(Thank you to Raymond Carver for the title)
I have had an interesting day money wise, and it is perhaps fitting I end the day watching the film The Big Short.
In my ‘old’ life waking up the day after payday would mean a few things. The compulsion to hit the shops would be so consuming I would normally leave the house without having breakfast. Sometimes I would go out for coffee and breakfast first. There would also be the panic and desperation I felt whenever I spent money. Because I would be spending my money before paying my bills, I would be spending money I didn’t have. I would put my card blindly into the cash machine and pray that some money would come out.
For about a year in 2015 whenever I made a payment by credit/debit card I would always say to the cashier ‘It’s a new card and I’m not sure if I have activated it yet.” I would say this every single time to save face if the payment was declined. The card was not new. And my payments were frequently declined. I couldn’t spend within reason.
Last night my boyfriend and I went to a gig. I had withdrawn my social budget money and my football training money from a cash machine so that I could pay attention to every penny I spent.
At the gig my boyfriend wanted to buy the bands CD, but he infrequently has cash on him as he prefers card payments.
It was such a wonderful feeling to lend him (temporarily) the money to buy the CDs. Because pretty much every other time we have gone to a gig together in the last 5 years it has been me begging him for money so I could buy a T-Shirt or a CD, or a Vinyl or anything at the Merchandise table. I felt such an enormous sense of power that I could help him enjoy the gig and have something to remember it by and have no buyers remorse myself.
I made it clear to my boyfriend I would need the money back, but it was also a lovely feeling when he got panicked that his bank transfer wouldn’t go through till Monday to reassure him that I am fine financially.
My financial status has gone from ‘critical’ to ‘critical but stable’ to now ‘stable’ (ish)
It is customary for me to spend Saturday’s food shopping and today was no different. But today is the ‘shop after payday’ so it was a chance to stock up on a month’s supply of things we had either run out of or were seriously low on.
As usual I find it comforting to take everything home and know that we aren’t going to starve or have bad breath for at least a month.
I also went to see my friend after she finished work, and maybe as a result of being closer to 30 then 20 we ended up talking about houses and the ‘nice areas’ to live in.
I am thankful everyday for where I live. I live close to the town centre and have good transport links, I am near a great selection of shops (these things are essential as neither my boyfriend or I drive). We live in a two bedroom house (rented of course) which is more than ample for our needs, although as both my boyfriend and I are hoarders we have rather filled the space.
The house is far from perfect, the area is far from perfect, but it is perfectly acceptable and more than good enough for us. At this moment in time it is all I could possibly desire.
I have a lot to be grateful for.
I do still have the desire to spend money, but it is now within reason and I do feel that I am getting more out of my life on less money.
I am nearing the end of my first month in my spend free year, and it is going better than expected.
But 1 month is easy, 11 more will be harder.
I won’t give up without a fight though.