Over the years I’ve gone through phases when it comes to ways to ‘treat’ myself. I’ve fallen for certain habits which have been financially detrimental and also stuck in ruts where all my money literally goes on to bills and rent without anything to keep for ‘me’.
One of the most financially draining methods of treating myself in the past was ‘matching’ my money. So whenever I *had* to pay for something I’d spend an equal amount on a treat. Okay, well sometimes not an equal amount… One of my main habits was whenever I got petrol I’d get a costa coffee. But you quickly realise that £3.50 a week soon adds up over the month and you’re splurging £182 a year on just coffee.
Has the Pandemic changed my spending habits?
Almost certainly, yes.
It’s not until you have nothing to spend your money on, that you realise how much money you were spending on nothing!
A massive vice for me, was the lunch time spends at places like B&M. But not going into the office, I soon realised how much the £5 here and there really added up.
Another big one, was eating out. When you’re in a restaurant it’s easy for a bill to add up when you pay at the end. Restricting our ‘bought in’ food to a takeaway on a budget, where you don’t buy drinks and desserts on a whim, we’ve really saved a shed load compared to what we spent before!
How am I managing money moving forward?
At the start of the month, I write down things I want and things I need. This ranges from household stuff, such as a shelf for the spare room, through to a new pair of boots because my current ones are battered.
This makes sure that when I go to high street shops I don’t just buy items because I want them. Do I need another pair of brogues? No. Do I need a new pair of ankle boots? Yes. This way I know that the money on brogues is better placed and I can easily talk myself out of it.
I also set myself a ‘spending’ budget for the month. Transferring £400 (which I’ve actually reduced this month to £200 to see how it goes!) straight over to Monzo and putting it in a pot ensures I know how much I’m spending. I pop £100 (or now £50) a week over to the main account I spend from on the Monzo app and anything leftover from that I put into my separate savings pot. That savings pot is currently so I can go on my friends Hen Do abroad next year! Which makes it even easier, when I’m working towards a goal. It will also help with finances that month when it comes.
Obviously, if I go over the budget it goes into the next weeks spends.
And anything left from the list or that I couldn’t afford rolls over to the next month.
How to structure treating yourself for any budget
Another way I’ve found to manage money a little better without feeling like you’re missing out is by categorising my wish list. It consists of three sections: Splurge, Safe and Save.
Splurge is about those big-ticket items. The ones that you’ve been lusting after forever and are going to be timeless pieces. Jewellery would come into this category.
Take these *gifted piece from Daisy Jewellery for example. They’re not cheap, but they are items that will remain classic for years to come. It’s always wise to not choose jewellery led by trends, as you want them to maintain their value and also be worn decades to come!
The effortlessly simple design of pieces like the Labradorite Healing Stone Necklace can be worn daily and go with any outfit or occasion. Layered with more statement pieces such as the Throat Chakra Necklace you can really start to build a jewelry wardrobe from just a few pieces.
Safe spends are those £10 – £15 items that are a one-off just to get you through the month! I used to say make-up was my ‘safe spend’ item, but once you add up the pounds here and there for yet another lipstick you don’t need, you soon run short of cash.
Often my safe spend comes in a ridiculous form. Like those things you see once and can’t stop thinking about. Like this fox beret from a Chinese seller on ebay. I actually spotted someone wearing it on a Facebook group and said they bought it from Etsy. After a quick Etsy search seeing that people were selling it for £30+(!!!) I turned to eBay and found it for a much lower price.
Don’t get me started on the Etsy sellers pulling the ‘bought from China selling as handmade’ thing.
Finally, we have the save option, and this is a little bit more of a gamble but can be quite fun.
I simply look at what budget I have left for the week (but limit it to £20 if it’s more) and go on eBay. I search broad terms such as ‘vintage dress size 10’ and order the search by auction and ending soonest.
From this you can drop on some proper bargains! I’ve picked up dresses for as little as 99p and they’ve been brilliant. So far the most I’ve spent is £4 on a dress and there’s only been one that didn’t fit properly.
And who doesn’t love a treat in the post and the excitement of bagging a bargain? I’ve also started using Vinted a bit more too and it’s amazing some of the bargains you can pick up on there as well!