28th & 31st August 2020

These posts were originally posted on the YNAB forums and MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order, and because the YNAB forums are closing as of March 2022. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

28th August 2020

Passed my R01 exam!


31st August 2020

Groceries is the worst and makes no sense to me (that sentiment is the cry of budgeters everywhere, I know)

I get paid on the 19th ish, occasionally sooner, and I swear I spend 1/3 to 1/2 of my groceries category between the 19th and the end of the month – but I have a good 20 days left to go before my next paycheck and proportionally less money to spend on it

Do I just eat caviar the first week or something?

I’ve tried splitting the Groceries fund into Week 1, Week 2, etc and honestly it just got confusing – and I kept moving from one week category into the next anyway

I think I just have a tendency to wait until my first pay-week of my pay-month to get all the nice food, and save the cheap food until week 4

 There’s probably also an element of stuff I buy once a month running out at the end of the month, and I wait until week 1 to rebuy it

21st August 2020

These posts were originally posted on the MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

I’m not sure if this will make any sense but I was just sitting here and it finally, finally, sunk in that – I’m debt free! I’ve been saying it but it hasn’t felt real, like it was too big of a concept to grasp. I’d say it and my brain was like “…ok?” 
But I was sitting here, doing my FA Diploma study, and half-thinking about how I wish I could filter or seek out journals of people in similar age groups/financial situations to me, or how there should be more “inspiring debt stories” type articles that are more accessible or relatable to people like me and… I dunno, it just finally suddenly sunk in. 


I have mixed feelings about the YNAB customer stories as they’re rarely relatable to me. Often its stories like “I paid off 100K in 5 years!” which is great for them but per year their debt payoff alone was more than my entire salary.

Recently I listened to an external/non YNAB podcast that was an interview with Jesse and he said something like “…whether you earn 30K or 300K…” and I’m left thinking – is 30K the lowest number he could think of? 30K would be a dream for me. I’m trying to get into a career where the starting salary is 20-22K (ok the upper bound is 100K+ but itll take me a while to get there).

I imagine its partially an international translation issue, costs of living never scale exactly with the exchange rate, but still. Your method is great but as a company your stories are very middle class sometimes.

That makes me sound more bitter than I am – YNAB really has worked wonders for me, I just meant you guys could stand to showcase stories from a wider range of social and economic classes 

The numbers will be smaller, so it would be less “inspirational” but it would be more relatable to a lot of people 

There a conversation about different blogs and podcasts with stories of those in similar income brackets to me
Here are some of the links mentioned:

https://debtfreehappens.com/pay-off-debt-low-income/
https://caitflanders.com/my-top-10-favourite-posts/
https://www.youneedabudget.com/see-someones-budget-ynab-money-snapshots/
https://www.youneedabudget.com/the-best-episodes-from-the-ynab-podcast/
https://apurplelife.com/

You’re right in that there is a limit to how low expenses can go, and that there are two sides to the equation. I am working on the “income” side – that’s why I’m trying to do this FA Diploma (first exam this Friday!) 

But it still takes money to make money as I’m having to pay for the course.

I am personally debt free now so I’m more about building stability and E-Fund(s) at this point but I imagine a lot of the techniques will carry over. 

It just gets frustrating sometimes when sometimes these stories are held up of people who solve all their debt problems by downsizing their house, trading in their car for a slightly worse car, and skipping Disneyworld for a couple of years… Meanwhile I’m in a room in a shared house, don’t own a car, and haven’t had any holiday in years and don’t know when I can next expect one. Our problems are not the same problems. This week my big extravagance was spending an extra £1 on the nice bread (it was was very nice bread though).

That being said, I’m sure a kid in a third world country would be glad to have what I have.

And maybe my success story hasn’t finished being written yet. Maybe I’ll stumble across this thread in ten years when I am making big bucks in my new career and be like “tsk. what was I even worried about.”

19th & 20th August 2020

These posts were originally posted on the YNAB forums and MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order, and because the YNAB forums are closing as of March 2022. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

19th August 2020

I’ve got fed up with the new Spending By Date goal and reverted some (most) of my categories to an old goal set up – I’m using Target Savings Balance (no date) for things like Groceries 

Which is technically “wrong” according to how YNAB intended them to be used

What I want to do is on payday top up category X to a set level. For example, however much of Groceries I used, however much is left, I want to top it back up to £150. 

I’m not a month ahead yet, so I’m budgeting on payday, which is somewhere between 17th and 19th each month. The Spending By Date goal seems to take account of transactions or WAM-ing done between the 1st and payday, which is just too confusing to work out. 

I used the Target Balance (no date) a few months back and it seemed to work pretty well, I just changed it to try use the new goal.

This also has the side benefit that – because there’s no date to the goal – the numbers don’t turn orange as I spend from it


20th August

Well my “Stuff I Forgot To Budget For” lasted about 0 seconds this month.

I woke up this morning and my phone hadn’t charged. This has happened a couple of times recently so I did a couple experiments, unplugged and replugged, then went online and ordered a new charger cable.

Then I remembered I was waiting for payday to order some new clothes online (just a sports bra, nothing exciting) but it turned out to cost £30 instead of the £15 I’ve budgeted. But I needed it, so what are you going to do. 

So that £25 of “Stuff I forgot to budget for” (more accurately “I don’t know where I need this money yet but I know it will be needed”) is entirely gone this morning. Sigh.

18th August 2020

These posts were originally posted on the YNAB forums and MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order, and because the YNAB forums are closing as of March 2022. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

Payday! 
This is my first month without paying for any debts which is still highly bizarre to me. Like, none? No Credit Card payment? At all?
Lets have a look at the highlights.


Weekly Spends

  • For Groceries this month I put £160 instead of £150 in. That’s a more accurate measure of what I usually spend anyway, but I must admit I’m not sure where I found that extra £10 so don’t think I can do that most months. 
  • Household, Clothing, Social, and Human Groom categories are all full to their standard amounts
  • RPG Nights and Hobbies are empty – RPG Nights havent restarted yet, I don’t know in advance how much Hobbies money I need and I tend to steal that money from other categories when needed
  • For Birthday of the month I’ve actually put in a few £ less than normal, but I don’t have any significant birthdays as far I am aware until next January, so that doesn’t matter
  • It looks like some of my goals havent changed for some reason so my Stuff I forgot to budget for is higher than it should be but that’s ok – that category is basically designed to be stolen from as I discover where the money is needed
  • Work Misc and Therapy are as normal
  • Takeout, Online Shopping, Charity and Hobbies are all empty this month – if I need them, I’ll find the money for them, but I should be saving money for this upcoming move

Bills/Immediate Obligations
Some differences here this month

  • I have no idea what to do with this medical cartegory. I am full on making this up as I go here. In a few months when the treatments start to settle out into an average I’ll have a better idea what to budget. I currently have £25.81 in there. Where is that from? No idea! It’s certainly not divisble by the current prescription charge (£9.15) I think I tried to top up to the monthly goal but the app used some of the money I spent last pay-month. I just, I don’t know.
  • The Tram Category is my current favourite because I’m topping it up to the level needed to buy a month ticket, but I’m not spending it all within a month, because I’m buying individual journeys and walking more. So this category costs me less each month.
  • Rent, HP Instant Ink, Standard
  • My phone bill is less for the first time, because this will be the first month where I pay for the data plan only and not the device – I’m setting aside what I was paying the device further down into a savings pot for my future Next Phone.

Dog

  • All as normal and on target

Savings Pots – where the real money is 😉

  • I made a temporary category called “Binder”. I have a lot of temporary categories right now, but they’ll slowly get used up over time. I wont actually spend from these categories, I just need to hold the money separate so I remember what it’s for – when it’s time to buy it I’ll move the money to a different category like Online Shopping or Clothing and delete the Binder category. If I leave it in the clothing category I’ll forget and spend it on something else. Unfortunately Shapeshifters has temporarily shut down during the pandemic. Just as I had enough money to buy one. Boo. But this is what I wanted to buy. Or maybe in green. Or gold? I hadn’t picked a colour yet. There’s £70 in here as I’m not sure what shipping will be like.
  • I’ve got a temporary category called Winter Running Gear. I set the goal really high, at £80, but that’s only if I buy absolutely everything on my Amazon wishlist so it’s unlikely to cost that much. Some of that wishlist doubles up with an expensive and a cheap version of the same product. I’ve put £40 in it this month.
  • The (temporary) “One Last Brexit Shop” category I’ve almost half funded, I set a goal of £50 and I put £22.57 in. This is honestly a low priority category but I put money in to bring the monthly contribution down, to get it out of the way almost. If I get the chance to do that again next month, I’ll do it with the New Years Whiskey next. Next year I’ll have more time to save for the New Year Whiskey and the monthly cost will be lower – and this will hopefully be the last time I do a Brexit Shop! 
  • The Scrivener category still exists, but I took all the money (£40 of a £50 goal) out of it (I’m not writing right now anyway) and moved all the money to…
  • The Microsoft Office category, which is now at £50 of a £60 goal. However  TechieM2  mentioned a different free program that I will give a try before I commit to the Office Subscription. 
  • [Family Member]’s Wedding, a temporary category that will get used up in September. I will move this money mostly to Social (although maybe a little will go to clothing) to spend and delete the category. It has £100 in. The party is now at their house and much smaller, so this should be enough for gift and taxis and a new shirt.
  • For my Emergency Funds I was able to put £100 in for the first month, before I was putting in £25 each month, I’m up to £1875
  • For my FA Diploma study category – because I put in £400 from my nan the app is acting as if I over-saved this month. I didn’t put in the full usual amount on top of that. In previous months the goal was £25 per month, I recently upped the goal to £34.75 (a carefully calculate amount that I’m beginning to think doesn’t make much sense). I only put in £10 after my nan’s £400, the rest went into other categories this month. 
  • Everything else is on target, there’s not much to say about the rest, I wasn’t able to over-save for anything else

I also have a brand new Master Category called “Vacation” of which there is one sub category – “Canal Boat” with £500 in for lessons sometime in 2021. This year is just not the year. Especially with the move coming up, that might have to be a back up Emergency Fund, it’s not exactly a necessity. But hopefully I can hang onto it and use as intended next year. 

I’ve not created a “Move House” category yet, although I will do at some point – and once it’s created it’ll be a permanent category, as when you’re renting there’s always a Next Move. For now I just want money into the Savings Pots categories – any Savings Pots category, frankly. Once it’s there, I can move it about if need be. I’m not really ready to move money out of the Emergency Funds just yet and see how little is likely to remain, I’d rather Whac-A-Mole as expenses turn up.

According to the YNAB app, my monthly goals add up to £1,313.14 and according to my Spreadsheet my modal salary for 2020 is £1312.34 so as you can see it’s a fine line I’m walking haha

16th August 2020

These posts were originally posted on the YNAB forums and MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order, and because the YNAB forums are closing as of March 2022. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

My landlord/housemate has given me notice.
I’m not mad about, my spidey senses had been warning me this might happen – she’s got a new job, is earning more money, and can afford the house herself. I’d do the same.
But Househunting with a dog is a ****ing *****.
 
Unfortunately the money for this is going to come out of my Emergency Fund. It technically isn’t an Emergency, it’s a “True Expense” because I should/could/did see it coming, but it takes time to save and I havent had time. My “next move” fund was next on my wishlist after my Emergency Fund. 
 
The good news is that I am in a much better financial situation than last time I moved. Last time I moved, I put it on credit cards and overdrafts. This time I have £1700 Emergency Fund and £500 set aside for those Canal Boat Lessons (not exactly a priority compared to a place to live) not to mention other small funds I could dip into. 
 
So I’ll use my Emergency Fund to move. I just need to not have another Emergency simultaneously. Luckily (in this instance) I have no car, kids, or house, so my potential Emergencies are few. I’ve just got the dog (with insurance) and potential job loss.
 
Also my businesses, like many others, has announced some branch closures. All my managers seem pretty confident I will not be affected but I will feel so much better when i have that on paper. 
 
My Landlord has given me until the end of October to move, by which time the job stuff should be decided. In renters terms, that’s pretty decent notice. 

A commenter on MSE pointed out that’s there’s restrictions on UK evictions right now so that long notice may not 100% be purely out of the goodness of her heart

9th & 10th & 12th August 2020

These posts were originally posted on the YNAB forums and MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order, and because the YNAB forums are closing as of March 2022. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

9th August 2020

A yarn I’m running low on for the temp blanket just came back into stock so I spent my haircut money for this month on yarn 😬😬 I’ll just have to last until payday (…which is admittedly only 10 days away)


10th August 2020

I did manage to get that exam booked for the end of August, so it’s time to really buckle down on the studying 😬😬😬 £153 for one exam! And that’s the cheapest option because I’m mooching textbooks off a friend.
(Their textbooks only cover the 2019/20 syllabus though, not the 2020/21 syllabus, which is why I need to sit the exam before the syllabus changes or pay for an updated book)

In response to a commenter saying my nan would be proud that I didnt need to use the inheritance to pay off debt, that I got debt free first

Yes! Its still a little surreal. When I first learnt about the inheritance there was a small part of me that was disappointed I would have to use it to get out of debt – it did feel a bit like a waste, even though logically I knew it was the smart thing to do and would help a lot. But due to the delay I got out  debt even w/o the inheritance! I’m glad I can spend it on education instead, both career education and hobby/skill education.


12th August 2020

I think I might need to buy Microsoft Office 
I think I’ll just have to bite the bullet and do it, I’ve been trying to use OpenOffice for years and its reaching it limit

The thing is finding room for it in the budget. I’ll have to firstly decrease how much I’m setting aside for “medical” each month – but I’m not going through all my meds as fast as I though I might, so hopefully thats ok, and secondly use the money I was saving up for Scrivener, the writing program. I haven’t been doing any writing since I went back to work.

The annual subscription fee is £60, I have £40 set aside for Scrivener, when it hits £60 I think I just have to do it.

This triggered a thread discussing the merits of LibreOffice vs Microsoft Office

I wanted to be able to make Word documents for CV purposes… I’m not actively looking as I’m lucky enough not to be at risk right now but one particular job stood out to me. Unfortunately they were picky about candidates having a 2:1 degree and I “only” have a 2:2, sigh…  Its not the year to be looking if you dont need to, anyway

So it’s less urgent than it was a few days ago as I dont need to do the whole job application/recruitment process just yet

3rd August 2020 (Life After Debt)

These posts were originally posted on the YNAB forums and MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order, and because the YNAB forums are closing as of March 2022. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

Hi all

So I am Mx Emmin, I live in the UK, I am 27 and I just became debt free! My diary/journal was on an English site before but that forum is targeted at becoming debt free and I wanted to continue my journey beyond that, so I’m moving over here. I thought I’d start with the longest post in the world as an intro.

When I was at the height of my debt I didn’t take as accurate measurements as I do now so I’m not 100% sure how much I had at the height. The highest figure I had recorded was -£2355.04 but that was when I was already a few month into my journey and I suddenly realised that I needed to know how far I’d come.

That doesn’t sound like much I know but as I said, I’m single, and I work in customer service. I’m not paid mountains now and especially back then I was paid near-minimum wage. Plus, because I didn’t have a good grip on my finances, £2000 felt like £200,000.

Then I went through a nasty break up/escaped a really bad home situation, moved to a new city and decided to sort my life out. That started Feb ’19 and now I’m debt free in July ’20! Woop! I think the strangest part somehow is that I’ve saved up for this very nice Debt Free Whiskey which is £65 to £70 on Whiskey (about $80 – $85 for our American readers) and I get to just go out and… buy it. Without worrying about cost? Without stressing over how much it’ll add to my card payment? Strange.

I started out on a UK website – the same one I had my journal on before – which gave me a good starting point. They first suggested an envelope style system, although they called it “piggybanking”, but their suggestion was to essentially have a different savings account for every savings goal. That obviously isn’t hugely sustainable but it gave me a good start, and then I saw people talking about this “YNAB” system in the forums…. I started my YNAB account in late September 2019 and it got extended by a couple of weeks (thanks guys!) and I signed up in November 2019. On January 1st 2020 I started a new budget with reorganised categories because my initial one was a mess haha

So small confession: technically – technically – technically – I still have student loans. But for those of you who aren’t in the UK, they work a little different here. They basically function as an extra tax. A % of my income above a threshold (the exact % and the exact threshold varies according to the year you went to uni) is deducted automatically from my paycheque before the money hits my bank account. If I don’t pay off all my loans within X many years – and I would need to be very well paid to do that – the student loans are cancelled. Very few people pay them off. There is technically a way to overpay, I’m told, but it’s just not worth it for the majority of us unless you receive a big, lottery-style windfall. And frankly if I got that windfall I’d buy a house. So those debts are basically invisible to me, as I said, they just act like an extra tax.

I get paid about £18K a year, and after all deductions – tax, student loans, pensions, some work benefits like dental – I get about £1300 each month in my bank account. That’s about $1600 USD. That’s… ok, if I live a very specific lifestyle. I live in a shared house so rent is lower and bills included, I shop at cheaper supermarkets (admittedly not THE cheapest but that’s more of a proximity thing), I don’t have a car, I never go on holiday, and I have no kids. So I don’t exactly want to be living this life forever. I want to live alone (or you know… with a partner tbd) and I want to have a little more room for spontaneity in my budget, but that’s more of an income problem than a budgeting problem. I don’t think I could afford to live alone, especially not without taking quality of life hits elsewhere.

~*~

Without further ado: My categories. My budget is in a weird place right now – I have a plan for post-lockdown and for during-lockdown but we’re in a sort of weird half place right now that’s really hard to account for.

I have four master categories:

Weekly Spends – this are the categories I’ll interact with most frequently. I might not spend from every category every week (haircuts is on here) but they’ll be at irregular intervals, at least once a month or more often, and they won’t have any Direct Debits

Bills/Immediate Obligations – these are usually one Direct Debit per month

Dog – woof!

Savings Pots – True Expenses go in here as well, things I pay for less than once a month, usually once a year

~*~

Weekly Spends – I’ll say what I can about goals but these categories are affected most by lockdown and have been going nutty since March

Groceries – about £150 – It was higher in the initial stages of lockdown but I’m wrestling it back under control. This could do with being higher, but I think every person on here could say that. 

Household – £20 – this is mean to be things like, an iron, or a laundry basket, things that individually are one off purchases, but collectively there’s always at least one of them per month. This is often one of the first categories I WAM from if I need to

Social Spends – I mean who knows anymore. Pre lockdown it was £60 but I haven’t spent that in months. After lockdown it might be £50 as some new needs have presented themselves

RPG Night – £20 – although again this hasn’t run since late Feb/early March. This was a specific regular social activity I wanted to make sure I was leaving myself money for, when it was coming from the same group as Social Spends I didn’t always leave myself enough money

Clothes – £15 – I don’t buy a lot of clothes. This is just I have enough money on hand in case I need to get myself some new socks, but if I do buy something larger I don’t have to WAM as much

Human Groom – £15 – it amuses me to call it that. I get my hair done at the barbers, so that cost about £15 ish, I’m trying to make room in my budget for manicures but it’s hard to find the money sometimes as more important things keep cropping up. I’ve never had a manicure but I want plain black gels when they reopen. It might be a case of one manicure every other month though.

Takeout and Online Shopping – these are two separate categories but neither have goals. I put money in them when I can. They’re here so that my spending is categorised right. Usually I’ll spend a few minutes figuring out where I can WAM money from, make my purchase, then move the money.

Birthday of the month – £25 – there’s always someone

Stuff I forgot to budget for – £20 – it used to be £25, so this makes me a little nervous, but we’ll see how it goes. I try very hard not to actually put transactions through this category, just WAM from it

Work Misc – £5 – for birthday contributions or leaving cards or whatever

Hobbies and Charity/Artists – same rules as Takeout and Online Shopping

Therapy – £40 – though that price was for people affected by COVID so I don’t know how long she’ll keep me on at that price

That’s my weekly spends category! The list gets longer all the time, no matter how I try to keep it under control.

~*~

Bills/Immediate Obligations

Bus/Tram Card – £55 – That was the pre-COVID price, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it rises soon, it was due to before COVID hit… that being said, right now I’m walking a lot more so I’m not buying the monthly ticket and am just buying odd tickets here and there so I’m not spending the full £55 each month

Rent – £395

Phone – £17 – my phone plan ended JUST last month, so I’m only paying for data now. I’ve found previously that I have about a year post-contract before the backwards compatibility becomes too glaring to ignore so I’m going to use the time to save up a nice chunky deposit

HP Instant Ink – £1.99

Medical – £27 – this is a new category this month. I’ve been prescribed some new medications and I want to be better about taking and refilling my old ones. Before it just came out of my groceries category. I also want to save up for this prepayment card that make prescriptions cheaper in the long run, I just need to pay a chunk upfront. So this category is a weird mix of paying for something on a monthly basis, whilst simultaneously saving up for a yearly expense, but I only want to use one category so that when it’s time to switch to yearly payments I can just move the category down to Savings Pots. For those who don’t live in the UK: we do have to pay a little for our medicine, currently a little over £9 per item, unless you meet certain criteria. Personally I think it’s unfair that I have to pay for the inhalers that allow me to breathe – but the Americans could argue that better than I can haha

During COVID I was paying £20 extra to my landlord/housemate for bills seeing as I was sitting at home all day soaking up electricity, at the time I said it was just whilst I was at home but it would bring a lot of good will if I could continue. We’ll see. I’m writing down £10 a month but I’d like to pay more if I can.

~*~

Dog

Dog Food and Treats – £10

Dog Groom – £28

Dog Vet Plan – £14 – for regular flea and worm treatments and vaccinations

Dog Insurance – £38.40

~*~

Savings Pots

Pride Savings – currently £1.54 per month – it’s only this low right now because I’m just hanging onto all the money I saved up for Pride 2020 and set it as “save £120 by June 2021 then repeat yearly”, until lockdown it was more like £10 per month, current balance £103.80

YNAB – £7.50 – I tend to oversave for this one because who knows what the £ and $ will be doing by then – current balance – £60

Christmas Gifts Family – £10 – current balance £80

Christmas Gifts Friends – £5 – current balance £40

Christmas Misc – £5 – current balance £40

Subscription Service – £3.50 – goal is £50 by January then it will repeat, current balance £29

New Laptop – £30 – I started saving 3 months after I got my current laptop in December, so I’m up to £150 now. My brother who sold me it says this laptop should last 3-5 years so I hope to get a really good one when I’m done

Dad’s birthday holiday – £10 – so a while back my other brother had the great(!) idea of sending our dad on holiday for his birthday. We announced it this birthday and were originally planning to send him next year (although, again, who knows anymore). I promised to have £225 by August, which I achieved a few months back, but I’m still putting aside £10 a month to guard against any last minute price hikes due to certain world events. Or to just give as spending money at the last minute. I’m currently at £245.

Finance Diploma – at least £25, though I’m hoping to save £34.75 – This is a course I was doing and self funding to try improve my career prospects. Current balance £47 as I just spend £153 on an exam ticket (I’ve been mooching study texts off a friend, later modules could be more expensive). The £34.75 is because if I can save an extra £9.75 pm I can pay for a membership to the exam site as well, but right now I’m not confident in my ability to get that extra £9.75

Divorce – £75 – I’m saving up for court fees for when this eventually happens. My goal is £1000 by Feb ’21, I currently have £550

H2B ISA – £25 – For those not in the UK, a Help-To-Buy ISA is a special account to help you save up to buy a house, if you save in this account you get certain benefits when you buy the house and usually a better interest rate (although none of them are great right now), I currently have £684.20 in mine… I have a way to go

Emergency Savings – £100 – My current goal is £3000, I’ll re-evaluate what my savings priorities are when I get there, I currently have £1775.38… £3000 was just a nice, round number I picked initially, a true 3 months saving would be closer to £4000

Fitbit – £5.01 – I just got a new Fitbit two months ago, so my current savings are £10.02 haha, my goal is £130 by July 2022, although I should review that figure in a year or so to see if new ones get pricier

New Years Whiskey – £18.25 – So the very nice Debt Free Whiskey I bought, I’m hoping to make it a yearly occurrence where I toast in the New Year with something nice. For this year, because I started mid year, I have less time to save up then usual, but in future years it’ll cost less on a monthly basis. There’s also the chance that I might not need to buy something this year, depending on how much of this I drink. Hard to say.

Next Phone – £31 – this is the amount I was paying for my phone plan that just finished two weeks ago. So today I have a grand total of £0 saved up heh. I’m planning on saving this money for a year and building up a nice chunky deposit for next time I go phone shopping. If I genuinely manage to put aside £31 a month for 12 months that’s £372, about half of the price of my entire phone last time. A 50% deposit will either massively bring down the cost of my next phone or allow me to get a much nicer phone on similar monthly costs. I don’t want this money to creep into the rest of my budget as I’ll need it available again in a year and I don’t want to overcommit

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I also have four temporary categories that I’m keeping under savings goals for now:

“One Last Brexit Shop” – Earlier in the year I bought in a bunch of dried and tinned food ahead of Brexit in the UK, expecting food shortages, but then Brexit got delayed. I must admit I feel a lot less embarrassed about my Brexit stockpile after how Britain handled things like loo roll and pasta in early March. As a result of that madness, my stockpile got a little depleted during the initial stages of lockdown. I’ve set a goal of £50 by December to buy some more. This technically brings my monthly spending to over the amount I get in salary but not every category hit absolute zero before I get paid again so I can usually scrape together the £8.34 the category wants. When it comes time to buy I’ll move it to the groceries category and buy from there.

[Family Member] wedding – £100 – I’ve never been to a wedding as an adult so I dont actually know how much to save. But this includes a gift, travel to the venue, a new shirt, drinks on the day… the wedding was meant to happen in April 2020 so I don’t know how long this category will be here. When it does, I’ll move the money to social spends so I can safely delete this category to avoid being overrun with categories.

Scrivener – the goal for this category is £50, but with no due date – this is a computer program I want to buy. Similar to the wedding, I’ll move the money to Online Shopping and delete this category when it is time.

Holding category – this is a catch all category where I just put money to keep it out of the way, it’s for a purpose so I don’t want to spend it by accident. I often put money here if I was trying to reserve it for an extra credit card payment, for example, then I would later in the month move it to the CC category. I do not run transactions through this category. For a little bit I held the wedding money in here, until it was clear it would be cancelled.

All of these categories technically come to a little more than £13 over my usual salary, which is why on some categories I’ve said I’m not sure if I can meet them, but I’m hoping there will be little bits left here and there in various categories so I dont have to fill categories from 0 to 100%

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I am not budgeting a month ahead right now, although I am aware of the benefits of doing so. I’m just prioritising my Emergency Fund. However on the 1st August both my Age Of Money and the toolkits Days Of Buffering were in triple digits, so I view that as a positive, even if I am slightly sceptical of how accurate the second is. I think my next priority, once I finish saving for something (Divorce Fund is probably the next big goal to complete) is a “Next Move” fund. I’m renting, so there’s always going to be a next move, and I’ll need first months rent and a deposit upfront (probably about £800 is a good estimate for those two together) and I might need to rent a van or car depending on family availability, maybe even someone to drive for me as I can’t. Unfortunately I didn’t put down a deposit on this place – or sign a contract… hm… – my landlord/housemate just said we’d sort it when I moved it out. In retrospect that was a TERRIBLE idea but so few places accept dogs and it was really helpful not to have to pay a deposit just then. If I have to move sooner than I can save up a “Next Move” fund I’ll end up raiding my Emergency Fund, definitely less than ideal but better than going into an overdraft like previously!

The last thing to say before I end this monster long post is that recently I received an inheritance cheque from  my late Nan of £1000.  (The money took ages to come through so it’s not a recent bereavement) I’m just waiting for it to clear – the solicitor spelt my name slightly wrong on it, so waiting to see if the cheque needs to be reissued or if the bank accepts it.

I’ve decided to split it 

£400 into my Finance Diploma fund

£100 for some creature comforts (a shapeshift binder, when they reopen, and some wireless headphones)

£500 for Canal Boat Lessons. Although, and this slightly cheating and breaking the rules, it’s temporarily going to do two jobs: Canal Boat Lessons/Emergency-Emergency Fund. Basically, I don’t see Canal Boat Lessons happening in 2020. I’ve got an exam happening at the end of this month, and then I honestly think we’ll be in some form of lockdown again, and even if we get out of it this year – it’ll be winter and cold. And, frankly, this year we could do with a little extra in our Emergency Funds.  Sometime in Spring 2021 I’ll actually spend the money on Canal Boat Lessons – but by then I’ll have been putting money into the E-Fund for a bit longer and there will be more to fall back on.  So it’s not going to officially be in my E-Fund category, but it’ll be handily close by if 2020 does something.

Anyway, that’s enough for one post! I get paid on about the 19th of each month, often a couple of days before, so I’ll most likely update around that time!


Literally an hour after I made that last post I thought of another (temporary) category I need: Winter Running Gear. I’ve been doing the Couch to 5K and when the mornings start getting darker I’m going to need some lights and reflective jackets and an alarm.