Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The Financial Table Turns


I was over at “Frugal Trenches” yesterday evening and read her daily tracking post. She’s doing really well but there was something she said that gave me a light bulb moment about how my own view of money has changed.

Earlier yesterday I’d been out shopping with Lise and Bjørn, first to buy some trackie bottoms for Paul, then to get kitten milk, and finally to do a bit of top-up shopping.

Because Paul’s a funny size, finding trackies that are both big enough in the waist but not too long in the leg, poses a bit of a problem. The only way I thought I could get round it would be to buy those that are the right waist size and take the legs up. What I hadn’t considered was that 9 out of 10 styles have either an elasticated ankle, a zip up the side of the bottom 6 inches or so or the logo goes right down to the bottom. All of those pose a problem. I could possibly sort out the elasticated bottomed ones by just cutting the bottom inch off before turning them up but the second problem was that the trousers that were big enough in the waist, also looked as if they were designed to house a bull’s arse rather than Paul’s almost non-existent one. And as for where the crutch would hang, well he’d need to be more than just well hung to fill that lot up! Quite honestly, if I put him in those, the chances are he’d look bloody ridiculous.

Once upon a time I would have bought them anyway. Just one pair for him to try and if they weren’t right, I’d donate them to charity (or have asked Mum too during the time Paul‘s been with her). This time, however, I phoned mum first and asked for her advice. Should I buy them or should I not? I knew he needed them but I really didn’t want to spend money unnecessarily if he wasn’t likely to wear them. Mum said “leave it”, she’s look down the market, and I actually felt relieved. We were only talking about ten quid but my view of spending ten pounds unnecessarily has changed considerably.

The kitten milk I was ok with. Five packs for £2 is more than worth it to keep my kitten happy and healthy. I did think 69p was a lot for just one, 40p each is closer to what I’d expect to pay so I was happy enough to part with my two quid.

The grocery shopping was the worse bit, though. By that time my stamina had run out and I was feeling so depleted that just getting out of the car was more than I wanted to do, let alone walk around Asda again. I gave Lise the money and a list and then sat in the car thinking about how much this was taking me over my budget. Having house guests is costing me more than I’d reckoned with and while I wouldn’t prefer them to go home than pay the extra, the fact that it wasn’t budgeted for was giving me cause for concern. Which credit card would have to go unpaid this month? I hadn’t reckoned with anything other than minimum payments this month because I knew I’d have extra expense but I hadn’t reckoned with missing a payment and then having extra fees bunged on, bringing my debt higher again.

My view towards spending has changed so much that when I came home today I felt almost guilty for spending so much whereas before I’d go on a proper spending spree and feel dead pleased with all the new stuff I’d bought… for about a day. Nowadays, knowing that I‘ve been able to stick to a tight budget leaves me feeling happier for far longer, whereas spending on something I ought to be able to do without makes me feel miserable.

How the tables turn.

Sharon J


Stumble Upon Toolbar


Catz said...

Oh yes indeed Sharon! How I wish I had thought this way in my younger years, we would be so much better off now. I do feel though that our generation is the product of the "Thatcher - you can have it all - years" At least we have had our lightbulb moment!

Sharon J said...

Well I wasn't in the UK during the Thatcher years but Norway also had a right-wing government with the same kind of policies so you could be right although my big problem with over consumption didn't really kick in until I came back here in about '98 (it might have been '97, I'm hopeless with dates) and until 7 years ago, I'd never had a credit card so I can't really put the blame there. I think I was more influenced by "The Jones's" and trying to keep up with them, especially so that my kids would fit in.