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My Real Money Story: 2020 and beyond

Last year, Tarryn told us about her financial goals and how money made her feel in her Real Money Story. Six months later, she’s back with an update on how her money journey’s going

The year 2020 has certainly been a year of firsts for so many reasons – good and bad! However, I’m pleased to say that it was a year for me where, for the first time, I started to understand my relationship with money. 

The January 2020 money detox

January 2020 was the month my partner and I did a money detox whereby we spent money only on travel and groceries (the necessities) and we made sure to buy our groceries fortnightly instead of daily. We also cooked dinners and lunches which very quickly showed us how much money we were mindlessly spending previously on take outs. 

We opened a joint bank account and started a monthly budget spreadsheet, which helped us map out our spending and saving. I also removed all of my clothes store apps from my phone and deleted my card details stored in my Google account. This all created a sense of accountability for me when it came to spending.

Since then, I have become religious about budgeting and tracking our spending, and I found that the more we allowed for saving, the better we became at it. As if by magic we found that we were able to put bigger amounts into our savings each month. I have to admit though, the fact that we were not going out and socialising like we would have prior to the pandemic, was almost definitely a contributing factor to the increased savings. We have also upgraded our fortnightly grocery shops to delivered meal boxes, which include everything we need to eat for the number of days we’ve selected. The cost is fixed every fortnight, so for us it’s still a good way of sticking to a monthly groceries budget.

Understanding emotional spending

This year I have also learned that I tend to want to buy “stuff” particularly when I’m feeling overwhelmed about anything – be it in a personal or professional capacity – almost as a form of procrastination. This is only something I have discovered recently and is, I feel, a good bit of progress with my understanding of my relationship with money.

First-time home-owners

You see, 2020 was also the year we bought our first flat!

Reflecting on it – the decision to buy a flat and move our lives to a whole new city came a lot sooner than we had intended it to. We had initially set our first home deposit goals for Oct 2021.

The UK governments zero stamp duty incentive however got us thinking about trying to move that goal post to Feb/Mar 2021 so we could take advantage of the incentive. We started casually looking at what our options were for the deposit amount we had at the time.

This, coupled with a weeks’ get away to Brighton in the summer, helped us pinpoint where we wanted to start looking for Help to Buy options. We decided to start viewing properties in earnest – thinking it would take a good few months to find the right place – but, when we viewed the first property we loved so much, we offered on it that day!!

Making the move

We spoke to a broker who gave us advice on mortgage options available to us and the rest is history. We viewed one property in mid-September and moved in late November as we were chain free.

Because it all moved so quickly – once we had made the move to our new home and things slowed down, the reality of it, all of a sudden presented itself. Although, I’m pleased to say that I’ve just done a budget for the next few months, and I feel like I’m back in control of where we want to go in 2021. 

Financial goals for 2021

The goal now is to try and start again to build up our savings, but we know it may not be as easy as it was in 2020. Our outgoings have increased because we have upgraded from an old, purpose-built one bed to a new build, two bedroom, with a hefty London commuter cost tied to it.

But, even if all we can put into our savings pot every month is £10 at the start of 2021, then that is what we’ll do. As long as we keep the habit of putting money (any money) aside, we’ll eventually build it up by continuing to budget and track all our out goings By doing this we’ll hopefully be able to figure out a way to cut costs again in the future and put more money into our savings pot each month. But for now, we’re thrilled and excited about our new lifestyle and reaching a life goal of being home owners.