How can you budget if you don’t work 9-5?

Ahh Budget. My favourite B word. Call it a ‘spending plan’, call it ‘money management’, knowing where your money is coming from and going to is the single most important thing you can do to make sure you stay on track. Everything after that is just icing on the cake.

I have no way of knowing for certain, but I imagine that budgeting as a proper adult is quite simple once you get the hang of it. You have amount coming in, and as long as you limit yourself to n amount going out, you’re away laughing.

But what if you have no idea what your x amount is going to be from week to week?

As discomforting as it may seem, this is the reality for most creatives. Jobs or auditions can crop up at any moment, so the constraints of a standard 9-5 are usually far from appealing. Instead, it’s common for performers like myself to juggle one or more jobs – usually in a casual capacity. Flicking through my diary for the past couple of months, I’ve worked everything from 8 to 56 hours in a week. How can someone possibly budget with such a huge variation?

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Over the past five years or so, I’ve worked out a system that works well for me. I’ve managed to build up a solid amount of savings, invest some money in shares, and survive the ridiculous costs of renting alone. While your circumstances may differ, I decided to share my budgeting steps in the hope that it may help someone out there get out of their casual working nightmare.

1. Know exactly what your expenses are

I mean exactly. And no, brunch twice a week is not an expense. These expenses are things that must be paid by a due date. Think rent, insurance, power bills, transport costs- anything that is going to come out of your bank whether you like it or not. Doesn’t matter if it’s weekly, monthly, or annually- work out how much you’re paying for that bill every week and write that number down.

2. Calculate how many hours a week you have to work to cover those expenses

This is going to be your Baseline. I know that if I work 22 hours a week, my bills are going to be covered. Anything over this is an expense, and anything under this is going to have to be made up somehow. If I get a job that pays twice as well as my day job, that counts as double hours in my mental tally. Four times as well? Four hours. You get the idea?

Note: If this number is already more hours than you can work in a week, it’s time to re-asses your Expenses because I can already tell you this isn’t going to work. 

3. Find a way that works for you to track your money

Like a diet, tracking your money is incredibly personal- what works for your best friend may drive you crazy.  But if you want to have any certainty of bills being paid when they’re due, tracking of some sort is absolutely essential.

I personally like to use Goodbudget for all of my finances. It’s an app that lets you get as detailed or simple with your money as you like, and it tracks how you’re going with spending for the month. You can link it up to your bank account, or handle the transactions manually.

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At the very least, I would recommend you have one Envelope for your rent, one for your monthly bills, and one for your annual bills. This means that at any point, you can look at your phone and know that you’re not going to get kicked out of your place any time soon, can keep that refrigerator running, and aren’t going to completely melt down when that huge annual car payment rolls in.

4.  Realistically budget how much you want to save and spend every week

This is so incredibly personal, and it’s also going to be the most fluid part of your budget.

For me, I budget $200 a week for all discretionary spending. That means every cost that isn’t part of my pre-approved ‘Expenses’ list comes out of that figure. If I have a pricier supermarket shop that week, there’s less to spend on brunch. If I know I have a big night up later in the week, I might kick my 5 Ways I Slash My Spending into action and stretch that money a little further. Because I’m me, I also try and tuck some of that money into a physical piggy bank to save for a rainy day

If sticking to a spending limit is tricky for you, I strongly recommend pulling out cash and sticking with it.  I withdraw $150 cash every week and leave a buffer of $50 in my bank account for unexpected Uber trips and late night cocktails at the theater (you would be surprised how often those two coincide).

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I also have some pretty over-confident Savings Goals that I want to achieve before the end of the year, so I have a figure that I want to save each week on top of my spending money.

With these two figures, you’ve got a pretty accurate idea of your Ideal Weekly Income. This is what I aim to work every week, but as long as I know that I’m hitting that 22 hours more or less consistently, I know that I’m ready to move on to Step 4.

Note. Aiming to work means you actively try to hit this number of hours every week, even if it means picking up an extra shift or two. Don’t aim to hit this income like I aim to go to the gym, or this system probably isn’t going to work for you.

4. Decide on your hierarchy

Now that you’ve got your Baseline income and your Ideal income, you need to decide what’s most important to you from Point 4. Any money that you earn over your Baseline income is going to be directed towards this first, and then all of your other Ideal savings in order. For me, that hierarchy looks a bit like this:

  1. Spending money
  2. House deposit
  3. Travel savings
  4. General savings

As I mentioned above, I budget for $200 discretionary spending per week. Any money I earn over my Baseline Income will be prioritised for that, and then any remaining will be tucked into my house deposit fund, then my travel savings, and so on. The less of a priority a certain savings goal is, the earlier it is cut when my earnings dip below normal.

If moving your money around imaginary envelopes like Scrooge McDuck doesn’t sound appealing to you, your hierachy make look more like this:

  1. Spending Money
  2. Savings

Or even:

0.5 Spending Money

0.5 Savings

Decide what matters to you, and rearrange that Ideal Income accordingly.

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5. Build your buffer

This is the important bit! If you’ve been paying attention, you might be crying ‘But Abbie, you said that you worked 8 hours one week- that’s way below your Baseline income! However did you survive?’

It’s time meet your Buffer.

Any week that I earn enough to make sure my Baseline and Ideal Income is met (I’m looking at you, 56 hour week), I focus on building my Buffer – in my case, that means that every penny of the extra money gets thrown into my General Savings account before I get a sniff of that online sale and blow it all at once.

Being disciplined about building a buffer is going to make all the difference when the work dries up or a passion project starts calling. It may take time to accumulate, but having a savings account to pull from when hours are slim is going to make all the difference when it comes to covering those bills- just make sure to only pull what you need for that week, and only if your working hours slip below that Baseline Income. Otherwise you’re going to see those hard-earned savings fritter away on an outfit here and a dinner out there (or is that just me?)

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If you’ve got the hang of this and you’re a financial control freak like me, you can also start adding more detailed envelopes in Goodbudget– I’ve got accounts ranging from ‘Birthdays’ (because I was sick of birthday presents chipping into my weekly spending money) to Cat, to ‘Splurge’ (because sometimes you need a little blowout). These also get topped up every time I get a windfall, and the money waits there until it’s needed.

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At the end of the day, living with a casual job (or three) is about being incredibly disciplined and amazingly flexible at the same time. It’s easy to go spend-crazy at the end of a big week- you’ve earned it!– and then chew your nails down to a nub when the work dries up. Taking the time to build a plan for your income(s) is going to be the key to finally stop living hand to mouth and start working towards those financial goals. You may not be working like a grown-up, but at least you can start saving like one!


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How can you budget if you don’t work 9-5?

Mid-Year Goals Review!

So I actually had planned to write this post for the middle day of the year (July 2nd, if you were wondering), but then I went to Tasmania for a bit, the blog went on hiatus, and life sort of got in the way. BUT since tracking goals is such a great way of achieving them, I guess there’s no time like the present to see how I’ve been tracking.

This year I used the highly complicated system of two post-it notes in the back of my diary to plan out what I wanted to achieve from the months ahead- one for personal goals, and one for career goals. While such high-tech tracking may not be for everyone, I’ve really enjoyed being able to flick to the back of my diary and see how I’m going. There was no huge amount of thought put into the goals, I just jotted down a few items from the top of my head- they are as follows:

Personal

-$2,500 in stocks, house deposit fund, and emergency savings

-Start a blog and contribute to it regularly

-Get in shape!

-Minimalise my house

-Build an alternative income source

Career

-Jump into opportunities without considering the financials

-New Agent

-30% of income performance base

-Voiceover reel

-At least two new clips for showreel

 

So how am I going?

Personal

-$2,500 in stocks, house deposit fund, and emergency savings While my savings aren’t quite where I would want them to be thanks to a little dental mishap, I’m still hoping to build them close to this target by the end of the year. I currently have $2, 678 in my Acorns account, $1,340 in my house deposit account, and $760 in my Emergency savings. One of the reasons my HD & ES figures are lower than I had originally planned for is that I decided to include another savings project- Travel. While most of that money is going towards flights etc for a wedding in the Coromandel in Dec, and then taking me back to NZ later in the month for my Christmas trip home, I’m happy to sacrifice some of my financial goals to see more of the world before it changes even more (pessimistic? Maybe so). I’ve also put a small amount aside to buy an actual camera to record that traveling, because there’s only so far a phone can take you. If anyone has recommendations, please let me know!

-Start a blog and contribute to it regularly Yay, you’re on it! It took me a while to get Ferdydurking Blog up & going, but apart from one hiatus after my Tassie trip when life got a little away on me, I have been writing regularly and enjoying the chance to get some of my ramblings out into the world. Thanks guys!

Can you blame me for getting distracted?

-Get in shape! I actually wrote a figure down for this goal, but it feels like something a bit too personal to share (I’m well aware that the weight on the scale can have very little to do with how you physically look, so I’m not too concerned about the final number anyway). In 2017 I’ve been moving my focus away from music theatre, and towards getting more screen work. As depressing as it may be, TV works does require- well, a TV body. I’ve spent most of the last eight months faffing around, but have finally knuckled down and am at my slimmest since…probably university? I won’t reach my goal by the end of the year, but I’m hoping to put my best foot forward for that beach wedding in December!

-Minimalise my house Nope, nope, big ol’ nope. I can’t help it, I’m a clutter-bug. I can clean a table and a day later it’s covered in stuff that I didn’t even know I owned. I have shifted so much stuff so far, but there’s still so much to go before I can be really happy with my surroundings. My zero-waste swaps have actually been really great for this, my shower looks pretty sleek and amazing without all of the plastic bottles and miscellany. Now to work that magic on the rest of the house!

-Build an alternative income source This one is still very much a work in progress. At the moment I work 40ish hours a week in a variety of customer service roles, which is starting to become incredibly draining.

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In my dream world, I will need to do a lot less engaging with people. I have started doing some freelance writing, which is something I definitely want to expand on, and I’m looking forward to dipping my toe in voiceover work, which has definitely liberated a few friends of mine.

Career

-Jump into opportunities without considering the financials Working a variety of casual roles has definitely been a help with my acting career, but it also can occasionally be a hindrance. It’s hard to say a whole-hearted Yes to an unpaid opportunity when the back of your brain is quietly calculating how many hours of work you’ll miss out on, and whether you’ll be able to cover rent that week. I’ve worked hard over the past few months to build up my savings enough to cover the odd patch of time off, and I’ve done three shoots recently with only a tiny twinge of guilt over lost income! I wouldn’t say I don’t consider the financials, but I now have the luxury of making them less of a priority.

-New Agent Done! After going through the drama of my old representation disappearing under my feet, the first half of this year was spent trying to find my perfect match. I am now with a new agent, and couldn’t be happier!

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-30% of income performance base Due to the unexpected loss of my agent, this has been a pretty slow year for my acting so far, so I’m a long way off this goal. Acting work is so sporadic that one good gig would be enough to turn this stat around, but at the moment I’m slugging away at a few of my recurring jobs, and making sure that I’m still working towards my goals

-Voiceover reel Voiceover work is something I’ve been looking into for a while – I’ve done a tiny bit of voicework before, and it’s been mentioned a couple of times that I should investigate it further. It’s taken almost eight months, but I’ve finally enrolled in a crash course, and if that goes well I’m still on track to get a demo reel recorded by the end of the year. Here’s to an alternative income stream!

-At least two new clips for showreel Ahhh, the ever present search for new showreel material. I’ve done a couple of projects this year with a very promising script that unfortunately have turned out to be completely unusuable once they leave the edit room. This is unfortunately a goal that I will keep working towards, but I haven’t been able to check off yet.

How is your year going? Have you spent some time reviewing your goals? How do you prefer to record and track your goals? Did you even set any? I would love to know!

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Mid-Year Goals Review!

Falling Through Spiderwebs

A couple of months ago BrokeGIRLrich wrote a fantastic post called Falling Through Spiderwebs. Melissa was one of the first (in fact, I think she was the first) finance blogger that I discovered in the big ol’ world of the interwebs, and I’ve always enjoyed her posts because her career as a stage manager makes it feel like I’m looking into a dark little corner of the acting world that doesn’t often get the glory (now would be the time to read Let’s Hear It For The Crew! if you haven’t had the chance).

I normally read the BrokeGIRLrich updates as they land in my inbox and then delete them, but Falling Through Spiderwebs struck a chord, and it’s been left floating around in my inbox. I sometimes get questioned on my ‘obsession’ with money – holidays or unpaid jobs can get a little stressful as I work out how much paid work I will miss out on to take them, and budgeting makes me do a happy dance.

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(seriously)

Mel’s post is such an accurate summary of one of the reasons why I have a healthy interest in squirreling money away. As a starving student, and a now a not-quite-starving actor, having a cushion between me & impending doom really does make it feel like I have a few spider-webs carefully spun to catch me if something goes wrong. Well, last week…something went wrong.

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I woke up at about 6.30am with a niggly tooth. In a sleepy haze, I mentally made a note to book a dental appointment for my next day off. Within 30 minutes that had become, ‘make a dental appointment now‘, and by 7.30 I was in pain. Like, serious pain. I couldn’t sit still, couldn’t string together a sentence, could barely muster enough mental focus to google the closest dentist.

Is anyone else getting that sinking feeling? You guessed it…

…Root Canal

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I always thought the air of horror surrounding root canals was related to the amount of pain involved with completely gutting a tooth. As a functioning adult, I can finally say that I know better-  because if there’s anything that my trip to the dentist hurt, it was my savings goals.

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Me thinking about my $3,000

For someone who takes home approx. $800 a week, $3,000 could have been catastrophic – four years ago, it would have been. So as much as those three visits hurt to the very core of my being, there’s a little sense of pride that I will be able to pay them off without resorting to credit.

Would I rather see that money safe in my Acorns or home deposit fund? You betcha. BUT thanks to my Acorns, my piddly little house deposit saving, and a few other emergency funds here and there, there are enough layers of webbing to catch me, turning a dental disaster into a slightly unfortunate setback. And for me, that security is worth all of the budgeting in the world. What do you think?


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Falling Through Spiderwebs

Micro saving for micro-investing

What’s this- a second blog on Acorns? You betcha. And no, I’m not working with them- I’m just a little obsessed.

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I didn’t meant to write any more on the matter, but after my last post I was marveling at just how much money has accrued in my account through tiny top-ups. And then I got to thinking about how many equally tiny payments I make on a regular basis. You know the ones I mean- they’re the charges we tend to write off as the cost of convenience – $2 or $2.50 to the bank to draw money from an ATM is just a little sting when I get the money out, but that can easily add up to $200 across the course of the year. The same could be said for any time that I just grab a ‘quick bite’ because I wasn’t organised enough to bring something from home, or when I forget to pay a bill early and lose that discount.

While this could descend into another discussion on the Latte Factor, what it really reminded me of was this fantastic app that surfaced just before I left NZ (skip to about 50sec in for the real details).

 

The concept is beautiful to a compulsive saver. One big red button and the money you were going to spend on that avoidable little convenience vanishes from your account and pads out your savings instead. Isn’t that magical?

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It occurred to me that Acorns can serve the same voodoo hoodoo function. After all, most of these tiny expenses are ones that you’re already absorbing into your weekly budget, so if you’re not struggling financially you probably won’t even notice they’re missing (you do have a budget, don’t you?)

Decided to skip your afternoon coffee? Drop that $3.50 into your app instead. Walked the extra block to get to an ATM that doesn’t charge you withdraw fees? Squirrel that $2.50 away, baby.

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Now Acorns is my app of choice here (because as far as I’m aware, in Australia it’s the only choice) but the Red Button saving technique that I’ve definitely just invented can transfer to any of your savings efforts.

Operating in cash? Physically take that money out of your wallet and tuck it somewhere else. Make sure to keep it separate from your daily spending money, and transfer it out of your bag as soon as you can- As they say, out of sight, out of mind, and on your way to a million buckaroos!

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…I may have made up that last bit.

 


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Micro saving for micro-investing

Gratuitous Gratitude Time

I’ve been doing some writing recently for a great little startup that involved creating a series of emails to guide their customers through a very basic mindfulness practice. The most recent dispatch introduced the idea of gratitude and the importance of acknowledging the great things in life as you look back (or forward) over the day. It was only as I sat down to write this post that I realised that’s not something I’ve been practicing regularly in my own life! So here they are, the three things I’m grateful for today:

  1. That the $13 I have left in my wallet to last the weekend just means that I’m sticking to my budget and watching my savings grow
  2. That I can afford to rent my beautiful little apartment to share with my sassy little fluffball and no-one else (introverts unite!). It’s been 18 months now and I still get an overwhelming sense of peace every time I put my key in the front door.
  3. That I have a week in Tasmania coming up with a bunch of amazing girls! Two weeks to go until whiskey tours, endless cheese and late nights around a fire with the best company a gal could ask for.

You know what? It felt really great to write that list! I think it’s so easy to get swept up in what I still need to achieve, that it’s nice to sit back and look at what I’ve already got.

What are you grateful for this week? Let me know in the comments below!

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Gratuitous Gratitude Time

Are you living like a Millionaire?

Wish you were a millionaire?

I don’t blame you- who doesn’t?

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Actual archival footage of me with money

Even if the actual number of zeros in your bank account is a little less than awe-inspiring, there are still ways to feel like a millionaire with your current income. For example, how do you feel every time one of those big, ugly annual bills come in- probably not great, right? You may have to put it on the credit card and watch that interest mount until you can pay it off, or perhaps you have to dig into your travel fund when the car insurance comes knocking.

It doesn’t have to be that way! Imagine that huge bill coming in, and paying it without a second thought- no stress, no cold sweat, no credit.

But isn’t that a luxury that only a millionaire can enjoy?

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Not if you’re smart! (or just organised)

Being able to pay bills with ease is one of the greatest benefits of having a budget, at least for me and my sporadic performers income. While you might not see the benefits of budgeting for specific annual bills for a while, setting it up only takes a few minutes and the peace of mind it can give you is astronomical.

Why not sort it out now? You’re clearly not under the pump, since you’re hanging out with me. And if we’re anything alike, your procrastination urges have just kicked in- go ahead, make a cup of tea, I’ll wait.

Ready to go? Great.

Grab a piece of scrap paper, the back of an envelope, anything- this won’t take long. Jot down every annual bill you can think of. We’re talking along the lines of car or health insurance, pet registration, or any of the other grown up things you forget you need to pay before it’s almost too late (you may need to dive into your email to look up exact charges for some of them).

Think you’ve got them all sorted? Awesome! Tot all of the figures up and try not to think about how big that total figure is. Have a sip of tea. Now divide that total figure by the amount of paydays you have in a year and we’re almost done.

Your homework is to open a new zero-fee bank account and set up an auto-transfer of that sum every payday into your newly created ‘annual bills fund’. Set and forget!

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You may find that this system needs a bit of a breaking in period (depending on when your next bill is coming due), but eventually you’re going to be living the stress-free bill paying life of a millionaire. Any time your butler hands you a red envelope on your silver platter, you can smugly flip your hair (or whatever the guy equivalent of this is- please let me know) and pay it without  second thought.

‘But wait a minute!’ I hear you cry, ‘All of my annual bills add up to fifty bucks a pay cycle! I can’t just lose that money every week, I need it!’

I feel that, really I do. But what would hurt you more- the $50 loss every week, or the $600 bill when you’re least expecting it? This is not a bandaid situation where it hurts less if you do it all at once- set up your auto-saving now, and soon you won’t even notice those missing few dollars, I promise.


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Are you living like a Millionaire?

Ideas for a no-spend weekend! (That I would actually want to do)

Everywhere you look on the ‘frugal’ side of the interwebs, you’re going to stumble across a bazillion list-oids for great ways to save money. I love saving money! Count me in.

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Hello darkness my old friend…

One of the more popular lists seems to be ideas for things to do on a no-spend day/week/weekend/life. Again, I’m so on board with this. It’s easy to look at the day off looming ahead and start to wonder what you’re going to do with all of that spare time- maybe the movies? Brunch? Dinner with friends? Or perhaps you should go and check out that sale, just in case…

I am a huge fan of all of these things, but if you’re trying to save money for something special, weekend spending can really derail your efforts. The only problem is that a lot of these lists are full of things that don’t really appeal (or apply) to someone like me:

Meet the neighbours (you mean, talk to people?)

Join an organized sport (nope)

Hold a baby (could be creepy)

Window shop (you think I have that much self-control?)

So without further ado, I present my abridged list of things to do on a no-spend weekend! To keep it short, I haven’t included anything that I would do anyway (going for a run and meal prepping both seemed to crop up a lot). Nossir, these are all activities that I don’t normally participate in, but would definitely consider a fun or productive way to spend a day off.

Here we go!

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Volunteer There are so many places that are always looking for helping hands to support their daily running- it’s just a matter of finding one that aligns with your interests. For example, I would definitely be on board with gathering some friends and going to volunteer at the guide-dog HQ in exchange for wriggly puppy playtime! Maybe you love sports or get joy from being up to your elbows in dirt (me). I can promise you there’s someone out there just waiting to put those urges to good use.

Visit a Library  Apparently libraries are something that still exist? Who knew. The library used to be my absolute happy place when I was a kid- I would always leave with more books than I could carry, and could easily burn through one a day. I even remember a period where I would get my ‘quality time’ with Dad by going to the library and then out for takeways on a Thursday night.

So many great library memories! I don’t know why I ever stopped going.

– yes I do. Because I grew up, and grown up Abbie likes excuses to spend money.

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But in a library, there’s never any pressure to pick a book you’re definitely going to enjoy, or that you’re even going to read. Apparently libraries these days are also full of other great things like DVDs, audiobooks, movie nights, craft clubs and laugh clubs (maybe that’s just mine?). Channel eight year old me and head to your local library for so many books they make your arms hurt, and then head home to binge on your new (free) treasures. Can’t be bothered signing up at your local? Dig out that book you’ve been swearing you’ll read ‘one day’ and make it today.

Play tourist in your own city When you’re travelling, it’s normal to walk out your front door with a to-do list bulging with great activities for the day ahead. But be honest here- how many great activities in your own town will you ‘get around to doing one day’, or dismiss as ‘just for the tourists’? Time to play make believe! Write a list, grab your map, and try to tick off as many spots as you can on your tourist adventure. You may need the help of google beforehand to get a complete list of museums, art galleries, tourist sights and fun free activities to cram in- the friendly people at your local Visitor Information will be a wealth of information as well. Throw on a fake moustache and your very best foreign accent, it’s time to explore your home town like you’re not a local (bonus points if you find a Gallery opening with some free bubbles).

Host a Film Festival So what if all you’re playing is the first three seasons of Breaking Bad, or if you’re the only attendee. You are a classy individual and the sole curator of the latest entry on the festival circuit- Cannes, eat your heart out! If you feel like socializing, invite some friends over to join and really turn it into an event. Pick a theme (maybe every film with Jennifer Aniston ever, terrible horror films,  the most obscure 80s DVDs you found during your earlier library visit, or each person’s favourite childhood movie) and binge your heart out.

Crank out the board games or cards  Those pesky friends still hanging around from your film festival? Time to bring out those dusty old board games! I secretly love game nights- a group of my friends have co-ownership in the Firelfly boardgame and get together regularly to try and finish it (we have- once). And who doesn’t like Monopoly? Everyone apparently, but I’m going to make you play it anyway. If you really want to make it interesting, you can always play by my family rules- winner does the dishes, loser gets first go at the dessert.

Deep clean the house I know, this one doesn’t sound that fun. But how great will you feel at the end of the day when that one nagging corner of clutter isn’t glaring at you anymore? Ideas to get you started – the patch of mould in the bathroom, the expired goods in your pantry, that overflowing cupboard, or that task that came into your head as soon as I said ‘that one nagging thing’. Find a playlist or audiobook that is going to make this less painful for you, and get to it!

Bake One way to really clean out the kitchen is to use up all of those half-empty treats in a delicious experiment. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got a few boxes of pre-mix that are waiting for the apocalypse. Now is the time! That warm, gooey brownie is going to taste a lot better fresh from your oven than it would on an afternoon coffee date. If sweets aren’t your thing, why not try your hand at a loaf of home-made bread?

Learn a new skill The more ridiculous, the better. Always wanted to know how to juggle? This is the day. Or how about knitting or origami?  Or those crosswords that apparently make you really smart. Even learning a new language is easy to get started in this technological age- free programmes like Duolingo can get you on the right road.  Just be sure not to rush out and spend all your moolah getting set up for your new skill- if you’re anything like me, there are probably more than enough resources lying around the house.

Review your budget Yaaasssss, Abbie’s favourite thing. Pour yourself a nice cup of tea and clear a space, it’s time to brush up on your finances! Look over your spendings for the past few months- anything you can cut back on? Anything you need to start setting more money aside for? Now is also a good time to call up your suppliers and try your luck at getting your bills reduced- most companies have a surprising amount of wriggle room once you break the news that you’re considering changing suppliers. Make sure to check for any subscriptions that you’re no longer using (do you really need that Audible subscription now that you’ve discovered all the audiobooks available through your library’s website?). While you’re at it, why not set some financial goals for the rest of the year? Look at what you want to achieve and then work backwards to find a way to squeeze it into your budget.

Write down some goals While you’re planning ahead with your budget, why not think about what else you want to achieve in the next six months?

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It’s proven that writing your goals down makes you much likely to achieve them and even the most overwhelming goal can seem a little more possible if you break it down into baby steps. Use your no-spend day to get on course for the rest of the year or if you’re really artistic (which I am not), you could use the day to make one of those fancy vision boards.

Have a pamper day I guess? I’m as much of a sucker for a newly painted set of nails as the next gal so team this with a movie & a steaming cup of tea (can you tell it’s winter here at the moment?) and that sounds like a good avo in.

Host a clean-out potluck with friends Round up a bunch of friends, forbid them to spend a penny, and watch what everyone tries to create from the depth of their pantry. Edible? Maybe not. Hilarious? Hells yeah. I’m going to give it a go and report back!

Reach out to someone Be it that parent that you really should call, or that high school friend that you haven’t seen in years. Pick up the phone, or even better- send a letter! Channel your primary school crafter and make it a work of art. Make sure to put some glitter in that envelope as well- just so they never forget you.

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Rearrange your room Because nothing makes a fun day off like lugging heavy furniture! But seriously, changing things up is a great way to make you look at your room with fresh eyes, and maybe you would like to try the bed on the other wall for a bit?

Start a journal Is it just me or is journaling back in style? It feels like I’m seeing amazing layouts everywhere these days. You can use a journal to clear your head, tidy your thoughts, or record your daily life. It may feel dippy to be recording your deepest dreams and fears or who you saw for coffee yesterday, but as someone who has found diaries from eight year old Abbie, I swear that you’ll be happy you wrote it all down later!

Do any of the above in a blanket fort Because blanket fort, obviously

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Ideas for a no-spend weekend! (That I would actually want to do)