Total Net Worth: $-35,788.61
Actual Variance from Last Month : + $2717.79
It’s been an interesting month in the world of my budding philanthropy. For someone who loves to compartmentalise things wonderfully neatly, I don’t always respond well when my little ducks, either drift, or violently change formation (Control Freak much?). Coupled with the revelation that Personal Finance is an inherently emotional experience has made June-July a little bit emosh.
I fundamentally believe in the importance of SMART goals for finance but I think the key thing is to ensure that there is flex built in for when the pendulum of life swings either way – new unexpected desires can lead to expenditure as much as accidents/emergencies require the same. This is why I’m such a fan of Dave Ramsey’s Emergency Fund mentioned in an earlier post here. Suffice to say that a few ‘un-expecteds’ sent me on a bit of a wild ride this month. Le sigh.
It’s okay though – that roller coaster always climbs back up!
Wins this Month
I have to preface this with the fact that I would not, in any other circumstance, see the above as a positive – quite the opposite (I’d love to expand but fear I may inadvertently head-but the keyboard and send my Blood Pressure skyrocketing in inverse correlation, but equal velocity to, the plummet I’m about to mention). Nevertheless, it does seem to be a moment of Schadenfreude, in that the foreign exchange is now working in my favour.
The drop in the strength of the pound actually wiped off a few thousand dollars off my the total of my UK based debt meaning I can pay that bad boy off sooner. Winner.
This brings me to my second win
2.) Amalgamating Debts
One of my debts stemmed from my the several months of footloose and fancy free living I embarked upon in coming to Australia. Note to self: Spending money on the hope of an impending income (no matter how secure) is financial folly. AKA Don’t spend money which isn’t yet yours. This debt was originally accrued on a British Credit Card at a healthy 19.99% APR. While I was able to transfer this as part of the Balance Transfer 0% offers it nevertheless left me making international payments in GBP on a regular basis. This was not only a practical, but an emotional strain, in that the the absolute amount of my debt in AUD would fluctuate from month to month. Roller Coasters are great for Seaside Towns and the Occasional Travelling Gypsy but not for personal finance.
The drop in the pound and some careful planning has now meant that I am in a position to transfer all my debts to one lump sum in Australia. This not only makes it easier to manage but should hopefully make it quicker to pay off. The goal is Christmas for all consumer debt as I have had this millstone(albeit self-imposed) around my neck far longer than I would like.
3.) Having a Coach
This week is when I have my regular catch up with my coach. The idea of getting a coach always seemed like it was frightfully modern/middle class (have I mentioned that I still like to think of my self as a working class hero?!). I had my first one as part of a Leadership Development programme in my early 20s however, and, I must say, it has been completely transformational. Having someone who can hold you to account for your goals, ask you challenging questions and really help you keep direction is an invaluable resource. It isn’t always cheap but I believe self-investment is a worthy expense. This week we’ll be talking about my budget and short to medium term goals – certainly gives me a kick up the behind to make sure I am on track 🙂
Spins this Month
1.) Unexpected and Over Zealous in my Jet-Set Lifestyle
A friend of mine asked me a few months ago whether I fancied coming with him on a cruise around the pacific. It took me all of 5 milliseconds to reply that unless Jesus came back right this minute he should probably count me in. ‘Where did I need to sign?’. The thing is I am both a very impulsive guy and still a bit of a workaholic. These powers combined mean I often run my self into the ground and then when the offer of a quick trip/weekend gite/cultural bender of some sort present themselves I tend to jump into them feet first. In this instance, I had agreed to a holiday without really considering the cost or, indeed, if I had the leave. Turns out the former was fine but the latter not as much – I’d already said yes at that point, not to mention getting my little heart excited.
Cutting a long story short here I had to take 5 days unpaid leave which when you’re on as strict and ambitious a budget as I am, losing a quarter of my monthly salary really came as a bit of a smack in the face. The holiday in itself was inexpensive, but my inability to be planning towards getting R&R was quite the opposite.
Note to Self: Make sure you book in fun things, rest time and breaks away far in advance. Getting your self out of a financial sink hole will take time and you’re going to need some refreshment along that journey. Unless you’re a dromedary of some sort and then you’ll probs be fine.
Until next time Finance Fans!