Hi I’m Naomi, and I purposely live like a pauper.
It’s a weird choice to make, I know, but if you’re serious about saving then maybe it’s time that you made it too. It’s easy to live cheap when you’re totally broke because you literally have no other option but when you have just that little bit extra to play with, it’s way harder to be strict with yourself and actually keep hold of it. So here are some ways to change the fact that your savings account hasn’t been touched since your Grandma gave you £100 for your 18th:
Remember What It Was Like To Be Poor
Back in the day, when your mum threw you a fiver for finally cleaning your room, you were a baller for the whole weekend. The best years of our lives were when we had zero income, so why can’t we cope now that we have it? Admittedly most of us will no longer be content just aimlessly knocking around ‘town’ but surely we can find the grownup version of that? I know that we all have responsibilities (gross) now but it’s the ‘disposable’ part of our income that we need to change our attitude about. And if you aren’t ready to treat life like you did when you were 15, at least try to treat it like you treat pre-drinks now. Everyone is happy to smash a litre of cheap vodka in an hour just to avoid the despicable club prices but we can’t seem to apply this logic to the rest of our lives. Eat as much as you can at home to avoid cafes. Walk as far as you can to avoid the bus. Just don’t take it for granted that those little extra spends need to be a part of your life.
On a recent scroll through Facebook, I came across this horrifying meme: “I swear girls spend more money getting ready for the holiday than the actual holiday itself. I mean there’s fake tan, brows, nails and of course an outfit for the airport!” And it had like 5K shares. 5000 people who would legitimately reduce the amount they could spend on a holiday just incase the air hostess thinks they look unstylish for their 04:30am flight?! As someone who tops up my oyster using coppers I find throughout the week, this physically hurt me. Treating yourself is so important for your sanity but it’s not really treating yourself if you just give yourself whatever you fancy all the time. I mean seriously girl? Do you really need those gold shellac nails with the random gem studded ring fingers? Do you?
Make Your Friends Understand
Uni was great right? We were all in it together and that meant we were all poor together too. Student loan dropped on the same day for your whole group, so on that final week, you were all united in chipping in just to afford a 2l bottle of coke to cure your collective hangover. But now we’ve all moved on to our different lives and while one friend might be making 24k a year, the other is making £6 an hour. Financial differences don’t change our friendships but they do change how we each respond to the question “so what shall we do tonight?” There is nothing worse than ordering a salad and tap water at a group meal and then hearing the words “shall we just split the bill evenly?” But if you are serious about saving, you’ve just got to power through it and remember that it isn’t forever. And as everyone has heard from their parents at some point in their lives – if they’re your true friends, they really will understand.
Let go of any shame you have right now, just say goodbye to it. If you still care when people say things like “haven’t you been eating those leftovers all week?” or “haven’t you been wearing that dress for five years?” then you just aren’t committed enough to the cause. The day I knew I was going to reach my savings goal was the day I walked to my local Tesco and straight up asked which time they reduce the price of the expired food so that I could nab the bargains before anyone else. Next time you see a way to save, that seems a tad too embarrassing, just do it anyway! Ask for a takeaway box for your last two onion rings, have a rummage through your mate’s ‘clothes for the charity shop’ pile, take that Mcdonald’s monopoly voucher off the cup left at the next table! It will all add up and it will all be worth the mild awkwardness.
Find Something To Care About
We all do a pretty convincing act of being real life adults who care about council tax and bills but really truly, you know it’s a damn lie. Personally, when I’m saving up for something dull like rent, I have no problem treating myself to five pints and a side of everything on the menu, but when I’m saving for a holiday, I’ll make one bag of rice stretch into 286 meals. So instead of dutifully funneling your hard earned money into something sensible, try saving up for something you truly want. If some of your adulting then has to come out of that pot, it’s not so bad. Another benefit to having a genuine goal in mind is that it really helps with justifying your extreme scrimping to others. It’s way easier to respond to “why is your bag safety pinned shut?” with “I can’t splurge on a new bag when I’m saving for Australia” than just “I’m sorry, I have 87p in my bank account”
There is an old phrase that people without much money are living “on the breadline”. I like to consider myself on “the breadstick line”, meaning that I can afford rent and groceries but no, I can’t come with you to that fancy italian restaurant that does unlimited breadsticks. It’s not about feeling sorry for yourself, it’s about making a decision. Deciding that saving is what is important to you right now and doing what you have to to make it happen.
Now go out there and be proud to be poor!