When it comes to budgeting money I am the absolute WORST and when I say worst, I mean I don’t. I’m one of those people who never looks at my bank account unless it’s pay day and even then I have a mild heart attack before I do so. Before I went to uni I had no debt’s or money issues at all; I was living at home with my parents and working a full time job! Eaaaaaaaaaasy ride money wise there. Even as a student I lived a very comfortable existence. I’ve always, ALWAYS had a job, there’s been not a time since I was 16 when I have been unemployed and my working life can be described as somewhat ‘colourful’ indeed. When I was at uni my part time job was my ‘treat’ money, I used to get £400 a month to literally spend on what I want… This built up over time and after getting essentials that I needed – such as a laptop and camera and course materials, I eventually thought I’d actually treat myself.. In the form of a Suzuki Grand Vitara 4×4… Ridiculous. I know. For some reason I decided to do this when I was in my final year, leaving no money for erm, LIFE after uni. So ever since then I’ve been more and more conscious about my spending habits. I always face palm a bit when I do see students going crazy with their money, mainly because it’s a ‘been there, done that, PLEASE LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES’ type thing. If I could go back and not have at least had that one last moment of money madness I’d certainly consider the future more, I mean if I’d have saved all the money I spend I’d be well on my way to a house deposit by now, and that literally turns my stomach to think about!
Throughout having money and not having money though, I’ve never been greedy really, apart from the 4×4 thing… I’ve always had a budget in my head for certain things that I tend to subliminally stick to anyway. For example – when clothes shopping: £25/dress, £15/skirt, £10/top is always a rule I stick by. I wouldn’t ever spend more than this amount on those things unless they were truly fantastic or special things! Ok, maybe sometimes I go a few quid over, but never massively. This doesn’t always work out though, as it did get me in to this false economy of buying stuff just because it was cheap. When I looked in my wardrobe one day and realised I had about 10 dresses which all cost about £10 each which I’d never worn, I realised that all those little purchases add up. According to the Debt Advisory Centre 62% of people regret buying clothing and I think I’m pretty much in that percentage, well, I used to be in that percentage…. Now I will only buy stuff I like. And only stuff that is within my price range. But a new trick I’ve started to do is leaving the labels on the garments. My new ‘rule’ is, if I don’t wear it within 14 days I take it back and get a refund, like around 8% of people do with unwanted clothes (and yes there’s been more than one occasion I have worn it to the shops to see how I feel it in and then still taken it back, whoops!). I’ve found this works quite well. But then it’s like I think it’s ‘free’ money if I take something back and often end up ‘investing’ the return money in to something else from the shop anyway. I did this the other week in Primark and then as I was waltzing around finding things to spend my Barry Big Time £12 on I realised I actually did need that £12 for other stuff so after around half an hour of browsing and getting annoyed I couldn’t find anything I just had the money back, I don’t know why that felt so strange though! I also found that I’m not buying stuff I would have done in my student days. I love an ironic cat print on a garment, but you wouldn’t believe the amount of ill fitting, totally horrid clothes I had which I bought just for the print. I always though ‘Oh, I could alter it’ but never actually did, so there was a very happy charity shop around about this time last year that had an influx of silly prints on horrible garments!
My philosophy right now is to try not to worry about it all and ‘YOLO’ (excuse that being dropped in there, it sickened me as much as it did you) as I did spend a bit too long stressing myself out of finances a few months ago – sleepless nights and making myself so so unhappy for a good few weeks took it’s toll (I hope that makes you think twice before commenting on bloggers ‘selling out’ with posts by the way!) but money is money at the end of the day and as Kanye says ‘Having money’s not everything, not having it is’ but I don’t want it to be everything and I certainly am not letting it be… Well trying, just as I wrote this post I threw a one woman pity party about my latest electric bill; there were tears, phone calls, panics, but what can I do? Suck it up and just get on with it, I literally cannot use LESS electric than I am now, and wallowing in my pity aint gonna get me far, I even rang them to see what I can do and there’s nothing because I’m such a ‘low user’?!?! Weird. So anyway, after a few tweets moaning, a bit of chocolate and a gym visit I’m feeling a bit better about it now and tomorrow is another day. One day I’l be rich beyond my wildest dreams, but for now my attitude will have to be my latitude and I’ll just let fate take it’s course whilst have a fun time whilst I’m still young.