Friday, 10 June 2016

Learning The Value of Money

MoneyI've always been quite good with money. I'm not on to splurge on really expensive things, not unless it's something I need and/or will use regularly. I'm not interested in the latest "thing" - whether it's clothes, shoes, bags, mobiles, other technology and so on - because it's new and everyone else has it. If I don't want it or don't need it, I won't get it.

My brother and my dad say I'm tight, but I consider myself to be careful. When out shopping for clothes, if you're in my company, it's quite common to hear me say, "Oh, I like that!" before going over to take a closer look at whatever caught my eye, look at the price tag, and then say "Not that much," and walk away. I just really don't see the point in spending money on expensive things, when, in my opinion, there are better things I can spend my money on. I always end up thinking, "I could buy that single top, or I could by several books, take my mum to the cinema, or buy several other, cheaper tops..." I like value for my money, and I'm not going to by something just because it has a logo or a name on it.

Despite being careful with my money, I've had my eyes opened recently to how frivolous I can be with money, too. We've recently been having some financial difficulties at home, and money has been extremely tight. Food needs to be bought, bills need to be paid. A day out shopping just to get out the house on a day off wasn't feasible. If I was going out and might be thirsty, I'd have to take a bottle of water with me instead of buying one, things were that bad. Every penny was needed. I couldn't just buy things because I wanted them.

Unfortunately, our financial difficulties just as I started putting on weight. I went up a dress size, and most of my clothes no longer fit. I had already started to replace the clothes that needed replacing, when we started having problems, but I wasn't done. There were certain things I simply needed, but I now had to be extra careful with my spending. I could no longer shop for just what I wanted; I had to think carefully about what I was buying. It meant turning away from clothes I would have liked, but simply couldn't afford right now. As well, I have two weddings coming up, and I no longer had any wedding-appropriate clothes that fit. It was so stressful; trying to balance buying the things I needed along with making sure I had enough money for our basic necessities.

There were so many things I had to say no to myself about. I had just got myself to the point where I wasn't going to let fear stop me from doing the things I wanted to - but then not having enough money stopped me. It's so disheartening to have worked up the courage to go ahead with something that has scares you, and then not be able to do it anyway. But on top of that, I wanted to take my family on holiday this year. I wanted days out to see and experience things. Even thought things are a little better now, I honestly don't know if I can save enough now to make these things happen.

I think money is something most of us take for granted - whether we splurge, save, or are careful with our spending. It's just there for us when we want it, to buy the drink, or the chocolate bar, or the bag of crisps. But when life happens and suddenly money is scarce, you really come to realise how much you spend on nothing. That £1 I would normally spend on a bottle of coke was now needed to buy four pints of milk, or to go towards buying a loaf of bread. Scrimping and going without isn't fun, it's actually damn stressful, but I now realise I'm not quite as careful with money as I originally thought. It's made me look at money in a completely different way. Of course I will spend the odd few quid on things I want as a treat, but now I really know the value of money, and will make more thoughtful decisions on my spending in future.

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