The first month of 2016 seems to have flown by; it doesn’t seem two minutes since it was Christmas and now it’s the end of January already! January has been relatively quiet for us in the Frugal Cottage household; nothing much as happened and we’ve just been spending quality time with the Frugal Baby. January always feels like it’s a fresh start with the promise of the new year ahead. It hasn’t gone as well as I’d hoped – as you’ll see below – but it’s not a bad start to the year.

 

My Financial aims for January were:

– Have 24 NSpend Days (NSDs)

– Overpay our mortgage by something

– Put £400 into savings

 

I raised my target of NSDs for January as we needed a low spend month. Even small spends each day can add up to a high amount over the month, so I truly believe that NSDs make a big difference to our overall budget. In January, I managed to get 23 NSDs which is one off target. I posted on my latest Weekend Edition that it was a takeaway that scuppered my plans for the 24th; temptation won, which is not a frugal thing at all. Oops.

 

As our household income continues to decrease whilst I’m on maternity leave, overpaying our mortgage by vast amounts has taken a back seat, purely due to lack of funds more than anything. So, the challenge to overpay our mortgage by something is purposefully vague, as I wanted to overpay something, so that it continues to chip away in the right direction, but didn’t want to put a number on it. So, I’ve managed to overpay a tiny £3.57 this month, which I suppose is better than nothing. In the upcoming months, this number will continue to be small, though I’m hoping for them to be more than this month.

 

Lastly, and I knew this would be somewhat of a challenge, was the savings aim. Last month we had some big unexpected house expenses, which really hit our budget hard. That meant that we were starting off on the back foot so to speak for January. I have only managed to save £302.07 which is far away from my target, disappointingly. I really need to up my game if I want to meet our savings target for the year.

 

My Personal Aims For January were:

– lose 4lbs

– declutter one bin bag’s worth of stuff

– do some exercise 12 times during the month

 

As part of my #30beforethirty challenge, I need to be losing just under 4lbs a month all year. This is a combination of left over pregnancy weight and just generally wanting to be a bit healthier and fitter. In January, I have lost 3 lbs which is better than nothing, but I can do better. I need to try a bit harder! We’ve got through the last of the Christmas related food, such as Christmas cake, so that will help in February.

 

I’ve been decluttering, albeit slowly, all month. I’ve got some things listed on eBay that finish later today, plus I have thrown out some things that were no longer needed but not in a condition to sell. I think that this will be an ongoing thing all year as I try and simplify our lives. Selling things on eBay is strangely addictive too; I like checking to see how many people have viewed the items and what the bids are!

 

Finally, in combination with losing weight and eating healthier, I want to exercise more this year and get fit. I’ve got a membership to the gym that’s local to us, so I also need to make sure I’m getting the best use out of it, as I’m paying a fee every month. In January, I went to the gym 10 times, plus I have been on some walks with family members. So, I’ve definitely done some kind of exercise 12 times during the month. I hope to be a bit more regular in terms of a time when I go to the gym in February.

 

One final note, the top three posts on The Frugal Cottage during January were:

  1. 2016: The Year of Less
  2. 2016 Goals
  3. The Ultimate Dream Fund – December 2015

 

So, January is over! It’s been a good month for us, even if I haven’t quite met all of my aims. I’m determined to do better in February, even if it is shorter!

 

How was your January? Have you hit your aims? I’d love to hear about it!

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