Some of my days are spent sitting in front of a computer, but others are spent travelling around, which means a lot of time in my car. Usually it’s an hour there and an hour back and maybe some shorter journeys during the day. Those such as Mr Money Mustache or Jacob Lund Fisker of Early Retirement Extreme would say that we should ditch the car and walk everywhere, but unfortunately my job doesn’t allow me to do that. Therefore I have found a way to enjoy my time in the car and put it to good use. It initially started with a friend reminding me about audiobooks which are available in the library, but then one day when I was watching You Tube whilst jogging I found the Afford Anything podcast http://www.affordanything.com and I was hooked. Watching a static picture on You Tube whilst listening to whoever Paula Pant, the host of the Afford Anything podcast, was interviewing was rather boring, but a quick hop over to her website and I found over 150 podcasts to download on to my phone and play in the car, all about financial independence.
Over the Christmas period I have mostly been working at home and it just doesn’t seem right to spend time sitting and listening to podcasts. I suppose that I could do it whilst doing some housework, but if I’m partly concentrating on something else then I often lose concentration and miss bits. In the car I am able to just completely focus on listening to podcasts; obviously whilst having my full concentration on the road as well.
That is why I have missed driving. I now actually look forward to getting in the car some days; planning what to listen to, downloading it to my phone. It is like a treasure trove of information out there just waiting to be discovered and it is completely free. It may not fit the ideal picture of someone working towards financial independence, but without my car, I couldn’t do my job and without my job there wouldn’t be any money to save for the future and therefore no chance of achieving FI. And, as well as making the journey more interesting I have learnt a great deal about financial independence from all of the podcasts that I have listened to.
A few months into my decision to live more cheaply and after discovering the FIRE movement I am still learning so much. I think that I have made good progress on the saving front, now I just need to learn how to make some money – my grand total so far is £9.50 which I made by selling some DVDs on Facebook.
So how has this month been?
I went to have my eyebrows waxed. Previously it was a full facial, eyebrow and lip wax. Writing this at the beginning of January I now have a very spotty chin. I am hoping this is due to Christmas indulgences rather than giving up my facial. I am still using two out of three of the products that I buy from the beauty salon so I can’t believe it has made that much difference. Time will tell I suppose. The good news was that when I went to pay for my eyebrow wax I was able to use the deposit of £10 on my account to pay for the treatment as the salon no longer requires it due to my decrease in the use of their services.
That evening I was going out to my first Christmas meal of the month and as I hadn’t had my lip waxed at the salon I had to remove it myself. Having bought some cream from Boots at a cost of £3.25, about an hour before I had to leave, I smeared it across my top lip for ten minutes. Unfortunately, although it did remove the offending hair it left me with a large red mark across my lip around the edge of where the cream had been. Luckily it eventually disappeared and I did not have to use half a tube of foundation to conceal it. The moral of the story – a bit of future planning next time and remove my moustache the day before.
just over £40 for the meal and entertainment meant that there was free wine on
the table – well not exactly free – but I didn’t need to pay for it that
evening. I therefore managed not to spend a penny, just sticking to the wine. I
seemed to be in the minority as a red wine drinker and so there was more than I
wanted, not being a great drinker.
My parents-in-law visited at the beginning of December and I had to think of free activities to do. They didn’t arrive until Saturday lunch time and so I made some cakes for their arrival and then we had dinner at home, cooked by my better half.
On the Sunday we went to the local Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve – both us and the parents-in-law are members, so it was ‘free’. The evening was going to be expensive as I had booked a table at our favourite restaurant. Very kindly, having won £75 on the premium bonds recently, my father-in-law paid – thanks ERNIE!
We have changed our gas and electricity suppliers to Octopus. Hopefully it should save us about £200 a year, although at the moment we are down money as Octopus take payments a month in advance and our previous suppliers have taken their usual direct debits – hopefully we should get some of that refunded in the new year. The good thing about Octopus is that they are not only cheaper but also environmentally friendly – electricity from renewable sources and carbon-offsetting for the gas. The middle of the month brought my first hair appointment where I wasn’t getting it dyed. I just had it washed and cut. That was £20, which seemed a lot. When it gets warmer I am going to think about washing it myself and going along with it wet and just paying solely for the cut. Although some other frugal folks seem to have taken to cutting their own hair I am not that brave. I am only now thinking about dying it myself – dye bought and just need to do a test to make sure that I don’t come out in a nasty rash. I have told my better half that he is going to have to help me.
Petrol was less than budgeted, mostly because I was at home over Christmas rather than having to drive to work, but also because every time I go to Tesco the price has dropped by a penny or two per litre. I now have a Tesco credit card and so am hoping to start building my points. The interest rate is 0% for 20 months. I read an article about ‘stoozing’ – saving any money I spend on the card in a high interest savings account and then paying off the balance with this before the interest-free period expires – having made some interest in the process. My better half said that it sounded dangerous, but it seems to me that you just have to be organised and basically it’s money for free! Has anyone else tried this?
I managed to put £623.90 into savings, but my overall total did not increase by that much as my stocks and shares ISA has lost nearly £100 since I opened it at the beginning of the month. I expect things to get a lot worse as we head into the abyss that is Brexit, but hopefully by the time I need to tap into it ‘the will of the people’ will be a distant memory.