So I am 22, employed full time and have been in a steady, reasonably paid position for just over 2 years. I am fortunate that I live at home and have little responsibilities such as a house or a kidlet to consume every penny I make. I have worked since I was 16 and looking back on all the money I have made in the past six years, I really have very little to show for the hundreds of hours I have spent beavering away.
Of course when I was in my first job at a shoe shop, my priorities where a new Topshop dress every Friday, finding enough money to get the train into the next town for a little disco dance and a spot of underage drinking (sorry but we have all been there, you know it girl!) I wasn't overly bothered about being a little worse for wear for work in the morning or ringing in sick when I couldn't be bothered; looking back I wish I didn't have that mind set. I think it was mainly because I didn't really like it there and found it difficult to get along with the other girls, I always felt like an outsider and a little too 'alternative' for them. That isn't an excuse and if I found my younger sister behaving like this I would be rather disappointed. Anyway... in my first job I made £3.20 an hour and thought I was raking it in. How wrong I felt when my best friend got a job in MotherCare and earned like... £5 something. I felt cheated. We both encouraged one another to leave our jobs and decided on a summer of scrimping every penny we could get from our parents. How we made it through 4 months or so without anything coming in is beyond me.
My attitude towards making money soon changed when Christmas was soon approaching and bagged myself a temp job at Game. I really had no clue what I was trying to sell, there are a few games I like and know about and that is as far as my knowledge goes. I worked every hour I could; before school, after school, on the weekends, and to tell the truth I actually really liked it there. It was fun and the people I worked with were relatively nice and funny. I was told that I would be made a permanent member of staff once the Christmas period was over and lived happily in the comfort of knowing that I wouldn't have to find somewhere else. Lies! Unfortunately my new found willingness to work wasn't noticed as I thought it would be and instead I found myself printing off 20+ CV's and traipsing through town in hope of finding a 'JOB VACANCY' sign in the window of pretty much anywhere. I suppose you can call that karma.
Fortunately I quickly found a part time position in retail, selling 'distinctive' clothing for the slightly chav-ier individuals amongst us. Here I met some of the loveliest girls and really grew up and became more responsible with money. I was 18 and in a relatively new relationship which might I add can be a rather expensive addition to your life. Meals out, dates to the cinema and dreams of going on holidays all adds up. I still didn't really actively save, the only outgoings I really had was driving lessons and a phone bill. Everything else I spent was a treat and I loved being able to buy what ever I wanted. I wish I had bought things that would of lasted me forever, I wish I had the willpower to put some aside and understood that I didn't need to spend every penny until next pay day. I was able to save enough to go on holiday with le lover and it was worth every penny. Sadly my ambition to work full time led me to leave my position in retail, a place that I have missed hugely since.
The next job is something I wish I could erase from my memory, no amount of money could of made me stay there. Never have I felt so belittled by someone three times my age, who reviewed me on not making enough tea and not doing the dishwasher - tasks that never officially where given to me. I hope that they experience some kind of karma of putting me through so much distress at that time. It is this time that I started to struggle with money.
Due to leaving I no longer had an income, I couldn't go on my weekly driving lessons and struggled to justify going out with friends when I had no money to spend. I proceeded to gain an apprenticeship at a local newspaper and got given all the jobs no one wanted to do themselves however I did get to produce a few columns and I felt so proud when the paper was published every week knowing that I had some input. Sadly, again I was fed empty promises and left within 5 months once I completed the apprenticeship. Saving on such a little wage was horrific, I just about managed to start up driving lessons again and finally passed my test first time - wahoo! Holidays were pretty much a no no but my boyfriend was aware of how hard I was finding life in general on such a small wage and treated us both to a two week break in Turkey. I don't think I have ever felt such a relief and overwhelmed with emotion from one act of kindness and such generosity before.
The pressure of finding full time employment in an industry I enjoyed and wanted to progress is soon weighed heavy on my shoulders. My boyfriend had and still has the same job since the age of 16 and as a result has been able to save quite a decent sum which is amazing. Due to my rather varied and short bursts of jobs, this has been a little hard for me. Even after securing a position as a receptionist in my current place of work, I pushed saving to the back of my priorities. Holidays, clothes, short trips away and then finally buying a car all seemed so tempting and on a full time wage made it all the more accessible.
Finally in my mind of wanting and needing everything that is relatively sparkly, floral or shabby chic, I decided enough is enough. I don't want to live at home forever. I don't want to be dipping into my ISA when something pretty things pops up in the 'New This Week' page on whatever website. I have finally decided that I really need to be more responsible, that I need a few pennies saved for a rainy day or emergencies like my car dying on me. I really do want to move out and saving has enabled me to be one step closer to it becoming a reality. I want to explore Kenya and have a real Pad Thai curry in Thailand and by putting a little away at the end of every month I will be able to do so.
Now I spend with in my means and never spend excessively, I try not to buy everything I want all in one go and treat myself occasionally. I still enjoy myself, going out with friends, family and my beautiful boyfriend but have learnt to say no if I cant afford to do so.
Really my priorities haven't changed THAT dramatically in the past 6 years, I still want to have a good time at the weekend and still want a new dress every week. I still want to go on 5* holidays and weekends away. I still lust after new shoes and to go wild in Boots but I now have the ambition to take the next step as an adult and can appreciate that a few too many splurges means a few extra months it will take for me to own my own house with a garden and country side view. I am not there just yet and still have a long way to go before I reach my goal and by no means do I stick to my routine 100% every single month but I try my hardest and feel so proud when I see the results of my will power paying off.
I am not sure if this is helpful, interesting or something that will inspire you to tackle the subject of money, but I thought this would be a nice change to the usual fashion or beauty related posts.
If you would like to get involved in the last of the Frugal Friday series by sharing your saving & money related tips, then please send all your contributions to email@example.com before Monday 25th November. These will be put together to share with other bloggers and readers. Feel free to include any links such as YouTube, Twitter etc. You don't even have to have a blog or YouTube channel to take part - your input is just as welcome!
Need a few frugal Christmas ideas, then check the second post in the series here | Love Dr Martens, lace and camo jackets, then you might like this