I took a long time to get to a place where I know what to spend money on to bring me joy. But for most of my adult years so far I made a few expensive decisions that I wanted to talk about so I can maybe help someone who is contemplating something similar.
I used to believe that everyone should go University. I thought it was a fantastic opportunity afforded to my generation of teenagers and I felt like I should honour that and go. However now I’m out the other side I feel very different. I have a job that has NO bearing on my degree. I was very lucky in that way (in fact they didn’t even look at my CV) but life really is wonderfully chaotic – it’s very often just opportunities that lie down in front of you and you take them. I now owe tens of thousands of pounds in student loan debt and it feels shite.
However, in a positive way, I wasn’t ready to go into full time work so I’m grateful for the time I spent in-between. I also made some lifelong friends (although I joke to them that they aren’t worth the debt I’m in). If I hadn’t have found a great job then I would be grateful for my degree to fall back on. And it gave me a way to move from my parents home at 18 right into the heart of London which I would never had been able to do without a reason.
If all my choices, including attending University, lead me to this moment where I’m happy then I have to feel positive about that.
When I was 18, young, stupid and felt like I was in love (I totally wasn’t now I know what true love is), I opened up a credit card in order to charge a holiday to it. The holiday was crap because the relationship was crap. And then I got left with this bill to pay.
Thankfully it was ‘only’ £500 so as soon as I got my current job, I paid it back at £100 a month. So I’m glad it wasn’t thousands or it would have taken me years to pay off. Now I have a few credit cards that I use wisely to increase my credit and there’s nothing wrong with getting 1 or 2 if you know how to use them and can manage your money.
Another student related moan… I live in my overdraft for years and I hated it. When I got paid it brought my balance back to £0 and that felt like such a failure to me. How could I ever build savings knowing that I owed £2000 first. Well after I paid my credit card off, I still chose not to enjoy my better-paying job and I paid off my overdraft at £100-200 a month. Like with my other regrets, it’s bittersweet as it did afford me to enjoy my time in London as a poor student, pay some rent and be able to eat.
What I mean by this is spending £10-20 here and there on a film or cinema experience. At least with going to the cinema, it was social event but buying a film on DVD or Blu Ray always felt so crap because you’re not likely to use that again. Not long ago I sold all my ‘one time use media’ to CeX and enjoyed spending that money on something else I would re-watch or replay. Now I only buy games that can be replayed or films for the collection that I will watch again and again – a much better investment for the same price.