A year of saving but maybe also spending a bit too!

Hi,
I've been reading the forum for about 5 years, but only starting posting today.
Life has changed a lot in that time, financially. I've been a full time working single parent for years and years. Up until the end of 2020 I was receiving UC to top up my income. However a really supportive boss pushed me to aim for a promotion, which when coupled with my son leaving school, meant UC was no longer an option.
I have worked so hard stretching my budget and saving that in 3 years I've gone from having a £500 cushion to having over a year's wages saved! I certainly timed it well with the interest rates!
I want to keep going. I rent (and always will) so my long term idea is to have enough put by to cover my rent for 5 years in the hope of being able to either retire a few years early or to at least have the option of going part time in those final years of work.
I have a couple of works pensions and for the past year have been paying into a private one as well. 
However, retirement is 2 and a half decades away (at least!) so that's not my only goal.

I have really got the savings bug, possibly too strongly as I am finding it increasingly difficult to add any extra to my spending account eg when the NI rate reduces this month my first thought was that would help the grocery budget, my second thought was 'ooh I wonder how much extra I'll be able to save' so I think I do need to maybe learn to spend it a bit more. I am earning more than I ever have before so it would be nice to stop stressing when I spend anything. I suppose it's over 20 years of trying to make ends meet which is engrained in me, I honestly think if I won the lottery I'd still panic if I spent more than £40 on my groceries! I am stupidly generous when buying for others though, so not a total Grinch!

So anyway I thought a diary would be fun as I enjoy reading yours. I plan to make one of those 1% grids some DFW'ers do to motivate me, but mine will be marking off each % I've saved to get to my goal.
Maybe some gentle cheering when I choose to buy/ not stress about the cost of something would be nice?

Looking forward to getting to know some of you better. Thanks for reading 👍
«1

Comments

  • Skint_yet_Again
    Skint_yet_Again Posts: 7,475
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    Hi Time2count 🤗 well done on your promotion & savings so far, a year’s salary saved in 3 years is fantastic! 

    It is all about balance and still enjoying life so make sure you set aside some personal spends money in your budget. 

    I’ve gone from working and saving to intentionally not working and living off savings. My quality of life and physical and mental health are so much better but the switch from income and saving to no income and spending savings was not easy. Just make sure you enjoy life before it passes you by and remember it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to have a good time 
    0% credit card £1360 & 0% Car Loan £7500 ~ paid in full JAN 2020 = NOW DEBT FREE 🤗
    House sale OCT 2022 = NOW MORTGAGE FREE 🤗
    House purchase completed FEB 2023 🥳🍾 Left work. 🤗

    Retired at 55 & now living off the equity £10k a year (until pensions start at 60 & 67).

    Previous Savings diary https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/5597938/get-a-grip/p1

    Living off savings diary
    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6429003/escape-to-the-country-living-off-savings/p1
  • ~FlowerPot~
    ~FlowerPot~ Posts: 900
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    hello Time2Count,
    Lovely to see you have started a savings diary, sounds like you are already a master saver!! I agree with SkintYet Again its all about balance! Maybe if you set aside an amount for 'fun money' you then wouldnt feel so bad about spending it, knowing that the rest is all set aside for savings?
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  • Time2count
    Time2count Posts: 37
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    Thank you for the comments ladies.
    I've been back to work today and pleased to see the NI tables have been updated so had a sneaky peek at Jan's payslip (I do payroll) and am pleased to see an additional £56 take home. Maybe I can use this as my guilt free spending funds? My head is saying 'that would be an extra £1200 in savings' but as it doesn't exist yet I might be able to silence that voice haha.
    SkintYetAgain, that's the journey I am hoping to go on. I just hope housing benefit will still be a thing by the time I retire!!
  • Baron_Dale
    Baron_Dale Posts: 899
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    Looking forward to reading more and I have bookmarked your thread. Do you have savings pots? How are they looking at the moment? Do you have any particular totals in mind?
    Best wishes.
  • Time2count
    Time2count Posts: 37
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    Hi Baron_Dale so I managed to get ahead of myself last year so my regular savings pots - holidays, gifts, days out, travel - are in a nice position such that 2024s money is all there and each month I'll add to the 2025 pot for those things which is a lovely place to be.
    I think I'm going to set my council tax and water for 12 months this year rather than the 10, although not 100% convinced about it yet. I would like the regularity of the same coming out each month, but I also quite enjoy the bonus £170ish for the 2 months - although all I do with it is pay my contents insurance and bung the rest in savings! However Feb is a big bday month in my family and friends - I think it's 8 at the last count - so it used to get used as a extra buffer there but like I say I'm now at the point where the whole year's gift money has been saved so I shouldn't need a buffer any more.

    I am going to work out the total I *need* then the total I *want* and then see what % I'm at as I feel that will be nicer to think about rather than the big sum of money my plans require. I am thinking to add 20% to my totals for inflation but to be honest I know my rent will go up at least 9% this April alone. I suspect in reality my long term plan is doomed to failure but I won't let that put me off. If I can't make the figures work then at least in a few years time my son will have a nice deposit for a house - he might even let me move in with him rent free!! 😂😂
  • Time2count
    Time2count Posts: 37
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    Another thought, maybe I will use the Feb and March council tax and water money as my guilt free spending that way the outgoings are the same each month, just slipped across to another account? Although to be fair, I've just remembered that I have already set myself up a 'my spending' pot which has £750 in but I just don't want to spend it!! Decisions, decisions!!!
  • Skint_yet_Again
    Skint_yet_Again Posts: 7,475
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    Good idea with the council tax & water money. I pay my council tax over 10 months and will budget the same amount for 12 months and put the spare 2 months in my holiday pot (for petrol to the east coast to see my Dsis and south coast to see DS and my friends I left behind when I moved).
    0% credit card £1360 & 0% Car Loan £7500 ~ paid in full JAN 2020 = NOW DEBT FREE 🤗
    House sale OCT 2022 = NOW MORTGAGE FREE 🤗
    House purchase completed FEB 2023 🥳🍾 Left work. 🤗

    Retired at 55 & now living off the equity £10k a year (until pensions start at 60 & 67).

    Previous Savings diary https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/5597938/get-a-grip/p1

    Living off savings diary
    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6429003/escape-to-the-country-living-off-savings/p1
  • Time2count
    Time2count Posts: 37
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    I haven't worked out where I am percentage wise yet, I think that might be a weekend job,will update when I have a figure.
    Still undecided on the 10/12 month c/tax and water bills, will ponder a bit more until end of March and then it'll be decision time.
    Not much to report really, had a busy but productive day at work, tomorrow will be pretty full on but I hope to get loads done this week before everyone else returns to work next week and my silent concentration gets ruined. I'm going to get another hour or so work done before I head to bed.
    Sleep well everyone 
  • Time2count
    Time2count Posts: 37
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    Hi all, so I've checked my percentages and I seem to be at about 38%
    Looking at income and expenditure I reckon I can add approx 6% a year to that.

    That's based on the absolute bare minimum I will need based on today's prices. Sadly I know all the prices will go up so I will have to just keep adding to the pot and re-evaluate prices and where I am each year I expect, although the thought of going backwards percentage wise is quite demoralising, but you never know how it will all pan out.

    Not been a spendy week. Went to the cinema at the weekend but used vouchers and went to Waterstones while I was in town but again I had vouchers to spend. Did buy us a meal out but it came from last year's days out pot so all good there.
  • Skint_yet_Again
    Skint_yet_Again Posts: 7,475
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    Good luck with savings. Sounds like an enjoyable week & a good start to the year using vouchers & savings pots 😊 


    0% credit card £1360 & 0% Car Loan £7500 ~ paid in full JAN 2020 = NOW DEBT FREE 🤗
    House sale OCT 2022 = NOW MORTGAGE FREE 🤗
    House purchase completed FEB 2023 🥳🍾 Left work. 🤗

    Retired at 55 & now living off the equity £10k a year (until pensions start at 60 & 67).

    Previous Savings diary https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/5597938/get-a-grip/p1

    Living off savings diary
    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6429003/escape-to-the-country-living-off-savings/p1
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