I've spent the first day of the New Year trying to get to grips with the catastrophe that was and is my finances. I don't have an alcohol hangover this New Year, just a financial one. I almost dared not take a look, as I knew it was bad, but I had to just face the music and do what I could to rectify the situation.
I spent a couple of hours going through all of my receipts and checking them off against my internet bank records. I did a few crafty transfers to and from savings accounts and I've done the best I can to patch things up. It has just about wiped out the savings I put away over the year, but better that than start off on an impossible footing for the year, during what is probably my most expensive month, due to LB's birthday, a nephew moving into a new home and a friend's son's birthday coming up.
Although I promised myself I wouldn't over do it this Christmas, I did and spent far more than I should have, so I can't blame anyone but my own foolish self. I am, however, never doing it again and that is a promise.
I'm saving double the amount each month this year, have left this month's amount in my savings account (£100) and it is not going to be touched.
Next year, I'm scaling down Christmas expenditure by spending a fixed and reduced amount on everyone and no more. No more little extras, that soon add up to a lot. In fact, I'm going to try to buy as many presents as I can from the CS, where items are still in their packaging or in immaculate condition though. I did do this for quite a few presents this year and it wasn't a problem, so I'm going to hopefully extend this further next year and benefit others as well as just the recipients.
As I wasn't able to shop the sales easily this year, I haven't spent a lot on sale shopping, but I have bought my Christmas cards for next year, plus the odd other item for gifts for next Christmas. Crazy I know, but it all just helps nearer the time. I've also treated myself to a new bra which I desperately needed, and us all to a new set of towels, which I am gradually replacing one by one. I have also bought myself some new underwear and a couple of pairs of very inexpensive trousers, which I will wear on a daily basis to the CS, so I'm all set.
The remaining wishlist for this year is much reduced compared to last year. Mainly it consists of some clothes for LB and a few bits for the house, but nothing much else, as I have all I need. Priority number one will be getting through this and the next month relatively unscathed, in spite of a run of big birthdays and other events that I will need to buy gifts for.
I'm looking forward to March when things calm down and hoping that next year I'll be better prepared, as I am finally going to get control of my finances this year, come hell or high water (which according to various doom mongers on YouTube, might actually occur this year). I know I promised the same thing last year, but I am rock solid about it this year. Enough is enough.
With that wonderful tool hindsight, I can see what you guys could probably see all along, that my spending was spiralling out of control in the latter half of the year. I'm hoping the same doesn't happen again this year.
I'm currently being inspired by Budget Girl on YouTube, who has been paying down over $30k of debt over the last few years and is aiming to be debt free this year. If she can do that, I can get control of my spending or I'm definitely a lost cause. I'm actually perversely looking forward to the challenge.
What are you looking forward to in 2017?