It’s my February Happiness Project review post already. How has that happened? As February is a short month, and I spent one week of it in Morocco starting my yoga teacher-training and am also away this weekend I haven’t quite had time to get through my resolutions for the month. That’s okay though because, as they say, sometimes life gets in the way. This month’s focus was ‘Smart, happy finances’ and my aim was to gain a feeling of being more in control of my finances.
Taking control of my finances: how have I done?
I’ve recently discovered the podcast Meaningful Money and episode 2 of Season 3 is about seven money mistakes to avoid. The first mistake is in two parts, number 1 is taking too little interest in your finances. Before I started this month’s resolutions I think I fell into this category. Now, after spending time working on a financial system I feel more in control and no longer falling foul of part 1 of the first mistake. Part 2, however, is taking too much interest in your finances. I need to make sure I don’t make this mistake either.
I’ve changed my relationship with money
The resolution to change my relationship with money and invest in myself has been an interesting one. When I wrote it I was coming from a place of wanting to reduce the guilt I felt for spending any money on myself for anything other than essentials. I don’t think I’ve done that 100%. As my new budgeting system reveals, I’m working to a tight budget at the moment. Especially seeing as I’m currently not making the amount I should be in my new freelance lifestyle. I do often still feel worried and guilty after spending money. But, as I wrote about recently, I’ve realised investing in myself doesn’t always have to be about money.
I’ve thought about the role of money in our lives a lot this month, and considered my own relationship with it. I want to feel I’m in control of my spending and think that taking a mindful approach to spending money will help here. So, if I do want to spend money on myself that’s okay as long as I’ve mindfully considered what the item I’m buying will do for me/bring to my life. Hopefully then I can feel less guilty about the spend because I know it’s a considered one.
Some things I’ve done to invest in me this month are:
- Given myself more time to do my studies for my yoga teacher-training course.
- Got a gym membership. This has also helped with my ‘Exercise Right’ resolution from January. I like exercising in classes, so the gym membership felt right for me.
- Allowed myself time to rest, by having a bath or watching a show on Netflix. Again this has helped with my January ‘Learn to Rest’ resolution.
- I bought myself a bracelet, made by Lisa Allum of Liberties Jewels from my yoga teacher-training course. It’s a nice gift to myself and will remind me of my yoga teacher-training group forever.
I’m not as wise as I wanted to be
I haven’t had as much time to wise up on financial matters as I wanted to. I still want to learn more about the costs involved in purchasing a house, savings and offers for switching current accounts. I have, however, identified some great online resources to use to help me wise up.
I’ll be wising up with:
- Meaningful Money podcast and website. Especially the starter video series.
- Money Saving Expert website. A treasure trove of lessons on all financial matters. I’ve already read the First Time Buyer’s Guide.
- Frugal Cottage blog. Nicola writes about saving for early retirement, so in terms of savings go it’s the number one place to hit up to learn some new things.
I’m still struggling with freelance finances
I’m finding it tricky to adjust to the freelance way of not having a regular monthly income. I’m richer in time, but less so in financial resources. It’s made setting up a budget hard, and I think I’d still like to tweak my budget to be more freelance friendly. A recent search led me to a great article on Forbes all about budgeting as a freelancer. I’ll be trying some of these budgeting tips soon. Hopefully getting my budget right for me will enable me to set a financial goal – another resolution I haven’t quite achieved this month.
Learning about myself through my finances
This month has made me realise our relationship to our finances can teach us a lot about ourselves. I’ve realised I like to feel in control of my finances as much as possible. But I also like to be in control of my time and resources – which is why I made the freelance move. But, I think this month has helped me realise I want a freelance career where I’m controlling growth/client base myself. Rather than one where I’m applying to work as a freelancer for other people.
I haven’t fulfilled all of my Smart, happy finances resolutions. But the self knowledge I’ve gained is definitely going to help me be happier in my life, and that’s the whole point of my Happiness Project. As happiness expert Gretchen Rubin says, “onwards and upwards”.