Money and Me - A Love/Hate Story

in Debt free diaries
387 replies 28.9K views
Hi all xx

I joined the MSE forum in Jan 2014 and my name says it all - I am currently skint!

I thought I would be completely honest here re: my relationship with money as maybe writing it down and then publishing it all so publicly would help me face head-on how I've ended up in this position - I'm 38, living with my parents again, no hope in hell of owning a house at this point and a small amount of savings which I am desperately trying not to touch.

As I ramble on here, please feel free to add any thoughts or supportive comments. I already know that this is a non-judgemental forum, which is appreciated! By the same token, please understand that these are my own thoughts and only reflect my own experiences - I'm certainly not commenting on how others here live their own lives xx.

I guess I've always had a crap relationship with money, which I've only began to examine over the last five yrs or so. I've been scared of money; it seemed difficult to understand and looked a bit 'boring'. It was for 'other' people to get on with. I just lived off it, spent it.
At uni I took out overdrafts and loans because they were simply 'there'. My group of friends were typical students - we made sure our bills and rent were paid and then spent the rest.
Once I started work it was the same - the thought of saving just didn't enter my head. I've ALWAYS justified my spending as I've never spent out huge amounts of money on anything - just little bits here and there. A new top, a night out, a cheap holiday...little bits I thought would never break the bank.

They did!!

I'd never had a credit card but when I was around 25 I was working with a group of people who ALL had one and thought I was daft because I didn't. So I applied and was suddenly given access to thousands of pounds. So, the tops, the nights out, the holidays, the make up all became a little more expensive because it was so easy to pay for them. And so easy to simply pay the minimum payment each month.
I remember opening my kitchen cupboards one evening and just being bored with what looked back out at me - so I took off to a big supermarket and piled my basket high with treats, no 'real food'. At the till I paid for the lot with my credit card. For the first time, a voice in my head said 'THIS IS MADNESS'.

By the time I was 30 I had 3 credit cards and two overdrafts and I was frightened. At 34 I finally had a job that paid enough money to start chipping away at this debt and by 37 I had done it - no credit cards, no overdraft. HURRAY!!!!!!

But no home of my own and no savings either. This has been a scary realisation. So I started to save, wanting the holy trinity of 'pot for when I'm older', 'pot for emergencies' and 'pot for immediate needs' i.e. a house. I also wanted to live a nice life, with holidays and tops and make-up and and and...... and I didn't want much, did I??! So even with the best wage packet I'd ever had I STILL didn't really have a clue about money!!
All I had was a vague idea of how I thought things 'should be'.

At this point I suffered a bereavement which knocked me for six. I was in a bad way and finally had to pack in my well paid job. But this turned out to be the best course of action as I also realised - I was focussing so much on what I 'should' be that I'd utterly lost sight of who I actually was. I hated my job, it simply wasn't worth the money. So, I walked, with my pot of savings.

I'm now working part time in a job I love and am studying for my Masters degree in a subject that absolutely feeds my passion in life (music!). So here I am - skintyerlinky! My savings have dwindled but thank god they were there. I now have a small amount stashed away in an ISA which I'm hoping not to touch and in the meantime I'm going right back to basics and examining my attitude to money from within.

The results??? For me, I've finally admitted that the new tops, the nights out, the shiny new books, make-up, scented frickin' candles, mini-breaks, rip-off coffees in rip-off coffee shops, takeaways..........all just attempts to make me feel happier, less bored, give me a little boost. In the short term they did, but I just couldn't afford them all. In the long term....I'm skint!!

However. And I must be perfectly honest now. I'm really truthfully feeling much calmer, relaxed, secure....happier??? this way than I've felt in a long time. Being skint means spending more time with my family and friends. Being skint means eating better and therefore feeling better. Being skint means taking pride and joy in the 'things' and 'stuff' I already own.

Being skint finally makes me realise how lucky I am to have all of the above - plus a job and uni course I love too.

The only thing I don't have is...much money.

But perhaps when I DO have money again, I will treat it better and not abuse it so stupidly.

Thanks for reading - I don't half go on, don't I!!

Lots of love to all forum-ites here - so so glad I found this place xxxxxxx
2014 Frugal Living Challenge
#48 Crazy 2014 Clothes Challenge: £95.00/£100
Number of read books/unread books: 9/56
Number of new books bought in 2014: 1

Ain't nothin' goin' on but the rent
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Replies

  • kb_somakb_soma Forumite
    269 Posts
    Seventh Anniversary Combo Breaker Debt-free and Proud!
    "Being skint means eating better and therefore feeling better."

    Surprisingly yes! Thank you for sharing, I have a while to go with my debt yet, but I hope to be debt free before my estimated date!
    LBM: NOVEMBER 2011 || debt free date:30/06/15 || The Fighting Debt Army: #442 || Frugal Living Challenge 2018 || January 2018 Grocery £1.22/£100 ||
  • vw_campervan_mumvw_campervan_mum Forumite
    207 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Forumite
    Well done with sharing your realisations - I agree downshifting wants is a far healthier lifestyle choice. Hope your new life brings you contentment :T
    Debt Free. Have my Van. :) Find dream
    Frugal 2016 Target @£400 per month
    Month 1 £400/£400 Total of 6 Months: £/£2400
    Food £0/£120 pm Diesel £0/£100 Me/DD £0/£80 Yearly (clothes/holidays/presents) £0/£100
    It's not the end, it's the journey and how we travelled.
  • laurag89laurag89 Forumite
    728 Posts
    Seventh Anniversary 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    Good luck, I pretty much followed exactly the same path you did.... apart from the Uni debts as I didn't go to uni. But I am 25 in March and I have finally realised all the rubbish i have been wasting my money on for all these years: Same thing tops, make-ups, holidays I couldn't afford.

    Its only now I realise I wish I had saved, and I could have been looking at getting a mortgage now. But on a plus side.... I have £7800 in total on credit cards, and a couple of loans that have a couple of years left on them. So I have finally planned to chuck every spare amount of cash at the credit cards over the next 2 years and end up debt free in 2 years so I can save like crazy for a mortgage.

    Its never too late to own your own property! You can take a mortgage up until the age of 70 with most providers, so there is always plenty of time. Nothing wrong with living with parents for the meanwhile though..... Its soooo much cheaper :D
    Total debt to pay: £14,071.41/ Remaining debt: £12,884.12: Amount Paid: £1,187.29

    Survey xmas 2018 savings: £10 / £150
  • Thanks so much for you replies folks!! Feel a lot better for getting it out.

    Onwards and upwards! Glad you are working your way through your debts too laurag - and that you are committed to 'Frugal 14' camper and kb!!

    Thanks guys xxx
    2014 Frugal Living Challenge
    #48 Crazy 2014 Clothes Challenge: £95.00/£100
    Number of read books/unread books: 9/56
    Number of new books bought in 2014: 1

    Ain't nothin' goin' on but the rent
  • Tomorrow is Feb 1st and is my 1st day of serious budgeting!!
    January has been my 'put the brakes on' month, look at my outgoings, sort out accounts etc.

    February is my 'test case' month - setting a budget, staying out of shops (!) and continuing to work on my attitudes towards and relationship with money.

    Will keep posting here - good luck everybody who is trying to have a smoother financial time in 2014! xx
    2014 Frugal Living Challenge
    #48 Crazy 2014 Clothes Challenge: £95.00/£100
    Number of read books/unread books: 9/56
    Number of new books bought in 2014: 1

    Ain't nothin' goin' on but the rent
  • Hmmmmmmmm...

    Stuff I've bought that I was convinced would change my life for the better:

    Boxes of green tea
    Boxes of camomile tea
    Boxes of peppermint tea

    Shed loads of self-help books. Subjects covered: 7 ways to make me more organised, some lawyer who became a monk and found the 7 secrets of life, 7 secrets of dying people which are the secrets of life, 7 secrets of happiness (why all the secrets??? Why not just tell people?! And why always 7 of them!!) & something which must have condensed the lot as it's simply called 'THE Secret'!! Also, how to use art to live a peaceful life, how to just, well, not go mad, many many others but also one called, rather wonderfully, 'F*ck It'!

    Many face creams, lotions and potions that use either lots of man made acidic chemicals OR only organic plants hand harvested by fairies. ALL promised to literally turn back time

    Many hair products promising to either volumise by tresses OR, when that became to power ballad scary, to straighten it into sleekness. Cos I'm, like, worth it innit??

    Many candles that promise to energise OR soothe me when in reality they made me jumpy in case I set the house on fire.....

    ....Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!

    Any thoughts? Can anyone relate??

    HOW MUCH DID ALL THIS COST???????!! (**whimpers**!
    2014 Frugal Living Challenge
    #48 Crazy 2014 Clothes Challenge: £95.00/£100
    Number of read books/unread books: 9/56
    Number of new books bought in 2014: 1

    Ain't nothin' goin' on but the rent
  • BuffythedebtslayerBuffythedebtslayer Forumite
    18.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Forumite
    Oh Wow!


    Can I relate? HELL YES!


    I have done the almost identical thing to you! Will be 38 this year, I can't believe I have got so old so fast. I have no savings, am in debt although I paid off about 25000 - finished in 2011, I live with my Mum - we lost my wonderful Dad 7 years ago and originally they were going abroad to retire and there was house stuff and money problems so I stayed home and have sort of stuck here, - am guessing your situation is just temporary? hope so! am not sure mine is.


    Self help books, soothing candles, oil burners, fitness DVDs, make up, creams, new duvet sets, shoes, bags, craft stuff (new thing) oh my God, have done it all! Every passing fad or new idea of transformation has been tried.


    And none of it works.


    I have recently come to the conclusion that all I really want is a boyfriend, a house and if I am really lucky a child.


    I think when they say this is a difficult age, they aren't kidding.


    Best go have breakfast.




    Buffy XX
    Nevertheless she persisted.
  • I love your diary - frank, honest post and sums up how many of us have acted and are feeling

    I'm subscribing and will follow you with interest and in support

    Good luck!!
    I want to be a writer
  • Hi Skintygingerlinky,

    I have read all those books too! and I am on these forums at 47 still trying to figure it all out.

    But, something must be sinking in because my dear friend, whose advice I usually follow religiously, has just this month, tried to talk me into:-

    1. The marvels of Raspberry Ketones, which I resisted, although tempted.

    2. Yesterday, her must have was a face cream based on snake venom, which was on offer at B&M's. She had bought a box load and assured me that the lines on my face would disappear instantly, at a fraction of the price of botox. This time I had no problem avoiding jumping in the car to grab some!!

    I wish I had caught on at your age x. All the best for your journey.
    "I wondered why the Frisbee was getting bigger, and then it hit me". £9/£250
    Project Peacock - 2/33 - 1lb/7lb target.
    £6.00 a day challenge £118.77/£170
    Mtge debt includes car purchase - £46,381/ now £44,336 - Paid 4.4%
    Emergency Savings 550.00/£1000
  • debtfreeonedaydebtfreeoneday Forumite
    4.7K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper PPI Party Pooper
    Forumite
    Hello!! Subscribing..
    DFW (08/08) £64,346.53 Gone for good (02/19)MFW (01/15) £40,582.32
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