The atomicules moniker came about when I was trying to think about what was important to me - the base particles (hence the “P” theme) that formed me:

  • Picture - I sent my daughter’s films off to be developed this year. I couldn’t afford to send my one roll off (from last year or start of this year? I can’t remember).
  • Program - I lost my £10 NetBSD desktop earlier this year when electricity prices shot up (it was not energy efficient). I cannot see me being able to replace it any time soon. Yes I do programming at work, but I haven’t managed to do any personal stuff since… I can’t remember.
  • Push - I did 2400km of running last year. It cost a pittance. This year about 800km. Yes injury and illness have been a massive factor. But also life has changed and I don’t get as much time now. I can remember the running. I miss it so much.

Obviously I should have had “listening to music” in there, but I could never really make it fit the “P” theme.

So for 2023 as well as trying to come up with a personal allowance for money I also want one for time.

Owing to moving house this year and a couple of other ridiculously expensive activities I dropped my allowance down to one percent to help out as much as possible. In fact, I wiped out my “balance” in May to help out even more and I only had two percent before then so if I work it out I’ve spent 1.14% of my income this year. This is like the bad old days.

This is not sustainable. Anyway, rather than thinking about this in terms of money I’m trying to think about it in terms of time (spent exercising) - this will actually make sense since running shoes are going to be the most expensive thing I want to buy.

For example: One pair of shoes a year is about 800km max. Which is roughly 6.6 hours a month. And very roughly one percent of time. And affordable on one percent of my income. But I also want to do some yoga. And I feel at the very least I should hit the NHS recommendations, so one percent isn’t going to cut it.

NHS recommend 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise. Which is 2.5 hours of running (I’m not counting walking the bloody dogs). Strength (yoga) is on top of that. 2x 15 minute workouts or 1x 30 minutes would be cool. So let’s say 3 hours* of exercise (me time) a week. That’s 1.8% (rounded) of the week. Seems realistic. Seems kind of fair.

If I also take that as an allowance that’s enough to get me two pairs of running shoes a year (on top of other stuff like phone credit, server rental, etc), so I can also cover the overall distance that percentage of time allows. I’m hoping this is low enough not to impact the rest of the family, but also a lot more than I have now.

I think this seems like a plan I’m “ok” with (I’m all about compromising): 1.8% of my time and money for me next year.

* - I used to do single runs that were three hours long, but whatever, runs that long are not on the cards for the foreseeable future.

[EDIT: 2024-05-20] Forgot to give some updates:

  1. Shortly after I wrote this I had to adjust things down to 1.5%
  2. And just recently I’ve accepted that 1.25% of my pay is a more realistic amount and without going into the details I’ve backdated my allowance down for 2024 to suit. I’ve kept my exercise/time amount at 1.5%. It would perhaps be nice to be able to increase my time to compensate for the loss of money, but again, I’m being realistic.
  3. In general though I think the idea here is a good one.