Happy new decade! – and some exciting changes to my thrifty life…

Happy new year! How was your Christmas and new year? What plans do you have for 2020? And the coming decade, for that matter?! If you’re anything like me, you’ll be raring to get started on your goals for the year and will be excited about what the year brings. So I thought I’d share what I’ve been up to, along with some plans for my life and blog…

REFRESHED COMPUTER

I’ve finally got my computer back this week after it went into the repair shop for a tune-up over Christmas. As someone who uses their laptop almost every day, it’s difficult to find a time when I don’t need it – so I took the opportunity over Christmas to take a proper break and handed my device over to the local repair shop. That was a good move for two reasons.

Firstly, it means that all the niggling little computer problems I’ve experienced over the past 6 months can be repaired and now it’s like using a new laptop woo! I’ve been able to install only the programs I need and have moved some data storage off my desktop. And secondly, I was able to have a proper break over Christmas and new year because I couldn’t do any work without my computer – great! It’s so rare that I actually have time off in my own home because I love writing so much that I can’t resist doing a little bit if my laptop is right there on my desk.

NEGOTIATING WITH SUPPLIERS

So now that I have my trusty laptop back on my desk I can start planning for the year – both personally and professionally. The first thing we’ve tackled today is doing our budget for 2020. It’s actually something we enjoy looking at because we know we can make savings on our expenses. We’ve been on the phone this week negotiating new deals on our broadband, utilities and insurances – and we’ve been able to make savings. Plus, we’ve been able to lock-in these low prices for a prolonged period, phew!

CAR EXPENSES

Also, we’ve noticed that one of our main expenses last year was the car we have. It’s bigger than we’ve previously owned and, as such, the tax and insurance cost around twice as much as our previous car. And the fuel consumption was much higher for the same journeys. So that’s led us the conclusion that we need to change our car.

So this month we’re going to be searching for a low-to-run vehicle. Smaller, with cheaper fuel costs and hopefully one of those bargain £30-per-year tax rates. We can recoup some of the cost by selling our existing car – and the ongoing savings will add up to over £300 per year. And if don’t have a tow-bar on the new car, we can also sell our trailer too – which all helps to cover the cost of buying a secondhand runaround.

MONEY-SAVING & HEALTH

Additionally, we’ve decided that we can save money on fuel by cycling more. We always hop in the car to go to the local shops to buy a pint of milk, but really it’s within walking distance – and certainly within cycling distance. It’s not only good for our budget to reduce the amount of trips we take by car, but it’s better for the environment too. Plus, we can never find a parking space! So it’s going to be loads better to cycling into town – with the added benefit of boosting our health too!

HOME OFFICE IMPROVEMENTS

Exciting times! I’ve just got myself a new weekly planner, woo! I’ve been on the look out for a desk diary/calendar/planner/jotter for a while and haven’t quite found the right one yet. But when I popped into Wilko this week I found a fab one that has space for daily must-do activities, as well as a notes page alongside for to-do lists. And I found it just in time – my old planner is running out this Sunday.

So now I feel loads more organised (even though I haven’t written anything in it yet!) because I can see my work schedule laid out for the coming week and I don’t have to lump a load of quick tasks in with my important deadlines – they can all go in the to-do list to get ticked off whenever I get round to them. Yes, I am in control – for once!

Another office improvement is that I got a wireless mouse for Christmas so I’m going to be able to set up my workspace differently. I chose the Lenovo Yoga laptop originally because I could turn it around and use it as a desktop monitor with a wireless keyboard and mouse. I just never quite got round to buying that mouse! But now I have it, I can set up a much more ergonomic workspace with my screen at eye-level and my keyboard on the desk.

TIME TO READ

One of the things I really enjoyed over Christmas and New Year was reading. I read LOADS of magazines, books and blogs, and I enjoyed every minute. While I usually stick to non-fiction books, this year I’m including fiction, as I got a box-set of H.E Bates books for Christmas and my husband bought me Heidi Swain’s two 2019 books (and I’ve read one of them already!) Do you have any recommendations for fiction I could read this year? Nothing scary or gory!

I also read An Edited Life by Anna Newton during my week off (then binge-watched loads of her YouTube videos) and I’m half-way through The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan. With non-fiction, I’ve started to keep post-it tabs beside me while I read, so that I can bookmark interesting facts, studies and ideas – it’s like I’m doing research for a book I’m not yet writing! But it stops me forgetting what I’ve read and lets me go back to it to share the info with my husband.

Let me know what plans you have for 2020 – both personally or professionally – because I’d love to get inspiration for other new ideas or goals that I can inject into my life this year too..!


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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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