Alice-Azania Jarvis: 'Deciding on my New Year's resolution is easy: spend less'
In The Red
Saturday 10 January 2009
This year, deciding on my New Year's resolutions is easy. Too easy. In fact, there are so many things I could be doing better that I'm at risk of losing track. Put simply, my resolutions comprise two strands: eat less, and spend less. But mainly spend less.
They're the same two promises I've been making for the last, oooh, decade? Ever since I could no longer scrape by on pocket money and puppy fat. Take them at face value and they seem simple enough – but believe me, they're far more complicated than they sound.
In fact, despite the years of practice I've had in making them, I'm surprisingly under-rehearsed when it comes to keeping them. The longest I've ever lasted has been until March. Then I hit my birthday and all sense of restraint goes right out the window, replaced instead by chocolate cake, gin, and poor mathematics – a combination that lasts me quite comfortably until the next year, when I start all over again.
The problem, I think, is each resolution's breadth. They each entail so many steps – spending less in particular – that, although I'm only trying to achieve two end goals, I'm actually making 28 smaller commitments. Which, when it comes to it, is rather a lot.
So this year, I'm breaking things down. This month I'll be concentrating on coffee. Not giving it up – my love of caffeine is far too strong for that – just paying less for it. I need to stop buying that takeaway coffee, and start carrying a thermos. In fact, I need to buy a thermos. A cheap one. Or maybe two, so that I can bring soup to work – in which case I'll need to start making soup. And so it goes on...
So far, things have gone OK. I had a decidedly credit crunch-friendly New Year's Eve, empty-stomached and guzzling cheap liquor with my flatmate in the comfort of our own home. We had planned to go out – to a Kentish house party – but the sub-zero temperatures and transport costs conspired against us. Instead we stayed in to watch Jools Holland perform the countdown, wallowing in our own virtuousness, admiring the Christmas tree and spending a grand total of £10 (plus heating bill) between us. We even got a bird's eye view of the fireworks – one of the few virtues of living in a tower-block.
As for how the rest of the year pans out, we'll have to wait and see. Something tells me that 2009's efforts might be more successful that usual– if only because I have little choice. My bank statements have arrived bearing the scars of December's shopping. And believe me, they're not pretty.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
- 1 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 2 Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
- 3 Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
iJobs Money & Business
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Age Concern Slough a...
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Crossroads Care is s...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000: SThree: We consistently strive to be ...
£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...
Day In a Page
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens