401K 2012

It’s been just under six months since my last money saving post and I thought it was about time to update you all on my progress. As you will probably all know by now, I have huge plans for next year to finally follow my heart and travel across South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand all by myself. I’m a crazy mix of scared and excited, but I’m not letting myself get too far ahead at the moment as I have so much saving and organising left to do before I can really dive into the whole experience. Of course, as you can imagine, the more money I have saved away, the better and easier the experience will flow, and, even more importantly, the longer I can relax and enjoy the trip before needing to find work. This is my main priority because the biggest point of the trip is to give myself some well deserved time off from working after having some quite high stress jobs and working since I was 14-years-old. I want some time to myself to really appreciate life and to figure out what my next move will be – the best way for me to do that is to take myself away from all routine and everything that makes life easy.

In my last post, back in February, unfortunately I didn’t say how much I had saved at that point but from my vague memory I don’t think it was very much. I now have saved almost £6,000, not including my savings from this month’s wages and a further £2,000 that I have been saving through a monthly savings plan I set up with my mum. There is also a lot of money in my eBay/Paypal accounts waiting to be claimed from selling lots of my clothes. I’m feeling pretty proud of all that considering that I actually get paid less than anyone I know and with all the festivals and events I have been covering, I have still been able to clock up so much without any other part of my social life suffering. It just shows you that it really is possible to save and still have a life at the same time – it just takes a bit of creativity, a lot of hard work and a new attitude to money.adventureWith the big plans I laid out for money saving back in February came a to-do list and I can now say that I have ticked off a fair few things from my list, and some more that weren’t even listed! I have switched my phone contract and now pay £11 – saving around £300 in the year. I have made a few hundred pounds off selling clothes on eBay and I haven’t even really been trying – I plan to sell a lot more when it gets to autumn and I have more time. I haven’t been spending very much money on nights out at home, in fact I just haven’t been on any! I’ve saved myself for special occasions like a friend’s birthday in London or a university reunion, and of course the festivals. I have made it clear to friends that I can’t afford to do much while the festivals are going on and am doing well at budgeting for them and making sure I spend within my limited budget. With all the festivals I have scored free tickets through my work at This Festival Feeling – trust me it is well deserved as I do a lot of work for them! This means all I have to pay for is travel, food and drink when I am at them. Asking for money as birthday presents meant I was able to fund my iPad Mini and new camera thanks to a combination of savings and gifts so I am well equipped for my travels and just need a backpack. I’m still entering all those competitions and  live in hope of a big win, but no luck as yet.

And as I mentioned, I was looking for extra work back in February but had no luck on the copywriting front – although I’m not sure I could spend much more time each week writing. Instead, I have secured a new job at a local pub where I will be waitressing and working on the bar for a couple of nights a week once the festivals are over. I have also been babysitting for a friend one evening a week – something which is a wonderful experience for me, a great chance for me to spend time with the little cutie and to earn a bit of extra cash. I’m also treating both jobs as great opportunities to get some more recent experience in both fields – all my previous shop work and waitressing experience dates back years – which will only be helpful when it comes to job-hunting on my travels. As much as I hope and dream of finding a more permanent job out there either in journalism or writing, I know that realistically, I am more likely to find something quickly in waitressing, bar work or as a nanny. Having recent work on my CV for each will work in my favour and hopefully put me above the rest of the applicants while helping me earn some cash to get there.

I’ll be honest and say I’m bloody exhausted and I’m actually ill as I write this for the first time in months –  I reckon it must be because I’m tired, but I refuse to give up and give in. Just another month or two until festival season finishes, then I will have lots more time to work extra hours and will be freer at weekends. Being less busy means I will be able to save twice as much from my wages each month. Everything around us is only temporary and that is what I am keeping in mind – as tired as I am at the moment, I have an end game and a goal and will do whatever it takes to get there. As far as I’m concerned, determination has got me this far and that will be what gets me there. Bring it on!

Have you got any suggestions for other ways in which I can earn extra cash or cut back slightly more? All suggestions welcome!