The Married Life Action Plan

So, now we’ve returned from honeymoon (post about the wedding coming soon!) and, er, slightly overspent (by about £30 so not the end of the world!) things have got to be stricter than ever. We’re back down to just the one income for now, though Mr AF has enough saved up to tide his bills over until he finds a new job.
 
 Our shared goal is to overpay our mortgage and my individual goal is to save up an emergency fund to cover my bills. So I’m alternating between saving for my goal and saving towards our joint goal (we can only overpay in £500 chunks).
 
 I’ve been hitting the Debt Free Wannabe forums over at Money Saving Expert – while I’m now debt free overspending is something that I will always struggle with, and these forums get that! You have to find support wherever you can. I’m participating more wholeheartedly in their challenges than ever before!
 
 My plan to cover the rest of the month is laid out below and I’ll revisit on the first of June to let you all know how I’ve coped!
 
 So, step one : spend no more than £10 (excluding groceries, from the 17th May to the 1st June)
 
 Step two : spend no more than £50 on groceries
 
 Step three : have as many no spend days as possible! Anything I want to buy is going on a thirty day wait list.
 
 Step four : spend nothing on petrol! My mother has used my car for he past ten days and it went out with a full tank and will come back with a full tank.
 
 I’ve made a few promises to myself at the start of my married life. I want to spend less money on dross – my life doesn’t need to be filled with consumerism to be full. I want to value and take care of myself more – how can I expect to be valued by my husband if I don’t value myself? And finally – I want us to have more fun. We both work so hard both in and out of our home and I often say I’m too tired to do anything apart from the things I have to do to keep life going. That’s simply not true and we can have lots of fun for not much money. Even the things that do cost – if I spend less on dross, I can afford to go out more!
 
 So, that’s the plan. I’m a planner, now it’s time to develop the fortitude to follow my plans through!
 
 
 

Simplify

In days gone by, I had… 3 current accounts, 1 joint account, 1 ISA, 11 savings accounts, 3 credit cards, and a partridge in a pear tree. I was trying to form a digital envelope system which was often accompanied by several paper envelopes and various half started spending diaries.
 
 It didn’t work.
 
 I was so disappointed – it worked for ‘everyone else’, why not me? The envelope system is usually hailed as the answer to all financial problems but I just didn’t get along with it.
 
 Maybe it’s because I’m just not ‘everyone else’.
 
 I need simplicity to be able to keep up with and stick to a system. As much as I like complex systems and money whizzing about here there and everywhere, I just can’t manage it effectively and it all goes to pot. That’s usually when I give up and crack the credit cards out. My current system is going through phases of simplification, and I’m enjoying paring it down to get it to a point where it works for me.
 
 This is the current set up:
 
 1 current account: for daily use and my bills.
 1 joint account: for the mortgage but I’m hoping to convince Mr AF to gradually have more and more of the joint bills in this account.
 3 online savers: one for next year’s household annual bills, one for next year’s car expenses, one for monthly pet expenses.
 1 groceries account: this was my Tesco credit card but now they have changed their system to prevent the card from being put into a positive balance I’m going to either open another current account with my regular bank or use a dormant current account I already have but cancel the overdraft facility. The Tesco credit card will be cancelled after this week’s shopping takes care of the remaining positive balance.
 
 As you can see I’m using the parts of the envelope system that work for me, but without having an account for every little thing.
 
 I’m also working on my exposure to debt; I’m fairly sure cancelling down some of my available but unused debt won’t hurt my credit report as I have enough sensible ‘good’ credit on there that I do use. The Tesco credit card is going; I’m sure I won’t miss a few pence worth of club card points every month and I feel freer to seek out the cheapest petrol now I haven’t got it in the back of my mind that I’ll get more club card points if I fill up at tesco. The overdraft on the current account used as my grocery account will be closed, my budgeting in this area is getting a lot better and transfers from my daily to this account go via the faster payment system anyway.
 
 I have been reading Zen Habits for a little while now and have started putting ideas from there into practice. Time to whittle down to what I need rather than rubbish that I think I need but actually just temporarily want.