‘There’s a popular image of people who don’t save for the future as lacking in self-control. But the reason saving is so hard has less to do with self-control and more to do with a scarcity of attention’ – Sendhil Mullainathan
When I got married in 2013 one of the many (lovely and amazing) things my dad said in his father of the Bride speech was so highlight how alike we both are by the fact that neither of us has the ability to hold on to a £20 note for very long. I’m one of life’s spenders. No matter how much money I have, it gets spent. Which on one hand means I’m lucky enough to earn enough money that once all the bills are paid, and some has been put away in the Newman holiday fund, I have some left to play out with and feed my ‘pre-loved’ clothes habit. The problem is, if my straighteners break, we decide the Partner’s in Wine need a last minute spa weekend or Backstreet Boys suddenly announce a Vegas residency and Meagan and I simply have to go, I have no contingency for such extravagances or seizing the day.
Well as it turns out Backstreet is indeed back (alright!) so up we booked and on went £1000 onto my credit card without a moment’s hesitation, it is, after all on my bucket list to see them live with Meagan and this may be the only chance we get. Day seized.
I’ve been caught in the past by the glitz and the glamour of a credit card and have often buried my head in the sand about how much I owed whilst paying off the minimum amount, however this isn’t a story about the corrupt world of credit card companies and how they prey on the weak, the poor and the fangirl. This is a success story, about how a chronic over spender managed to pay her own way to Vegas to see her favourite boyband
So, how did I do it?
- After I booked my flight I took advantage of the interest free period an old credit card was offering (no interest to pay until July 2018 on balance transfers) so transferred the flight and hotel cost onto that. I had no intention of taking that long to pay it off, but at least it provided to breathing space without having to deal with loads of additional charges.
- I took advantage of the fact that between booking everything in October and the trip happening in March, was Christmas, indeed the most wonderful time of the year. Dave very kindly paid for the concert ticket as my present and my mum and dad agreed on this one occasion to give me cash for Christmas instead of presents. So that was a huge help.
- I sold all my worldly possessions on eBay. Well, not quite, but in conjunction with my new lifestyle choice of being a badass neat-freak wife sent from heaven I took the opportunity to have a good old sort out and everything I could sell, I did. I didn’t make any life changing amounts but every little £20 or £30 helped. And as soon as I sold a load of stuff, I deducted postage and paypal fees and the rest went straight off the credit card.
- I reigned in the partying. All my friends know how much those 5 lads mean to me, and also know how much I loved to travel. So when I turned down trying out the newest cocktail joint in town and suggested a £5 bottle of prosecco and some frozen pizza round mine instead; they were just pleased I wasn’t forcing them to come away with me.
- I’m fortunate that i get annual pay increments at work. So when I got a salary increase at the end of November 2015 i made sure the difference went straight off my credit card bill every month. You can’t miss what you never had right?
- I dug deep and found some will power. It’s not easy for me to save and I’m like a magpie when it comes to shopping (particularly for clothes. But every time I was tempted to buy a few top for Friday night or treat myself to more gym gear, I reminded myself what I was saving for, and did I really need that new pair of jeans that are almost identical to ones I already own? Plus it encouraged me to get creative with the clothes I already own and gave some stuff I haven’t worn for years a second spin.
So, other than my spending money, I head off to Vegas tomorrow pretty much debt free, which is an incredible achievement for me. Sometimes you have to keep in mind the end goal and make some sacrifices along the way to get something you really want. Having an experience of something me and one of my bets friends have wanted to do since we were 14 was more important to me than spending every last penny I earn in the pub or on clothes