Friday, 25 January 2013

A strange, new experience.

Every month the 25th arrives, and I breathe a huge sigh of relief.  My bank account once again looks healthy, and I can afford to go and stock up on my much depleted food shelves.  And whilst I am in Sainsbury's I have a sneaky look in the clothes section, and more often than not treat myself to a nice new dress or pair of shoes.  Well it would be rude not to, wouldn't it?!

Seems the answer to that question is a big fat NO!  Today is the 25th, and last night I had a rather new and enjoyable experience when I checked my bank balance.  Not only was I in the black, I actually had over £150 left from last month.  I wasn't quite sure I could believe my eyes, but there it was in black and white, my bank balance, with more than the measly £10 usually left in it after a whole month!

Now to a lot of people, this may not seem remarkable.  However to anyone like me, this was like the second coming!  For the last two and a half years that I have been an official 'tax payer', the most I have ever had left was just under £20, and on a fair few occasions I had actually gone into my (pretty expensive) overdraft, and had to borrow money from the boy in order to keep me going for those last few days.  So to have the money for a month's worth of food left over before I had even been paid filled me with a feeling I had not felt since the days of living at home with mother and father; relief.

And in the last month I had not even been particularly frugal with my hard earned cash.  January is a big birthday month in my family (my own plus 3 others), and with a certain sibling turning the big 30, a fair amount of money had been spent on presents.  I have also invested in a new slow cooker, something I have wanted to get for ages but have never quite been able to afford (as obviously another pair of shoes was a much better investment!).  In addition I  also started Alexander technique classes, Pilates classes and my usual Jazz class, as well as having a fair few evenings out with friends and family to celebrate various things.  So clearly this can only mean one thing, that my clothes habit has literally been draining my bank account for the last however many years, and I have been completely oblivious to just how big an effect this was having on my life.

Obviously a big question a lot of people will be asking is has breaking the habit this month been difficult?  In all honestly, no.  By going completely cold turkey, I have not even thought about going shopping as an option, and have simply found other activities to fill my time.  Yes on a few occasions I have looked at a nice dress in a magazine, and thought 'I really, really want that dress'!  However my desire to actually complete this challenge has kept me away from those pesky clothes shops, and I have not entered ebay at all this month.  I must also say that my discovery last night, that it is actually possible to have a decent sum of money left in your bank account at the end of the month, has spurred me on even more to actually save some money and not to have that dull ache in your stomach when you know you are going to have to borrow money from someone again.

So what will I spend my new found fortune on?!  Well for the minute it has been safely transferred to my savings account, where I can't accidentally spend it on a new bag!  I imagine it will probably end up being spent on getting my oh-so-unreliable car fixed (again!).  The next month is likely to be quite tight, with two trips to London for dance lessons, my car to sort out, excess bills to pay etc, so this extra money, plus the fact that I know I won't be buying any clothes to waste said money, means I can relax a little, and not have that feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach I normally have pretty much all the time.  And who know, maybe I will even be able to afford a holiday if I carry on like this for the next 11 months!  Of course, a holiday without a new wardrobe is not something I would normally contemplate, but I am definitely up for the challenge now.  Bring it on!

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