Learning to Live a Life of Less

Monday, 1 October 2018

The Year of Less

I can't take credit for this title.  It's very much "borrowed" from Cait Flanders, who wrote the book, "The Year of Less", which I'm currently in the middle of reading.

Reading this book, along with "Broke Millennial" by Erin Lowry has really opened my eyes to how much I've consumed over the years with a complete disregard for my future.  This book especially gave me the slap across the face I needed to help me see that if I continue living and spending the way I am then I may as well wave good bye to a secure and comfortable retirement now and accept the fact that I'll be working until the day I die.


whereas "Broke Millennial" opened my eyes to my spending habits, "The Year of Less" is what planted the idea of this challenge in to my head.  It does pretty much what it says on the tin, and I'm definitely stealing the entire idea from Cait Flanders herself...

The basis of Cait's challenge is that she spent an entire year consuming less.  No new clothes, no take out lattes, no electronics; you get the picture.  The only exceptions were groceries, toiletries and cosmetics (But only to replace items that had been completely used up), and she could replace any items that broke, but she had to throw out the old item first before replacing with the new.

This was all as a result of her not being able to find her can opener one day amongst the crazy amounts of cutlery she had in her kitchen drawers.  The amount of "stuff" Caitlin had in her house made her see just how much she unnecessarily consumed, and this habit needed to be nipped in the bud ASAP.

I've not finished the entire book yet, but from the get go I completely related to Cait's mindset, and I know that over the years I've fallen in to the same bad habits that she did, always making excuses for my spending and always thinking "one day" I'll take charge of it.

Well, "one day" is FINALLY today.

As of today, Monday 1st October 2018, my year of less starts.  This is going to be the toughest challenge I have ever set myself (And if you know me I'm pretty rubbish at finishing challenges, so seeing it through for an entire year is going to really test my will power!).  This may be no biggie to many of you, but if I'm honest about myself, I LOVE shopping.  I love clothes, shoes, accessories (Especially when they come Disney shaped!), books, stationery, eating out.  Spending money is my most favourite hobby.  Saving it, not so much...

This is going to test me mentally.  Especially since losing my Mum, I've used shopping to fill a void.  Trust me guys, it doesn't work.  The initial thrill of owning something fancy and new is great and all, but as soon as that initial excitement subsides (It doesn't take long), the void is still very much there.

Not only will this challenge my mental capability to restrain myself from consuming unnecessary items, but it will challenge me to find other, more fulfilling ways to use my time productively and lift my spirits on the harder days.

So of course, like every millennial with a blog who's setting herself a challenge, I'm going to hold myself accountable on here.  I'm going to share my year long journey with you all in hopes that you will pick me up through the hard times and cheer me on through the good.  This is not something I'm going to be able to do without support, so little messages of positivity in my comments will be highly encouraged and very much appreciated.

Now, with a challenge there needs to be set rules that I have to follow...

Items I am banned from buying for the next year

  • Clothes, shoes and accessories
  • High end beauty products
  • Electronics (Phones, cameras, laptops, etc.)
  • Take out lattes
  • Disney products of ANY sort
  • Books and stationery

Items I can continue to buy for the next year

  • Food shopping
  • Diesel/Petrol
  • Driving lessons
  • My bi-monthly hair cut (Gotta look after my hair!)
  • My monthly manicure (I like having pretty nails ok!)
  • Disney Life (I at least need to be able to watch all of the Disney in my own home!)
  • Gifts for others


Of course there has to be exceptions to the rule, but again, only when there is very good reason to be...
  • I can buy 1 wedding outfit for the year that can be re-styled (I have one definite wedding that I'm attending in 2019; potentially two)
  • For said wedding/s I can pay to have my hair styled for the events
  • I can replace anything that is worn out/damaged, but only if I don't have any other options in the house (If I'm down to my last pair of jeans for example)
  • I can replace any cosmetics, toiletries and beauty products, but only when I have run out of all other items of that product, and only with affordable options that sit within my budget
  • I of course can accept gifts from friends and family for my birthday/Christmas, but I must ask for items that I need and will genuinely get use out of (For example I have asked Spencer to have my Nan's wedding ring re-sized for me for my birthday so that I can wear it along with my Mum's rings everyday.  Not so much a need, but something incredibly special to me)
During this time I'm going to save as much money as possible, which will go towards us moving in to a new, cheaper, rented accommodation, then towards opening a Help to Buy ISA to begin saving for a mortgage, as well as paying down my debt and saving money to gain financial freedom.

I also have some plans throughout the year where I hope to be bringing in a higher income by the end of it.  By the end of the year of less my goals are to:
  • Have moved into cheaper rented accommodation in order to free up more money per month
  • Switch to a Sim Only contract for my phone when my current contract runs out (This will save me £40-50 per month!!!)
  • Move up a grade in the organisation I work in meaning I will move up a pay grade
  • Build this blog to become a source of income (This will be the toughest goal to achieve!)
I realise this is one hell of a challenge I've set myself for the year, so to help myself I plan on setting myself mini challenges each month to help me through.

For my first month doing this mammoth challenge, I'm setting myself the goal to blog every day throughout the month of October.  I want to get my creative juices flowing once again, and filling my days blogging and experimenting with photography again will be a really productive use of my time, especially with Scarfest at Alton Towers coming up in a couple of weeks time.  Think of the photos I'll be able to capture!

So there we have it.  In black and white; my year of less.  What have I gotten myself in to...


Team O'Sullivan said...

Good luck.….this is something I really need to be doing too.

Siobhan Emma said...

Thank you! I need all of the luck I can get with this challenge! If you ever need an accountability I'm your girl! x

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