This year has been a year of saving. I’ve saved and saved and saved and saved some more. I’m sick of saving, but I need to carry on just a little bit longer. Partly so I have some money when I do move (the reason for the saving) to use for food and to do other quite important things- like a buy a fridge to eat said food from. Oh and a chair to sit on.
I’ve learnt what living on an incredibly tight budget is like, which can be no bad thing. I have gone from having a a lot of disposable income, to so little that I’ve had to make every penny count- literally. Even buying a coffee in a groggy state on a Monday morning has had to be accounted for, as has the kind of food I eat and the way I get to work.
When I first graduated and started looking for jobs I thought the only way I could make my life go in a good direction was money. This is probably because I didn’t have any at the time, and wanted a taste of not having to avoid cash machines and bank statements at all costs. When I did start earning enough to pay rent and still live comfortably, I just took having loads of disposable income for granted. I just spent it because it was there and had the privilege of not needing to worry about it much, if at all.
Taking this away and having to budget for everything has cut my social life, meant I haven’t been able to join in on events all the time and has meant waving goodbye to some hobbies for the time being as well as other stuff I didn’t even think about like my diet, healthcare (things like paying for extra physio if I really need it) and the strain it would have on relationships with friends. But I have realised that all the worth I put on money and my constant niggling ambition to keep earning more was and is never going to equate to happiness.
I was dreading this year. I was dreading moving home. I was dreading having so little money to spare, but I’ve actually felt really content from making the most of this situation. I’ve enjoyed finding ways of spending weekends for free. I’ve enjoyed being at home, I’ve enjoyed interacting more with family and I feel better about myself. I don’t feel like I don’t have enough, aren’t buying enough new clothes or aren’t keeping up with everyone around me because I can’t, so what can I do about it? I don’t even miss that money anymore, because as spoilt as it might sound given I am in a very good situation and am incredibly lucky, I was so forlorn at the idea of giving up all the stuff money gave me. It seems ridiculous now, as I’m saving it to get myself a home- how could I possible have felt so negative about it?
A ‘money detox’ (sorry, I hate myself too) has been a really good thing. I’m not suggesting you try it by hiding your money from yourself, but I’m happier for realising money doesn’t make the world go round.
I went out with my sister last week to get some stuff I had run out of/broken/had holes in and I spent not even half of what I saved to spend, which shows my attitude to spending has changed, as previously I’d have parted with the lot. I want to keep a bit of this attitude up from now on.
Also, look at the pretty cheap things you can buy if you try: