Putting a little money aside each month or paying yourself first is something we all strive for and some of us do.
I learned a hard lesson in my twenties that serves me now in my thirties.
I left home for a seemingly loving relationship straight out of college with who I thought was my best friend, my rock. We both worked full time then he later went self-employed and I became the sole earner.
I didn’t earn much and I overlooked that nearly all of my wage went on bills, that he was becoming more controlling and restrictive on what I spent. On the outside it looked like we were doing well, starting up a photography business, putting a new kitchen in and backpacking around Asia in the Winter.
It was a facade. We saved every penny to backpack, he blew a large inheritance on a photography kit that was used for a few weddings and he relied heavily on his mum like a child.
I became like a child too, dependant on his say-so especially around money.
Though my most surprising lesson was the amount of time we stayed together and the little I had to show for it.
At the end of nine years, I finally packed up my stuff. I paid £800 rent and bills for the month of a house I no longer lived in, we rented from his mum’s previous house, there was no legal contract and I’m wasn’t sure where I stood. I paid for groceries on a credit card and a weekend away that I would much later pay off.
I felt I was back at zero lighter than ever before, so was my bank balance.
While I’m thankful I had petrol money to fill my tank, had I saved even £10 or £25 a month when I was broke and sacrificed something I would have had £1000 or close to £3000 over nine years. Further still had I put away £100 a month, I would have had £10,000 in the bank.
Though living with your parents is most times rent-free, there are other costs like food, basic needs, petrol and leisure to take into account.
No one wants to food shop alone with only the money on a credit card after a break-up. It’s hard enough.
In order not to fall into the same trap in my current relationship, the circumstance is different though the money situation all too familiar. I’m looking for work, while studying and being a stay at home mum, here are three things I am doing:
I put away a small amount into a separate savings account (no apps it’s online only) NO MATTER WHAT. At the moment it’s £25 though I hope to get it to £50 a month, then £100 and so on. This is the most subtle habit and game-changer of them all.
I put away a small amount to my yearly bills, as not to get caught out in the months my car, website, or parking fees are due. I have a standing order of £40 a month for this, my next goal is to double it and make it £80.
I have lots of pockets of money spread over three accounts with specific nicknames. To better manage food shopping, reach small savings goals, and to ease any money guilt when it comes to spending on myself.