It feels like there are certain topics that are deemed unacceptable to speak about in todays society; money being one of them. We don’t discuss how much we’re paid, how much our house costs or how much debt we have. It’s universally recognised to keep quiet about it all.
Of course, i can understand to a certain extent. Maybe you don’t want everyone knowing your business. But for those of us struggling, the stigma surrounding it doesn’t help.
I had the idea for this blog series whilst trying to go to sleep one night (my mind is always most active when trying to sleep, typical), consequently forgot about it, and then remembered again a few days later. Always note down your ideas, folks.
I want to start talking about things that we maybe “shouldn’t” talk about. Things that you’re maybe struggling with, but you’re not sure where to go or who to talk to. I just want people to realise that whatever they are struggling with, they aren’t alone. You’d be surprised how many people are in a similar situation, who want a shoulder to lean on as well.
So, we’re gonna start with money. More specifically, debt and how debilitating it can be.
I am in debt.
There’s no skirting around the fact; i didn’t go to university, i’m 21 years old and i have debt. I buy things that i can’t pay off instantly, and my mindset towards money is very unhealthy. I can’t stop spending it.
I bought an iPad over a year ago using PayPal credit and vowed i would pay it off quickly. That was £600. Between buying the iPad and now, a year later, i have somehow racked up £900 to pay off. It was over a grand for a brief amount of time. I just kept putting new clothes on there, new makeup, takeaways; whatever i didn’t feel like paying for/couldn’t afford that month.
It’s not a lot for some people, i know, but i have no overheads other than my car and i still end each month with nothing. I shouldn’t still have my iPad, and more, to pay off on my PayPal credit. It does feel like it’s never going to end and the number will never go down.
On top of this, i’ve now financed a MacBook. In terms of cost-per-use, it’s absolutely worth it and it’s a purchase i’ve been debating making for the longest time. I still don’t regret it, but i have no idea how long i’ll be paying all of this off for.
I haven’t always had an unhealthy relationship with money, which makes it worse. There was a time when i had over £1000 in my savings, and i would save £30 cash from my babysitting job each week. This was before i had a full-time job as well, i was making under half of what i make now but was able to save every spare penny.
I think i got a bit too excited when i started to earn real money and my spending increased with my income. I was overwhelmed with the amount of money i was suddenly earning and rushed into buying new clothes and new makeup and whatever else.
There is a definite stigma surrounding being bad with money. I am ashamed of it, and i’m trying my hardest to regain control but it’s not going to be instant. I really regret being so unaware of how bad it was until now. I have nothing saved up to move out, no safety net in case my car breaks down; nothing.
I’m desperately trying to get better. Trying to figure out how to budget properly, how to stop burning through my money like it’s toilet paper. I would just like to end one month without feeling sick with worry over how i’m going to afford petrol or if i’m going to have to cancel on that night out because i can’t afford drinks.
So, for anyone in a similar situation, here’s what i’m going to do:
- Stop buying clothes! I’m taking part in the Fashion Detox Challenge currently which means going 10 weeks without buying any new clothes. I’m about halfway through and so far, i have no urges to buy anything new. I’d like to eventually start buying more good quality investment pieces, so i’m saying goodbye to Primark and hello to mid-end stores with better quality pieces, so my clothes ultimately last longer.
- Live every day like it’s the last week before payday. Aka, the worst week of my life. I don’t even look at my bank account on that last week because i’m so nervous, and i do what i can to ensure i spend as little as possible. If i pretend that i only have £10, i won’t spend out-with my means. Probably not an effective method for everyone, but i think it’ll work for me.
- Take a look at my bills and decide where i can save. My bills currently consist of my car (£200), my phone (£60-£80) and my gym (£28). There’s things like my ISA (£50), very useful, and DisneyLife (£5) very useless considering i haven’t used it since. £5 makes all the difference when you’re on your last £10 and it’s to last you a week. There’s probably a ton of things i’m signed up to that charge me just a few quid a month, where i can potentially save a good £20 or so.
- Make lunch, don’t buy it. My new job is right across from Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh, a hot spot for shopping and restaurants. Anxiety prevents me from going to these restaurants alone, but i still feel like it’s better to take lunch with me than be left with no other option than to buy it. I’m in a very fortunate position where my parents still pay for my food as i live at home, so i’m able to add my lunch onto the weekly shop or take leftovers from meals made the night before.
- Put any extra income straight into savings/pay off bills. With any money i make from blogging or instagram, half of it will go to my savings account and the other half will go into paying off my PayPal Credit or my MacBook. It’s extra income, meaning i won’t miss it if it’s not there. I’m going to pretend it doesn’t exist, and immediately squirrel it away so i don’t even have a chance to miss it.
I feel pretty positive about this change so far. I think i’m in the right mindset for it now – i want to change and that’s the most important thing.
Being open about money shouldn’t be seen as taboo. People have killed themselves over debt, so it’s pretty serious and shouldn’t be judged publicly. Money is difficult to manage, especially if you’re young and aren’t used to it. There needs to be better facilities and help available for young people, and older people, in debt or struggling to manage their money.
Someone who is refreshingly honest about money is Tabby @ TakeHeartUK. Tabby is a ray of sunshine, and she speaks so candidly about matters like debt and managing your money. She is incredible, and it’s partly because of her that i feel like i can talk about my own struggles with money.