The Quantified Self

By Alison June 12, 2014 1 Comment 3 Min Read

There are things in this life that completely pass me by. Things people forget to tell me in the course of creating the grown-up me.
Take for example my new boiler. It comes with a wireless thermostat that lives downstairs and switches the heating on and off as and when it decides the house has got too cold. Readers this is a revelation to me. And though those I have told have looked at me perplexed and advised me not to share my astonishment in case people come to believe I am truly simple, I am sharing my astonishment regardless, because I can’t hold my own water let alone resist sharing the not so secret little wonder that is a thermostat!
You see in all the years that I have been a home-owner I have never had a boiler with a thermostat. When I needed to heat the house I trotted upstairs and switched the heating on and when it got too stifly I went back up and switched it off and sometimes I forgot and went merrily off to bed and used up gas in a willy-nilly fashion, simply not realising that the rest of the world never, ever had to think about heating the house because their lovely little thermostats were doing it for them in the most efficient of manners.
Readers this has been costing me money! In fact a little further investigation has revealed that LIFE has been costing me money and I have barely noticed because I have been so busy believing that this is how life is. And that a person didn’t need to drive herself demented watching the pennies because the pounds were looking after themselves, but they aren’t are they?? A person needs to quantify every penny in and out of her Cath Kidston purse or else the little copper harlots start throwing themselves at the unnecessary and the necessary becomes a headache a person has to turn life upside down to deal with!
My carelessness extends to receipts I never check, bills I carry on paying long after I have given up using the service, chasing payments owed to Brocantehome, pantry staples I buy over and over again out of force of habit (Need vinegar? I’m your gal: I have bought three bottles this month!) and oh so many other little something’s I really should have been keeping an eye on.
And so my Darlings, now I am the kind of person who owns a thermostat, I have decided it is time to quantify my entire financial life and stop letting money go ballet dancing down the drain. I am trying to teach myself how to use spreadsheets to chase subscriptions, and watch what money comes in and out of my life, in one way or another, and I simply didn’t realise that this would be such a steep learning curve when other people seem to be able to whip up a spreadsheet faster than I can whip up a Victoria Sponge.
I have also been having great fun with YNAB: a budgeting app that has recently changed my life. It is thanks to YNAB that I have managed to both pay for the blasted beautiful boiler and get the money together for the car I oh so desperately need. Though I am no longer buying the car off the parents of the children I take to school, because they sold it some one else, (and this is probably a good thing, because the kids told me Mummy needed to get rid of the car because it looked like a shed, and a person probably doesn’t want to be ferrying said children to and fro in cast off shed!), I know that having taken the time to shuffle pennies into my “car” budget, I can buy another as soon as I happen across one unlikely to cause me outrageous headaches in the depths of Winter.
See? I’m not a complete dope. I just didn’t realise that money needs counting and organising and budgeting and that there were things other people have been doing all along to save it, that they simply forget to tell me. So um yeah: all this is other people’s fault. And now that I am turning over a new financial leaf, I will soon be able to regale you with all manner of money saving devices you already know about won’t I?
Long live the thermostat.
P.S: Should you too decide You Need A Budget, you can use this link to YNAB to get an immediate $6.00 off the full price of this rather magical (and truly different) budgeting app…

1 Comment

  1. Wendy says:

    Here is a tip for the pantry: place a note pad with magnet on the back, on your refrigerator. When you are halfway through that bottle of vinegar, write it on the pad. Or the milk, butter, eggs, nuts….etc. Also, keep a list of toiletries there as well, no worries about you running out of loo roll that way.

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