Money Talk: My Battle With Spending vs Saving

I know it's seen as arrogant to talk about money, but I think it's such an important thing to be open about. My relationship with money has very much changed over the years since I started my first job, but I have always been relatively good with watching the pennies. I grew up in a family where for generations we've never been 'well-off', but my grandparents and parents would always ensure there was enough money set aside so that we would never go without.

My mum in particular has always had such a sensible attitude towards money, so perhaps the emphasis on saving has been ingrained in me from a young age. When it came to having to pay for rent, bills and food in the real adult world (I never had a clue how expensive cheese was- perhaps one of the biggest shocks), their approach to fund-management had me prepared and I am incredibly grateful for being raised in a way to appreciate the value of money.

My unfunded Graduate Diploma was spent working myself to the brink of a mental breakdown just to keep financially afloat, and while I now work full-time (although my salary is basic and Brighton rent immediately eats up the majority of my wage!), that fear of not having enough money has stuck with me. I verge on stingy, and try to save money in every way possible, just so that I have funds to fall back on if me or my family did ever need them. I am fortunate enough to be in the position where I can put a little bit of money away, and I of course appreciate that this isn't the case for everyone. But the way my finances work is that once the basics are paid for, the rest goes straight into my savings account.

Stewart and I are at the stage in our relationship where we dream about buying a place of our own, so this adds to the need to save cash wherever possible. We are very slowly building our deposit fund, but I increasingly feel so guilty when I spend money on myself. I work hard for my money, so why shouldn't I be able to enjoy it while I can? There is a mental block for me- I am so driven by my goal to own a house that I completely forget to actually enjoy my earnings and reward myself along the way. My nan is always telling me to buy myself new make-up and clothes and to 'enjoy my youth', and I so want to listen to her. The guilt of treating myself to these nice new things leaves me feeling horrible, but so does the idea of being money-oriented.

When my cousin came to visit last weekend, she reminded me that it's all well saving that money, but you need to find a balance of enjoying it now and keeping enough for the future. I think it's a hard balance to find, especially when you've always been so focused on only buying things you need, and not purely what you want. It's difficult to break those old habits! But after a girly day out filled with brunch, sight-seeing and perusing the shops of Brighton, I went home and bought myself some new things. Then I bought some more in the following days. And it felt so liberating to actually treat myself to something; they may have been purely material things (purchased under the excuse of 'I need them for our summer holiday'), and all total sale bargains, but it did make me happy to think that I had worked hard for them and that I deserved them.

It's all well working hard for a future distant goal, but it's also important to not be so harsh on yourself and to reward that hard work. It's definitely going to be work-in-progress for me, but a journey entwined with 'self care' that I am excited to start.

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  1. We bought a house this year after around 4 and a half years of saving while renting. There were certain things we cut out, like we stopped eating out nearly as much. We also didn't have a holiday abroad for a couple of years as we decided that it was worth the sacrifice to put the money we would have spent in our house deposit fund instead. But we did have the occasional splurge, I think you go mad otherwise and will just quit saving. Something I liked to do if I fancied some new clothes/ makeup was to set myself a budget and take that much out in cash and not use a card-then when shopping I could treat myself without going overboard. I think it actually made me shop much more wisely and think more about whether I would really get a lot of enjoyment/ use out of something before buying it. Good luck with the deposit saving!x

    1. That's such a good idea with using cash- I guess then you do have to think more carefully about spending. Otherwise it's so easy to lose track! Our treats each month involve date night (cinema, cheap-ish meal out etc)...where I cut back is with material things for myself. But yes it is important to reward every now and then...otherwise you question what you're working so hard for! x

  2. YES! You work hard, you deserve to enjoy your money and treat yourself - otherwise you'll start to resent always going without. x

    1. I think I was starting to feel that way...hopefully I will learn to find a good balance! x


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