I blame Instagram. Our desire to be head to toe in brands. To live in that house filled with copper accessories, and to go on a six week holiday to the Maldives. It’s pretty easy for us to compare our reality to the filtered snapshot of someone else’s life – Instagram does that, the Internet is a prime suspect in making us think everyone’s living a more exciting, glamorous life than we are.
“How are you funding all these holidays?!” He asked as he tucked into his third Boots meal of that week. Three more than I’d had that entire month. I sat there a bit smug, not because I have an extravagant salary, but because I’ve learnt to be quite savvy with my money. Gone are the days of spending my meagre month’s wage on a used Blackberry Bold from eBay, because I was 17 and wanted my then-boyfriend to think I was cool enough to be loved (spoiler: that’s a recipe for a disaster).
A lot has changed since then. I’m kind of doing this whole adult personal budget thing pretty well. I’m kitted out with a self-made monthly budget that doesn’t just include ASOS purchases, and I have some money tucked away for a rainy day. Sure, I bring in more now than I did working two or three shifts a week when I was 17, but I’m hardly rolling in it. It’s a modest salary. Yet somehow, it amazes some that I’ve already been on two holidays this year and I’m about to go on my third. But for me, it’s pretty simple.
Even for the everyday twenty something, Generation Rent millennial, simply sticking to a budget isn’t enough. Most of us do that, living within our means each month. It’s all about making sure it counts when it comes to spending those hard earned pennies. I look at the purchases that bring me optimum happiness – for me, that’s seeing the world and spending time with people I adore, with the occasional new-season wardrobe additions thrown in – and that’s what my monthly budget after savings, bills, groceries and other amenities goes towards.
I can compromise on the rest. I have zero monthly subscriptions, I opt for the library over having an Amazon Prime order winging its way to me, and I always take my own lunch to work. These little things alone might not seem like much but they really do make a difference. This is me living, without an overdraft, without a credit card. Living the life I want. And the trick here is to embrace it and to not see it as a challenge. Because it’s really not, it’s just getting smart with how you spend, so you can spend money creating the life you want.
This mix of lemonade and champagne tastes damn good.