The Unnecessary Purchases I Made in 2021

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Some financial goals I set myself for 2021, I didn’t manage to reach by the end of December. But I’ll reach them by the end of January 2022; I’m a month late. Yes, that makes me, in some respects, upset with myself. However, at the same time, this is the first time in my life I had financial goals set that were reachable. All financial goals I set for myself in previous years weren’t based on reality and facts but rather wishful thinking, which isn’t helpful on the way to financial independence.

Setting up goals based on what I had available to me was a totally new experience in my life. A very positive experience that supported the tips and suggestions I found in many financial blogs I’ve read over the past two years.

Since wishful thinking is my hobby, I wish I had known all that I know about finances and investments now in my 20’s or at least my early 30’s. But that is life for you, right?

2021 was a costly year. As a family we travelled a bit, despite the pandemic; in fact, the pandemic made travelling more expensive.

When we travel, we don’t count pennies and hold back on experiences: we eat out lots and tip generously, support local shops and local artists.

During the year we also made a few large purchases and helped friends and family members in need. On top of that our regular flat maintaining expenses went through the roof last year.

We also needed to change our car because London introduced ULEZ charges

Our charitable donations had grown significantly in 2021 as well, which makes all of us really happy about that.

2021 was also when I and teenage M. began our struggle with Long Covid. Since there is no real help, regardless of what the British officials say and how many media-ready Long Covid clinics they open, we invested a lot of money in our health and consultants’ appointments. In any “normal year” that wouldn’t have been the case.

However, despite all the financially unexpected and unusual spending and out of ordinary circumstances, we still managed to keep within our family realistic budgets limits.

A great lesson from 2021, for me, was to come to terms with a realistic family budget, not the imaginary one based on date from years ago.

Still, despite all the positive success, I still managed to make quite a few silly purchases that, when I come to think about, were nothing but a waste of financial resources and energy:

  • Subscribing to a financial newsletter Finimize. The newsletter is good, but I simply don’t have the time to read it all. I’m struggling with time and already  juggling a lot as it is, so adding one more thing to my “to do” list was expensive and simply not doable.
  • Joining Headspace. The app might work for some people, but I cannot find it useful. When I cannot sleep, it takes me ages to find some music I can listen to. And I don’t want someone to tell me that I should relax and breathe, close my eyes, and sleep. I know all that.
  • ExpressVPN – OMG, where do I start with this!? Apparently, I’m one of those people who doesn’t know how to cancel subscriptions. I was charged for renewing the VPN, which was a royal waste of money. We very rarely use it, unless we are in Poland and we are not in Poland very often nowadays.
  • Random lunches in coffee shops that looked good on the inside but served overpriced food.
  • Paying for baby M. South East London based forest school in advance. Well, baby M. didn’t enjoy it; in fact, she found it boring. On the other hand, I found it filled with activities not age-appropriate, such as: arts and crafts that parents had to do. Besides, the dude, who ran the forest school was mega unethical and patriarchal (the boys were allowed to do whatever they wanted, and girls were shamed or told off instantly). He also spoke down to mothers while treating fathers as his equals. Horrible experience over all.
  • Cakes, pastries, and lollipops (those drive me crazy) baby M. or teenage M. never eat, and I end up eating.
  • Books that I still haven’t started reading and most likely will take me ages to read (with the small print). The books were all second-hand, but those are still cluttering my space and gathering dust.

I think that’s about it. The influencers’ pressure drove the subscription purchases. The other financial frivolities were driven by the itching in my wallet and kids’ tantrums (I’m not perfect or made of ice).

 Looking at the list above, in 2022 I’m planning to be much more careful when it comes to subscription services; I’ll try to resist the pressure of influencers and maybe also children, but this one will be hard.

I’m in the process of setting up my new financial goals for 2022, which hopefully I’ll be able to accomplish by the end of December 2022. Once again, I need to focus on realistic goals based on the information and the current income I have, not on wishy-washy desires. I already know that two significant changes are coming up in my life that will influence my finances in 2022 and have a ripple effect in the future.

What financial mistakes have you made in 2021? Were those silly mistakes or large ones that set you back financially or made your journey to financial independence a bit trickier.

PS. This year, 2022, I’m trying a new approach to spending. I want to see how long I can go without buying anything else but the groceries. My spending ban also includes online shopping. Luckily, Amazon stopped accepting Visa credit cards in the UK, which is a positive incentive to stop shopping there.

I’m trying to establish new habits in my life, and I feel this exercise in minimal, basic spending will help me become even less in need of constant need for external stimulus to feel content.

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