June has been an expensive month for me with my 40th birthday celebrations. Although some of the treats, such as a day at the races, were paid for by others as presents, I still needed extra money to cover the bbq party and also spending money for the extra days and nights out I don’t usually have any more. There is no doubt in my mind that the old me from less than 12 months ago would have had no qualms about using my credit card to cover the expenses. I would also have used it to get my hair done, buy a new dress for the races, get a spray tan and my eyelashes done and probably treat myself to a few other things. This probably would have totalled £500 and my attitude would have been “oh well”.
Instead, I did the following:
- Reduced my monthly credit card payment from £200 to £100 for one month only. The minimum payment is around £70.00 and going down every month, so even though less was paid off this month it gave me £100 extra to pay for my bbq party.
- Emptied my emergency fund. I was a bit disappointed that I had to do this, as I had already taken £150.00 out last month to pay towards a new washing machine. I only had around £150.00 left in it, plus the £100.00 I would have paid into it in June, so this gave me another £250.00.
- Partially emptied my Matched Betting pot – this was actually for spending money for Center Parcs the month before. I didn’t intend to do this but when a bet won on the bookmakers rather than the exchange, I transferred the £90 into my bank and then realised it would be needed for spending money. Again, I was disappointed to do this but it was preferable to using my credit card. With all my other birthday expenses I haven’t had the funds to restart my matched betting so I am hoping to do this in July. (If you are thinking – why are we booking Centre Parcs if we are on a tight budget, my parents pay for the whole family to go every year, so it is only fair we pay for a meal out for everyone and our activities!) Again, the old me would have just whacked it on my credit card and tried to forget about it.
- I didn’t have my hair done, even though it desperately needs a trim and I would love an ombre dye again as this has grown out since last year. I do my own roots with Loreal Root conceal and curl it for special occasions and nights out using my Enrapture Heated Rollers. Saving = £100+
- Didn’t buy a new dress for the races – I wore one I already had that I bought for my daughter’s Christening last year. It was from Very and around £40, but looks very similar to a Ted Baker style. Saving: £50-£100
- Didn’t have my eyelashes done – to be honest, I haven’t had them done since before I was pregnant as it is around £50 and it was one of the first expenses I cut down on. (not to mention inhaling the glue is something to avoid in pregnancy). Before that I used to have them done every 2-3 months. Saving: £50
- Did my own fake tan with products I already owned. Saving: £15
- Treated myself to a few (cheap) new things with my birthday money. A shopping trip like that could have been something I did 2-3 times a month a few years ago, this time it was probably the first time since Boxing Day I’ve had a bit of a spree so I really appreciated it! As this was from birthday money, it didn’t impact my usual budget. And sorry but there is no way I am ever spending my birthday money on a bill! (Although I think I did use it to buy a garden shed a couple of years ago…)
So here I am back at zero savings. There is no doubt that I could have saved more, but I have no regrets about the money I have spent as none of it was on credit, and most of it was on experiences with friends and family rather than material things like an expensive new dress. I would have regretted not celebrating a milestone birthday so I can’t begrudge myself a bit of overspending this month.
Also I left my Christmas fund in Plum untouched, which so far has £255.42 saved up since January, so that is something! My aims for July are to use my £100 emergency fund money to restart Matched Betting and grow the pot ready to put back in my emergency fund.
So what is my point in sharing this other than to keep myself accountable? I guess it’s just to reiterate that even if you are serious about saving or getting out of debt, there are ways to cut costs and find extra cash without missing out or getting yourself further into a debt hole. After all, life is there to be enjoyed – within your means!
What are your money goals for July? Let me know in the comments!