Budgeting and Cutting Unnecessary Costs Thanks to Coronavirus

2020 has taken us all by surprise and I think it’s safe to say that none of us expected to be spending a large chunk of time at home and unable to work. Earlier this year in February I made the decision to leave the company I’ve worked for the last four years, despite not having a new role lined up. Having been working since I was 16 years old and always had ‘a plan’, this time, I found myself without a plan. As I began applying for new jobs and figuring out what to do next – do I stay in marketing, content/blogger outreach roles or look to something new? Covid-19 has taken hold of the globe and I’ve found myself working from home for the last three weeks and due to finish work completely before the Easter weekend, not knowing when I’ll be clocking back into work and who that will be for. Heavy.

Prior to me deciding to leave, Darren and I spoken about the financial aspect of it, living in one wage, the income we have vs our outgoings. Luckily, we both made the resolution at the start of the year to get into the habit of saving and with a couple of months salary stashed away, it wasn’t too daunting, knowing we could live our normal lives, however, we didn’t anticipate me not being able to work/find a role in my trained industry until the world reboots back to its new normal. So, with that said, I’ve gone through all of our bills to cut costs and reduce where possible, so we’re not over-spending unnecessarily.

I started by looking at our monthly bills that we pay together from our joint bank account and both pay £600 into monthly –

Not sure whether it’s worth mentioning, as Santander are set to change the account type in the next month or so, but we use the 1,2,3 account for our joint account, meaning we earn 1% 2% and 3% cashback on direct debits, aka all of our bills. It may only be pence each month, but it tots up and it’s a nice feeling to see that extra fiver each month that we’ve accrued.

In terms of my personal outgoings, I only have two, which I have been on the phone to reduce/close so I have minimal outgoings of my own:

I really enjoy following the Instagram account, My Frugal Year as it goes to show that anyone can run up debt or simply have money worries. It’s not isolated to a single ‘type’ of person. If someone had told me at Christmas this is where I would be four months later I wouldn’t have believed them. Whilst we live well within our means, don’t really spend that much – I mean, I won’t be getting my nails done monthly or my hair done until I have an income again, but luckily we don’t have any large outgoings, bar Darren’s car, which he pays for, that we’re worried about.

I think the point of this post, similarly to My Frugal Year, is to normalise attitudes towards money, prioritising and saving. I think we’re guilty of sometimes being too worried about money, which is why we haven’t been on holiday in years or treat ourselves that much, despite being in desperate need of a new mattress and sofa – we don’t deem it a priority as we’re worried about being stuck later down the line. This attitude has paid off for us in this current circumstance and I think it’s healthy to address your outgoings frequently so you have a clear idea of where your money is going and if you could reduce a bill or cut costs somehow. I really enjoy reading these kinds of posts and thought it might be helpful for someone else who may be in a similar situation.

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The vulnerability hangover (thank you @brenebrown for this most perfect of expressions) hit me this morning. I had five minutes of wanting to take it all back, of wanting everything to go back to normal. I had a bit of a cry. I still feel a bit tearful. But the thing that has been making me feel that way is worrying about what other people are thinking and saying about me. Wondering whose opinion of me might have changed. What hasn’t changed is what I know about myself. I have felt each and every one of those things – lazy, irresponsible, shallow, stupid – in the past, but actually, I know objectively that I am none of those things. Our relationship with money and the way we manage is is not simply a result of our character, rather our character is one of a whole range of factors contributing to something very complex. So next time you think one of these things about yourself in relation to money, try to take a step back and challenge each thought: Do you not work hard (whether paid or unpaid labour)? Do you not manage other responsibilities just fine? Do you not care deeply about causes and people? I call bullshit on all of these assumptions. Money doesn’t define me, and it doesn’t define you, either.

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Ruth Writes
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Ruth Writes is a 30-something Liverpool based blog covering mid-size fashion, pescatarian food and beauty.

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