Despite the fact that the year is only 2 days old I have had some pretty big spending struggles.
The first happened yesterday. My boyfriend needed more printer paper, so we added some to our food shop from a certain well known supermarket and I was about to give him half the money when I panicked.
It was because I had decided that I was only going to spend money on things that fell into these categories: Gifts, Health, Postage and Packaging, Travel, Work Expenses, Social and Clothing Maintenance.
I did not have a ‘Printer paper’ category.
I did have a major panic and was saying to my boyfriend ‘If I give you half the money then I will have already failed and it’s only been one day’
So call it cheating but I have decided that printer paper is a worthy item to buy. So I have moved £2.50 from my social budget and created a category called ‘Home’.
Have I cheated? Well, printer paper is something I am clearly going to use in the next year, and if I really need to print something then doing it at home will be significantly cheaper then going to an internet cafe. I did think that a ‘Home’ category would be useful, it’s just that I was scared because last year I bought an awful lot of things for the home that were more decorative then essential and I was worried I would use the ‘Home’ category as an excuse to get a shopping fix and buy something pretty.
So this has led me to create a few ground rules for the year.
I can only buy a ‘forbidden’ item if the following is taken into account.
- The item would save me money in the long run.
- It is an item that will reasonably benefit me and my boyfriends life.
I have also decided that if I want to buy something pretty and shiny as opposed to useful and essential then I can, but I can’t spend any money on it.
Now before you think I am going to take up stealing I’ll add that I can only purchase the item with vouchers. I cam’t spend a single penny on it.
This is a little easier then you may think. I have many ways of maximising my income and I do it through things like shopping apps, online surveys and shopping research. In fact I frequently buy a job lot of presents for many people online and it only costs me about £4.30.
When the next Tesco club card vouchers are released I will have collected about £15 in total. After a little discussion with my boyfriend he has agreed that I can keep the club card vouchers for my own personal use this year.
So I may not exactly look cutting edge this year, but at least I know if I need something like an emergency pair of black jeans I can pop along to the big Tesco’s in Cardiff and buy a pair for £0.
Through another one of my ‘Money making scams’ (as my brothers would call them) I am due to receive enough ‘points’ that I can exchange it for a £10 voucher for somewhere like Amazon or New Look.
So it is perfectly possible that I can still indulge this year without spending any money.
I am just going to have to prioritise and be crafty this year.
One thing I did decide against buying is an independent magazine that I write for. I have had some of my work published in the latest issue, and I normally buy a copy not just for my own work but because I love the magazine.
I have decided against buying the latest issue.
I may ask my boyfriend to buy it for me as an early birthday present, but right now it is not an essential item, it does not benefit both me and my boyfriend, it can’t be purchased with vouchers and it will not save me money in the long run.
Therefore it can’t be purchased.
This year isn’t going to be easy, but that’s why I need to do it.
Do you know what is easy? Buying things without thought, without compromise, without a budget or thought or care.
It is easy to pick up a lot of stuff and put it on a credit card. It is harder to make tough decisions about what you can and can’t purchase.
I got into debt because I wasn’t prepared to ‘deprive’ myself, which says it all. The fact I considered it deprivation to not buy new items of clothing every month shows what a twat I was being.
This year I want to get back to a core sense of what I do and do not need to lead a happy life. I want a stream lined life. I want a life free from hassle and clutter. I think not buying rubbish will do that.