22 Feb

Saving… It’s good for the soul.

Put supermarket savings into your Savings Account!

Put supermarket savings into your Savings Account!

Being in debt has driven my nuts for the past few years. Including our mortgage the total outstanding was nearly £70k back in December 2009, with half of that being on the most evil forms of debt – the credit card. My god, that’s a lot of wasted money.  The stupidity of how I got there in the first place is one thing,  but the monotony of paying off a little each month, just keeping my head above water, whilst trying to keep my family happy, and keep my business going became a real bind. I should be enjoying life, not moping about moaning cos I’m skint.

Over Christmas, I did a lot of thinking, day dreaming and pondering about what I could do to at least make myself feel a little better, which would then, hopefully have a knock on effect on my health, and ultimately my relationships with my Daughter and my Fiance.

The revelation if you want to call it that came to me while I was lying in bed, about to fall asleep… “You’ve got to start saving”. Yeah right, that’s easier said than done with no extra cash coming in and what is coming in going straight into paying debts off, but I knew I had to find away. Just as is described in the excellent book “The Richest Man In Babylon”, putting a little aside each month, even when you owe money, does wonders for your well-being. Even the smallest amounts, put into a half-decent savings account soon start to mount up, and seeing “YOUR MONEY” begin to grow, no matter how slowly is a great feeling, so somehow I knew I had to find a way.

The thing is though, I’ve never been a big saver. Since I was young my savings account balance has been up and down more times than the lift in the Eiffel Tower. There has always been something more important that I needed the cash for than saving it for that mysterious rainy day. A car, CDs, DVDs, Computer stuff, new furniture etc… I guess the reason for me to save money had never really been there. Because of the debt that have been there for a few years now, I’d kind of reach a point where I had no interest in trying to save, because I owed money.

But, the fact is I’m get older, now approaching Middle Age, whatever the hell that is, and the rainy days I should be saving for seem to be approaching quicker and quicker. Plus my Daughter is growing up and I want to spend more time with her and my Fiance doing fun things, not working all the time. The only way I can do that though is to build a solid foundation of Savings that will cover us when work is slack, and also start to grow so that one day, we may, just may, be financially free!

So my task for the start of the new year was to find a way of putting money away each month. Where the bloody hell was I going to find any cash from to save?

Everybody’s got to start somewhere

The Eureka moment for me came on around Jan 2nd, when we popped into our local Tesco store. When you buy your regular weekly shopping from Tescos, Sainsburys, Asda etc, at the bottom of your till receipt, there is always a section that tells you how much you saved on the weekly offers. In our case, £5.77. Ok, so it’s not big bucks, but it’s £5.77 we didn’t spend because things we regularly buy in the supermarket were on offer. Now I know in the Rich Dad books, Robert Kiyosaki talks about hunting down supermarket bargains as being Poor thinking, and that’s true to a degree, but the difference here is I’m not going bargain hunting. If the things we as a family buy week in week out are on offer, then why not put that saving to good use…

Save the Savings

It’s always the simplest ideas that are the best and this one is no different. If I’d have spent the “Savings On Offers” money in the supermarket anyway if the items were at their regular price, why don’t I invest that money into a decent Savings Account. So that’s exactly what I’ve done. And now, in just over 6 weeks, I’ve got just short of £100 sitting in a Halifax Web Saver Xtra account by doing nothing but my weekly shop and saving the savings! Not bad going for about 2 mins work each week! That money is now growing, albeit at a paltry 2.8% per year, but it’s a start.

The Result

Money in the bank that will grow week by week! That feels damn good I can tell you. Good old Tesco… Every little really does help!

22 Feb

A Journey To Financial Freedom

Financial Freedom is something I’ve dreamed about for a long time, but like many Big Goals, it has always seemed totally unattainable. But as I get older, the need to achieve it is becoming more and more important, not only for myself but for my family.

Like a large proportion of 30 somethings in the UK and no doubt, the World, I have little or no provisions set aside for my retirement. The result of many years of poor planning and an over-active wallet I guess, but hey, that’s my reality and now it’s time to deal with it. I’ve always wanted to retire early and live a financially independent life, but the desire to actually attain it has never been strong enough. Why? I’ve no clue, but as the months go by, I’m thinking about reaching that point where I no longer need my pay cheque to survive and indeed enjoy life.

So, my quandary at the ripe old age of 37 is, can it be done? Is it possible to go from practically nothing, to being financially independent in say 15 years? Can it be done in 10 years? How about 5? What would it take to get to that point from where I am now? What will I need to do… Saving, investing, Gambling?!

The Journey is about to begin… it could be a bumpy ride!