Over a year ago, I read Ilona’s blog and down the side of it are a really sensible advice and one piece I’ve always followed was to write down every penny you spend. I check food prices, diesel prices and if I can’t get something at the charity shop or booter, then I judiciously shop round for it. It’s a long long haul. The payments have gone through for my holiday and I’ve written them down and it’s left my savings account very much depleted. Every other aspect of my trip is going to be bargain basement and I’ll tell you all about that when I go. In the meantime, I’m not giving up on throwing everything I’ve got at the debts I’m repaying.
I’ve reached a repayment milestone, from when I started snowballing to throw every penny I had a repayment, which I’ve been doing seriously for fifteen month, well, I have fifteen months of payments to go.
Even though I’m close enough to ‘feel’ half way, I’m really not easing up. I just don’t shop! I’m off on holiday and not one new item of anything what so ever will be bought to take with me! Last year, when I cleaned the caravans in the summer holiday, I noticed that there were clothing labels and price tag labels in almost every caravan I cleaned. It was as if, it was normal to buy lots of new clothes when going on holiday. It seems stupid to me; I go on holiday to slum it and work on the principle that no one knows me so what do I care if they think the worse of me.
In the past, I used to put the holiday on the credit card and then spend a year paying it off! I would also look at holidays as treat time. If wanted something, or to buy someone something, then I wouldn’t even think of it! I now have a totally different perspective, the holiday IS the treat!!! We will be taking most of what we need and eat with us, I’ll be in a caravan so cooking will be a doddle and the only thing I will buy is wine for DB!
Having taken steps to not only reduce debt but work towards being debt free is rather like my new exercise regime. To be honest, it’s really hard and sometimes I don’t want to do it. I’d like a night in front of the telly but I know nothing is ever going to change unless I get outside and move my butt! I’m striding the streets and not really comfortable about doing this in broad daylight in sight of the masses. The beginning of anything is so very very hard.
I learnt a few years ago, if you do something for 30 days, you can programme yourself for it to become a habit. It works for quitting something too. If you can give up: carbs, meat, smoking, drinking, sugar or what ever you’ve decided to give up, then you’ve probably done so for life. Therefore, if I’m to accept that philosophy, then after 30 consecutive days of anything, then the pain, discomfort or just feeling an utter twat will diminish! Now I’ve been a ‘non-spender’ since 2009, ‘going without’ doesn’t seem any kind of hardship and I don’t care what people think of my life style. I’ve paid back (not paid off…….it wasn’t my money!) £22,500! since November 2009! There were some really scary times, times when I had to say no to people who I thought mattered to me, when I’ve felt uninsured, when there’s been nothing left in the freezer and when I’ve got the car back home on fumes.
Using my theories of sticking to something for 30 days and then it becoming habit is being really, really tested but I have to have faith in my own convictions that anything is possible if you are brave enough, stick to what you believe in and hang on when it gets tough. My three mile walks, of which half of that is up hill, already seem easier, even after just a few attempts at it. I’ve conquered a mass of challenges over the past year or so and every footstep in front of the other feels as wonderful as every time I make a payment or pass by a shop without going in. I never ever thought the day would come when I would say, that having a tight budget and sticking to it, over paying and not spending or exercising daily until I work up a sweat would make me feel so very very good!
Thanks so very much to the incredibly kind words you all left for me, £65 in a restaurant was the biggest blow out I’ve had in years and I agree, it was well spent! Thanks to the 620 of you who are now following and cheering me on from the side lines, and to those of you who read and stop by. The support is just incredible.