The good side to having no money – yes really
Since having my little boy we have probably definitely been the poorest we have ever been for one reason or another (I won’t rant about them all as that would ruin the purpose of the post…and probably my day too). But we have also been, in the most part, the happiest.
When you are so tired from looking after a baby you can’t stay awake at night worrying as you’re too exhausted for all that. That being said that works for me but not my poor Mr. Although, we have now both started the “oh f**k it” method of dealing.
But, in all honesty, in a really weird kind of way, I’m quite glad I am experiencing this time. Odd and bizarre I know but I’ll try to explain.
It has shown me how much money I have previously wasted. I used to buy things for the sake of it and then wonder why I had no money for bigger purchases like car maintenance (which would go on the old credit card). I have lots of lipsticks (when I prob wear lipstick twice a year), I’d buy shoes that I’ve never actually worn outside the house. I’d buy clothes that I didn’t try on before I bought telling myself I’d return them if they didn’t fit…I never took them back as I get scared returning things unless they are faulty.
I used to spend far too much on my weekly shop. When I was single my weekly shop cost more than it does now and I’m buying for three. Now I am watching the pennies I price compare, choose the lowest price (but same taste) items and look at the reduced shelf and current offers. When I think of how long I bought the branded food stuffs thinking it was better as it had a familiar label now makes me shudder. It could have probably paid for a holiday abroad. The only food item I tend to splash out on is stock!
I actually cook proper meals now. Before I would buy low cal ready meals and just throw some salad on the side or have a few too many take aways and meals out. I now have reminded myself how to cook, I’ll make my own pasta sauce and not just buy a jar. I now make 90% of our meals (the other 10% will be a treat frozen pizza or such like which has been on offer). So even on a budget I think we actually eat better and that has really helped with losing the post baby weight. It has also made me more inventive with recipes and having to make a meal out of what ever is left in the cupboard.
It makes you realise what is important. I admit it, a few years ago I thought that money influenced how successful you were viewed and that money equaled happiness. It doesn’t. What makes me happy is seeing my little boy smile and learn new things. It makes me happy when my Mr and I stay in on a cold winters night and watch bad TV. Money may might thing easier but not necessarily happier.
I search around for better deals. I always used to shop around for my car insurance, but now I shop around for my home insurance, gas and electric and do so through a cash back website so I get a little extra something back. Even though I do feel like I’m waiting for ages for the money to be confirmed and ready to transfer.
I no longer go crazy with gifts. Since earning a full-time wage I would treat family and friends at birthday’s and Christmas. With my friends as all our out goings started to go up we stopped presents long ago but would do a night out instead. Now its more likely a quick drink in the pub. But I would spend money I didn’t really have on the few I did buy for. Now I only buy for children and immediate family and we speak before hand to set limits on spends. If I can’t spend a lot on them I don’t want them to spend a lot on us.
I have stopped feeling obligated to go out. Now I love a good social gathering, but if it’s one I can’t afford I won’t enjoy it as I’ll be worrying about the bill at the end. Previously, I would have still gone to “save face” but now I just give my polite apologies and find another way to see the people involved. We have a run of friends birthdays coming up and typically its all the ones who have more disposable income so there are a lot of meals out and drinks. I have passed on the meals but will go out and meet them after. Do I miss not going to the nice restaurants? Of course I bloody do but I’d feel worse knowing I’d thrown money that could cover out weekly shop on one meal.
I guess we are lucky as we can see the light in the very distant tunnel and I know one day we will actually have a bit of money that isn’t just taken up just by living costs. I just hope that I remember what I have learnt this past year or so. I hope that I don’t waste money again as it’s sometimes the easy option. I also hope that I pass on my new-found knowledge to my son so he doesn’t make the same mistakes I have.
I guess in a perfect world I’ll remember this time and take on what I have learnt while counting my millions in a mansion. But somehow I doubt my life will take that turn…but you what? I’m ok with that.