Remember the iconic moment in Confessions of a Shopaholic, where Rebecca is trying to free her credit card from the block of ice, chipping away with the unholy gleam of a woman possessed in her eyes? Ahem. And this was the age before Swipe Up, discount codes and bizarre advertisements slipping into your social media feed with less subtlety than a f*ckboy trying to slide into your DMs.
I’m proud to say that I’m fairly decent with money. I’ve never lost my bank card (knock on wood), I try to save each month and I have managed to reach the grand age of twenty-one without any debt to my name. I have a part time job and whatever pocket money I earn from le blog goes to mad money or travel funds. However, there are moments where I’ve logged onto my bank account and gotten a bit of a surprise at how low the number has fallen two weeks into the monthly budget. Some of that is due to the timing of bills, and that I will restock on a pricier beauty or skincare item, or fill a gap in my wardrobe, as soon as I have some wiggle room. However, I’ve noticed that on occasion I fall into a routine of ‘treating myself’ or impulse buys which come back to haunt me later.
The Seven Rings chorus of “You like my hair, gee thanks just bought it, I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it,” doesn’t exactly fit the realities of my budget, no disrespect to the songwriting capabilities of Ariana Grande. So I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to put my wallet on a diet and cut down on my impulse buys. (Fingers crossed that putting it online will hold me accountable). I’ve been thinking about my biggest weaknesses and bad spending habits and have developed three strategies. For anyone else tiptoeing near the edge of a Confessions of a Shopaholic moment, here’s my plan to save more and spend less.
Online Shopping– one of the biggest fronts where my money seems to be mysteriously disappearing to is online. With shipping costs, and dangerously mindless features like accounts that remember your card details, this can be a slippery slope. I am particularly trying to avoid buying things on my mobile, whether from Instagram or from elsewhere as I think it makes it even easier to press ‘check out’ without thinking. Another tactic is to put items I love into my shopping cart or favorite them for later in my account and then close the tab. Close the browser even. If I don’t remember to come back to the site to order it, then chances are, it is an item I can live without.
(Don’t) Treat Yourself– I’m a gal who loves her food and also loves to cook, but sometimes due to poor planning I will find that I’ve eaten the majority of my meals out or bought on the go from that sneaky grab and go section near the til. I’m the rare twenty something without a coffee addiction, and so it’s not even a matter of needing a Starbucks fix. Usually it’s a way to kill time between classes or meetings, as I can’t be bothered to go home. Or it can be motivation before I head into my shift at work (you go do the job, you get the cookie). But it adds up and takes away funds from some really worthwhile indulgences like a birthday afternoon tea with a friend, or a pedicure at the spa, or a weekend away. And in the event of an emergency, all guesses fly out the window as Beth Sandland wrote about in her blog post The Problem with the Treat Yourself Mentality. I’m committing to more meals at home, more getting creative with my shopping and having a stern talk with myself every time I’m tempted to duck into Pret.
Fight FOMO– Fear of missing out, is something that we have seen more and more as social media has integrated into our daily life. It can be difficult to see an event going on at your university or city, the totally instagrammable new luxe café, people jetting off to get some winter sun or even a new trend (leopard midi skirts anyone) without craving those same experiences. While I love curating content and using my Instagram and blog as creative spaces, it has also taught me the really important difference between life online and life unplugged. The problem with constantly keeping tabs on our friends, or even following along with celebrities and bloggers means that if you’re not careful you can begin to feel like you’re missing out. You may find yourself, as I have in the past, saying yes to events you can’t really afford, splurging on fancy brunches that were delicious in order to get the pretty flat-lay, or even booking a trip that ends up being a touch pricier than you planned. The root problem of FOMO is that in constantly saying yes, you aren’t considering what will actually make you happy and is worth your hard earned money. So, moving forward, I am trying to only go out for drinks with the people I really want to see, go to the events I have been excited to go to for ages, and in short be selfish with my time and money. I’d rather miss out on the mediocre and be guilt free about the few luxuries that make me most happy.
I hope you enjoyed the post, I think sometimes influencers and bloggers can give the impression of a lifestyle that doesn’t always feel attainable for the average girl on the go. While I’m not a huge fan of talking about money (it can seem a bit tacky to me), it felt important to address some of the financial anxiety that young people face, and how personally I plan to be smart, stylish and spending savvy.