In the lead up to the New Year I started to think about the things I wanted to achieve in the coming year. 2013 was mainly about paying off my credit cards, which I'd let run up over the past couple of years. There were other goals related to spending that I set myself, but I've not achieved all of them in 2013, which is a bit of a disappointment, but maybe I was expecting too much of myself. After all life is about living too. I think for most of the year I've struck a reasonable balance, but I must admit I found the last 3 or 4 months of 2013 tough in a financial sense. I almost wasn't able to meet my aim of paying off my credit cards as time almost ran out. I don't want next year to be a repeat.
In 2014 I really would like to be more organised financially and not find myself short of and worrying about money at the end of each month. I have one more major financial goal to achieve in 2014 in my bid to become debt free. Here comes the big confession. Every month I utilise a very generous overdraft from my bank and have done for many years now. My aim in 2014 is to clear this overdraft and finally be in the black spending only money I have in my account and not money borrowed from the bank.
To be fair, my overdraft is a very inexpensive one. It costs me no more than £5 per month, which is extremely reasonable considering the size of it. It's over £1000, which I think is very inexpensive borrowing. I've had the overdraft for over 20 years now, since I was a student, and it is only in the last 5 or 10 years that I've even had to pay any interest each month. The convenience of having it has made me rather lazy, but it is time to grow up once and for all and face my responsibilities head on. I need to clear it. I have cleared it in the past and then let it run up again, but this time I want to clear it for good and live my life in the black. I don't want to owe anybody anything. I'm giving myself a year to clear the whole of it and be in a credit balance. It should be plenty long enough, whilst not making life too much of a financial struggle.
I must admit that I am slightly embarrassed to admit to having an overdraft at my stage of life, but that is where being relaxed about your finances can lead you. I could pay it off from savings if I needed to in an emergency, but I don't want to do that, it would be too easy and I may just let it run up again. No, this time I want to pay if off bit by bit, month by month to remind me how difficult it is and how important it is not to allow myself to run it up again. In this way I'm hoping it can serve as a big life lesson in being more responsible and living within my means.
Aside from this major goal for 2014, I'm not setting myself too many other goals. I would like to achieve 100 No Spend Days next year if I can, I managed a total of 89 this year which was way more than the 50 I wanted to achieve and the 38 I achieved the previous year so spending seems to be slowing down or maybe I'm just spending more on spending days! I want continue to pay off my credit cards each month from now on too, but other than that I am happy to just carry on as normal. I will be continuing with the Beauty Challenge I started last year and the Household challenge and I may even join or invent new challenges as the year progresses. One other thing I want to do is to be more organised for next Christmas and put a bit of money aside to pay for food, presents, etc. I might do this by saving on my ASDA savings card which I started to do a bit late in the day last year or by putting a bit of money aside each month in a bank or building society account. I have done this in the past too and it really does make life so much easier at Christmas.
Does anyone else have any financial goals for 2014? I'd love to hear of other peoples' plans and hopes for the New Year.