I find this ridiculously hard. Ridiculously. I don't know what is so hard about spend less than you earn. (I also don't know what's so hard about eat less than you expend. An opposite equation. Can I use the same excuse when I get a sum wrong in front of my class - Now you know why I'm not a maths teacher.? No? Oh.)
I have a debt that is standing over me and causing stress. When I let myself think about it that is. Denial was invented for us 20 somethings that haven't learnt anything about money in our lifetimes as those born in the 'decade-of-greed'. You want that chotchke? Why not? It'll show how much you care about the way you are represented to the greater public.
The best time I have ever had money-wise was in 2002. I wanted to go to Melbourne with some friends and wasn't working. I gave my mother my debit card and she got the money out for me and gave me $5 notes each day - enough to get to TAFE and back and buy lunch.
The worst was this past July. I knew I was going to have 7 weeks without any income. I knew it was coming - the exact dates and what would be needed in that time. Did I save for it? Did I hell. I survived on walking to town and buying 8-10 quid of food per week. I slept an inordinate amount of the time, and ate once a day. My rent included limitless internet and access to the computer. I went back to work with an increased awareness of saving. I bought my lunch with me and didn't go near the canteen (three levels of stairs and detentions given will help with that.) I was paying off my trip for Christmas.
Then I realised that I couldn't go on the trip if I wanted to go to a friend's wedding in Canada. Something had to give. I cancelled the tour (that I had borrowed money off of my father to pay for) and had 1300 quid burning a hole in my pocket. I bought my ticket from Canada to home, paid a little of my loan (hell, yes, I have over $14000 bank debt and $14000 parental debt) and then it was gone again. But I paid off my overdraft - and then cancelled it. Totally freeing. The money I have is now mine. I don't have much - especially since I haven't been paid for my last week of work - but what I do have is all mine and is not owed to Lloyds.
So, this year has taught me that I really don't need some of the crap I buy. And I mean crap. Why, when my hair is naturally frizzy and I like it like that did I buy curl enhancer? Or the mist spray that is a 'spa in your bathroom' that I've used twice? Or the dresses that were too small but I needed 'cause they were just too cute and I thought they might motivate me? (Incidentally, I am still bringing them home - they can be presents or I can wear them when I find the motivation) Or the stuff I bought for the classroom that promptly got stolen or wrecked?
I have spent so much money here, but will have nothing more when I go home - 20 kg is so little to boil it all down to.