When was the last time you got a massage? Or spent over £100 on yourself? (That wasn’t a new pair of glasses or an appointment at the dentist?) When was the last time that you spoilt yourself? Honestly, I’m not sure when the last time I spoilt myself was. I’ve literally never paid for a massage before. My mum really sweetly booked me a pedicure a couple of weeks ago, but that is something that I have never, or would normally never organise for myself, and the idea of spending my money on an expensive pair of shoes or a handbag? It sends shivers down my spine.
Living at the moment is CRAZY expensive, particularly in London. Most of my friends are in debt, whether that’s due to a student loan or an overdraft that was set up when they first moved here to help them cover the rent. As a result, we all make a lot of sacrifices. We don’t drink when we go out for dinner, we say no to parties outside of the city because it’s too expensive to get there, we wear our shoes until the soles are literally worn away.
We’ve become master savers – Alex and I do all of our food shopping on a Sunday afternoon at one of those big Tescos because we know that we can save about £30 a week doing it. Alex cycles to work every day and we make our lunches the night before. My friend’s do their own manicures, we wax our own vaginas, I can make a Lush bath bomb last about ten baths and we live for the complimentary cup of coffee that you can pick up at Waitrose. And for the most part, it works. It’s a huge pain in the arse, lots of conversations that we have drift to either ‘oh my God I’m so broke I’ll never get out of this whole’ or, ‘I know, let’s all look on Foxtons and play the “what would I buy if I won the EuroMillions” game.’ We would love to be able to do it all, but, we can’t. And that’s the same story everywhere.
If we can’t afford a starter at a restaurant then we certainly won’t stretch to a new makeup palette. If the council tax bill leaving the account was a huge blow then how are we going to be able to afford to get the drink’s in at a friend’s birthday this weekend? If we can’t afford the £2.99 Maybelline nail varnishes in Super Drug then how the fuck are we going to afford a manicure? ‘Luxuries’ are the first thing to go when it comes to saving money.
But that can be incredibly depressing. It’s needs must for most people and we generally do plod along quite nicely, but every now and then, the opportunity for spoiling ourselves arises and it is incredibly difficult to turn it down. So sometimes we don’t, we buy a jumper that we didn’t really need, we decide to let a professional have a go on our eyebrows rather than butchering themselves with our tweezers, or one drink turns into twenty on a night out. But because we have got SO used to saving, to ‘being good’, to ‘sacrificing’, when we do break the rules, fuck it up a bit, we feel really, reallyyyy guilty.
It is not uncommon for Alex and I to wake up on a Friday morning with the hangovers from hell and shed a little tear over the fact that we had SO much fun that we slipped into our overdrafts. In fact, that’s really common and that feeling of guilt and shame and anger is something that can cloud an entire day. We got to the point recently where we thought: why do we even go out anymore if the next day always feels SO horrible because we spent money that we didn’t really have? All the fun that we had is ruined by a feeling of panic.
And that started to really piss me off, that feeling. The feeling that I didn’t deserve my own money, that I wasn’t entitled to it, the feeling that spoiling myself was selfish. That feeling that really, we all have when it comes to money. The last time I felt this feeling of selfishness was on the way home from my holiday where I bought myself a new foundation (£25) to match my now considerably darker skin and just as I was stomping round the house unpacking and being a in a grump with myself, I came across these ceramic eggs that had been posted as an Easter present from Alex’s mum, one of which actually told me to pamper myself. Well, if the egg says I should then I definitely should right?
Well, maybe. But this did get me thinking. At the moment all of the money that any of us really save is for the big stuff; for a house, or for the rent or for a rainy day. It’s all for big scary bills and boring expenses such as travel and food. Nowhere in our meticulously organised bank accounts or expense spread sheets does their exist a ‘me fund’. A pot of money saved just for you. Correction, a pot of YOUR money saved just for you. And that didn’t make any sense to me. That just seemed wrong. And so, taking inspiration from my eggs, which I love by the way, might I suggest that we look at the idea of saving a little bit of money for ourselves every month? It doesn’t have to be hundreds. On account of the fact that these eggs are tiny more than anything else, I’m not expecting to be able to afford a pair of Loubitons anytime soon, but a couple of quid here and there? Just towards me and the things that I want? Might that be the way to stop myself feeling guilty about spending money on myself?
If I go out and buy a jumper on a whim, that’s maybe £30 that I hadn’t bargained on losing. That’s £30 I could have put into savings, or spent on a dinner somewhere, or used to fill my car with petrol. That’s something that I feel guilty about because it’s come out the blue and I’m kicking myself for shitty will power. But if I had bought that jumper after collecting a pound a day for a month would I still have the same qualms about spending it? Probably not. By the time spending it came around, the money, to my subconscious mind, had already gone.
The ONLY downside here that I can see is that I don’t want to have to smash these eggs because they are adorable, so perhaps I might suggest a piggy bank, or a little pot somewhere or a flex saver account instead. I’m not saying that you need to take up having weekly massages and I’m not trying to suggest that having nice nails is more important than food (although….), but what I am encouraging you to do is to stop feeling guilty for spoiling yourself. Because apart from anything, and this is important to remember: by the time that you are feeling guilty, that money has gone. You can’t get it back, and there is no use crying over it now. As Alex and I always have to say to one another after we fuck up and get drunk and order three rounds of jaeger-bombs for everyone that we have ever met: you can always earn more money.