What I Learned In Three Months Without Spending Money

What I Learned In Three Months Without Spending Money

I moaned about it a lot so it wont be a surprise but yes – I was poor this summer. Officially poor. Imagine Michael Scott from the Office shouting ‘I DECLARE BANKRUPTCY’ because that was me. With no constant source of income and the last of my loan having disappeared too, for the past few months I had been living off my last £50 and had to think about every single penny.

For lack of pissing off people like Alfie Deyes did with that controversial video, I’ll clarify by saying that I am lucky to have supportive parents who have helped me with essential bills and travel. I am in no means in poverty but it has been extremely difficult none the less.

Although I’m an okay saver and not particularly materialistic either – there is something about actually having money that reassures me. So, though it was a struggle, I’ve learned so much about my relationship with money and how it effects my happiness.

First of all, the big things are terrifying
You know? When the car needs an MOT and a tax payment, your hosting fees come through, your phone bill is overdue and even Netflix are emailing you asking you to update your payment information… Everything seemed to be desperate for money at once and I didn’t have it. I kept shuffling things around trying to work out how far I could stretch what I had. I managed to get £3.62 off of Morgan towards the Netflix payment in the end.

£10 from your grandparents goes a long way
My grandparents are the kind of people who will give me money every time they see me and my god I am insanely grateful for that. £10 is emergency petrol money. £10 goes towards a coffee whilst working. £10 helps me not go into my overdraft.

Putting £10 in the car is totally acceptable
Leading on from that – putting a tenner in the car instead of over £40 actually saved me on multiple occasions and I can’t explain how much I recommend it.

Spending money again made me feel insanely guilty
I booked in at the salon for some long overdue TLC and bought a new handbag after my last one began to fall apart but spending makes me feel insanely nervous and guilty in a way it never has before. In a way, I hope that feeling stays with me so that I save more.

Take every opportunity to earn money
Over the summer I took a few one off jobs – cash in hand things like babysitting which went straight into my purse to pay for fuel and essentials. It kept me afloat for a while longer.

Friendships suffer with limited funds
There were times in the past few months where my plans were so often cancelled due to money that I was actually suffering in my own loneliness. I value my time with my friends so much and not being able to see Char and having to cancel all my ambitious London plans with Millie really upset me.

It’s hard to keep up with trends and to live in the moment
Have I bought any leopard print? Did I manage to get Lea Michele/Darren Criss tickets? Was I able to buy any Arctic Monkeys merch? No. Timing is everything and I can’t help but think I missed out by being poor when I was. There’s something about having money at the right moment which can influence so many decisions.

I don’t feel like myself without money
I’m not particularly materialistic, but not being able to even replace my empty skincare really affected my confidence. I was less likely to wear makeup and less likely to get dressed feeling deflated by the lack of owning anything new.

So what have I learned overall?

That unfortunately, a lot of my happiness and sociality depends on having money. Whether that be in the form of security money, spending money or money to socialise with – having security within finance makes me a better person. It’s something I definitely need to work on in order to combat my stress levels.

As a result of this, I’ve decided that maybe I want to start capsule wardrobing and only buying a few pricier staples at the beginning of each season in an attempt to streamline my spending. We’ll see how that goes. For the time being though I’m going to make the most of feeling back in control and definitely stay away from ASOS new in for as long as I can.

JUMPER

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