BLOG – How we Shop, Spend and Save – “To deal with deep pain and loss I shopped. My spending habits were out of control” Kim (2 minute read).

2016 was one of the most unhappiest years of my life. To deal with the deep pain and the sense of loss that I felt that my Mother was sick again, I shopped. Consumer goods, expensive shoes, handbags, wallets, clothing and meals out.

I sat in a meeting room with my colleagues at the beginning of 2017 talking about how I wanted to buy a house with a $50 Lorna Jayne drink bottle (which I lost running to catch a flight), a $380 pair of sunglasses (I lost them whilst out drinking) and a $120 Mimco wallet sitting in front of me.

It became abundantly clear why I didn’t own a house – my spending habits were out of control. People with houses would have allocated $50 towards those three items (drink bottle, sunglasses and wallet) and put $500 towards paying off their mortgage to buy their financial freedom.

I realised that I didn’t want my life to be about debt and buying consumer possessions. I realised that the ultimate things I wanted was financial security, a safe place to live, a family and meaningful relationships. I wanted to have people in my life who would provide me with love and security. I want to spend money on what I’m passionate about and spend time with people I love.

Rather than thinking, “I should own a house by now” I thought: “I must change”, “I must spend less” and “I must change my circumstances”

My parents made it clear that if I wanted to buy a house I would need to learn to look after my money more effectively and plan for the unexpected. 

For me that meant selling or giving away the equivalent of a two bedroom house worth of furniture, belongings and possessions. I moved into my friend’s flat as a boarder for $510 a fortnight, including bills. Lodging helped me to pull in my budget and focus on my bigger goal of buying my own home.

I changed a number of my spending habits. I realised it’s about starting small, tracking every area of your spending and analysing it carefully and honestly.

It’s quite hard for millennials because we get such negative press about spending.

I drew up a budget and reviewed it every fortnight. I set up 12 different bank accounts – an electronic envelope system – which allowed me to clearly track and plan all areas of my expenditure. I divvy out the money into my 12 accounts each fortnight saving for health, trips, bike maintenance, gifts, charity, beauty and so on. I track every one of my expenses in a spending app.

I cut up all but one of my credit cards. Paying cash through a debit card helps me feel the burn of my purchases.

I changed mobile phone plan, cut subscriptions such as Netflix and stopped purchasing take-away food. I do buy barista-made coffee regularly.

I made a pact not to buy any new clothes in 2018 – I only spent $112 on two T-shirts, underwear and the repair of two shirts.

It’s important to feel good. I pay $25 a week for my yoga membership which is really important to me, as well as $85 every six weeks on hair appointments and $50 a month on waxing.

The Kim of 2016 believed it was impossible to buy a house on her own and was regularly going out on shopping sprees.

The Kim of 2018 made sacrifices and changes. She had an overarching larger vision and plan. And, she achieved her savings goals. I now know it’s possible to buy a house on my own in 2019. 

Thank you to Kim for sharing openly and honestly.

What next?  Please share with your family, friends, co-workers and people whom this story will inspire and help.

Thank you for reading.

Until next week…