There I was the other day casually minding my own business, when the issue of money, or the lack thereof, had to get all up in my face.
Sat watching the X Factor with the happy anticipation of Downton being mere minutes away I decided to log on to internet banking to check if ASOS had credited my account from a return.The £30 was there but it was going to take more than the price of a returned dress to rescue those balance figures.
I subsequently spent the next hour (while watching Downton) fretting over my finances and coming to the awkward and uncomfortable realisation that if this was the 1920’s I would no longer be a Lady a la Mary as I’d hoped, but would in fact be more of a Kitchen Maid, a la Ivy.
Now if this sounds as though the state of my bank balance came as somewhat of a surprise that’s because it really did. This was the first time I’d logged on and checked my balance in months. Although it shames me to admit it, when it comes to money and finances I’m not very grown up. Probably because I know as much about figures as I do about quantum physics (translate that as diddily squat.)
I know this shouldn’t act as an excuse but I knew the lack of a regular income and my insatiable penchant for nice things wasn’t exactly going to paint me a pretty picture in pound signs when it came to looking at my account, so I did the only mature and sensible thing I knew how to do, and avoided the issue completely.
Child Jemma 1 – Adult Jemma 0.
When grown up Jemma finally took control of the situation by surveying the savings it would have been easy to start shouting about how a man in a mask and stripped jumper had obviously been pinching the pennies from my account but in all honesty the only thief of my cash was all my unnecessary spending.
Trying to save when it’s never been easier to spend is hard. As if shopping on the high street wasn’t accessible enough, online shopping makes saving nigh on impossible.
All the things you need and want now live but a click away on your laptop, phone or tablet. Topshop tops, ASOS dresses, Amazon entertainments, toiletries from Boots, Cosmetics, tracks off iTunes, proceed to checkout, pay on your card and you don’t even notice the money leaving your account. This is invisible spending.
Finally being aware of my (depleted) bank balance I refuse to be a victim of invisible spending any longer. Paying on your card either in store or online is a killer. The money sneaks out of your account and because no physical cash has actually changed hands you feel like you haven’t spent a thing.
Here’s what I’m going to do:
- Avoid online shopping sites that tempt you to spend money as if they’re the Black Death. Because basically to my money, they are the Black Death. Bye Bye, Topshop, ASOS and Amazon.
- Keep a spending diary. Here I will write down every last penny that I spend and what I’ve spent it on so I can look at it, feel guilty, and resolve to spend less the following week.
- Budget. Set aside a fixed amount that I have to spend each week and bloody well stick to it.
- With every purchase ask myself “Do I need this or just want it? Pretty much guilt trip myself into saying no.
Hopefully these simple measures will give my balance (and mood) a boost and provide the funds needed for the more necessary purchases such as books and quality cosmetics.
Because no matter how down and out and piss poor a girl might be she still needs a good book and killer eyebrows 😉