Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Confessions of a Compulsive Spender

Note: This post has been added to over a handful of days since the start of September.

Charlie and I both started new jobs halfway through this year and it's all very exciting and something I should have blogged about extensively and may do some day, but this is not the post for it.

After working in retail for all the 'New Years' [it's just the plural of New Year here, Mum, I'm sorry] of our relationship I was hopeful Charlie's new job would mean seeing in 2015 together somewhere other than Wellington. Unfortunately not this time.

But I'd already been thinking so much about going somewhere exciting during the summer, that I started considering going solo. Visiting one or both of my two good mates in Aussie and have a holiday by myself.

I have been terrible with money ever since I first discovered the concept. I don't know why - my parents aren't rich, but they sure are disciplined and sensible when it comes to spending. My little sister has been saving for years - spending on both necessary and luxury things along the way, but always with a healthy balance left in the bank.

But me? As a kid and tween I would get a few banknotes for my birthday and spend as soon as possible - the same day if I could. I would get a late birthday card with $30 enclosed and head straight to the toy store to blow the lot on a fancy teddy bear.

And then I got older and older and this just continued (although I finally grew out of teddy bears... new ones, that is. I still have several of my old buddies on a shelf in our bedroom...)

I'm 25 years old now, I have been working a part- or full-time job since I was 15, and I still live paycheck-to-paycheck. Sometimes I need help to get to that next paycheck. It is shameful.

I have a relatively-small student loan from a foolish attempt at study when I was not physically nor mentally fit to complete it. Thankfully it's interest-free, and decreasing merrily with every pay. I have an overdraft of $2000 that I gleefully accepted during those student days and this means I float around in the red and now pay monthly interest. But I'm paid fortnightly and my bank account has not been in the black since I accepted that overdraft and went shopping all those years ago at 17. Thankfully I don't have a credit card. It could be much worse. But it still needs to change.


It's the 3nd of September and this evening I sat down and made a solid plan to save for an Australia trip at the end of January. I looked on Kayak at different flight options, and worked out how much I can afford to save if I stop wasting money - it's exciting, and achievable. If I can stick to my plan and can confirm dates that work for both friends and my work, I should be able to book flights in early October, and accommodation after that. And then I'll have over three months to get a tattoo appointment locked in with a deposit, and save a healthy amount of spending money.

Young Adventuress Liz posted this old blog post on her Facebook page today and it could not have come at a better time. I clicked through some of the posts she linked to too, and saw a tip for when you're thinking about making a unnecessary purchase - think what could I buy on holiday with that money instead? Seems bloody obvious, but I really haven't ever had that mindset before.

It's ridiculous that I haven't travelled (on my own money). When people ask if I want to travel and I practically shout yes, my response to why I haven't is "money"/"too poor"/"can't afford", and that's not true, I make a decent income. It's my spending problem, and that's not an excuse. I see this Australia trip obviously as a holiday, but also the first step towards being a "saver" and going on holidays further abroad. Those of you who know me and/or have read my blog for a long time will know my desire to go to the States. If I can achieve Australia in a few short months, I'm sure I can achieve my American dream a year or two after that!


It's the 8th of September, my first payday since I decided to save for Australia. Managed to make the remainder of my previous pay last until today and put a little excess into my savings account so for me that's off to a good start!

From my pay today I put around 35% into my savings account and put aside money for the dentist this Wednesday. I paid all my bills (wahhh, electricity) and expenses (including Child Fund sponsorship - yup, maybe an "unnecessary" expense but a damn fulfilling one I won't be giving up), and did a grocery shop this evening for some seriously healthy food - 80% fresh fruit fruit/veges/raw foods, and 20% packaged-but-still-healthy food. Nary a chocolate-anything in sight. The leftover money I have budgeted to a small daily allowance for the next fortnight to use on miscellaneous expenses and any extra food I need. Going to try my best to spend next to nothing from that until I have to, so maybe I can treat myself to a meal out or a couple of beers later in the fortnight.

I don't want to get ahead of myself, hence keeping these updates in one post for now. Writing all this publicly and then failing would be terribly embarrassing, and I have a decade of poor money management to overcome (oh, hell). But my mindset is really different this time. I've seen lots of lovely clothing and art items online during the past week, and in the past I would bookmark them for a payday spend-up, but this time I've quickly closed the tabs. Maybe a little way to go before I resist clicking the links at all! I glanced at overpriced fresh flowers on the way into the supermarket this evening (a regular frivolous expense for me) but walked right on by thinking that's another tenner in Aussie! If I can get through to my next pay without borrowing money or touching my savings, I'll hit publish and continue these posts more regularly... and less lengthy!


It's the 9th of September,  and despite what I said yesterday, I'm going to hit publish today. I just read Kelly and Rochelle's posts about "Brokeass September" and if they can be open about money stuff, I can too. I have all my (mega healthy!) food for the day planned out, so won't be spending a cent and today's allowance can carry over to tomorrow. I got this.


Victoria Kershaw said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I have exactly the same problem! It drives me nuts! If I do get a job... which I hope will be soon. Then I want to do Aussie round January!

Best of luck with your savings hun! Stick to your plan and you'll be golden :)

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Good luck with saving lady, you can definitely do it :)

One thing I found helpful when I was saving for our trip was to spend in cash. I made sure to only take a certain amount out each fortnight and couldn't use my card (even if I had spent all the $$, made me realise how much money I was spending on stuff I really don't need).