savings challenge update

So a month and a bit into my savings experiments how am I going?

Well the $2 and the $5 challenge are going well. I have a pile of $5 notes which is slowly growing and a bottle of $2 coins which is slowly filling.

Do I feel like I have “saved” any money?

In short, no! Have I put money aside? Yes. But as far as actually achieving what these 2 challenges are designed to achieve no I haven’t quite got that part right.

The whole idea behind these 2 things is that instead of grabbing the $2 coin in your purse and having that chocolate bar from the work charity choccies I am supposed to save that $2 coin and also not have the chocolate. Same goes with the $5 note and the coffee. So far all I have done is either go and get another $20 note out of the ATM or used my card to paypass these things.

So this month, and seeing as we are halfway through, next month the goal is actually continue to put the $2 and $5 aside and build that for a nice surprise for my Europe trip AND also stop with the mindless spending and snacking throughout the day.

In other news about making a change for myself and getting out of this cycle I feel stuck in I bought myself a desk and chair to give myself my own proper work space to make and create. I’m really excited for some things that are starting to come together.

Watch this space.

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money, money, money

So we all know money can’t buy happiness. We also know that money is a necessary evil and can be a massive cause of stress whether you have it or you don’t. This stress can come from the not quite having enough to make ends meet, or to live the life you had planned or the stress can come from the way you make your money.

For me it’s a combination of all three. I have been frivolous and made bad financial decisions aka, do not give this girl another credit card! I have made great financial decisions, at a point in time, which through no fault of my own have turned out to be less than great a few years down the track. I am in a job where I earn a very good wage, I have security and great entitlements as far as flexibility and leave are concerned, but I am not fulfilled by the role I have. I am still a slave to the 9-5 and I crave more than my allotted 4 weeks annual leave. I have a second job which takes up my weekends but it’s something I love, I am passionate about that I don’t feel like is work at all and cant believe I get paid to do something I love.

So what’s your problem right? The answer is staring you right in the face, quit the job you hate, get more hours doing the job you love, get your time and sanity back. Except the issue with the first two money stress problems (EFFING CREDIT CARDS). The vicious cycle that is trying to get rid of the bad decisions of my past financial self.

I have read blog after blog about, how I paid off $10000 debt in 5 minutes and why you’re a total failure if you cant. I have even taken some of their sound advice and tried some of their tips which are logical and make sense but are just not things I can stick to long term, for whatever excuse/reason I can justify to myself.

This blog was never meant to be one of those blogs. It’s about me trying to change my personal situation and find what it is in life that makes me happy. Unfortunately part of that is money. Where will it come from, how much do I really need, am I destined to run the bad debt circle for the rest of my life robbing Peter to pay Paul.

So whilst this wont become the usual, I made money appear out of thin air, blog, I have seen some ideas that I want to try out and see if I can make them work for me.

Firstly let me say, I am not actually an idiot. I know how this works. Pay off your debts, live within your means etc. etc. But well that didn’t happen and I am going to Europe later this year because reasons so just not spending money and putting all my money into my debt right now isn’t going to happen.

My second job is essentially going towards Europe, I have stopped using my credit cards as free money. I still use one, for the frequent flyer points, but I transfer the real money over to it after I have used it for a transaction so I am not using MORE credit. My debts aren’t out of control. I can pay the monthly minimums on my mortgage and personal loans and the principal is shrinking. I pay slightly more than the minimum on the credit cards but not enough to do any real damage to the amount owed just yet, but the point is I am not at critical point yet, I am not defaulting or late or struggling in any way. Its just that without the well paying job that I don’t love, I would be there.

So I have seen 4 challenges to put a bit of extra cash aside that I think are doable in the long term for someone like me which I want to try from here until June when I leave for Europe. I am putting this here in my blog for reference and accountability.

Challenge 1 – The $2 Coin Challenge – Every time I get a $2 coin put it in a 600ml coke bottle. Rumour has it you can fit $1000 worth of $2 coins in there although I have seen some articles that bust that, but still $2 coins in the coke bottle.

Challenge 2 – The $5 Note Challenge – Similar to the $2 coin challenge, every time I get a $5 note, put it aside.

Challenge 3 – The Round up Challenge – This idea I stole from an app which uses your “spare change” to invest in the stock market. I don’t get stocks, I don’t understand what or how and there is the risk that your investment wont pay off and you will end up with less than you started. So the idea is that you round up what you spend using your debit card, ie. you buy something for $ 29.45 on your debit card you round that up to $30 and you put the extra 55c aside in a separate account. Round everything up to the nearest dollar putting aside the round up amount.

Challenge 4 – Run Reward Challenge – As I am in training for a race in Germany (hence the Europe trip) this is a good time to count my running kilometres and reward myself for them. Each kilometre is worth $1 (might have to slice this down when I get closer to the event and am running more than 100km per week) Lots of runners/triathletes do this to help make them accountable to their training and to reward themselves after their race with something for all the work they put in to it. I started this one last year when I began training for a smaller race which I have since wiped off the calendar but I kept the money separate and haven’t spent it yet.

So those are my 4 challenges between now and the end of June. I may find that one or two of them is manageable, and I may have to make changes to adapt or postpone one or two to ensure I am not putting aside everything I earn and not being able to eat. I will update at the end of each month to see the progress but here are my early Jan starting points:

Challenge 1 – $10

Challenge 2 – $10

Challenge 3 – $0

Challenge 4 – $139.70

Total – $159.70

Wish me luck.

edited to say I won’t update monthly, I want to be surprised in June when I cash it in for euros! But I will update how things are going with each of the challenges in general!