I feel like all my posts recently are just full of me talking about the year flying by. All of a sudden Christmas is on Monday, 2018 is within touch. It’s time to start planning for the new year.
In 2017 we bought our first home.
If at the beginning of 2017 you’d said I’d end the year a homeowner I would have laughed, uncontrollably and then probably started sobbing because it seemed like an unachievable dream.
Our home is not a house, not like the one I dreamed of owning as a naive child. It’s a small flat, but it’s perfect for the two of us at the moment. We’ve been really lucky with the places we have rented in the past, they were all spacious and beautiful. But the flat feels more like a home, than our past places because it is ours.
Being a property owner does come with it’s own expenses, so in the new year we plan to tighten up our belts. We need to build up a pot of rainy day savings for if/when we need them. On top of that we have several things we want to do or need to update in the flat, such as getting a new boiler.
We also need to start saving more money so that we can buy a bigger home in the future to accommodate the family we hope to start in the coming years.
Saving money in 2018
2017 was a really bad year for saving money. We had a lot of expenses associated with my sisters weddings, including 2 hen parties (on in Dubrovnik) and two trips to Spain. As well as buying our flat and the weddings, I quit my job and started working for myself. While this has been exciting and empowering, I am not quite earning what I was, and have to remember that I need to put money aside for tax and NI.
It’s been easy to continue living as if I have the same income, so it’s time to get real and see where we can save money, without compromising too much on what we love. Here are some things that I have come up with:
I’ve been looking at ways to help manage my money. I’m a bit rubbish, I have a burning desire to spend every penny I have. I’ve looked at various apps, and thought I’d use the new year to take advantage of a 3 month free trial with the Squirrel App.
The app works by asking you information. How much do you earn? What your monthly expenses? and what your saving goals?
You set it up so that your wages go into a bank account in your name (all above board as Squirrel is part of Barclays). The app then pays your bills money to your account usual account so you don’t miss any payments and then gives you a weekly budget to live on. The rest of your money goes towards your saving goals. This is then paid to you when you reach your goal.
This app is perfect for me, if I can’t touch it, I can’t spend it!!
Review all bills and subscriptions
Yes I love having Netflix and Spotify, but how many of these subscriptions services can I be signed up to? Are they really worth the money? Do I need to pay a monthly charge to a gym I never go to?
It’s time to review everything – can we lower the cost of our bills. This includes:
- Checking if we have the best deal on our Utilities
- Where are we doubling up – i.e. are you paying for a service (i.e. mobile phone insurance) when you actually receive this for free as part of another service (i.e. the bank).
- Can we downgrade our services?
Joe and I are so bad, we eat out or order a takeaway a lot more than we should. We’ve agreed to cap takeaways and dining out to once a month each. Every other meal will be planned and made by ourselves. By planning meals, we can save pounds and lose some much needed lbs!
Keep, sell, donate
A new year always means a fresh start, and I can boost my savings by having a New Year clean and clear out. What do I own that I need, what can I sell and what can I donate?
We both have way too many clothes, we could donate a lot of them and eBay more expensive or key pieces. This also applies to a lot of unnecessary furniture that we have, but don’t quite fit in the flat or aren’t the look we are going for.
Being self-employed allows a lot of flexibility in terms of when, where and how I work. Obviously I have my set clients, but there is nothing stopping me from applying to other opportunities when they present themselves, such as extra work on sets, focus groups, pet walking and mystery shopping.
Have you got any top tips, or suggestions? I’d love to hear them – I need all the help I can get!!!!
Follow my saving journey here.Love Lilla xx