Debt Update Part One

Financial peace isn’t the acquisition of stuff. It’s learning to live on less than you make, so you can give money back and have money to invest. You can’t win until you do this. –Dave Ramsey

I know from my post https://elizalilysmiles.blog/2019/01/03/lets-just-be-honest-for-a-second-i-think-im-addicted-to-spending/ I mentioned that I was going to do a quarterly update, but I’ve been a bit bogged down health wise so I haven’t really been in the right mindset for it – Also with the amount of money I have to keep throwing at prescriptions it has really scuffled my budget that I had worked out. Sadness overwhelms me.

But on to the important things, How is it all going? Well truth be told it hasn’t really. Other than almost paying off my two of my low balance credit cards, I have the two ‘big ones’ to tackle and my loan, I don’t feel as if I have made much progress. The only substantial thing I think I have accomplished is balance transferring the majority of my credit card debt onto another credit card with an interest-free period. This allows me to have the breathing space to pay the debt off without the impending fear of interest creeping up on me.

Fact: A balance transfer is effectively ‘moving’ the debt to another provider which may have a lower interest rate, this means that the overall amount you pay back in interest isn’t as suffocating. Some credit card providers also give you an interest-free period in which the only amount you pay back is the money you owe. Of course this is subject to what you are offered and in the terms and conditions of the card – but for the majority as long as you are making your minimums you should benefit for the full term of the interest-free period!

It is a tad embarrassing sitting down with your parent and being 100% honest about the numbers and just seeing the pure shock mixed with disappointment on their face. Getting to this point wasn’t intentional but getting out of it is the main goal.

Personally I want to get to a stage in my life whereby I am able to do the things I enjoy without seeing how it is going to break the bank – some of the things I’m looking forward to is saving to complete some courses to gain a qualification in finance and to save for driving lessons. Story time – I did complete the majority of my driving lessons when I worked on the bar, but my instructor ‘disappeared’ before I could complete the last few hours I had paid for. Then life got in the way and tad-ah we are still not driving haha.

I’ll do another finance update in a couple of months when I have managed to tackle the next credit card – it is looking very promising to have that done within the next 3 months!

One last note, i’m still considering uploading a ‘vlog’ type video soon, but I feel like I need to look a little less bedraggled but whatever is making me sick!

Speak soon and let me know if any of you are in the process of tackling debt. I’d love to know how you are getting along!

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Museum trips in Amsterdam!

Something I found really calming whilst on holiday was visiting the museums. The above is from the Rijksmuseum and I have to say, it was just incredible to experience it.

The exhibits were really interesting – the layout and the vast expanse of them. I also enjoyed the app available which allowed you to have your own walking tour through the museum – it also meant that you could view more information about each room just by entering the code for the exhibit.

Something I really want to get into more is visiting the museums available in London. I’ve been to quite a few since I was little but I never really appreciated them for what they were worth. The rich history available at our finger tips is actually quite mind-blowing.

Another place you should visit, even if you don’t get to go because of the demand is Anne Frank’s House. Having Jewish heritage in my family has allowed me to understand an element of the history through family stories and just general chats with my grandparents. But seeing this house in the flesh was awe-inspiring. Knowing that the journal of a young Jewish girl during the war, would become something people read, empathise and just feel is amazing.

The house was so popular the queue was extremely long and sold out the majority of our trip. Plus I couldn’t get a picture outside without people in haha

Before I go I will say this, if you find yourself in Amsterdam, please visit the Rijksmuseum and Micropia! Micropia is a microbiology museum and its really fun and interactive.

We did plan to visit the sex museum, the torture museum and the museum of prostitution, but we ran out of time. But these are also very interesting and I was gutted we missed them but it just gives me more reason to go back!

The silent library was utterly breath-taking.

Thank you for reading. Let me know what museums are your favourite!

Blog from the boat

I’m currently on a girl’s trip to Amsterdam for my cousin’s birthday and I’ve been trying to get the motivation to blog since we got here but I’ve been unsuccessful – mixture of the heat and just general tiredness catching up with me after long hours of work. But this boat ride around the city learning about the city and its culture has really helped. We have 2 days left here after today and I have a handful of days at home but I’ll probably start to schedule posts when I’m back. I’ll go into a lot more detail about my holiday and post some pictures as well.

I feel more refreshed, but dreading going back to work. I’m just not all in it right now, but im starting a temporary new role when I’m back so maybe it’ll get better.

We shall see.

Friends with my sofa and some books

The cows have no relation to the post, I just remember taking this 3 years ago. They’re cute.

So this post is somewhat impromptu. I’ve been working on posts to a schedule I drafted up and so far so good. However I’m stuck in my house in a lot of pain and this is one of the only things I can do without exerting too much energy.

In short, I’m pretty much dipped health wise. I had an operation last night so I’m just wallowing on my sofa right now. Day time television has fried my brain and I’ve taken to counting ceiling spots.

Let’s not talk about it too much before I start overthinking it again. So I thought I would tell you about a few of the books I’m reading or will be reading this month.

First on the block is Choke by Chuck Palahniuk. I’m about a quarter of the way through and I can easily say it’s an interesting book but not one for everyone. I received this book from Blind Date With a Book and the hints on the cover confused me greatly whilst trying to decipher what it could be – normally I have an idea on what book it is but I stood there for a solid 10 minutes like eh? This might be one I can squeeze a review from but I’ll see how I’ve taken to it by the end.

After that I’ll probably try to crack on with The Muse by Jessie Burton. This is a recommendation from my grandma again and if it follows suit from the last book she gave me to read, I look to be very impressed. I know this is going to sound sappy but I’m glad I found a common ground with my grandparents because up until this point we don’t really share any hobbies or opinions. Dinners and days with them would always be a smidge awkward because I would try to engage in conversation but end up clueless eventually on the topic.

3rd book for the month will be Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch. Considering I’ve had this series of books for about 3 years now, I’ve only completed the first novel. It’s not because I didn’t like the first book, far from it, it’s just I get distracted very easily. Like I mentioned in my 2019 resolutions, I have the attention span of a goldfish, so I’m always buying new things and forgetting what I already have. My dad has completed the series and said it’s very good so here’s hoping I can crack this.

The 4th book I hope to get through this January is Home by Matt Dunn. I went through a binge of his books last year and read four in a row around March time but never got round to reading this one. I found his other books very sweet and easy going to read.

And the last book I’m going to hopefully read is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Like wise with the above I went on a complete reading spree of the series but stopped after the 4th one. I needed a bit of a break and to try something different so I momentarily paused my run through, but never did pick it back up. With three books left in the series, notably the longer ones, I’m hoping to get through these throughout the year.

I did some maths when it came to trying to complete my reading goal this year and feel 5 books a month is a good target. I read every morning and evening on my journey to a from work, I read in the evenings before dinner and I read over the weekend if I have no plans. And 5 is the kind of number where you can read more quite easily so let’s hope I stay on track.

As I mentioned at the beginning, because I’m not very well right now so reading and knitting are my only vices.

I’ll probably do another update next month with my reads for then and let you know if I managed to get through this lot.

Let’s just be honest for a second – I think I’m addicted to spending

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

I initially started writing this post January last year with the fact that I am addicted to spending money. I will find ways to buy things that I don’t need, or I will bulk by things unnecessarily. I have at least 100 books idling around the house that I am yet to read, notebooks upon notebooks completely blank, clothes I don’t even think could fit me when I bought them, card games I’ve never played, video games still in the wrapping – I think you’ve got the jist.

So one of the things I wanted to work on this year as mentioned in my 2019 thing’s to accomplish, was to ‘Be in less debt’. I’m not saying money is magically going to appear in my account, clearing all my debt, nor am I suggesting I become a sugar baby. But I did work up a finance plan with the help of a good friend, in how to cut my debt down substantially within the year. I realised that for my age I have way to much personal debt, this isn’t even student debt like most others.

I literally trawled through hundreds of YouTube videos, Pinterest pages and blogs to find the solution for me. I was up until 2am a couple of months ago and I finally settled on a plan that I think, well more hope, I will stick to. It’s like the love child of David Ramsey’s Debt Snowball with a mix of different trackers and budgeting. I won’t complete the whole programme David created, only because I have methods of saving I intend to use once this is sorted.  

Folders, upon folders, upon folders; organisation is key!

So as you can see from the above, I have organised my shit to a T! I’m quite proud, although I did spend money on all the things you see in the above – except the sticky notes and plastic sheet things! I had a binge of buying them a while ago, so they have finally come into play. Well done Rachel from 7 months ago, you did good. I have three folders; Work related things, All documents relating to accounts I have (past and present), and my Debt trackers. I know it seems a bit excessive but my brain works in the same patterns; filing things away, sectioning them and then sub sectioning again.

I think my main focus is to work off the credit card debt first, and once that is sorted, move onto saving to pay off my loan – the loan is a weird one, I’d rather chuck a bulk amount at it then figure out how to pay more every month haha.

What I will do, is write up a run down every three to four months to show my progress. As you can see I didn’t include any figures, only because its borderline embarrassing and at this present moment I’m in the most comfy position on my bed to get my folder.

Catch you guys soon, hopefully with less debt on my name XD

2019 – The year of development

“My New Year’s resolution is to stop lying to myself about making lifestyle changes”

It’s that time of year again when we all lie to ourselves about the amazing things we are going to change when the new year rolls round. I know my list last year had a lot of things I haven’t even touched the surface of. I think the best plan of action, before I even consider informing the world about my ‘Grand Plans’, is to dissect what I wanted to accomplish last year and see what went wrong.

Continue reading

Book Review: Pachinko – Min Jin Lee

I know I mentioned in my post New Reads, that I was going to complete a book review for The Vegetarian by Han Kang, but my grandma recommended a book for me to read when we popped over for dinner the other week. I was sceptical at first – Her bookshelves are filled with numerous classics and biographies, whilst mine is filled with thrillers, sci-fi and the occasional romance book. So to say our tastes vary is a slight understatement. But I went into reading this with an open mind and damn, did this book surpass my expectations and has easily wedged its way to one of my favourites. I’ll try not to include spoilers.

Synopsis

Pachinko follows a Korean family from father Hoonie in the late 19th century, to his great grandchildren, throughout the 20th century. The story covers life before both wars, life in Asia during, and the post war events in great detail.

Thoughts 

I’ve read a lot of reviews on Goodreads about this book and I find the majority of what was disliked (if any) are things I actually enjoyed. I loved the fact that you followed a family from the onset to the end. We could see how certain circumstances, maybe death or the birth of another, affected character development. We tracked how each character grew and could see their individual struggles.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book is that depending on where you are born deciphers what strand of history you learn; being born and raised in the UK, we learnt more about the European aspects of the wars, with only a 2 minutes discussion about other continents involved. I know if you take history as further education, you may cover this but it’s not something everyone is exposed to unless you study this in your own time. For me it was eye opening, learning about events that happened within the same timeline of something I have studied on countless occasions just reminds you how big the world actually is.

I know there was a 50/50 split regarding the time jumps after chapters to cover the story across the period selected, but I can understand why this was done. We know, from personal experiences, that grief in the immediate space after something has happened is difficult for many. But it’s about the lasting consequences as well; how has someone’s personality changed 5 years, maybe 10 years after an event; how has it changed them.

One of the notable things that I disliked about the book, although I can see why it was done, was the ending. I won’t go into too much detail because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but it gave me Sopranos vibes. That is if a book could cut to black mid scene.

Favourite character

Although I do like most of the characters in the book for various reasons, I’d have to say my favourite is Mosazu. There was just something about him that I really enjoyed. I love the fact he wasn’t blinded by a dream that was unattainable; he was very much a down to earth character and had a big heart. I feel like I resembled him a lot when he was younger – dropping out of school and finding a job that he really enjoyed and was good at.

Least favourite character

This wasn’t a tough choice, but my least favourite was Noa. I won’t say much as I feel his story was a main thread throughout the book and should be explored by everyone with fresh eyes, but some of the thoughts his character would have, some of the things he said and did were quite toxic. I know there is probably a consensus on other characters we are subconsciously drawn to dislike, through plot and description, and Noa probably isn’t one of them but for me every time I’d try to connect with his character and explore his perspective, he would do something that left me feeling more frustrated with him rather than sympathetic.

Would I recommend

I would definitely recommend this book to any one interested in broadening their genre pool and anyone interested history based novels. I really enjoyed this book and have told many people already to give it a try and let me know what they think.

Rating

4/5 stars

And finished! For my first ever book review that wasn’t for educational purposes, and one that I have actually completed, I’m proud of myself. I will try my hand again at some point – It’s in my To-Do schedule drawn up. Thank you for reading 🙂