I hold my hands up, I used to be the kind of girl that would eagerly await payday just so that I could splurge on a list of lust-worthy items I had stored at the checkout. Yep, before I’d even received any money in my bank account I was already working out the ways I was going to spend it. And then once it was gone, I would be in an anxious state of penny pinching all month because I’d bought stuff that I didn’t need but desperately wanted.
This vicious cycle would repeat itself on and on. Yes I’d save a little, but embarrassingly, not as much as I would spend. But come to the beginning of this year when I was no longer getting a guaranteed payday, everything changed.
Instead of wondering if I was going to be able to buy items bejeweled in sequins, I was left wondering if I was even going to be able to cover my rent.
It was a dramatic change to my lifestyle that I just didn’t see coming, and despite having some savings to get me by, they wouldn’t last forever.
At first I mourned my old lifestyle. I missed seeing something pretty and then being able to just have it instantly.
Once you need less, you will have more.
Suddenly my mindset had to shift. It now became about survival rather than luxury. Or at least that’s how I saw it in my mind.
But three months on from losing the security of a salary, and the way I see money and spending has shifted far beyond my old spend-fast think-last behaviour.
Every penny I earn, I have to think about where it’s going to go. And if it’s not towards the bills then it has to be something that I will get real value from.
It’s funny how you realise what you’d rather spend your money on, and the value of things truly hits home. For X amount I could buy that top, or go and have dinner with a friend I haven’t seen for a few months. What really matters the most to me? – I think we all know the answer to that.
Yes, it’s been bloody hard. I’m not telling everyone to cut up their credit card and go cold turkey. There have been sacrifices, I haven’t been able to do particular things with friends, go to the gym or spoil my family when it’s their birthday. I’ve had to be really resourceful.
But wow, has it opened my eyes to the value of my time, my money and how I want to spend both of those precious things.
I was certainly no shopaholic, but now I look back on my spending habits and realise just how unhealthy it was to continually feel the need to buy things.
We can be completely ignorant to our spending habits. And not realise exactly what we’re doing. When you breakdown the time you spend at work, and workout your exact day rate, you realise that you might have been working an entire day just to buy something you’re never going to wear, or to go to an event you feel like you have to go to, but deep down don’t want to. Are you spending your time and money on the things you really want to?
Simple pleasures mean more to me now than ever before. I value moments, and I value the time I’m able to spend with my friends and family.
The freelance life isn’t for everyone. It is hard work and there’s no security that your going to get paid. But I’m so happy I got past the fear, because I feel richer in so many more ways.
Care less about what you own, and more about how you live.
I no longer spend time missing text messages and calls and feeling guilty that I’m not ‘there’ for people. I worked beyond my dedicated hours when I had a secure job, and put my health and relationships on the line.
It isn’t for everyone, but I’ve never felt happier, healthier, and I have better relationships with everyone in my life.
Even if you’re in the 9-5, take time to reflect and ask yourself if you’re really spending your time and money on the things that matter.