I wanted to get down to the nitty gritty of my relationship with money, and how my mindset changed so much over the past few years with regards to my net worth and bank balance.
I’ve never been horrendous with money but I was never particularly brilliant at it either. I’ve always worked since I was 16 but I was guilty of living from pay check to pay check. I loved a splurge. I loved a night out with my friends and family.
What changed for me and made me decide to stop living that life and move towards investing in myself and living a much more financial savvy life?
My husband and I have never had a period of our lives together where we had a huge amount of disposable income. We met when we were students, had a long distance relationship for a year until we moved in together once I landed my first permanent role. Husband got a job transfer from his home town and our new life began. We could make ends meet and live a relatively comfortable life.
We had a few ups and downs with jobs and him trying to pursue a right career and I worked on my career whilst picking up this blog. Once he landed his first full time job with a decent salary job, he proposed and then we entered our money trap.
About a month after he proposed, we had booked a date and it was going to be the most expensive purchase I was about to make. I made promises to myself to be as frugal as possible; going down a DIY wedding route, but I still knew it was going to come in pretty expensive. It was the first time I’d experienced pressure that I had to save a certain amount of money save in a period of time.
I absolutely loved my wedding day but I didn’t enjoy the stress of saving for 18 months straight, especially when we were technically the ‘richest’ we’d ever been. If anything, it was a real lesson in money management to me.
Once reality had kicked in of having to save, I fell down a trap of not being able to do things, as a portion of our salaries were going into savings. I constantly felt left out and not being able to keep up with friends. We often opted to stay in or kept having to say no to things because it wasn’t in the budget. But it was this that truly made me question my relationship with money. I kept telling myself, ‘it’ll be better after the wedding’ and how I’ll have all this disposable income after we’re married.
Everything is better after the wedding, because I no longer get woken up at 4am from dreams about flower deliveries going wrong or no one turning up. But, I still put the exact same amount of money away, if not more, each month and live on the exact same budget.
I’m not saying it’s been perfect budget wise since the wedding. We splurged on our minimoon break drinking bottles of champagne, and we spent 2 months after our wedding giving a huge middle finger to our budget. But, after putting an offer in on our house, we very quickly crashed back down to reality. We soon realised we did have our disposable income back but it was better spent on other things, rather than just saying yes to everything. And I also realised, I begrudge paying full price for things when I know I can generally get it cheaper!
That period of my life made me think about what truly made me happy. I spoke previously how I struggled with the term success and how I thought it was surrounding yourself with things. But I couldn’t surround myself with ‘things’, because I had a wedding to pay for, so I had to pursue happiness elsewhere.
Happiness was found within experiences instead; spending time with friends and family, on the evening walks with the dog. I stopped surrounding myself with materialistic items and trying to pursue happiness from them. Husband and I really utilised our Netflix account, and I learnt to cook more dishes instead of eating out. We started going on more walks together, eating in with some beers or having board game nights with our friends.
By finding out what makes me happy, it’s allowed me more financial freedom that I thought possible. It’s allowed me to spend the money on things I want too. It’s allowing to make slow and stable choices with our home, allowing us to have a little nest egg incase of emergencies, allowing me to tick off the real bucket list items on my list and pursue a true life of happiness.
It allowed me to get out the mentality of chasing more when it comes to money. I’ve been guilty so many times of thinking, ‘things will be better when I have a better paid job’ or ‘things will be better when this is done’. Truth be told, other things happen. I did think things would be better financially after our wedding; but I never accounted for mine or husband’s health to decline.
Money isn’t the key to job satisfaction, or life satisfaction. It also doesn’t matter how much you earn, it’s really what is in your pocket that counts. My Mum told me that time and time again, and it was only really in the last year so I actually got it. I’m glad I learnt that keeping up with the Jones’ isn’t for me, and I can put my cash to giving me the life I want to lead.