This is a guest post from Lady Janey. Lady Janey writes a customer service blog where she tackles a range of consumer issues with the aim of encouraging people to get the best possible customer service experience for their money. At the same time, she champions excellent customer service wherever possible in order to encourage companies to work harder to please their customers and improve the standard of service they provide.
In this post, she shares her money journey and what she thinks of a frugal lifestyle.
Jane’s story in her own words
Hi, I’m Jane and for half my life I was a spendaholic. If you could buy it, I bought it, spend it, I spent it and borrow it, I borrowed it. Shopping was almost like a drug, I just couldn’t help myself. If it was there to be had, then I was going to have it.
Looking back I don’t know what planet I was on. I was always spending way beyond my means, had ever-increasing credit card debts, was using an infinite number of store cards and didn’t have a clue what was actually in my account. At one point, I was even paying for things I didn’t even have!
So how did I become a spendaholic?
I think it stems back to when my sister and I were little. Dad was doing a University course while mum stayed at home to look after us so money was tight. It was often a case of coppering up for things with mum being a master of careful budgeting down to the very last penny. Don’t get me wrong, we never wanted for anything as she always put us first but five loaves and two fish can only go so far.
Although being careful with money should have come quite naturally, I think being brought up in a straight jacket of frugality pushed me into being exactly the opposite. When I started to earn my own money from part-time jobs, I should have been encouraged to pay into the family kitty rather than then starting to spend as I did. My boyfriend at the time was a dreadful influence. Born into a much more affluent family, he encouraged my spending habits as a lot of my extravagant expenditure was because of, and for the benefit of, him.
Instead of spend, spend, spending in my late teens and twenties, I should have been thinking about saving for the future but why would I, when spending was just so much more fun? There was no bigger thrill than a new pair of shoes or another little black dress to add to my already fabulous collections!
What made me change my ways?
When I met my husband who, unlike me, was much more of a saver than a spender in that he budgeted, spent wisely and never took any unnecessary risks. The realization that I was a spendaholic was a chance to finally take a bit of responsibility for all those years of needless extravagance and stem that tide of spending before I got to the point of no return and with his help, I could do so. By setting up a proper budgeting programme and analyzing all my expenditure, he was able to provide the structure- and supervision- I so desperately needed to get my finances back on track.
How have I changed my ways?
By introducing new financial excitement into my life!
Nowadays I have a spreadsheet workbook for all my accounts, which means that every penny is accounted for, and because all direct debits and standing orders are deducted at the beginning of the month regardless of when they go out of my account, then I always know how much I have left to play with.
Being able to easily view and track my finances means that I am a lot more financially disciplined in terms of what I spend my money on. I haven’t used my overdraft in years and I now even have savings accounts with more than £1 in them! How fabulous!
A cashback credit card!
I can spend and get money for spending- how amazing is that! Admittedly it’s not thousands of pounds of cashback otherwise that would be defeating the object as would be spending more to get more, but it certainly adds a nice little bit of glitter to my purchases!
In addition, I use the card as a debit card by ensuring I record all purchases into my beloved spreadsheets when they are made so that they do not come as a shock when the bill comes in! With an inclusion of categories, I am also able to see at a glance what I’m spending my money on and can reduce this expenditure accordingly if necessary.
The card I have is a Barclaycard credit card where I earn 0.5% of every pound I spend. It used to be 1% with Egg before it transferred to Barclaycard and there are definitely better deal cards out there but it suits me. It’s not much but I use the card for absolutely everything and I treat it as a debit card with benefits. I record all expenditure into my spreadsheet then pay it off each month in full.
Getting the most for my money!
If it’s not worth it, don’t pay for it! There’s the old saying that if you look after the pennies then the pounds will look after themselves. To me, that means making sure that anything you spend your hard earned money on is 100% worth it, especially if it’s something you’ve worked hard to save up for. Challenging a bill for substandard services or products gives me a whole new buzz especially if I manage to get redress for someone else.
So here I am, a reformed spendaholic with a new love of saving! Who would have thought that being frugal would be so much fun!
Lady Janey is a poetess too! Here’s her latest, just for us and this post
Spend spend spend
That’s all I used to do!
Just another party dress
Or a brand new pair of shoes!
I never knew quite when to stop
I was always on a roll
And that I couldn’t afford it
Didn’t bother me at all!
I always spent beyond my means
If I wanted it, I got it
But when I met my husband
I finally learnt to budget!
At first, I found it tough
To change my spending habits
But it didn’t take me long
To get back into credit.
No spending for me now
Well maybe not quite like before
I might have loved to spend
But I now love saving more!
A really special thanks to Lady Janey for this guest post. Have you seen yourself in any of this? What are you doing to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes she did?
For me, I like the ideas of the spreadsheet and also the use of that credit card with benefits. Do let us know in the comment box below if you have any other tips for making sure you look after your finances.