So… I work full time as a Forest School Manager for the local authority and have done for a lot of years. I bring home a reasonable wage which is enough to pay all of the bills. I get most school holidays off so have time to get the odd holiday in, do up the house and enjoy a few hobbies. How do I get from that to making some time to explore new experiences, take the pressure off myself while making enough money to continue paying those bills? The answer, rather worryingly is….. I’m not really sure yet!
Not totally true, I do have some irons in the fire but really no security of a monthly wage. This in its self is quite exciting. Having worked hard for a long time I find myself in a situation where I am not very mindful of the money I spend. We all feel skint for the most part despite the amount of money we have. There are of course things as a family that we want and can’t afford and we often have times when things go wrong and we have to go into the overdraft to sort ourselves out. On the whole though, we don’t really struggle. I know the sort of life that we can afford and on the whole we stay within our means. I don’t look at the bank balance that much and don’t worry about money. How boring! Safe, stable, sensible but boring. This next year I will need to much more aware of the money that we earn and the money we spend. This is good! A little scary, but good! An old friend of mine once said that spending money is about justification. I now understand….. if you cant justify it, you cant spend it. I will be glad to firstly; have the time to justify spending money and secondly to have the time to explore alternatives to spending money.
Anyway, back to the plan.
- Lower monthly bills – Mirielle, my wife and I have almost halved the monthly bills. This involved re-mortgaging to a better deal and consolidating some debts at a better interest rate.
- Get the missus out to work – Mirielle has always worked and loves working. Since our youngest (now 9) was born she has worked part time. Her contract is for only 1 1/2 days per week so she has the capacity to work more hours. I am lucky that she is happy to do this. I think the trade is that she gets her husband back from the other women in my life, my work!
- Enjoy living life with less money – This is just about changing habits. I believe that with more time and less money we will enjoy more meaningful experiences and relationships. Is there anything more important?
- Work hard but enjoy – Like Mirielle, I love working hard. I certainly wont be sat on the sofa for the year getting into day time TV. I have a few friends that I am hoping will need a hand in their businesses, I am building a business that makes rustic furniture, Richs Rustic and homemade furniture, and I will be looking for any work that doesn’t involve me having a ‘job’.
I know that with the above plan we can make it a year without my usual income. Its going to be tight but I know we are not going to loose the house and we are not going to starve. I sometimes become anxious about the money side but have to remind myself, ‘we have a plan and it will be ok.’ It will, and it will be the hardship, the doubt, the lack of a plan that will give the journey meaning, and meaning is what I need.