My new financial priorities

This road sign cracked me up when I saw it the other day – it seemed pretty apt for times of change. It doesn’t exactly fit my situation; my priorities are more or less the same but I have got to adjust and refocus my spending and saving priorities.

Anyone who has read my older posts will know that I saved up for ages to have a big cushion for my maternity leave. The maternity allowance wasn’t anything like enough for us to get by on while I was on maternity leave. My savings allowed me to pay my usual amount into the joint account (where all of our main payments come from) and have a realistic amount of spending money left over. I actually spent a lot less than I originally anticipated and, while things have been very tight for the last three months, this meant I had enough left in my funds to extend my maternity leave to a full year. It was worth it. I transfered the last of the fund into the joint account this weekend, right down to the last pound. The rest of my savings are in ISAs and aren’t that easy to access (just as well). I currently have £2.95 in my wallet plus the contents of my piggy bank where I’ve collected 20ps. The next few weeks until my first pay day are going to be interesting!

Once I get paid (and find out what my take home pay is) I’ll be able to set a budget. I already know, however, that it is going to be tight. I’m more determined than ever to save as much as I can. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how ‘bad’ it is to want to accumulate money. Here’s what I think though. If I want to go on holiday with my family, see new places, experience new things, then I need money. Not a lot maybe, but more than £2.95. If we want a house (instead of an apartment) with a garden then we need more money. If we want to not panic about our jobs or lay awake worrying about how to pay a house/car repair bill then we need financial back up. Money for it’s own sake isn’t what I’m interested in. But, as I see it, savings can give you the freedom to do a lot of things. Change jobs, visit new places, move house, have peace of mind – whatever it might be.

I’m not going to be able to save as much as I’d like so I’m really going to have to work it. The time has come to pull out every shoestring trick I’ve learned over the last couple of years. Game on…

Categories: Budgeting, Getting organised | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “My new financial priorities

  1. seems sensible to want to accumulate money to me. More security for your, and your families, future and some freedom too. Much more important that a fleet of cars and gold plated bathroom fittings!!

  2. laura @ move to portugal

    There’s nothing wrong with accumulating money to achieve financial freedom for your family……I like to think of it as conscious saving 😉

    • shoestringalley

      Conscious saving – that is a brilliant way of putting it! I really have no idea how it is going to pan out but I figure I’ve got to try as hard as I can to get some £s in the bank.

  3. Hear hear! Bring it ON!!! Lets go for it chaps. Sometimes I feel the frugal world is against having and spending money. Its not for its own sake though is it. And to say its not important is like saying love is not important. Both are important. Le

    • shoestringalley

      I know what you mean. I don’t see any point in having money just for the sake of it, nor do I want to accumulate it just to spend it on luxury goods. The idea is to save for the future while trying to make provision for the here and now as well. There are loads of great things you can do for free but there are also loads of things that you can’t!

  4. I can’t think why anyone would be against saving if they could afford it. The best way of thinking of it is as giving to your future self. When you and your family are older then you can take that gift or pass it on again.

    • shoestringalley

      Thinking of ‘giving it to your future self’ is such a great way of looking at it. That’s certainly how I felt over the last year, having my maternity fund – that my past self had done my present self a great big favour! Now it’s time to start putting some more back again.

  5. I think it’s a very wise idea to create a savings cushion for security and freedom reasons. I’m looking forward to following your progress.

  6. I love the concept of Financial Independence, which luckily doesn’t mean having to inherit great wealth or win the lottery. Instead it means using our money to invest in what we truly value, and to have fiscal sanity, stability and security.

    (I’d recommend reading ‘Your Money or Your Life’ by Joe Dominguez, Vicki Robin and Monique Tilford)

    Here is a cautionary tale …

    A friend of mine is only interested in immediate gratification and has no concept of being careful with money and thinking long term.

    On the surface it looks like she has an affluent and wonderful life. She has an enormous collection of expensive clothes, handbags and shoes, a big shiny car, her kids have bedrooms stuffed full of toys and gadgets, she has lovely furniture, curtains, kitchen gadgets, new towels and bedding on a regular basis, and they eat out at least 4 times a week. (Also, she spends around £1000 per month at the supermarket!!!!!)

    However, she has got all this by spending all of her own salary, and her husband’s salary, using all the equity in the house to pay credit card bills by increasing the mortgage, running up other large debts then taking out bank loans to pay them, immediately spending any windfall rather than using it to pay off debts.

    As a result she ended up with a house that had no equity left in it (after 15 years of owning it), large credit card debts, outstanding bank loans, and a divorce (her husband left because of her spending habits).

    She now lives in a rented house, her job is uncertain, her kids are very unhappy and misbehaving, she’s stressed and miserable, her husband has lost his job and can no longer pay maintainance, she’s worried she won’t be able to afford to pay the rent and bills and may have to move in with friends. BUT STILL she is spending wildly on clothes, books, CD’s, going out etc.

    The funny thing is that she still thinks I must have a miserable life as I wear old clothes, share one (8 year old) car with my husband, have 2nd hand and mismatched furniture, use bedding and towels that I’ve had for years etc. She honestly doesn’t seem to see that we are happy BECAUSE we live in this way. We have a small mortgage, are happily married, have a happy and well behaved son, and have some savings to cushion us against the unexpected.
    It makes me very sad that she can’t see that all her ‘stuff’ hasn’t made her happy yet she still carries on spending in the hope that it will.

    • shoestringalley

      Just shows how easily spending can spin out of control, doesn’t it? It seems to me that having a lot of debt and a spending habit that can’t be controlled is a lot like a prison sentence (except, unchecked, there is no release date). That’s one of the reasons I always admire people who are consciously facing up to and trying to get themselves out of debt.

  7. Accumulating money is a virtuous thing to do. Having money gives you freedom, piece of mind and security. If you have money in the bank you can be independent and what could be wrong with that. Well done on achieving more than a lot of people in the UK that are being quietly crushed by the VAT rise, inflation and overextending themselves. Sorry rant over.

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