Friday 29 January 2016

Money, Money, Money

Today is a very bad day.

I have to file my tax return. Isn't it funny how the first 100 days of staying sober go so slowly, and yet the twelve months between one tax return and the next scoot by like a Russian athlete on steroids?

I particularly resent the hours and hours it takes me to sort out all my tax paperwork and fill in the online forms, because my paltry income barely makes it above the tax threshold. Endless angst for a mere molecule in a drop, in the vast ocean of HMRCs tax receipts.

I remember doing my return last year. I decided to 'celebrate' part way through with a glass or two of vino. Needless to say, that didn't help much.

The other thing I remember about last year, is that I started January, as per usual, with a bank balance of, approximately, zero.

The excesses of Christmas had totally wiped me out. So, by the end of January I was well into my overdraft facility. By the time I'd paid the tax I owed, I was four thousand pounds overdrawn.

It took me months (and begging the husband for an emergency hand out) to get me anywhere near the black again.

My attitude to finances is very mature. I have two basic principles: (1) whenever you take cash out and your balance is displayed on screen close your eyes. (2) Towards the end of the month, when you go to withdraw cash, pray to the cash machine Gods and they will, hopefully, continue to provide.

But, yesterday, as I prepared all the numbers for my tax return, I had to wade through months and months of online bank statements, and I noticed an incredible thing.

At the beginning of January this year I was in the black. SOLVENT!

And, even more incredible: at the END of January I am in the black. STILL SOLVENT!

(This won't be the case, obviously, by the time I've paid Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs).

There is only one possible reason for this miracle (my income is down year on year, not up): I have saved a small fortune by not drinking.

Like the weight loss thing, it's happened slowly, slowly, drop by drop. So slowly that I didn't really notice it (plus I had my eyes closed). But, nearly eleven months later, I am approximately THREE THOUSAND POUNDS better off than this time last year.


Yet another fabulous reason to keep going, my friends.

And, by the way, if you're finding Fridays particularly hard right now, then read my post on Fear of Fridays (click here).

Now, back to that blasted tax return....

SM x



    Good for you. I am hoping to put the money I save towards my dream..... a trip to Lapland over Christmas with my autistic son who would be beside himself with excitement. It was always 'too expensive'. I am saving about £3 k too....... well and truly able to have a decent holiday.

    There are NO downsides to sobriety. :)

  2. Amazing isn't it. But if you do the math - figure what your typical bottle of wine cost and then multiply - and god forbid if you went to bars - you're easily paying for a family vacation or building a college fund (here in the States) for what you used to put into your body to kill brain cells and soon flush down the loo. Happy for you. E

  3. It's all about progress, I have to remember that. I appreciate you writing how the "first 100 days of sober goes so slowly", as that is how I feel right now. But reading your blog every morning helps me to stay strong. Congratulations on your finances! But sorry about the taxes. In the US, one pays their taxes on/before April 15th. I'm not looking forward to it either.

  4. Hi SM, yes Tesco's probably don't know what has hit them as we haven't bought any booze for 4 weeks now and the recycling bins are much less of an embarrassment (I was starting to make clandestine trips to local bottle banks to hide the truth. Have a good weekend and good luck with the HMRC!!!


  5. SM, just read your 21 Mar 15 - thank you - it helps.


    1. I've just re-read it too. I've come a long way, baby! And you will too! Xx

  6. Thanks again SM. Especially on a tricky day. Weekend in London, posh hotel and complimentary champagne on ice in room oN arrival. Very nearly succumbed. But didn't. Have just totted up January's savings - a regular massage for me. X

  7. Thanks again SM. Especially on a tricky day. Weekend in London, posh hotel and complimentary champagne on ice in room oN arrival. Very nearly succumbed. But didn't. Have just totted up January's savings - a regular massage for me. X

  8. Hello, SM! Taxes are horrifying. I was also in the habit of procrastinating my stupid stupid tax return, just the thought of it made me cringe and turn awaaaaayyy and I always waited until the last minute (April 15 here) and then slogged my way through, also "celebrating" to cushion the blow of of how much I owed. BUT NOT THIS YEAR DAMMIT. Because Sober-Me from last summer had the wherewithal to remember to change her with-holdings with payroll so she won't owe $3k, and then January Sober-Me already located and filed every single piece of paper vaguely related to taxes. Software is downloaded! Now just waiting for the remaining paperwork to arrive in the mail! Yay for us!