According to Facebook, three years ago today I was recovering from a hangover by eating McDonalds in bed. After paying rent, bills and council tax at the start of the month, I’d gone on to splurge a huge percentage of the rest of my wages on new clothes, home decor, and dates with guys off Plenty of Fish. I was counting down the days until every pay day because midway through the month I’d already be skint. Oh how times have changed!
By September 2014, my attitude towards money completely changed. I finally started thinking about the future rather than just the present and began squirrelling money away instead of splashing it on vodka, duvet covers and pretty dresses.
Here are just a few reasons why I’ve become a saver rather than a spender…
I want to travel the world
I’m not quite as well travelled as I’d like to be and this is something I’m desperate to change in the next few years. As a child I was fortunate enough to go on an annual family holiday to Spain, Portugal or the Canaries, but since I became an adult, I’ve not explored as much of the world as I’d like to.
I’ve ticked New York, Venice, bits of Tunisia and…erm… Sunny Beach off the list, but there are so many other places I’m desperate to see! My eagerness to explore the world is just one of many reasons I’m growing my cash stash.
I want freedom
I never want to be tied to a job that makes me miserable.
I never want to be stuck in a bad relationship because I’d be worse off financially if I left.
I never want to say no to my dream job because it requires taking a pay cut that I cannot afford.
Money can you give you a lot of freedom and I want as much of it as I can get.
I want to treat myself
Although I’ve adopted somewhat of a minimalist lifestyle over the last couple of years, I do actually want to treat myself to nice things. There’s just one problem – I don’t want to treat myself if it’s at the expense of the essential things in life.
I don’t want to buy a new laptop if it means I have to ask my brother to lend me £50 at the end of the month.
I don’t want to go on a night out every Friday if it means I’m living pay cheque to pay cheque.
I don’t want to go on an around the world adventure if it means I have to deplete my emergency fund.
That last one makes me sound super boring but do you know what’d be really boring? Returning from my trip and having to take out a payday loan to fund a deposit on a single room in Harpurhey. Emergency fund first; travel second.
This morning I went out for a long bike ride and about an hour into my little adventure, I really wished I had some padded cycling pants. It suddenly occurred to me that there’s absolutely nothing stopping me from going out and buying a pair. There’s also nothing stopping me from treating myself to a handsome new helmet. And, completely unrelated to cycling, there’s nothing stopping me popping into Pandora on my lunch break on Monday and treating myself to one of the many rings I’ve been eyeing up on the website. After living a life of frugality for so long, I have the money to treat myself without regret!
I want a family
I’d love to have my own family one day and if/when that happens, I don’t want to be struggling for money. I want to go on regular family holidays, pay for the kids’ school trips, and make their bedrooms look like they belong in an Ikea catalogue. I don’t want to be running out of money half way through the month or worrying how on earth I’m going to be able to pay for school uniform. I want to be able to help my kids in the way my parents helped me. Perhaps that’s an overly optimistic goal considering how quickly living costs are rising.
I don’t want to be flat sharing in my forties
A friend of mine recently moved into a place he found on SpareRoom only to discover that one of his new housemates is 65. Apparently, this guy’s just been through a divorce and can’t afford to rent a place of his own, let alone buy one. As wonderful as flat sharing can be, there comes a time when you’re simply too old to be fighting over dirty dishes and leaving passive aggressive notes because some tosser’s left crumbs in your butter. And so I’m going to do everything I possibly can to avoid this situation myself. If I ever get married and then divorced some years later, I’d like to have enough money to live on my own if that’s what I want to do.
I want to retire early
I don’t want to be tied to a desk in my sixties or seventies. And the way things are going economically, I think many of today’s millennials will be working well into old age. I don’t want that to be me. I’d love to be able to retire early and have the freedom to do whatever I want. It’s not that I intend to spend my later years knitting or pottering around an allotment; I’ll probably still work in some way shape or form, but I want the freedom to pick and choose what projects I spend my time on.