27th December 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.

Christmas Budget Rundown!
 
Category – Approx Saved – Spent
Gifts Family – £120 – £102.85
Gifts Friends – £60 – £74.74
Misc – £60 – £74.75
Total – £240 – £252.34
 
I don’t have an exact figure on my Christmas Groceries spending, but my grocery budget isn’t particularly higher than usual even with the “One Last Brexit” shop going through the Groceries category. This isn’t even my overall highest spends month. Ok, there’s still technically two/three days left to go in this month. And I need to do a Grocery shop. But I feel pretty confident I won’t change the metrics that much.
 
Lessons for next year: hold firm on my budget goals for presents.  
 
Edit: ​Oh, whoops, just realised that I gave my brother a cheque for Christmas – that means the Family Gifts Spent is £127.85 and the Total Spent is £277.34

17th & 19th December 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.

17th December 2020

Payday! And, seeing as we’re almost at the end of the year, I’m taking a closer look at my goals for each category. I’m worried I’ve got a little too comfortable WAM-ing from my long-neglected “Social” category, which still has it’s original goal of £50 just sitting there waiting for some love. I don’t think it’s had £50 in since March. 

I adjusted my Christmas Goals this months, to give me a full 12 months of saving – if I start saving from my January pay check I’ll only have 11 months to save before I spend. 10, really, because I’ll start buying presents in November. 
Some goals I wanted to adjust from January – like my Pride savings, for example. When it became clear that Pride 2020 wasn’t happening, I set that category to “Save £120 by June 2021” so I’ve only been paying in a couple of quid per month, as it was already over £100 when I did that. I was hoping to revert it to a nice easy “£10 per month” in January but I don’t think that’s happening just yet. 

With my goals I’ve been tending to plan for about £25 more than my average salary, as I don’t tend to empty out every category ever month – particularly public transport, I’ve got very good at walking to work. I suppose if I ever did empty out every category I would have some choices to make. 

So some goals are likely to be lowered in the New Year as I have new things I want to save up for. I’m trying to start saving regularly for Sims, for various name updating products, for my “Next Move” fund, for a hypothetical future tattoo, and so on and so forth.

I’ve been putting money into that fund for Dad’s belated birthday holiday trip that never was, the original goal was £225, as of this paycheck I have £295 set aside. I was setting aside £10 per month, I shall now be setting aside £5 per month. Previously I was setting aside close to £35 for my FA Diploma, for now that’s going to be £30. 
I’ll do a full run down at the actual end of the year. 

There’s always too many expenses and not enough money :/

 I’m sure if I had just a little bit more all my problems would be solved 😛 

I’ve almost hit my Divorce fund goal of £1000. Although I have realised lately that when that does get started – even assuming it’s a relatively peaceful process – that’s really going to hit my net worth hard. Ho hum. Hopefully I won’t spend all of that.


19th December 2020

I found a fancy loose leaf tea shop recently and I’ve just realised I’ve spent £26 in the last three weeks there
 
Which isn’t too bad but it wasn’t budgeted for. Also potentially explains why things felt a little tight this pay period, even accounting for Christmas 
 
They have a subscription service though for £10pm, I’m usually not a fan of subscription boxes but if it reigns me in, it may be warranted here 

14th December 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.

I’ve decided I’m going to start job searching… For a very specific job, so it might take a while.
​​​​​​​    
I’ll be looking for IFA Administrator and Paraplanner roles, which – as it’s my long term goal with this Diploma study to be an IFA, an IFA Administrator or Paraplanner would be doing admin for an IFA… 

But job searching in 2020/21 is going to be fun.
 
But 2020 has changed my role so much, and they’ve basically said some of the old stuff isn’t coming back, and some of the new stuff isn’t going away, and I wouldn’t have applied for the job as it is today.   
 
Also, when I went in this morning I got told that one of our colleagues got punched on Saturday so that’s fun. We’re calling the police more and more and it’s just… ugh

9th & 12th December

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 December 2020

I saved up £50 for “one last Brexit shop”… the idea being some people are worried about a sudden temporary shortage of staples or spike in prices post-Brexit, similar to what was seen in spring/summer 2020 with covid panic buying. But now would be the time to buy any more food, before the transition period ends, and ideally before the Christmas food shopping really ramps up, but I’m not sure I have space for it in the cupboard  :/
(later that same day)
I’ve done it. I ordered the last Brexit shop to arrive this Sunday. I may be a fool, but I’m a fool who wont have to buy Pasta for like 6 months next year.


12th December 2020

I bought my New Year Whiskey today! I bought two bottles actually – the expensive one, and a cheaper one I can be a bit less precious about and don’t mind being communal. I’m not going home for Christmas but I am seeing my aunt for New Year. The Ancnoc single malt was £25 so I’m happy for that to be passed about if need be. The first editions Aultmore was “only” £70 (I’d saved up £85). I realised on the way into town that, due to Covid, they wouldn’t be doing tastings like the last time I visited so the Aultmore is a bit of a gamble for me. But I’ve had the Ancoc before.

I’ve spent a little more on general Christmas stuff than I intended so far but I’ll wait until post-Christmas to do a real run down of that.

~*~

I’ve also decided to move my Emergency Fund into a different bank than my main bank account. It’s not on a particularly good rate (sorry, Martin) but it’s something that’s been bugging me lately.
I work in a bank, in customer service, and I often deal with the people who’s accounts are blocked by the bank. And when we do that, we don’t just block one account, we block them all. So often people are panicking/upset/hostile because we have locked up all of their money and they have literally no access to money.
Now, ok, 9.99 times out of 10, their accounts are locked because they did something naughty, but it still bugged me. I don’t intend to do anything naughty, but I’ve seen people’s accounts get blocked because they tried to buy Bitcoin and our bank doesn’t like that. That usually gets sorted out pretty quick but I still want to have some money in a separate bank that can’t get locked up due to a misunderstanding. 
So I just moved my Emergency fund from an Everyday Saver at bank A to an Everyday Saver at bank B. It’s instant access, might as well be 0% interest, but it holds the money separate to my main account. Because I already had a current account with bank B the whole thing took about 10 minutes to set up – though because I was moving a larger amount than normal for me, bank A did pause the transaction for an hour and send me a security text to double check. 

~*~

In response to a commenter asking how much pasta £50 got me

Not as much as I was expecting tbh, but this time I was more focused on having a variety of tinned veg and pulses. This isn’t the first time I’ve done one of these shops. I think the £50 got me maybe 2 weeks of meals? I did buy some pasta and rice, and a couple of jars of sauce, but mostly it was tinned veg.
I’ve done several of these “Brexit  shops” this year so I’m hoping I have a few months of dinners saved up. Less if I can’t supplement it at ALL from the supermarket but I’m assuming I will still be able to buy some stuff. If it was all a false alarm I’ll start eating through it in the summertime and just drastically reduce my grocery spending next year.
I think produce is most likely to be affected because that’s harder (impossible?) for supermarkets to stockpile, so I have a lot of tinned veg. I’ll just have to shop really strategically and take multivitamins. 
I am assuming at some point things will normalise and supermarkets will adjust, but I dont have infinite money or storage space for supplies anyway haha

In response to someone asking if I’d considered growing my own food

I’m pretty sure unleashing me on some poor unsuspecting plants might be a war crime  😛  but also I live in a shared house with a concrete patch in lieu of a garden 

1st December 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.

Christmas Shopping Update! I think I’ve got everything roughly now, barring some festive munchings at some point. I’m £21.90 overspent on presents – which in the grand scheme of things isn’t too bad – the only mildly annoying thing is that I’ve spent £21.94 on a Christmas present for my girlfriend who I’ve now broken up with. I’m a little sad about it because she was genuinely a nice person, but I’m also not really that sad, which was kind of the point – after 8 months I should have more of a reaction than “Ah that’s a shame. Oh well.” I just don’t know what to do with a Harry Potter bath bomb when I don’t have a bath and aren’t particularly enthused about Harry Potter?

According to my budget I have £30 left in “Christmas Misc” and I suspect small things will crop up closer to the date so I need to be hands off that category for now. I’d love to buy another Christmas jumper or something though. I’ve ordered myself a couple of personalised decorations with my new name on, I just thought they were cute and I don’t have much with my name on yet, everything like that is in my deadname. If you cant follow the links, one is a wooden snowflake tree decoration with your name carved on it, and one is a mini wreath with a tiny bell on and your name on a slip of parchment/card. Technically the mini wreath is a place setting but I’m going to use it as a door decoration. 

I’ve decided to stop therapy. I’d been wanting to for a while anyway. I’ll try to keep putting money aside for it for a few months until I hit £200, so I have a mini store of funds if I need therapy suddenly again. That would give me time so my immediate thought isn’t “but how will I budget for it?” I would have a month or so to work that out rather than scrambling to do so. 

I’m also embarking on another money saving scheme, but it involves uteruses (uteri?) and bodily functions and cycles and reusable eco friendly products, so I’m going to throw that under a spoiler tag as I’m not 100% sure if I’m allowed to talk about that stuff here? But basically I want to save up for reusable products but HOO BOY are those EXPENSIVE!

SpoilerI have a lot of temporary savings goals right now, I keep thinking of new things I want. I think I’m just excited that for the first time in my life I’m successfully saving up for stuff and I’m getting carried away. I’m putting all the categories into my budget right now and we’ll review how many actually make it through to the new year. 

In an update to my previous post about names – I am going to change my middle name, just not my first name or last name. I’ll change it in the new year. Which will be a faff in terms of admin, but I’d rather do that than pay £80-£90 for a passport with the wrong names on. 

Also! Earlier in November I said I’d saved up for a plain black GC2B binder – more of an under-shirt binder than a statement piece on it’s own – but it turned out they were out of stock in my size. It finally  came back into stock today, and in time to take advantage of Black Friday deals too!
This might be the first Black Friday I’ve participated in…

In response to a commenter suggesting I sell the bath bomb on Facebook

Thanks! 😊  I do have some younger cousins though so that might be an easier idea – I think it would be weird reselling someone else’s Etsy item? 

In response to curiosity about the “uterus products”

I’ve got the vague idea in my head that this forum is meant to be roughly PG – in case an 8 year old decides to go knocking around a finance forum I guess? – but I’m not sure if that only applies to like cursing? 
But in the broadest terms possible: Modibodi sells reusable uterus products that come quite highly rated, but a single one of their products, in the style I like, costs £28!!! Their bundle packs/multipacks often cost over £100 and at this point in time I dont actually see a multi pack of the style I like. And I think their products aren’t meant to be used any longer than overnight before you clean them, whereas obviously I need 24/7 coverage for about a week… sometimes longer 😦 … so I need more than one.  I’ve bought a cheaper bridging product from Amazon.
I’m hoping in the long run it’ll pay for itself but the upfront cost is £££. Also this is more environmentally friendly. Slightly jealous of Scotland recently announcing free uterus products to all. 

In response to a commenter talking about menstrual cups

oof, no, I couldn’t handle cups. I cant get past the ick factor of holding a cup of… well. The products I was looking at on Modibodi are wearables. Items of clothing. Definitely hear ya on the no-second-hand though. No matter how many times you boil it…

In response to a commenter saying their friend will be getting a binder for Christmas as well

Exciting for them  😊  I think both the ones I ordered – the plain black under shirt one and the green dragon scale one – should(?) be here before Christmas 🤞🤞🤞
I haven’t ordered anything from Modibodi yet, so I can’t speak from personal experience, but they had a lot of positive reviews. I came across them in several journalist review articles – the kind where they get 3 of their journalists to try out some brands  and compare results.

22nd November 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.

I should put a line item/savings goal in my budget for Sims Packs  **longing sigh** 

So as I said, I’m going to start saving up for a new passport with my new name – £80 😬😬 but I’m not happy with my middle name, and it suddenly occurs to me that it would be better to make a decision BEFORE I drop money on the passport. Got a few months to figure it out but I don’t know what to do.

18th November 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! So naturally the first thing I did was go out and buy a whole ton of onions, I want to experiment with making slow cooker caramelised onions. I plan on doing a mix of red and white onions, with some demerara sugar, balsamic vinegar, whiskey, and a touch of bicarb soda to help break down the onions a little more. I’ll chop them all up tomorrow morning before work and leave them for like 8 to 10 hours. 

~*~

I’m grudgingly proud of myself for one smart decision I made. I had a little leftover money when I met all my goals and I decided to put it into my Diploma study fund rather than into hobbies. I’ve always been able to find hobby money before, I’m sure I’ll find it somewhere again if I need it.
I find traitorous thoughts sneaking in, like “I’ll put it in takeout and if/when I have some leftover I can move it to the Diploma category”, but I just need to remind myself that if I put the money in groceries or takeout or hobbies it inevitably gets spent and if I put it elsewhere it magically doesn’t. I just need to stay strong. 

~*~

I technically put slightly more into my E-Fund than usual as well – 42p more haha. When I went to fill out my saving thermometer I realised I was 42p short of the next notch, so I added a little more to the pile to make it an even £2100.
I also filled out my GC2B binder goal, I just to get around to ordering it. Christ these things are expensive. 
I slightly renamed my “New Degree Certificate” to “Name Update Documents” – the initial goal is still the degree certificate, but after that I might as well continue saving for my passport update as well. 

~*~

I’ve been thinking a little bit about my next YNAB-year. Obviously the immediate goal is to hit 3K E-Fund, then I want to focus on getting a month ahead, and I really want to pick up the pace on my FA Diploma study. Hopefully early next year I can kick off the divorce proceedings, assuming the other party is cooperative, if I can get that done then that’s a BIG chunk of my budget available to be repurposed. £75 a month I won’t be setting aside for that, and fingers crossed I’ve over saved and I’ll have a little leftover money to treat myself/repurpose elsewhere. 

~*~

I’ve also been thinking about how weird it is that, despite how much less I’m spending now than a year ago, two years ago – evidenced by my growing savings – I don’t often feel like my quality of life has suffered much. I use “often” and “much” because there are still moments, but 98% of the time my quality of life feels the same, if not better than, a few years back. If someone had told me that I’d have just casually dropped £80 on a bottle of whiskey for a celebration, and then a few months later had another £80 ready to go for Christmas/New Year Whiskey (I plan to buy it early December) I’d have laughed at them. That was just beyond me. And now I’ve dropped to a single income household but I can just, do that. No big deal, just a little foreplanning. 
Christmas has been weirdly chill so far this year. I mean, its not exactly a normal year, no socials to worry about – but also I’ve saved up a lot more this year and I have three Christmas categories (“Family”, “Friends” and “Misc”). If it had been a normal year I suspect I still would have been slightly short, but I’d have made it work. Next year I’ll save up more. 
It’s a good feeling. I hope YNAB stays around a long time

17th November 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.

Tapping my fingers, impatiently waiting for payday so that I can budget… I went pretty close to the wire this month on ALL my categories. Everything is showing as grey, grey, £0 left. 

~*~

I’ve been using YNAB for a year now! I’m kind of surprised I didn’t get an anniversary email from them. When I first subscribed, they sent me emails every now and then saying things like “Now you’re X months in… etc…”. In the last email they did say “…our emails will become less frequent from this time forward…” but I sort of assumed they’d do a first anniversary one – but all I got was a receipt. Ho hum. 

~*~

I started YNAB in October 2019 (approx) and my net worth then was £1353.89, including debt – today my net worth is £5442.75 and I’m debt free! Two of my accounts each individually have more in than my entire net worth when I started YNAB. 
Technically that net worth is less than last month, but it’s the day before payday so it should be higher by the end of November. And I’ll forgive myself if my Net Worth takes a dip in the November and December months. 

~*~

Speaking of, I’m near-done on the Christmas shopping. I just don’t have many people I’ve established a gift buying habit for. There’s two people I’m going to try buy for, I just need to figure out what. 

~*~

I’m pretty happy with my budget categories this year and don’t feel the need to mix it up this January – occasionally I find new categories I want but the overall structure of the budget suits me. When I do have new categories they tend to be temporary savings goals, and I run the actual transaction through another category. I’d rather have the long term data easily accessible than rework things I think. Last January I sat down 01/01 and rewrote my entire budget, this year I might just sit down and bask in the progress I’ve made

~*~

In response to a commenter saying I was doing well with my savings

Thank you 🙂 I was hoping to say something more emotional and nostalgic and inspirational, a reflection on where I’ve been and how far I’ve come and how far I want to go, but words failed me haha

In response to a commenter pointing out I had money in other categories I could have moved if I needed to

haha yes it was definitely YNAB broke, not actual broke
Which is always nice to see 

In response to people tagging the support staff on YNAB forums regarding the renewal email

It’s not the biggest deal in the world, I just sort of assumed there’d be one (probably last) email on the first renewal date. Its not the end of the world heh. 
Although now I’m thinking of those Facebook style end of year videos where they cut and paste photos and most liked statuses into the video, but for YNAB… 🤣🤣🤣 
This is the only email I got in advance, so I did get a “your subscription is about to renew” one

11th November 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.

I haven’t dipped further into my Emergency Savings as of yet – at this point it’s about £23 higher than the amount I had saved up in September (I haven’t received my November pay check yet) so I’m technically making progress. I’m thinking when my Emergency Fund hits my initial goal of 3k (not quite 3 months pay, that would be closer to 4k, it’s just the goal I picked initially) I’m going to try “get a month ahead” according to YNAB. This just means I’ll have enough on hand that I can budget on 1st of the month no matter what date I get paid.
It’ll just make the app and goals slightly easier to use. In bank balance terms it’ll just mean I have an extra months worth of Emergency Fund, in my current act instead of the savings act. So to my mind I’ve basically just split my Emergency Fund into two; If I lost my job abruptly, I’d have a month before I needed to start dipping into the E-Fund.  
I plan to use a “Next Month Income” category where each time I get paid I put the money into that category where it waits until the 1st of the next month where I then use it fill my categories/pay my bills. I reckon I’ll hit my E-Fund goal mid to late next year, so I’ll start my Next Months Income category then. 

~*~

I’ve started the dreaded Christmas shopping, and I can already see I haven’t quite saved up enough to buy as many presents as I wanted to – but three of the people I want to buy for, I haven’t established a habit of doing so. I just secretly hoped I could (I hadn’t made any promises yet).  Despite using YNAB last Christmas, I didn’t quite have the categories set up right so I have less of an eye on how much I spent on gifts last year. I also think I’m trying to spend more per person than I did last year, so need to keep an eye on that. 

24th October 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.

I decided to create two new savings goals in my budget. I’m not deleting the Shapeshifter Binder category but I haven’t any plans for it right now either. I use an Excel document to see if I have room in my budget for each new goal and it says I have room for these. The spreadsheet literally just has my average salary and my goals for each category, a simple X-Y equation. So we’ll give these goals a go. They’re not high priority though. 

One category is to get my degree certificate reissued in my new name – it’s currently in my deadname. I like to hang up my degree, but when I moved this time I felt weird about displaying it with the wrong name on.
The other is for a tattoo. I haven’t even picked what tattoo yet, but every time I think of one I’d like I go round and round in circles before eventually concluding its pointless as I have no money. Well, I’m sick of it. I’m going to try save up some money and get it done. Or at least have the option to get it done if I do land on one I’d like. 

Both goals are £10 a month. If nothing else, in 2020 I’m not using up all my “public transport” category and I usually have at least £20 a month left in there, so the money I don’t need to put in public transport can go to these goals. But they’re not high priority. Of the two, the degree certificate is possibly a slightly higher priority as I’d like to get that done for my birthday next March. For the tattoo, I don’t know how much I need, or by when, I’m just putting money aside and will figure out the rest later.

In response to a commenter asking if I use a “Monthly Spending” goal for my categories

Because I don’t budget on the 1st yet, those goals never seem to work right for me. I’m adding into the categories mid month and the quick budget cant seem to give me the amount needed to top up to my goal. If I set “Target Balance – No Date” then the information widget on the right hand side of the screen tells me the difference between the current balance and the goal.

For me, ideally, if I used a top up goal I would want it to ignore all past behaviour and just focus on what the balance of the category is at that second, and how much is needed to make it up to the goal. Currently the monthly spending goals seem to take into account any spending behaviours between the 1st and my payday which confuses things a bit.

However, if I set a target balance no date goal, as you can see below, I can use the “To Go” line to know how much more to put into that category