Right friends, we’re having it. We’re having the #TMLfinancialdiet. What started as instastory musing, on how to be better at saving, has turned into the #TMLfinancialdiet challenge for March and April. I got some good savings advice from asking for help on Instagram but what I got more of was people just like me letting their savings run away from them! I was having really lovely conversations with people I had never met before. We were talking about experiences over things. We were talking about how you save so hard – that you then “treat” yourself and almost find yourself back at the start again. And we were talking about what we were saving for and what our goals were. And friends, I WAS SO INSPIRED!
And so out of the blue I offered up the #TMLfinancialdiet! Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in, everyone will make their own rules and after a successful two months of saving we’ll celebrate with a champagne brunch. I thought maybe it would be me… and I’d ask my mom to join… who would say yes out of pity and keep spending like shoes are going extinct… But we’re a team of 15 starting on the #TMLfinancialdiet in March.
On the 25th of Feb our whatsapp group went live with some great introductions. We have people saving for weddings, holidays, time with loved ones, fighting their way out of debt and studying further. There are finance professionals, writers, accountants, food stylists, lawyers and med school students. Our group is a whole bunch of wonderful people from all different backgrounds wanting to take savings seriously. And friends, I AM SO INSPIRED!
If this sounds exciting to you – and you’d like to get involved! You’re not too late! We’re getting to know one another but are officially starting on 1st March. If you’re interested in joining grab me on Instagram at @toomuchloveliness. And let’s get serious about savings together!
My rules for the #TMLfinancialdiet
Because I am a nerd at heart- everyone who wanted to join was tasked with homework. Yes, homework. Everyone need to spend a little time before March thinking of their own rules for the financial diet! I had given some broad strokes – no spending on clothes, shoes, jewellery etc. But I wanted everyone to work out the rules that suit them best. Maybe you’re starting a new corporate job and your rule is no clothes shopping unless it is for work. Maybe you’re moving home – and your rule is no luxury spending unless it is for the home. But I think the more personal your rules are… the better you will follow them!
I thought I would share my rules with you for some inspiration and to see what direction we’re going in! I have set myself little challenges and ideas to help me along and keep me motivated.
1) No spending on clothing
I’m feast or famine when it comes to clothing. I won’t buy anything for months and then will suddenly buy most of Woolworths! And I fob it off as buying clothes for work – but I really don’t need any more!
Ideas to help me: Unsubscribe to those online mails with tempting offers and lovely pictures.
Challenge: In the first week of March have a thorough sort through of my wardrobe. Donate all clothing that I am not wearing. This is a win win – I have more space to see what’s going on in there and someone less fortunate gains something lovely to wear. I find having to many options actually just makes getting dressed more stressful!
Challenge: Run through my wardrobe and pull through ten outfits for work – and write them down from shoes to accessories and everything in between. The next time I am feeling uninspired for work – BAM! Outfit ready to go!
I really loved this beautiful blog post on how to buy less clothing.
2) No spending on skincare
This has turned into SUCH a vice! I never paid much attention to my skincare routine. I’ve always had good skin and my idea of skincare was “sometimes it gets wet in the shower”. I kid you not – I used to remove my makeup the next day with a cotton wool pad before applying more! But during my secondment in London the heavy pollution, cold weather, long hours and not drinking enough water led to fine lines around my eyes! This kicked my butt into gear and I have never looked back.
I fortunately use products from The Ordinary which aren’t super expensive. But I do splurge on a very pricey serum. And I do have an obsession with @Kissblushtell on Instagram. So when she recommends something – I am minutes away from an impulse buy!
Ideas to help me: Treat the “No spending on skincare” rule like a pamper party – grab those lovely samples I’ve been saving and use them! Open the samples, open the makeup saved for special occasions and TREAT YO SELF! Just don’t buy any more!
Ideas to help me: Starting thinking about what that one lovely skincare spoil will be in May when the #TMLfinancialdiet is over. Do a little research and read reviews and get excited about the delayed gratification.
3) No spending on toiletries (excl shampoo and conditioner)
This again is having more than enough. I have many gifted body shop sets that I haven’t even opened – lovely strawberry body washes, jasmine body butters and millions of scrubs! I’d like to through what I have before I go looking to buy more again.
Challenge: Whenever my mom and I travel we collect lovely toiletries from hotels or airlines (my mom, I am in the cheap seats). I have some gorgeous sets that I have been meaning to pack up and drop off at a shelter. As women, we can understand how a lovely shampoo, soap or moisturiser makes us feel. I would like to pass that along to someone in need. This will help me sort through the excess and hopefully brighten up someone’s day!
4) No spending on wine (this obviously excludes wine ordered in a restaurant)
Between Jono and I we have a significant wine collection. Like embarrassing. Like more than 400 bottles. Please can we swiftly move on from this… Some are aging but there are lots that are great for drinking now.
Ideas to help me: Keep a few bottles of wine in the fridge – that way when I need a bottle of wine for a dinner at home or out at a friends house the wine is ready to go and perfect for immediate pouring!
Ideas to help me: Pull out a more “special” bottle every month and earmark a dinner or certain friends to enjoy it with. That way it is more exciting to drink our existing wine and makes a bit of an event out of it.
5) Pack lunch every day
This one I am normally really good at – I probably buy lunch at work twice a month. But I have started to slip up lately just out of laziness and cooking for one with Jono away. But I would like to recommit myself to packing lunch everyday!
Challenge: Share four lovely “school” lunch recipes up on the blog in March and April to help inspire someone else to get cooking for lunch!
6) No candles
7) Absolutely no art – and no exceptions
8) No ordering takeaways
This is another one where when I’m good, I’m good. But when I’m bad, I’m wicked! No takeaways for weeks on end and then suddenly sushi platters, prawn tikka curries and, chicken and mushroom pizzas from Debonairs! And the worst part- you know there is food in my fridge when I am ordering this!
Challenge: Learn how to make a really delicious butter chicken curry so you can stop ordering it! Then prawn tikka masala! More indian cooking in my life please!
9) No gel manis
10) Experiences > things
This is something I have been talking about a lot on social media. This financial diet is not about sitting at home and crying. This diet is about prioritising the soft serve and walk on the beach with my dad over yet another pretty bowl with a bunny on it. Quality time over new face masks, beach swims over bikini shopping.
April is a huge month for me – we have a wedding in Mozambique and a dear friend visit from London. Am I going to pay for scuba diving in Mozambique – most definitely!! Am I going to buy new clothes for this four night wedding extravaganza? Unfortunately not. But we’ll be fine. (Dear friends in my size – expect a closet raid soon – thanks in advance).
11) No flowers or plants
12) No jewellery (you have more than enough)
13) Track all my expenses in an excel budget
I used to be great at this and I have a fabulous excel spreadsheet. It has vlookups and monthly comparisons with red, orange and green traffic lights. And honestly it’s great. But I got over it! Which is terrible! So I am going to recommit myself to the habit of update my excel spreadsheet for all spending. This is definitely the number one tool that keeps me accountable and aware of where my money is sneaking out!
Challenge: Tidy up my excel budget spreadsheet and share it as a resource on the blog to help others with their budgeting! (Note to self: work out how to save it as a resource… possibly outsource to Jono…).
Other helpful resources to help with the #TMLfinancialdiet
There are lots of recommendations for “Manage your money like a f*cking grown up” by Sam Beckbessinger. I am going to add it on my reading list to.
I recently read The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan. This book title was the inspiration behind the hashtag. And it really is an easy read for all levels of financial literacy. She has some lovely saving tips from clothes shopping to easy recipes and saving fund options.
I also think part of being financially literate is being up to date on what is happening in our economy. I’m a big fan of Digest which is a free daily email with a summary of the latest stories in South Africa. I would highly recommend you subscribe for the latest on SAA, Eskom and other ridiculous antics!