I feel like I did a lot of ‘growing up’ over 2015. I learned a lot about myself, about what I want to do, and about where I want to be.
One of the things I’ve really been trying to improve on is the way I handle my money.
I’m a few months into a new job, a few months into a new city, and a few months into a new living space.
I moved to London, which has made the whole money situation even more necessary to think about.
Growing up, I was always the one who spent my pocket money as soon as I got it.
I did once save a decent amount in my Building Society account, but then spent the majority of it on adopting an orca (a kind of whale) for one year, aged 10.
I’ve improved over the course of university and my first couple of years of working, but there are definitely still improvements to be made.
Recently, I’ve begun trying to switch my brain out of short-term mode, and focus on both long and short-term when it comes to my money.
Throw in the fact that I’m getting used to my new salary, I’m paying a lot more on rent for a lot less space than I’m used to (although I did get a good deal by London standards), and commuting on the tube is EXPENSIVE. That’s before you add in food, socialising and everything else you need to think about.
I’ve been in the routine for quite a while now of writing down what I was spending, but then I didn’t actually do anything with what I had written down.
Recently, I’ve been looking over these lists, and spotting exactly where my money is going.
I’ve then been thinking about how much enjoyment I got out of that expense. If you discount things like rent and commuting, as they’re necessities, I want to make sure I’m spending my money on things that make me happy.
Instead of frittering it away on lots of clothes, I’d rather have a few things that make me feel great.
Instead of buying a new perfume, I’d rather buy a theatre ticket, because I know that experience will be something I’ll love so much more, and value for longer.
I look back over my years of earning money sometimes and shudder to think about the amount I spent on things that left me with nothing to show for it, or no special memories. I wouldn’t say I regret the way I’ve been, as it’s all a learning process, but I would rather be able to look back and be happy about the way I’ve spent my money and my time.
So my money situation is not just about saving hard and spending nothing. Nor is it about spending all my earnings on one-off experiences I’ll love.
I’m trying to strike that balance between enjoying myself in the present, whilst building up a pot for bigger, future plans.
So far, it’s going ok. Every month I could improve, but my spending habits now compared even to six months ago are completely different.
And hopefully that’s the way I’ll continue to head.
Do you have any money-management tips?