grandmanerd Posts: 940 Forumite
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edited 1 November 2022 at 6:24AM in Debt-free wannabe challenges
NST Nifty November

You see, being organised is not about perfection; it's about customising your whole world to work for you. 
The Ninja Saving Turtles Challenges give us our best chance of becoming debt or mortgage free or building up savings that let us do more of the things we want to (or just to have a sense of security in a difficult and uncertain world). Each month we leave behind the 'not quite achieved' targets of the previous month and start afresh with new determination. I expect participants (contenders - we are turtle gladiators) to keep to the rules but life doesn't always go according to plan and we are sometimes forced to make choices (money/ time /health). When this happens to you, make a decision and go from there. If it's the right decision, no problem. If it's the wrong decision it will come back and smack you in the face and you can then reconsider your options (not a U-turn, the situation will have changed as a consequence of your previous decision). We also aim to have lots of fun (free fun is the best)


N   NO GUILT. NO 'shoulds', 'oughts' or 'have to's. There's no perfect solution in some circumstances. Make a decision based on your values and don't look back. If the only   way to get to your child's school play on time is to get a taxi, do it. Sometimes you need to be there. Also an end to the moratorium on the Christmas word'

I     IDEAL world, ideal celebration (no such thing). You can dream about what your ideal life or celebration looks like but then decide:
      a) What you would like
      b) What you NEED (even if it's a nice uninterrupted bubble bath once a week)
      c) What is possible You may dream of an island in the Caribbean with the partner of your dreams but if you have 5 young children and a nice but not dreamy mate for life, it isn't going to happen (without massive upset and disruption). It is however perfectly possible to enjoy what you have and find ways to make it even better.
      d) Work out the first steps to achieving your modified ideal

F    FIRST pay off some debt or add to your savings, 
live on what is left. Set your Budgets and stick to them - Food, Travel, Personal, Entertainment, DIY. Look at your month -    any birthdays or events (school fundraising will start ramping up). 15 NSDs please. Put money for small regular cash outlays (kids clubs, milkman) aside at the beginning of the          month, so you don't lose an NSD each time. Petrol or travel cards, medicine or health needs (including hospital car parking charges) will not incur the loss of an NSD (the money        must be from the appropriate budget). Purchasing YS goods only will not lose you an NSD.

T    THINK AHEAD Meal plan based on things you already have in (main meals and lunches to work). Stock check now and note any things that can be used to make festive         treats (I have sultanas, dates, a treacle lake and a golden syrup one and lots of nuts, a range of flour and a large tub of baking spread plus a tub of sprinkles). Put any additional         items on your shopping list. If you are going to be meeting people ahead of the holidays, take any cards or gifts that need to be handed over. The postage savings soon mount             up and no it's not inappropriate to do this at a funeral (when else do you get to see nearly all your relatives) or a wedding.

Y    YOUR HEALTH is important. Try to eat, drink and act in ways that support your physical and mental health and your immune system, including taking a multivitamin if        necessary. Get outside to soak up any available sunshine (it's still there, behind that solid bank of cloud). keep moving. However at some point before February you will get ill so stock up on basic meds now. If you are ill, rest as much as possible, make yourself comfortable (with a handy bucket in the case of D & V), make hot drinks, soup, ice cream and watch or do something that doesn't require concentration. Making paper chains using a stapler works for sick children.

N    NOW The first week after the clocks go back has more accidents than any other week in the whole year. Make sure that children especially are visible if walking or         cycling, check your outside lighting (no fun being cold and wet and not being able to see where you're supposed to put the door key) and check your emergency car kit (warm coat, a shovel, old carpet strips, torch) in case of breakdowns.

O    Think about OTHERS. Many of you already give regular donations to charities of your choice but see what else you can do. For people already struggling with poverty,
homelessness, ill health or loneliness, the festive season emphasises everything they lack. Homeless charities welcome warm coats, socks, gloves and scarves, lots of        charities need volunteers or goods to sell. Buy from charity shops or online (including a range of new products). A few years ago I kept a box of small coins in the bottom of my        shopping bag and put handfuls into an assortment of collection boxes - it was so much fun. Feed the birds, make bee hotels.

V     Have the VISION to understand that other people choose to celebrate in different ways, or not at all. Some people will face the loss of a loved one or be seriously ill, for some it's the anniversary of a death or the first year without someone and some of us just hate the enforced 'jollity' and dread being made to 'join in'. Please be sensitive to others needs and if you feel the need to absent yourself for a while and go and be somewhere quiet, please do so.

E    EVALUATE any home made presents. Work out how many hours you need to put in to complete them. I used to work on the assumption that one square inch of cross-stitch    would take one hour - that's 200 stitches (if I was working on 14 hpi it's double that) so assess realistically how many hours you need and if it's not going to happen you need to          prioritise. I speak as one who has sat in her mother's front room on the afternoon of Christmas Eve finishing a cushion and I once travelled to Prestatyn by train, sewing the cording          round a cushion, met my in laws on the platform, had time for one drink in the nearest pub, handed over the Mother's day gift and returned on the next train. There are lots of home made gifts that can be started any time now, right up to the last minute - from infused oils and flavoured vodkas to truffles. It's time to round up any bags, baskets, fancy bottles you have been keeping and put them to good use. Look at craft supplies and see what you can do with them. 

M    MAKE  A LIST Check it twice. I used to have a whole row of them taped on the kitchen wall but a notebook will do (carry it with you at all times). Random things to remember  can pop into your head in the doctor's waiting room, at a bus stop or in the middle of a church service - jotting it in your notebook is infinitely better than chanting it under your            breath until you find a pen and a piece of paper.

B    BASICS Do you have stamps? Do any gifts need batteries? Lightbulbs? Cleaning - any best outfits or curtains that are dry clean only? Allow time for running down stocks,        defrosting the freezer and refilling. Old newspapers towels and bedding can fill gaps to keep the freezer running efficiently whilst destocking/ restocking, ys bread and buns are a        cheap way to fill the freezer and you can fill up with hm goodies as you eat your way through the bread. Is the oven so in need of a thorough clean that you fear the turkey might        go up in flames. Have a list of extra (occasional) cleaning tasks and add them into your normal routine a few at a time (that's more of a New Year thing) and if you have boys        only put the clean towels and bathmat out at the very last moment.

E    EVERY DAY (where possible) check in and give us 3 things you are grateful/ thankful for

R    Read Rest Relax Recharge   

The challenge lasts for the whole of November




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