Posts tagged ‘budgeting’

March 24, 2014

The Latte Factor.

I first read about David Bach’s ‘The Latte Factor‘ through Guy Kawasaki on Twitter (who, incidentally, you should follow, he shares great stuff) and I’ve spent the weekend thinking it over.

The Latte Factor, for those of you who don’t know, is a financial theory that basically says we’re all spending money on lattes or other small, daily things, without them really adding value to our lives and if we put that money into a savings account instead, over time it would make us rich.  Whilst I’m not sure of the whole ‘Finish Rich’ element of this (does it just mean I get the fanciest coffin in the graveyard?) I am pretty convinced that I do spend money on small things without really thinking about them. Perhaps at the expense of my real financial or life goals.

In the past couple of months, because of big changes that are happening around here, I’ve been using YNAB to track all my expenses and pretty soon I shall have a really clear record of where my money is going each month. I already know that there will be a few areas that I need to focus on, and cut down, in order to achieve what I really want for the year. I’ve really enjoyed using YNAB, and genuinely think it’s worth the financial investment as it’s making me focus on my spending and saving far more than all my other methods have ever done. I can reconcile it against my current account and the smug feeling of knowing where every last penny is makes me feel so much more in control. It’s a good feeling. They do a month’s free trial if you fancy giving it a go.

Anyway, back to those lattes…

For me, it really boils down to mindful expenditure. Often, a cup of coffee represents time spent with friends and in that case, it’s absolutely worth the money, and a lot more besides. But the coffee I buy every time I wait for my daughter to finish ballet class is purely bought out of habit. I could wait for an hour without one and it would be just the same. So those are the times I could put £2.50 towards my real financial goals for the year. It may not be much, but it will all add up.

To note, and so I don’t back out of them, this year’s plans include: spoon making workshop, circus trip, Amsterdam, floristry, a new DSLR, taking the kids to the seaside in the summer, a myriad of short trips and a horticultural course at college. And that’s before I start on the blog plans and worrying about my ancient little car breaking down! So, those lattes could pay for a lot more than an hour’s wait at ballet class…

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October 10, 2012

Making things happen.

I’ve been feeling a bit glum recently. Nothing major, but just a bit unsettled. Partly it’s because I’ve realised it’s October and so 2012, a year I had high hopes for, is almost at an end. I’m not exactly sure how we’re in October already. With that comes the realisation that I’ve not managed to do many of the things I had planned for this year. In some cases, that’s because I’ve done different things instead, which is fine, and in some cases there are reasons beyond my control. But in some cases it’s because of nothing more complicated than my own behaviour.

I’ve talked on here before about my top time wasters – the things I do instead of the things I should be doing. I’m still battling with them, although I’m relieved to report that my Moshi Monsters obsession has abated. To be replaced with a Blythe obsession, naturally. Honestly, sometimes I don’t quite understand myself, so I really don’t expect anyone else to…

The other night I had a bit of a revelation though. Mildly inebriated (which is when I’m the most honest with myself) I wrote a list of things I wanted to do before I reach forty. Now, I’m a bit scared of forty. With apologies to those of you who are there already, but it feels incredibly grown up to me, and if there is one thing I don’t feel, it’s grown up. I have dolls! I also have a mortgage and two children, but I sometimes still wonder how I got to be thirty six in the blink of an eye. What I began to realise as I looked at my list and thought about the reasons why I’ve still got to make some of these things happen,  is that often the things I consider to be helping me achieve my goals are in fact, hindering them.

Take, for example, my magazine habit. I buy a lot of magazines. I love them. Many of those are travel magazines. I have a list of places I want to visit as long as my arm. Yet many of these places have been nothing more than a pipe dream for years and years. Imagine if, instead of buying a forest’s worth of travel magazines, I saved up the equivalent amount of money. Where might that have taken me?

Another thing I do is look at design magazines, books and blogs. I spend hours and hours of time reading, and  thinking about decorating our house. At the moment, I’m focussed on the bathroom. I’ve even had the stuff I need to do it (sander, paint, willing accomplice) ready and waiting to go for weeks. And yet, the bathroom remains undecorated, because of all the time I’ve spent being inspired to do it, by reading about other people and their perfect bathrooms. If, instead of reading about all those perfect houses, I picked up a damn paintbrush and started work, it would have been finished by now.

My tiny front garden is another thing. I’ve got a plan to re-design the whole thing with bee-friendly plants. I’ve had that plan for ages. But instead of picking up my trowel and getting on with making it happen, I spend ages looking at beautifully designed huge gardens in old copies of Gardens Illustrated.

I’m not saying for a moment that seeking inspiration is a bad thing. I’m not saving that I’ll stop buying the odd travel magazine. But the proportions are all wrong. I need less time spent researching, or reading about other people having adventures (or perfect bathrooms!) and more time doing, whether that is saving up harder (by wasting less money on dolls or on food that gets thrown away – more on that subject in another post) or picking up that trowel or that paintbrush.

So, that’s my goal. I’ve got dates booked in with my willing accomplice to get the bathroom finished, and I’ve got myself a savings account (and home designed money pot for loose change!) to make some of those travel plans less of a pipe dream. I’m going to change the proportions of my behaviour and make the things I want to do before I reach the grand old age of forty a reality, instead of something I read about someone else doing.

Oh, and one last thing. Never, never, introduce me to Pinterest. Because  that seems like the ultimate way in which I could lose hours, days even, just thinking, planning, dreaming and researching. I need to act