Tuesday, 27 January 2015

An austere year

I've always rather liked January.  I understand that the cold, dark poverty of the month following the festive season isn't for everyone.  It's tough to give up the debauched eating, drinking and reckless spending we have indulged in in the run up to Christmas.  For me though January has always held the delight of my birthday.  Situated conveniently in the final week of the January sales it is a glorious excuse for me to put off the diet for another three weeks.  Furthermore your birthday money goes a lot further in January than it did at the beginning of December.  This year was almost the best yet.  I indulged in a veritable festival of birthday cheer: dinner with my mother in law, a night out with my husband, takeaway Chinese food with my parents and then a home baked birthday cake on the day itself.  I enjoyed myself thoroughly.  How long ago it seems..........

Of course, in the UK at least, there is another reason we hate January.  As we are reminded by a crescendo of increasingly apocalyptic TV ads, our annual tax return must be submitted by the 31st of January or the world will simply end.

I've been doing a tax return for about six years now.  It seems terribly grown up and until this year it's really been terribly easy.  'Why do people find it so difficult?' I ask myself smugly, twirling my imaginary moustache and laughing gaily as my own calculations once again tally flawlessly with those of Her Majesty. Such is my general feeling of sang froid regarding this task that I was a little surprised to sit down with a frisson of  trepidation this year. 

2013 was rather a busy year for us.  I changed jobs, going from partly self-employed to fully employed.  I moved house, I bought a lot of shoes and maybe, yes maybe I took my eye off the ball a little. Her Majesty would certainly agree.  I thought I wouldn't really owe any tax.  As I entered my earnings the trepidation grew arms and legs until it had metamorphosed into its ugly older brother anxiety.  Anxiety swiftly gave way to panic when I realised that I had underestimated my tax bill by a sum of almost £2000!

Now Dear Reader, don't you panic.  Please don't despair on my account.  I have a good job and I had a healthy savings account.  My children will not be going hungry due to this oversight.  However we may have to wait a little longer before we can fix the hole in the kitchen wall (and if there is any sort of higher being up there please could you abstain from throwing any more tiles off of our roof this winter).

The worst part of the whole scenario was confessing my digression to Mr. Austere.  Sadly I'm married to the picture of austerity.  Even when we were both working full time, childless and fancy free he liked to squirrel his money away, taking pleasure in raining on my parade (using a water saving device on the tap of course).  Sadly the squirrelled money all went into the mausoleum we inhabit and Mr. Austere is now fully employed in looking after the children.  Whilst his thrifty shopping ensures that we eat heartily on approximately 5 pence per week and we never spend too much on fuel (even if we do have to wear our hats and coats indoors) he's not really in a position to do much about our deficit.

Hence the reason for this blog.  We had already planned to cut back on unnecessary spending and save money for the kitchen this year.  Now we have the added obstacle of having to pay ourselves back before we can begin saving.  I've got a few ideas of ways to bring in additional income or save money so I thought I would start a blog to keep myself motivated, chart my progress and maybe even earn some money (oh look a flying pig).

So to finish my first post here are some of my money saving/ earning ideas so far

  1. Read www.moneysavingexpert.com extensively every day before doing anything  - a lot of my ideas have come from here so it's not my fault if they don't work.
  2. Sell stuff on eBay - nothing new or original there.
  3. Earn money online -this is a complex process for which I require a dedicated twitter account.  Feel free to follow me @Austerityknocks I wouldn't though, I will bombard your twitter feed with spam (not the tasty tinned meat kind)
  4. Make more gifts instead of buying
  5. Stop buying stuff I don't need - self explanatory really
  6. Stop buying coffee at work (see above)
  7. Earn money from blogging - I'm looking into this. If it seems feasible I will explain how to do it here although I think I might end up writing a blog about blogging, which is about blogging about blogging......
  8. Wash my clothes less frequently (sorry real life friends)
  9. Wash myself less frequently (as above)
  10. Embrace every crazy money saving idea I find online.

I've got some more wild and wonderful ideas up my sleeve so feel free to follow me and see how they pan out.  In the meantime I leave you with a picture of the now infamous kitchen wall...........

Actually I won’t – it’s too dark in the kitchen to take a photograph due to the energy saving light bulb. Instead here is a picture of Austerelet II with her pants on her head.  For those of you desperate to see the hole it is behind the fridge, just imagine it.