Cash. Money. Wonga. Dolla. Moola. Whatever you call it it is the energy that makes the world go round and it hasn’t been til the last year or so I have really got my head around it.
I could talk forever on this topic because my experience has been vast, from not having it at all and not eating because of the lack of it, to getting myself into mountains of debt to finally having a savings account (with actual money in it!)
Cutting a very long story short when I was 15 my mum became really ill, so ill she was unable to work for some time and had to undergo life changing surgery. I felt an overwhelming responsibility to then help provide because it was only me, my younger brother and my mum. By the time I was 16, I was in full blown survival mode and juggling college, 2 jobs and a cash in hand side hustle. My work ethic has always been strong because I have always had to survive. I couldn’t ever understand the mindset of people who never worried about money, where it was going to come from next and how they go into a shop and purchase something without doing the secret debit card prayer, until now (and I am almost 30).
When I hit 18/19 I was still working and still surviving. My wages JUST covered my bills and the penny jar was no longer because I had taken most of it out to buy food. After refusing the majority of nights out and drinks after work (because even a £4.95 bottle of rose in spoons was a luxury I could not afford) one of the girls introduced me to this amazing thing called payday loans. Although they aren’t amazing at all and you end up in this horrendous vicious cycle of paying amounts back that are so far from the original figure you cant do the maths and then borrowing more to cover the short fall you are now in even worse and then it going round it circles.
I didn’t see the downside to this life for years because for the first time in forever I could actually “afford’ to go out with everyone from work. I could be apart of what everyone else was and when your the girl who never felt like she belonged then this was all I cared about, I never ever considered the destruction that was going on behind the scenes to my finances.
When reality hit, I was in a position where the payday loan payment was so high I was left with nothing and they wouldn’t lend me the amount I needed to cover my bills, their payment back and god knows what else and who else I owed money too. I was the girl in the office who ‘left her purse at home’ and would ask to borrow a couple of quid for my lunch when in reality my purse was firmly stuffed into the bottom of my bag but it was empty and no card in it would work and my cupboards at home were empty and I just wanted to eat something.
My survival mode kicked back in again. I worked one full time job and 2 part time jobs. I did a car boot almost every week, anything of more value I sold on ebay and I grafted like you wouldn’t believe. I did whatever I could to pay off my bills, to feed myself and to have a roof over my head. This included working on an online sexting service…yes you read that right! (Video explanation pending!) In the end I felt my only option was to register with a debt management agency and pay them an affordable amount per month. I then used all my extra money to make over payments to pay things quicker.
Money is a weird topic, what I class as not a lot of it may be luxury living for someone yet laughable to someone else. It is all relative and it frustrates me often that people aren’t mature or open minded enough to really understand this. I don’t expect everyone to understand my journey or to care but there is something that stings when people tell me to ‘get a job’ or make negative comments about my finances or lifestyle (99% are pure assumptions and 100% are often wrong)
I have worked my ass off to be in the position I am in today both mentally and financially, there is no doubt about it and in the last 12 months I have learnt not to carry a guilt that can often come with finally making something of yourself. I triple check and overthink whether or not I should post something I have bought that was a bit of a splurge or shout about holidays and luxuries because I know that there was a point in my life these things were so far from my reality that when I saw others with them it left me with a bad taste in my mouth and I don’t want to be that person to others. However, it is only now I realise it wasn’t anything to do with them and their money that bothered me, it was my own situation and my own relationship with money that I had issue with and needed to take action on.
When I was finally accountable for my money and decided to take serious action, my financial life changed and in turn my whole life did. I wanted to share a few things that have really helped me in my own money journey in the hope that people can learn from some of these steps too.
This isn’t easy! For a long time I blamed my lack of knowledge on money, the fact it isn’t taught in schools, I blamed my childhood and even blamed the friend who introduced me to payday loans BUT reality was I needed to take ownership of my circumstances because how can I change something I don’t even acknowledge I control? For me this was far more emotional than practical in terms of solving my financial problems but essentially it was where I needed to begin.
Write it down.
We all know I love a spreadsheet and they have been a huge part for me. You need to write down and track every penny you are spending, where you owe money, how much you owe and have a plan in place. This is hard and I am telling you now, be prepared for the figure of how much you owe to be higher than you think in your head but DO NOT be scared. There is ALWAYS a way out and support in place out there to help you so do not panic. It will feel overwhelming and when you have a figure that is higher than you imagine it can make you feel like you will never come through the other side but honestly – you will!
I read somewhere once about the snowball effect when paying things off and this has helped me massively. It is simple but effective! I believe most debt managements companies adopt this method but for you personally this can really help and is one of the best things I did.
Step 1: List your debts from smallest to largest regardless of interest rate.
Step 2: Make minimum payments on all your debts except the smallest.
Step 3: Pay as much as possible on your smallest debt.
Step 4: Repeat until each debt is paid in full.
I found if you had a budget each month allocated to debts using this method it made it even better. For example if you had £100 a month to spend across 4 debts and the minimum for each was £10, Spend £70 on one and then £10 on the other three. You do this until the smallest is paid off, then continue using that £100 budget but reallocate accordingly. So now you spend £80 on one and £10 minimum on the other two until you only have one left and then none! It seems crazy but it honestly made me pay things off far quicker and I got focused and determined.
You got mail – Budgeting Envelopes!
Before there were apps for budgeting I was old school. I got envelopes and put in a set amount of cash for each thing i.e Food/Petrol/Social etc. Whatever was left at the end of the week in the envelope would go towards making an extra payment to a debt OR a luxury of some kind like a take away or night out.
There are now apps for this and more recently I have been using YOLT. Some apps out there automatically save for you or pay things off for you when left from your budget, I simply use YOLT as a tracking tool and to really look at my spending however even in this modern day I find the hard core cash left in front of me the most realistic way of looking at my spending and how much I have left and sometimes when I really need to get a hold of my spending I go back to the envelopes.
The Comparison Game
I talk about this a lot when it comes to body image but it applies to pretty much any aspect of your life and Money is a big one. I spent a long time trying to keep up with everyone and when doing so realised it can become so easy to live beyond your means because you don’t want to get left behind or you want what everyone else has got.
One thing I have learnt is that not everything you see if reality. You don’t know how people have obtained what they have, if they own it, rent it, lease it, borrowed it or inherited it, Blooming eck they could of stolen it for all you know. I have had to learn the term “stay in your lane” the hard way because I tried to get into a lane that I didn’t belong and got myself in a huge financial mess trying to keep up with everyone else in it. You are doing ok where you are and you will get what you need at the time you are meant to have it.
and last but not least…
This may sound a bit airy fairy and ridiculous because only hard work gets money right? Well yes, BUT when I learnt to truly manifest the things I want and money was no different. However in order to do this properly I had to change the language I used when I talked about money, how I behaved around it and how I thought about it.
Whilst I had ran out of money (my own fault) and I had fallen on hard times on several occasions when I look back at my life money always came through when I really needed it. Whether it was someone being available to lend me it, a job opportunity coming so I can earn it or even finding £1 in the street. When I started focusing on that and stopped focusing on the over spending and the times I went without my relationship with money changed because I realised it was actually always available to me.
My self love journey has impacted this too because for a long time I never felt worthy of money or getting paid a fair amount. It sounds far fetched to connect the two because money to some people is a real life thing you either have or you don’t but if you don’t realise the emotional attachment that comes with it (or doesn’t) then you truly wont be able to have a better relationship with it.
Learning my own value morally and emotionally meant that when it came to hard cold cash I became in a position to demand what I wanted. Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been demanding management money when I have been in a junior roles but I have grafted to ensure I know what I am doing, I am experienced in my field and I work my absolute ass off to DESERVE being paid my value so when I demand a figure I know they are getting value for their money and I am being paid my worth.
I hope this has helped (appreciate it was a bit of a long one) and if you have managed to get this far YAY and if you have skipped to the bottom and have just got to here then let me just leave you with this..
“It is good to have money and the things money can buy, but it is good to, to ensure you don’t loose the things money cant buy’ George Lorimer.
Thanks for stopping by x
The Fat Funny One x
P.S – If all else fails just buy cake.
YOLT – Website & Budgeting App