By no means do I live a life of poverty, but neither do I live in luxury. I work just short of ‘full time’, write for free, and pay my own rent and bills etc. The standard. Yet I have a careless attitude when it comes to spending, treating myself a little too often, to the point that come the last week of the month I’m just about getting by.
Due to this attitude, my efforts to pay off my student overdraft have been, well, horrific. From simply not doing it, to ignoring calls and letters, I have simply just been a huge idiotic mess when it comes to dealing with my debt. Luckily in October I bucked up my ideas, and set up a repayment plan to the best of my ability. Come January however, I received a final demand letter, asking for the remaining balance to be paid off in full. Welp. Anger. Tears. More anger. I phoned the bank, wasn’t entirely confident in what they were saying, and had a bad mood that lingered for…well maybe it’s still kind of hanging around. At the very least, I am lucky that I never extended my overdraft, and I have paid some of it off, so it’s not too horrendous, but it’s still not very pleasant.
Having got into contact with the bank, and proving that I am trying, the information that I gathered was that my account would be closed, but I could continue with my measly monthly payments, the only issue being my credit score. By not paying that amount in full, I risk screwing up my score big time, which is only going to come back and bite me in the ass later on in life. Nope. Can’t deal. So I did some sums. Technically, I can afford it. Just. February is going to be the TIGHTEST month of my life, but I really believe that I can do it. In fact, I challenge myself to do it. My treat yo’self attitude is going to take a massive hit, but hopefully, just maybe, the months that follow will see me not take what little money I do make for granted.
Now let’s just address the fact that I’m weak and yes, I may have to take a loan from the bank of Mum and Dad. Maybe. In fact if they read this I’m almost 100% certain that a helping hand will certainly be held out to me within no time. I’m lucky in that respect, but I promise that this is not a cry for help. I am determined to give it my best shot on my own, and to only use this as a last resort. So please, parents, don’t tempt me with that helping hand just yet, but know that I may come begging if I know that I can’t do this sensibly. After all, I’d rather be in debt with my parents than the bank.
I’ve been watching a few videos and reading a few articles but it seems like everyone has a different idea of what a ‘budget lifestyle’ is, so I wasn’t really too sure how to address this without making too many assumptions. This is very much a personal account, and not necessarily something to preach about, which I guess is why there wasn’t too much that I could relate to online. Essentially, what I am setting out to do is spend less money on useless crap, and more on the essentials, while still allowing myself a little time and money for activities (and hopefully by writing about it I will actually get off my money spending butt and do it). My current subscriptions have been frozen for the month, including the gym, which initially I wasn’t going to give up because I’m so keen to maintain my motivation, but in reality, I could just do with every little penny I can scrape (nothing to do with the fact that I haven’t been in the last month at all). Plus, Caz has recently suggested the idea of doing Couch to 5K together so that’s enough fitness for me!
I plan to take cash out, to physically see what money I’m spending, and in any case, I’m certainly not going to use contactless payments because I cannot deal with not knowing how much money I have every second of the day when I’m on such a budget. I’m also thinking of doing the £5 for 5 days challenge a couple of times, but not quite how it is described online. I will be using what I already have at home, because I’m not doing it for any other reason than to save money, and I don’t see the point in stopping myself from using what is already in the kitchen. If anything I want to make myself look to my cupboards more, before looking to Tesco after work.
Obviously it’s not all down to food. Toiletries are a big thing. Lord knows that I don’t NEED any more things to wash with, but when I’m surrounded by the stuff for eight hours for each day that I work, I just can’t help myself. Especially when there’s a limited edition range out. So no, I won’t be treating myself to the Valentines gift set, but maybe I’ll buy that lovely lovely massage bar. Discount perks after all. I’m allowed one treat, right?
What I’ve realised is that I just really need to be organised. Which instantly made me want to pop to Paperchase and get a really cute budget planner, bit besides the point there huh Sam? No, I’ve got enough journals and it’s about time I make full use of my bullet journal, so I will create some pretty little pages on which I can log my expenses, along with meal plans and well organised friend dates in order to keep me in check, which I may sum up in weekly blogs on here. Ultimately, I want to turn a big old steaming negative into a lovely shining positive, by giving myself something creative to do, and actually, I’m really looking forward to seeing how I handle this whole thing. Maybe it’ll teach me a thing or two. I’ll let you know.