Money Money Money.

After starting my Christmas shopping today I’ve realised just how awful I am at controlling my finances. Admittedly for once I didn’t blow my budget (well not really) but I did spend more than I probably should have done on my little nephew and that side of the family. I got a ridiculously cute teddy/rattle from Hamleys, a ‘my first Christmas’ keepsake box complete with some imprint clay (so they capture a handprint on the day!) and a tree decoration and then some Starbucks Christmas Coffee for my stepsister and her husband. All in all it only came to £20 which is pretty good going really. However, I probably could have stopped at the Keepsake gift set and everyone would have been more than happy. I could have then been nice and organised and put my remaining money to buying some other poor soul a present next week. But, as I always do, I felt compelled to spend the remaining £10 in my pocket there and then and so ended up getting extra presents for the family instead. I’ve always been like this and, even as a child, I remember making sure I’d spent all my pocket money down to the last penny – money literally does burn a hole in my pocket. Overspending by £10 probably seems quite trivial to most people but, when you live on a fairly limited budget and have an overdraft that has pretty much reached its maximum level, that one note can make quite a big difference.

I will happily admit that any issues I have with money are completely my own fault. I enjoy eating out frequently in nice (rather pricey) restaurants, I have an inability to say ‘no’ if someone invites me somewhere or suggests doing something that sounds even vaguely exciting and I also like to spend a lot on gifts, especially for my close family and friends. As you can imagine, with these three things combined, Christmas is a particularly disastrous time for my bank account. I admit I have actually got better with money – I think about my spending a lot more now than I ever did at university. Also I’ve stopped using my debit card unless absolutely necessary (i.e. to buy presents online) and even then I make sure I transfer my wages into my account before spending.

Becoming a CSV and being on quite a tight budget means that money is often at the forefront of my mind – whether I have any or not! If I do have some I’m thinking of how best to spend it and if I don’t have any I’m already planning how to spend next week’s wages. In fact, I could probably sit here now and tell you exactly how I’ll spend my money up until the end of the month. It’s strange – for someone that struggles with overspending I’m actually not that spontaneous with money and will allocate a certain amount of my budget to cover any unknown events. My biggest problem is probably my inability to save more than anything.

Realistically though I don’t actually imagine I’ll ever get any better with regards to my spending – I think my carefree attitude towards money is far too deeply-embedded to ever drastically change. I’m very much of the attitude that I may well die tomorrow (morbid but true) so I might as well enjoy myself why I can. I suppose that explains why I find it particularly hard to save money in the long-term – something always comes along in the short-term that I’d rather blown my savings/overdraft on, just in case I miss out on the opportunity again. Indeed, most of my spending isn’t actually on tangible, materialistic things (although I do love clothes!), it’s more likely to be on things like holidays, visiting friends, eating out, gig tickets, socialising and anything that involves me getting out and just doing something. Obviously, I could easily cut all these things out my spending and be a lot more financially secure – but where would be the fun in that?!

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