Figuring out what we want can be really tough sometimes. We become torn between our immediate wants and our long term desires. Should we rent a nicer flat or save those couple of hundred pounds to crawl towards a deposit of a place to properly call our own? Should we get that replica dress or wait an extra couple of weeks for that little bit more luxurious thing? Are ten weekend breaks better than one epic blowout cruise? Does oven cooked pizza really satisfy the tummy as much as takeaway pizza? And after we stop and think about all of those questions is there really a correct answer or a way that we should be doing things? In fact does anybody other than ourselves really care about whether we take a year or ten to save for something that we want? Probably not.
For so long money was at the front of everything I did. We either didn’t have it or we did and I was so worried about being in a bad place again that I would attempt to save and refuse to treat myself to things because it still seemed frivolous. And there were the other times when I knew that there was money and I would just buy things that didn’t necessarily make me happy but I bought them simply because I could. I’ve bought a lot of sh*t over the years but I don’t regret a single moment of it; each item has brought me to where I am now in terms of understanding what I want and how saving can work for me. Finances are extremely personal not just to each household but even down to each individual and whilst this can cause clashes there are usually ways of working everything into a sensible compromise.
But with a new job it all feels a bit of a new year, new me or like I’ve just gone back to university and have great ideas as to how I can save money to get from one payment to the next. Sort of. Apart from the fact that there’s actually enough money in the piggy bank to get from one day to the next without worrying or having to cut back. In fact our total household income will be at the highest it has even reached so saving without restricting our wants will be more than possible and that really really gets me excited. my post-tax wage will be the same as my previous pre-tax wage and I was managing to, in theory though often squandering it away just as quickly, save a couple of hundred pounds a month in my previous job. God I might even be able to have avocado on toast and still save towards getting a mortgage before I retire. A millennial miracle.
Establishing what it was I actually wanted to save for was the first important step and something I haven’t really done in the past. Usually it is just an attempt to save without a goal and that’s probably one of the key things that makes it fall off the bandwagon so quickly. One of the things is to be able to move into a bigger flat, maybe even rent a house, so I calculated the amount for a deposit, moving van, new bits of furniture we might want and so on and put down realistic dates for achieving those targets; Things like new bits of furniture coming later in date because we could move and make do with things like our current wardrobes for a bit longer. Realising the goal and that not every single thing needs to be ready for buying at once is a pretty huge step.
Despite there being lots of things that I want to save for and purchase I took the time to differentiate between the big goals and the little goals. The bigger goals I have broken up, as I have just mentioned, but the smaller items are things that I would just like to be able to look at my bank balance and buy without guilt or feeling like I need to particularly ‘save’ towards them. Things like having a meal out or buying some new clothes or shoes are things that I want to budget for on a monthly basis rather than be saving towards (though if it was a very fancy restaurant or something like a £1000 bag then it might switch over). With this thinking I have five big goals with some of them coming in at still being saved for in four or five years time; moving to a larger rental property before starting to save towards a mortgage, learning to drive and getting a car, going on a big holiday like a cruise (weekend getaways should be possible under the budgeting for category), saving for the wedding and wanting to get a certain amount of pounds saved up before we have a baby. Despite putting time aims on the goals and the mini goals within them I wont be putting huge amounts of pressure on myself or beating myself up if things don’t go quite to plan. Managing to save some money is better than nothing.
Because of being the only person in the world to love spreadsheets it will be no surprise for you to learn that I’ve put my aims and tracker system onto a spreadsheet. It’s super simple and easy to update with a few columns for my goal, what I’ve saved so far towards it and how much something actually came to; I’ve budgeted an amount for new wardrobes that is over any of the wardrobes I’ve seen and like but would rather go too high than too low. For example: I’ve gone £500 for the wardrobe but most of them are coming in around the £350 mark. I want to track all these things so that then I can put the remaining £150 I’ve saved somewhere else but be able to see where that money has actually come from. It sounds incredibly basic but personally if I can see the way that money has shifted from one place to another I feel it holds me more to account as I’m less likely to be all “wahey I saved £150 on this wardrobe so now I can buy a litre of melted chocolate” or something equally bizarre. If I make a saving somewhere or something comes in over budget I still want to be able to acknowledge the amount I have saved and that there are other places the money can go to as well.
In 2019 I’m thinking about doing something that I’ve seen a few people do on Youtube but am not sure if I will be able to stick to it so to find out I am going to do a test run at the end of 2018 once my first new job wage comes in. Every time they finish a beauty product or a book they look at the value of the product or the amount that they know they spent on it and put that amount towards their savings fund. Some people use this fund to replenish foundation when they completely run out or to buy new books that they see getting released and I think I might do something similar. It wont be exactly the same though as I am going to tally up that amount of money and write a list of the things that I might like, but don’t see and want to grab off the shelves immediately, and come the end of 2019 decide whether I really want those items and get them from this list. I’m thinking a new piece of jewellery or a type of shoe I already have several of or an eyeshadow palette that I don’t really need but everybody manages to rave about. It’s a good way to reward myself for my book no buy and my attempts to use up products (like this one here).
There is also the part of me that would love to see me making some additional money from this blog or from my social media accounts but given it hasn’t happened in the last eight years of blogging, though I have received PR in that time, it seems like an unlikely thing. If this was to happen though the money would go back into the blog with an improved layout, new artwork and getting new products to try out but all these financial dreams and blog ideas haven’t even made it onto the spreadsheet yet as I feel getting my life sorted out with the five big things will naturally help me to create better content. But I aren’t really too fussed about this either way, it’s just a bit of a pipeline dream… maybe by 2020.
And of course to make it less of a distraction I’m putting the money into a separate bank account, away from my regular account, so that I can’t physically see the money without going and scrolling through apps for it. Out of sight out of mind right? Is this what reaching 24 is like? You start to think of yourself as mid-twenties and go into a quarter-life crisis about your future? Yes? I thought as much.