We have all said it. I just don’t have time. We use this as a throw away excuse for not getting our finances in order. Since becoming debt free, every penny I earn and every penny I have is mine. You might think that would make me spend comfortably and not worry about money. You’d be wrong, debt changed us. It made us thrifty and resourceful even after we’d paid our debt off. Now we can have fun without spending money but enjoying our time instead.
Once, we never made time for creating a budget, planning or organising and the consequence of that was personal financial mismanagement. We spent and then looked at our bank statements and wondered where the money had gone. We were reactionary at home too. We allowed things to deteriorate and break down and then, without any financial planning, ended up buying a new washing machine or household item on credit as we’d never found the time to maintain, repair or uphold as we genuinely thought ourselves too busy. The end result of all of this is that eventually our creditors wouldn’t lend to us and wanted their money back and we had to make time in our lives for money.
To start, we look at our financial commitments for the year. We look at the bills that come in every month and don’t change. We then look at ways of reducing them. We cut back on energy, have shorter showers, leave fewer lights on, wash clothes when they are dirty and dry laundry in the garden or in front of the wood burner. These simple plans reduced our energy and water bills by a third. In turn, that meant we had more money to bring down the capital of our mortgage and will reduce the overall term. We then looked at monthly expenditure. We have to get to work, eat and clothe ourselves. We car share and halve the cost, we ‘eco-drive’ so we use the minimum amount of fuel. We bought five years warranty for the price of two by shopping around and getting the best deal that included servicing for five years too. We take care of our clothes and air dry them which prolongs their life, ensure we don’t buy anything that needs dry cleaning and repair clothes so they don’t need replacing so often. Finally, we take care of our weekly finances by stock taking the food we have, using everything up, meal planning and only shopping for what we need on our list.
Back to making time. I was in debt for years and it’s a part of my past that I’m not proud of. Now I use my spare time to make do and mend, to make clothes and soft furnishings. We also use the time to forage in places such as freecycle and jumble sales. I upcycle, recycle and put everything to really good use. All of this gleaning has now become our hobbies and lifestyle choices and you know what? Every bag of clothes from the jumble sale that gets upcycled into a patchwork quilt, or every pallet that becomes a garden planter just helps us to enjoy our time even more.