) and it was the perfect slow round off to the week.

Week 37 In Moments

18.9.17

I don't know about you, but September seems to be nearly finished before it's even begun.  How is it over halfway through the month already?  Not that you'll hear me complaining now that we're on the countdown to payday (September was expensive) and New York (hurrah!).

So technically not last week, but the Sunday before I had my hair done and I'm so happy with the results!  We mixed toners to get a really creamy beige blonde without being too ashy.  My roots had grown tonnes since it was last done (back in June!) so I'm loving the refresh.  If it'd grow a little faster I'd be even happier!

I stopped off at the library on Saturday to return a couple of books and not take out anymore.  With the long plane journey to America in a week or so I only really want to take my kindle so definitely do not need to be gathering any more books - especially those with a deadline for reading them.  But, the inevitable happened and I ended up leaving with four new books.  I'm determined to get through them before their due back though and have already finished Tin Man.  I loved it.  If you've heard the buzz surrounding it and are thinking of reading it, you definitely should.

Two things. First, is there any way to take a photo of your plate and Nandos and get it to look good?  Second, this crammed plate was the waiter's sneaky way of not making two trips.  I didn't devour it alone!  Lizzie and I met up for a little wander, browse + lunch date and the bottomless drinks were calling my name in Nandos.  I picked up a few last minute bits for the plane ride (did I mention I'm off to New York?!) and it was the perfect slow round off to the week.
I'm not sure that I'm what you'd called a motivated person, hence why exploring slower aspects of living appeals so much.  Both Nick and I are pretty laid back in general and it's easy for weeks to roll into months and for plans to become pipe dreams.

In truth, I'd say my blog has suffered from my lack of drive over the last year or so.  I've said it before, but for a small blogger, watching others' careers take off - whether it's the end goal for my blog or not (spoiler: it's not) - can be disheartening and has often left me thinking "why bother?"

But there's nothing like this 'back to school' time of year to get me all fired up again.  I've been spending regular Saturday mornings in coffee shops furiously scribbling down notes and drafting posts; finding myself looking forward to that time away to focus on nothing but writing.

I started wondering what it was about that environment which worked for me.  A busy coffee shop is certainly not free of its distractions yet I found I had more focus and inspiration than ever.  I don't think it's the element of being away from home either - in fact I was keen to recreate a similar set up in our office to further cut down on time wasted through travel (and reluctantly changing out of my pjs!)

So the offer to work with Kit Out My Office and feature one of their office desks couldn't have come at a better time. For starters it's meant Nick and I had a reshuffle of the furniture and layout in that room and I'm now tucked in a cosy nook facing away from any distractions.  I've also gone through and sorted the stationery which was littering my old desk top, reminding myself in the process of how much more stimulating I find a clutter-free working environment.

It's filtered into other areas of the house too.  Following our big clean a month or so ago I've been finding myself slipping into old habits - overlooking things dumped on the stairs, not putting jewellery away at night and leaving the hoovering "for tomorrow".  Sunday afternoon was a flurry of activity getting back on track and I'm more determined than ever to keep things up this time.

Another thing which has been increasing my productivity with regards to focusing on writing for my blog is the use of background music.  I've never been able to write with anything playing in the background but lately I've found that putting on headphones and turning on some dedicated focus music has been helping tenfold.  So much so that I've just taken out a subscription with the app I was using....something else I've never done.  I *think* this one is in the process of getting scientific/neurological proof of its methods, but you definitely don't need to spend anything if this sounds like something which may be of benefit - just have a search on YouTube.



I also migrated into a new bullet journal this month and have started using it slightly differently.  My old journal has a pattern of a month or two of dedicated entries and snazzy layouts followed by radio silence as my motivation dwindled, so I'm cultivating a new routine.  Following the five minute journal system I grab a glass of water each day and sit down for my morning entries and then fill it in again right before I go to bed.  The set up is relatively simple, I use my desk at both occasions (no more mislaid bullet journals, hurrah!) and have found the morning sections keep me grounded and motivated throughout the day whilst the nighttime entries provide a chance for winding down and reflection.

And that's how I've found my focus again, through adapting my environment alongside some daily introspection.  What tips would you recommend?
- COLLABORATIVE POST WITH KIT OUT MY OFFICE -

Finding Focus

14.9.17

I'm not sure that I'm what you'd called a motivated person, hence why exploring slower aspects of living appeals so much.  Both Nick and I are pretty laid back in general and it's easy for weeks to roll into months and for plans to become pipe dreams.

In truth, I'd say my blog has suffered from my lack of drive over the last year or so.  I've said it before, but for a small blogger, watching others' careers take off - whether it's the end goal for my blog or not (spoiler: it's not) - can be disheartening and has often left me thinking "why bother?"

But there's nothing like this 'back to school' time of year to get me all fired up again.  I've been spending regular Saturday mornings in coffee shops furiously scribbling down notes and drafting posts; finding myself looking forward to that time away to focus on nothing but writing.

I started wondering what it was about that environment which worked for me.  A busy coffee shop is certainly not free of its distractions yet I found I had more focus and inspiration than ever.  I don't think it's the element of being away from home either - in fact I was keen to recreate a similar set up in our office to further cut down on time wasted through travel (and reluctantly changing out of my pjs!)

So the offer to work with Kit Out My Office and feature one of their office desks couldn't have come at a better time. For starters it's meant Nick and I had a reshuffle of the furniture and layout in that room and I'm now tucked in a cosy nook facing away from any distractions.  I've also gone through and sorted the stationery which was littering my old desk top, reminding myself in the process of how much more stimulating I find a clutter-free working environment.

It's filtered into other areas of the house too.  Following our big clean a month or so ago I've been finding myself slipping into old habits - overlooking things dumped on the stairs, not putting jewellery away at night and leaving the hoovering "for tomorrow".  Sunday afternoon was a flurry of activity getting back on track and I'm more determined than ever to keep things up this time.

Another thing which has been increasing my productivity with regards to focusing on writing for my blog is the use of background music.  I've never been able to write with anything playing in the background but lately I've found that putting on headphones and turning on some dedicated focus music has been helping tenfold.  So much so that I've just taken out a subscription with the app I was using....something else I've never done.  I *think* this one is in the process of getting scientific/neurological proof of its methods, but you definitely don't need to spend anything if this sounds like something which may be of benefit - just have a search on YouTube.



I also migrated into a new bullet journal this month and have started using it slightly differently.  My old journal has a pattern of a month or two of dedicated entries and snazzy layouts followed by radio silence as my motivation dwindled, so I'm cultivating a new routine.  Following the five minute journal system I grab a glass of water each day and sit down for my morning entries and then fill it in again right before I go to bed.  The set up is relatively simple, I use my desk at both occasions (no more mislaid bullet journals, hurrah!) and have found the morning sections keep me grounded and motivated throughout the day whilst the nighttime entries provide a chance for winding down and reflection.

And that's how I've found my focus again, through adapting my environment alongside some daily introspection.  What tips would you recommend?
- COLLABORATIVE POST WITH KIT OUT MY OFFICE -

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