Thanks for your recent comments. Sorry I haven't been around - we still don't have the internet and I have been writing at home to post at the coffee shop down the road!
It's been about a year since I started this blog.
I had just finished University and once the graduation ceremony was out of the way I was faced with the stark reality of my bank balance. I was pushing the limits of my overdraft, I was carrying a (small) balance on my student credit card and I was just about to borrow a few hundred pounds to replace my car, which I needed to get to work.
I used a budget at University, which worked well when the going was good, but it had no room for error. When anything unexpected came up (car repairs, dental work, a night out, a trip home etc.), I didn't have a back up. The money came out of next week's/month's budget, which of course sent me into a downward spiral of not having enough money at the end of each student loan instalment!
When I got my first job after Uni (a chambermaid in a hotel – top graduate employment!), I wanted to learn how to budget properly. I spent hours learning why my Uni budgets never worked and how to fix it (answer: no wiggle room). I eventually came across some of the Frugal Living websites and blogs. I had never really stopped before to think about HOW to save money, just that I knew I should! (My frugality at University stretched to Tesco Value everything, but that was about my limit!)
When I first began work last summer I was still determined to live away from home as soon as I could afford it. I figured since I was earning I could afford to do pretty much as I pleased. Once I had read up on frugality I swung the other way and entered extreme frugal mode! Have you ever read Mr. Money Moustache's post about how debt is an emergency? He says if you're in debt then you should buy food and fuel to get to work, and the next penny you earn should be put towards debt. Well I was almost that extreme. I felt guilty spending money on ANYTHING that wasn't absolutely essential. I was constantly saying no to invites and learned how to make do and mend instead of buying things.
It did work though and I quickly paid back my debt, despite working for minimum wage all year. Since then I guess I've become a bit more extravagant (if I want a coffee, I'll buy a coffee), but I tend to keep myself out of situations where I am likely to buy unnecessary things. I enjoy reading new tips for frugal living, recipes and avoiding wasting money.
It's easy to slip back into old habits even now. I would like to take a step back up the frugality ladder. Life is much more expensive living away from home, even if it's on a student budget. We're settling into a routine now, and we've got the basic essentials we need (sofa's arriving on Tuesday!). Now the new truly frugal budget starts. Let's see how low we can go!
What about you? Are you frugal or a spend-a-holic? Have you always been like that, or is there a turning point story you'd like to share? :D