Things have been a bit topsy turvy and I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time on the phone to a particular phone company.
However, rather than dropping bits and bobs in various blog posts, I thought it would be easier to drop everything in this one post and then write and link to some explanatory posts later on. School is starting up again soon so I may also have less time to dedicate to this beloved blog of mine, so this helps me organise my future thoughts and actions.
So, in short, as we look around, emerging from the rubble:
I’m now part-time. This one comes first because it has the biggest hit as it drastically reduces my income (we’re not even sure I’ll meet the limit to qualify to be taxed this year). Basically, my income is looooooow.
Since I’m home more, it didn’t make (financial) sense for the Hatchling to be in their childcare option for so much time but that also got complicated, so we’re now using a different childcare option. It…is more expensive than before 👀
I currently have the most amount of money in my account that I’ve ever had (barring the 3 hours my mortgage payment went in there. Might be the first and last time my numbers are ever in the 6-figure category).
I’ve set myself a little not so secret goal of seeing if I can not only beat the amount in my bank account but double it simply by saving. This may not be wholly realistic (see 1, 2 and 6) but it’s something I want to look into anyway so I know what’s possible. I mean, my whole budget needs a revamp at the moment. (Note to self – add book category).
My sister is absolutely bossing life in general and found a new job with some considerable perks and I’m chalking it up to the propaganda campaign I ran last year where I spammed her with my favourite personal finance blogs and posts. Which means I can take 100% of the credit (but not, unfortunately, the paycheck 😂 ).
SO MANY BIRTHDAYS IN THE SUMMER AND NO-ONE SEEMS TO BE HOLDING ANY SALES! WTH! So of course, I’m thinking about how I can save myself for Christmas. But I’m waiting till September till I crank out the Mariah.
Despite the government’s absolute shamble show when it came to the exam results, I am so fortunate to know a few young women moving onto the next stage of their education or career and am looking at what I have available to help. Because that’s how your community grows, right?
We talked about extending the house (sigh) then looked up some initial costings and… are no longer talking about extending the house. 🤣 But I want us to love the house and the space we’re currently in, so am looking at little DIY bits that might be done around the house to make it feel less….grim.
Speaking of which, the house is the cleanest it’s ever been and I’ve been thinking about how we made it happen without me going absolutely bonkers.
Winter is coming. The Hatchling needs some clothes and is outgrowing the clothes and shoes I previously bought for them seemingly at a rate of knots. More shopping ahoy.
I…think that’s it? If I remember anything else, let me not lie, I’ll probably put it on Twitter first.
Has anything changed for you financially over the past few months? How’s the situation where you are – lots of remote action or nah? How are you coping with it all? (I’ve chosen cake as my therapy of choice, obviously)
Let me set the scene first – phone wise, I’m basically your Grandma. I’ve been with the same mobile phone company since I stopped being about that Pay As You Go life and started paying my own monthly phone bill.
Not because I’m loyal but because I was more than content with my ridiculously low phone bill (less than a tenner a month)and what I got from it and I’m not that big into phones as a whole.
I have unlimited texts as part of my bundle and I don’t phone people because, in an apparently very Millenial move, I find phone calls awkward and people tend to phone me instead of the other way round.
Anyway. Then I had the Hatchling and was apparently craving human contact in some or another. But basically, I got super complacent and 1) didn’t think to ever check my phone usage and 2) didn’t think to ever check my phone bill
What was I even looking at my bank for? I think it was something to do with my union. Which is why I’d gone back and realised that some of my phone bills had been a bit…high.
Right, let me start this post of by saying, not only am I not a financial advisor, I (before February of this year) had never invested in anything. No, not even emotionally in Game of Thrones. (Yes, I know all the memes but it has received very little of my time and even less of mah monay.)
I’d heard of investing, where it was batted around the PF world, like a server overhearing the fancy cultural artsy people discussing Tchaikovsky and the Benin Bronzes and Post Modernism, except it was dividends and stocks and funds and platforms.
Tortoise Happy wrote this lovely encouraging post that I think all financial minorities can really get behind. I wanted to get involved but felt nervous and didn’t know where to start. Like, how do I even buy stocks? Or do I buy shares? Do I need a ticket to Wall Street in New York, gelled hair and a huge mobile to get involved in the stock market?? Sound familiar?
She is basically a hardcore homesteader – she wants to have some bread, so she grows her own grain, harvests it, mills it into flour before baking it into a beautiful loaf that she eats all by herself.
As a parable in the the world of finance, I assume she would end up with an excess of bread, sell it to the other animals in the story, re-invest the funds into her business and basically take over the ranch/farm, keeping a close eye on her finances so she’s never ripped off by that layabout cat.
When I was little, I loved the theme of self-sufficiency that ran through that story.
I didn’t need a rat, cat or dog to help me out! I could do it all by myself, with just a little hard work!
And maybe in another time, that is what this blog post would be about.
So, this blog post has been brewing for a while and it’s not as fun as my usual ones, so I beg your patience and indulgence as I sort my thoughts.
When I started this blog, it was based on my identity as a Black woman who is a daughter of immigrants, a mother and wife and a teacher.
And this pandemic has sharply thrown all of those aspects of my identity under the microscope globally and nationally. At the same time, I’ve been nervous this past year and a bit to talk from the perspective including all the nuances of my identity for appearing too ‘niche’.
Friends, explore with me. I’m going to work chronologically.
Do you point out someone in the same profession as you just by looking at their clothing? I definitely couldn’t! So how (other) teachers and educators dress is infinitely fascinating to me. Read: I’m super nosey.
The image of what a teacher looks like will vary greatly from person to person but speaking for myself, my fashion inspirations are Ms Frizzle, Emma Pillsbury from Glee and probably any Stateside elementary school teacher with an apple on their desk. Peppy, proper and fun, amirite?
HOWEVER. I live in the UK, not TV school nor am and I have to dress for my context. I’m the kind of teacher that very often can be found crawling around on the floor picking up bits of paper and stationary, or running in the corridors speed walking to the store room. Paint is a mainstay, as is fabric dye, watercolours and glue. School is messy. Then there’s all the school restrictions – no denim, which bits of skin of skin are exposed (very little, in the winter) plus whatever else the headteacher might decide to implement on a whim. Plus, I have the Hatchling to deal with after hours – so my clothes need to allow me to move (and run) and preferably be machine washable.
So much as I love floofy dresses that make me look very prim and proper, you’ll see very little of that here – petticoats are really tricky to commando crawl in. This is what made the cut for me this winter:
Children taking the marshmallow test is one of my very favourite things to watch on Youtube.
The premise, if you’re not familiar with it, is simple: “Hey, kid. Here’s a marshmallow. I’m going to leave the room. If that marshmallow is still there when I come back, you get another one.” Adorable hilarity ensues.
Apparently, the studies done into the Marshmallow Experiment proved a whole raft of benefits for those who were able to delay gratification. Fortunately for those of us who struggle to resist or delay temptation for 10 minutes or more, the results are in doubt since they’ve never been able to fully replicate the results of the test.
But it did make me think of what I would have done if they’d done that experiment on me as a kid.
I am notorious amongst my friends for my clothing…er, choices.
“Nice skirt! Charity shop?” “Nah, she must’ve got it on sale!” “…Like, 15 years ago?” “Or someone gave it to you? Which favourite aunt didn’t want it?”
Yep – my clothes are either old, or from a charity shop (and probably still old) or something I bought for a ridiculous price in a sale (“What do you mean FIFTY PEE?!”) or a piece that a family member was getting rid of and I snaffled up.
In the personal finance world, this is a marker of pride – clearly, I’m thrifty. Clearly, I’m frugal. Clearly I live so farrr outside the mainstream that I no longer have need of the eeeeevil high street any more.
I defy you consumerism and fast fashion and the unsustainable capitalist cycle of consumption we find ourselves trapped in!
And then my favourite shoe shop shut down (sob! RIP Shoes Of Prey) and I got pregnant and nothing fit and was comfortable and now I am no longer pregnant but I do actually have needs that my clothing needs to accomodate.
Needs that a lot of my clothing (bought pre-baby – heck, pre-marriage) doesn’t really work for.
Which, practically, meant I needed to go shopping. For actual clothes. And I found myself surprisingly resistant to this idea. Why? What were my reasons? Turns out I had a fair few presumptions stopping me.