Reducing the Overwhelm and Digging Myself Out of This Rut!

I dabbled with a diary earlier in the year but didn’t give it the attention it deserved so consequently here I am months later in pretty much the same position. Time for take 2 and to try and get plans in place ahead of the start of 2023.

So why am I here? I need to sort my life out! I’m fed up of going through the motions and lacking any sort of direction or control. I’m not getting any younger and owe it to my son and myself to get it sorted! So here it goes….

1.  Finances.
Need to get the debt paid off and ensure that we live within our means. I’m constantly robbing Peter to pay Paul and re juggling the budget. I have set a series of sinking funds up to cover key expenses for next year and then will direct the surplus to the debts. Full disclosure- We are fortunate to have savings from a house sale last year, however i feel whilst the debts are 0% we need to learn our lesson and readdress the way we are living rather than take the easy way out. Also this money is earmarked for some building repairs that need doing next year which needs to take priority. 

2. The house
Constant chaos! We have so much stuff resulting in too little space! Need to have a good sort out in the new year and start selling  /donating / throwing bits. I want to get to the point where the house is somewhere I relax and enjoy rather than a constant reminder of what needs doing! I need to get organised…

3. Health 
I’ve struggled a bit with my mental health over the last 3 years (mainly work related and now thankfully out the other side). As a result I have lost my love of exercise and piled on about 4 stone that I need gone! I was a regular (albeit slow) runner and have not run since having covid 3 months ago. I have a half marathon in the spring that I had to enter a ballot to get a place for, so I’m determined to give it my best shot.

Well that’s my focus for the new year. I’m conscious of not trying to boil the ocean, but baby steps in each area are steps in the right direction 😊


  • Taking_back_control
    Morning. It’s feeling like another cold one here. I’m currently curled up under a blanket on the sofa with both dogs, making the most of the peace and quiet before the rest of the house wake up! 

    Had a days holiday to use yesterday so ventured into our nearest city to try and sort the final Christmas pressies. I wish I hadn’t bothered 😫. It’s so sad, I really do think the high street is dying. Plenty of places to eat but not many places to just browse for inspiration. Loads of empty shops or places closing down. It wasn’t at all busy either - I usually love a day Christmas shopping to soak in the atmosphere, but it was just like any other weekday. People just haven’t got the money to spend. It was mainly my sister and her OH I needed to sort, but think now I’ll just give them the cash for them to spend on what they need / want, rather than me wasting my money panic buying gifts that possibly won’t be suitable. 

    Next year I’m looking to make Christmas as MSE as possible. A few years back I used surveys to earn Amazon gift cards, which funded a lot of gifts. I’ve lost my way with surveys a wee bit (not really sure what the best sites are these days that aren’t mega time consuming), but I’m going to use other sources of “free” income to try and fund a lot of it. The ones I have do far…..
    1. TCB for all online purchases/ insurance renewals
    2. Work well-being app which awards points for daily steps / meditation minutes and challenges. Points get turned into high street gift cards. Usually average between £5 and £7.50 a month. 
    3. Amazon shopper app - £5 gift card per month for scanning 10 x receipts. Additional sometimes also available via adhoc surveys.
    4. Maximise Te5co Clubcard points - won’t necessarily be just for Xmas as you get better value trading them for days out, but will help all the same. Currently have £20 in vouchers since switching to Tesco and Aldi a couple of months back.
    5. Purchase giftcards ( for immediate purchases) via work discount scheme. I get a small percentage of the value back as cashback. Can use for food shopping, petrol at supermarkets and for most high street shops. I signed up for this back in June and have received nearly £260 in cashback. If I purchase the giftcards on my Tesco credit card ( and pay off straight away) I will also receive Clubcard points.
    6. Utilise other reward cards- boots, nectar etc  - I’ve managed to buy a couple of pressies via boots points this year despite not shopping there all that regularly.

    My thinking is if I can largely cover Christmas and Birthdays this way I can redirect the money I put into the sinking fund to pay the credit card off. 

    On a separate note, I’m going to have to play with my budget a bit - the gas and electricity app updated with November’s usage and it’s frightening! £348 with the heating barely on. Decembers will be so much worse 😞

  • Taking_back_control
    Thank goodness it’s warmed up a wee bit. I’m usually all for a nice cold crisp Christmas but really want to use the central heating as little as possible. 
    OH has just been paid ( a week early) so I’m guarding the money with my life until his real pay day next week. January really is the longest month ever!
    Pretty much all sorted for Christmas. Managed to deliver most of the presents yesterday and get the final bits wrapped for DS and OH. Just got the food shop to brave - can’t say I’m embracing the idea! 
    Need to address our out of control food shopping habits next year. It’s one area where we can really cut down. I know meal planning will help and maybe switching to online so we’re not as drawn in to temptation. I’m stuck in a food rut at the moment (hence lack of progress on the weight loss front). This really needs to change. 
    Not much to report moneywise. I’ve earned £7.50 this week in Amazon vouchers  - this should hopefully fund a present for a birthday party DS has been invited to after Christmas. The aim now is to spend as little as possible over the Christmas break! 
  • WinterWarrior
    Good morning and good luck. You can do it ⭐️
    Not all who wander are lost - J.R.R.Tolkien
    🌊 A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor 🌊
    2024 challenges - (1) £8k savings challenge = £1000 so far (2) 1 stone weight reduction = 2lb so far
    My WW and friends diary is here 😁 …

  • Taking_back_control
    Thanks WinterWarrior - I really hope so. 

    Christmas prep is pretty much done - just got to give the house a bit of TLC ahead of the big day. Managed to dodge the food shop, however the flip side is OH spent far too much! Never mind, with Christmas plans etc I’m sure we won’t need a proper food shop until the new year. 

    Have an amazing Christmas 🎄
  • Getridofdebt66
    Wishing you all the best and i will keep popping by! 
    You have some great ideas for vouchers, i am also trying to work towards vouchers for next years Christmas. 

    I am also with you for getting the food shop down...its never ending atm! 

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas:)

  • WinterWarrior
    It’s so easy to overspend on Christmas food! I think we will be eating up until February. On the plus side it will reduce the shopping bills for a while and will make for some interesting combinations! 
    Not all who wander are lost - J.R.R.Tolkien
    🌊 A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor 🌊
    2024 challenges - (1) £8k savings challenge = £1000 so far (2) 1 stone weight reduction = 2lb so far
    My WW and friends diary is here 😁 …

  • Taking_back_control
    Thanks Getridofdebt66 - we had a lovely time, I hope you and yours did too. WinterWarrior - I hope you’re right! To be fair there is very little room left in the freezer so we may have no choice 🤣

    Our Christmas was great - DS had a wonderful time. Just need to get the house back to some sort of order - it was actually really tidy for once pre Christmas morning but is now looking like a bombs gone off!

    I can’t believe that another year is nearly over - time certainly does speed up the older you get! I’m determined that this time next year I won’t be sat here with the same gripes and grumbles. This time next year I will…..

    1. Have reduced debt significantly 
    2. Be at least 2stone lighter 
    3. Be exercising 3-4 times per week
    4. Feel healthier 
    5. Have a house I feel proud of (not planning on moving, just want this one kept in a clean, tidy and organised state!)
    6. Feel more in control of my life

    Anyway, back to present day….
    January is going to largely be about surviving within our means. Budgeted payments have been made to cards - just need to now have a frugal month to ensure that the money outlasts the month.

    Another £7 has been made Amazon vouchers - total for month = £14.50 - will use to buy birthday gifts for the parties DS has been invited to.
    A small eBay sale of £7 - sent straight to card. 
    I’ve signed up for a couple of DFW challenges, the 365 day 1p saving challenge and £2 savers. I’ve already got 2x £2 coins so an off the mark 😊. Need to set my spreadsheet up for the 1p challenge today .

    Happy New Year. Hoping 2023 is a healthy one for you and your loved ones x 

  • Good luck Taking_back_control. It's good to have goals and that's exactly what I'm calling them this year rather than New Years resolutions. After all they are made to be broken (well to me anyway).
    I saw a meme on Facebook yesterday that made me chuckle but is so true-'when you realise the pay you got last week has to last until January 91st'. It really is the longest month of the year!!
    Debt Free Journey Began December 2022

    Total Debt Repaid- £16,480.47/£66,133.42

    Current Debt-£49,656.59

    My Debt Free Wannabe Diary

  • WinterWarrior
    I’m on savings rather than debt, but your plan looks spookily similar to mine. I keep watching decluttering people on Instagram and a few of them rightly say that we don’t need bigger homes or more storage, we just need less stuff. Purchasing less duplicates and things we don’t really need all helps the money situation and the tidy and organised house, so it’s a double win. Apparently the less stuff you have, the less cleaning and tidying you need to do too…I haven’t got there, but it sounds amazing 😬
    Not all who wander are lost - J.R.R.Tolkien
    🌊 A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor 🌊
    2024 challenges - (1) £8k savings challenge = £1000 so far (2) 1 stone weight reduction = 2lb so far
    My WW and friends diary is here 😁 …

  • Taking_back_control
    Happy New Year! Here’s hoping that 2023 is a happy and healthy one for everybody.

    A very quiet NYE here as usual. We ordered a pizza in for a treat and played a few board games. I was tucked up in bed well before midnight! 

    In an effort to get organised (and saved some money!), I’ve started planning for next Christmas, whilst it’s still fresh in my mind what went well (and not so well!) this year. I’m hoping a lot of pressies will be funded via vouchers, points etc but will be putting money away each month too. Next years cards are bought and I’m just waiting for the paper to go down in price a bit more 🤣.

    I’ve ordered birthday cards for the year from Whistlefish - beautiful cards and work out at about 80p each. I’ve made sure I have lots of children’s in to cover DS birthday party invites. On the subject of birthdays, I have two close friends with January birthdays. Ordered one pressie on Amazon last night, it already had £15 off rrp and then woke up this morning to find it had been reduced further. Cancelled and re-ordered along with an extra one. Both birthdays covered for £16 and still have the £14 vouchers to use as I ordered before the were recredited ( didn’t want the price to increase whilst I waited- we all know how their prices can fluctuate!) Need to order a party gift for next weekend so will hangfire until the vouchers are back in my account. 

    Going to have a very chilled New Years Day. May drag DS out on his bike or scooter if weather is ok. Other than that it’ll be a case of checking the bank accounts and food stocks and planning for a very long January ahead! 
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