My name is Karen. And I’m a spendaholic. In the days pre-me, Mr Unyoung used to save most of his wages. He didn’t live a frugal life, but it was not one of excess. Just the odd golf purchase here and there.
I on the other-hand, was happy to splash the cash at the drop of a hat. Holidays – hello visa credit. Primark haul – have you met my friend visa credit? Meals, drinks, shoes, shoes, shoes… You get the idea. Luckily – upon meeting my better and more financially savvy half, I was able to sell my London flat and erase my dirty, debty dalliances! I’d met my soul mate and my financial advisor. Two for the price of one!
Having Harry, we made the monumental decision that I would give up work. I don’t think he truly appreciated what it meant for me to be a kept woman. Childcare – well, I’m thoroughly qualified for that – a degree in Education, a third of a masters in co-ordination of Special Educational needs and another cheeky third qualifying me for headship. Yep – I’d be well and truly trained – if Harry were above the age of four. Why did they not do the final third of a masters in toddler crisis management (with units on nappy wrangling, hiding vegetables in meals and dealing with public meltdowns).
Dammit. So I’m an unqualified toddler carer who has not even a hint of a distinction on home care and ‘Hinching’. And when it comes to budgeting, let’s just say that I didn’t make it past the course introduction. Yet still, the hubby trusted me enough to manage the home finances and not blow the entire month’s pot in Jojo Maman Bebe (note: I only shop here in the sale – acing it already).
To keep me is not the easiest feat. One of the biggest challenges of the last couple of years is no longer having a salary. Being an older first-time mum I’ve led an adult life where my pay-check has funded me and me alone. I’ve not had to worry about anyone else or be held accountable to anyone – other than Mr Natwest with whom I’d had a few conversations in the past.
So how am I doing? Initially Mr Unyoung put the funds for me, Harry, the house and everything all in to my account. It didn’t really work despite trying various strategies to up my budgeting game. Apps where you record any outgoings. A bit like Weight Watchers – you’re all gung-ho for the first few weeks and then you forget to log the cheeky Asda basket of goodies or the cost of parking and swimming… then you’ve no idea where you are. Writing spends down. Same as the previous. The fool proof method now is just checking my online banking daily. We’ve changed the funding streams so my pocket money in one account and one account alone and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Food comes out of another account that is monitored by the Boss! How I choose to spend mine and Harry’s ‘allowance’ is up to me. And here we have this week’s top three – for those spendy-spendy readers like me: Three Things I Really Didn’t Need to Buy!
One – Valentines Gift for my Little Man
Chris and I don’t do presents. Well, we do when he suggests Tiffany’s but sadly those days of bling are gone now we have a little whirlwind as a priority. We made each other cards this year, as is our tradition, and that was that. But then I got the guilts. Harry is also my true love and he didn’t get a card. He didn’t even get a lunch date as he’d been packed off to nursery.
I was in Wilkos prior to pick-up and I saw plastic tat that I knew he’d die for. A car garage with ramps, a heli-pad, a lift and even a car-wash. And it folded in to a helpful carry-case. And it came with two cars. And it was only £12.
Of course it came home with me. Of course he loved it. Of course he got bored within two days and dismantled it. But he got more joy out it than he would a bar of Galaxy and some Mulberry Cufflinks (the last present his Dad received before the V-Day present embargo).
Two – Reusable Makeup Remover Pads
Many of my purchases can be guilt buys. And these are a prime example. You’ll know if you’ve read previous blogs or followed my instagram that I’m not shy of a trowel and a bottle of foundation in the mornings. I adore make-up and the slap is applied generously each and every day.
I don’t want to start calculating my carbon footprint but let’s face it (no pun intended), I could do a lot more to improve my relationship with the environment.
Back in the day, I used to use soap and water to cleanse my skin and basically remove several layers of my epidermis each night. I then discovered simple face wipes and have been an avid advocate ever since.
I know this is not doing our planet any favours. So something had to go – and it wasn’t going to be the inch thick of Bobbi Brown.
As if by magic, and through the strange Big Brother algorithms of Facebook, an advert came up for these babies:
They were in the basket before Mr Natwest could say “can they not wait until next month?” No, Mr Natwest – if you’re happy for me to continue to pollute the environment then they can wait until March. But I’m taking a stand now!
£13.99 and no doubt a saving through their washable-reusability! See what I did there – a saving!
Three – Phone Case
My Christmas present this year was immense from Saint Christopher (he has to be to put up with me). He gave me an iPhone 11 to help with my blogging and allow me to capture beautiful photos of Harry – plus my old one was knackered and died within about 12.9 seconds of charging.
I like to think of the next buy as an investment and insurance cover on this pricey little item.
Once again Instagram read my mind. They snuck in a cheeky little advertisement between a picture of a cute baby eating flour and motivational quote about motherhood. I needed a new phone cover – I just hadn’t realised it until I saw the pink leopard print one. Of course! What would happen if my existing transparent phone cover didn’t do it’s job and allowed my phone to smash like my iPad. We can’t have that happening.
And can you believe it… there was 27% off the price! 27% I tell you! For a limited time no less. There was no point waiting for March when it could be 27% more expensive. In the basket. My friend Paypal did the work and it’s winging its way to me where I’ll have some explaining to do…
But it’s pink. And it’s leopard print. And it’s pink.
And we will not be going out for the next few days because that’s it folks – the purse is bare.
So there we have it. I am improving at frugality but I am still a work in progress. I haven’t even mentioned the Peacocks jumper for Harry or the two Poundland cars that may have been purchased. Amazing how it all adds up! Have a great weekend folks and I’ll see you the other side of February, when it can and must be Spring. Karen xx
What are your unnecessary spends. If you were going wild, where would you splash the cash? Have you any top tips for budgeting that you’d like to share with me!