This has been a monumental year for me! At the beginning of the year, after trying and failing before, I decided this was THE year that I would really make a financial difference. I had read the Tightwad Gazette, every article written on Moneysavingexpert.com, anything by Suze Orman and Dave Ramsay. I was going to do it! I had already cut up my cards early in 2009, but wasn’t really as committed as I needed to be to getting rid of my debts.
The takeaways stopped – we were only down to a takeaway on payday. We used to have a ‘Chinese’ a month and it would cost us £20, plus a bottle of wine £25 – we stopped that completely and saved £300 a year. Are you keeping up? That’s £833 by not having junk or reading the usual diatribe!!! All of a sudden, money saving is well within our grasp.
We switched energy tariffs, got rid of the top loading washer and matching dryer, bought an ‘eco’ washing machine, got a water meter and turned off every light, anything on stand by and became really conscious of our spending. Last year, our monthly payments on Gas and electricity, reached £150 a month = £1800 a year! We’ve now got that down to £63 a month a saving of £1044 a year! Our water used to cost £1400 for un metered water and now we have it down to £400 a year! Yep, you got it, if it’s yellow!
We have sold every spare book, DVD, non fitting clothes, collected cr*p and anything we don’t need! With that we have bought, anything we did need! We both have bought lap tops this year, both ‘used’ but needed for our jobs and none cost us anything, because we did so with ‘ebay money’. All of our shoes, clothing and anything we’ve needed has been paid for from ‘ebay money’.
We have shopped really carefully. Never without a list, everything is cooked from scratch. We use our mini oven, batch cook and freeze. We ate from the garden. We made jam and chutney that have become Christmas presents and has supplemented our diet. In fact, anything we bought for Christmas, came out of our weekly food budget, or from our ‘ebay’ money.
I’ve had a completely homemade Christmas. I haven’t spend a penny on a credit card in almost two years and it’s been a fantastic year.
The biggest thing I’ve done this year, is admitted that I’m in debt and dealt with it! I’ve talked to lots of people about it, some of whom have been inspired to make a hole in their own debt. Today, like every day, is a challenge. I could so easily pop on a train, head to Plymouth and wander around the shops, but I don’t need to. I’ve accepted that possessions do not make some one interesting, entertaining or worth knowing. I’ve had an entire year of living within my means and I intend to do this for the rest of my life. You’ve followed me through my first year and I have one and a half more years to go before I am debt free. The journey is far from over; who’s coming with me?