Surviving the Terrible Twos: Money is a Big Deal

Money is a Big Deal

Creative Commons – Sean McMenemy

 

Here we are at week 3 and the final installment of Samantha and my 20s series, with the icky subject of Finances! I have loved discussing the awkward parts of  20s life with you all, so thank you for reading. Each week it has made me dig deep, think and look at my own life with a new eye.

Make sure you read Sam’s newest post HERE. Getting to know this girl better has been a privilege; she is funny, God fearing and true. I love that the internet has connected a Texan and Londoner to create this series. Two perspectives from two girls stumbling through their twenties. It’s been fun and I’m sad it’s over.

Week 1 – Careers
Week 2 – Dating 

Money is a big deal. You don’t realise it until you lose your wallet or debit card, and the simple things like buying your lunch become a problem. And if you’re like me, even though it’s a little out of your control, you still feel embarrassed or sheepish asking for someone to help you out until you can get some cash.

Which I think represents an awkward attitude that we have about money. I’m not sure what it’s like in other places, but in Britain it’s a fact that everyone has money and it’s no one’s business how much. The pay gap between rich and poor is a gaping chasm, even inside the walls of one office building, but no one talks about it. It’s a hush-hush subject and we’re all meant to keep up appearances, when often the reality is that a large amount of us are buried in debt.

My story is that I went from working full time at 18 without a financial care in the world and that being okay. To now at 23 with minimal savings and a permanent case of wanderlust, and it not being okay anymore. I used to think buying a house was for grown ups and I needn’t worry about such things for another ten years. I unconsciously put it in the “husband box” because responsibility comes with marriage, right? Then recently I had a brain wave; houses are expensive and I might not have a husband as soon as planned. Which means I would have to start saving a hefty amount each month now to buy a house by the time I am 30. Uh, which means, I need to be responsible now.

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Let’s Talk Money, Honey

My blog has become my boyfriend. Yeah, it’s kind of ‘haha’ and also pretty ‘oh dear’, but we’re going with it. Because in terms of accountability, it works a treat!

I told you guys I was running a couple months back. Well apart from my holiday (which was lavishly lazy), I’ve been running consistently since! It’s early days but it’s progress. I’ve also got my 5k time down by 3 minutes and once I get it lower, I’ll be running harder and longer. It feels good.

Next on the list: my savings account.

I’ve definitely gotten better. I was BAD before, literally throwing my money down the drain. Never on alcohol, drugs or cigarettes (which is a real waste, I think) but just spending more than I had. On stuff, lots of stupid stuff that I ended up throwing away. Plus, um, hello? London is so much fun. With all the fancy fashion and good times in your face, it’s hard to say no.

I’ve been taming my conviction of being a bad spender by saying things like “I’m young” and “everyone is doing it”. However, I want to be better. Being young is absolutely no excuse for being stupid with your money. In the last couple of years I have had significant pay rises which means I now enjoy a great quality of life, for which I am thankful. Yet I don’t have a lot to show for it, aside from some nice clothes and a couple of trips. That’s pretty lame.

I have goals and dreams, but for those to actually happen I need to get on top of things. Pronto.

Here’s the strategy:

  • Pay off all debt (£900 in total) by September 2012 – priority
  • Strict cash budget for weekly spending (food, social, beauty) – once it’s gone, it’s gone!
  • Treat  spending allowance every month (non-necessities) – just bein’ real
  • Save an average of 1/3 of my salary over a 12 month period – some months will naturally be more expensive than others
  • Spend as little as possible. Don’t budget how much I will save each month, just track on an Excel spreadsheet how what I spend will affect what I save that month
  • Make it a game – how little can I spend? Do I really need it?
  • Save £10,000 in 12 months – not an unrealistic goal but will take focus and discipline

I’m putting this info on here as accountability, like I said, but also to share and receive tips as I go. I honestly struggle so much to manage my money well, and I want to conquer this once and for all! Plus, people don’t really talk about money that much. We’re all a little hush-hush about it, yet it’s a pivotal part of life. We hear about how to earn it and get rich, but what about once you get rich? That’s the hardest part.

Plus I am hoping to make this a little more of a lifestyle blog on intentional living as a twenty-something, while still sticking with the original theme of faith and wisdom! What d’you say – will you still come back and read?

I’m ready to learn smart financial management and see what money really can buy, other than clothes and lots of stuff. But more on that later…

Okay, ‘fess up. How good are you with money? Do you struggle too? Any tips to help me along my way?  

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