I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my budget recently and where I spend my money. I let money control me last year and therefore made some awful decisions and overspent. This year I am taking back control to pay off my credit card and set up an emergency fund. At the same time I have been looking at my habits to see where I feel I waste money just because I have it in my account. It’s got me thinking about my attitude with money and is helping me understand why I place value on certain things over others.
This is where cost versus convenience comes into it.
There are a number of products I spend money on each month that I can definitely do for less money if I really wanted to. However the convenience of the products plays a massive part in why I value them.
- Poopy Cat Litter Trays – I get these delivered every month to my door and they are fully disposable and made from recycled materials. The only downside is that my recycling collection will not take them as garden waste. These are super convenient as it takes me less than 5 minutes to change each week and the waste can be flushed down the toilet. This saves me so much time each week I find the benefits outweigh the costs at the moment. If the cost of the litter trays increase I will have to reconsider though.
- Mindful Chef Boxes – I get these delivered most weeks and they contain 3 meals with all the ingredients I need. I’ve always had a troubled relationship with food and this box has helped me not only improve my relationship with food, but also my cooking skills. I know I can cook all the recipes I receive in the box with ingredients from a supermarket, but making the time to be organised enough to do that has been a stumbling block as meal planning and diet mentality are a major trigger. This is super convenient for me as without it I fall into unhealthy eating habits.
- Cleaner – Last year I decided to get a cleaner and it was one of the best decision I’ve made. It has meant I can focus on my job and enjoying my free time, rather than stressing about making the time to clean. I absolutely hate cleaning, but I also hate living in dirt, so this works. With working away more in my new role it has meant I can really come home and relax and that is worth the cost.
- Beauty Therapist – Getting my legs waxed each month started because I was doing so much swimming and found I rarely showered at home, making it difficult to keep up with shaving. So going to see someone each month made the world of sense. I’ll admit I’m debating it at the moment as I do less swimming, but the amount of time I save by doing this for 30-45 each month rather than several times a week still makes it worth it.
- Therapy – This is a huge cost for me at the moment, but it has to be done. I probably could search for a cheaper option, but being about to build trust and talk about eating disorders with someone is what I needed. Being able to FaceTime is also hugely important to me.
These are all luxuries and I am very lucky in being able to afford them. They are also my choices and I’ve been having to remind myself of my reasons why I spend money on what I do recently. Convenience is a huge part of that of the choices I make as the time we have is also valuable and I want to spend it doing things I love. I want to travel and move to a new city in the not to distant future, but there are some things I need to do now to help make that happen. My attitude towards money needs to shift a bit to help with this though. That is what I need to work on now.
There are still some spending habits I would like to tackle so that I can do more things. After decluttering I know I do not need more things, so it is all about enabling myself to have experiences and adventures. I have since decided to add an additional goal to this year in terms of changing my attitude – I want to have money left in my account at the end of each month, not just what I put in savings accounts.
Some posts are really easy to write and other are not at all. This one is definitely the latter and it’s quite frustrating as I’ve been openly talking about mental health and my personal mental health for a while. So why does it feel so hard to say ‘I’m not doing okay right now’?
I went back to the doctor this month to ask to go back on anti-depressants. I should have gone back a while ago, but made many excuses not to until I couldn’t think of any other way to help myself. I also felt a lot of shame and guilt for needing to and that is the most frustrating part and I would not put that on anyone else at all. But that is part of what made me realised I’m not doing so well right now.
- My negative internal voice is up at full volume.
- I’m not sleeping well at all.
- I don’t find joy in so many things.
- I struggle to put my energy into social activities.
- I’ve stopped exercising.
- I am eating so much convenience food.
- I’ve put on weight (I can tell from my clothes).
- I’ve been avoiding family.
- I feel tired and low all the time.
- I’ve lost my concentration for reading and movies.
But at the same time I have been doing so much to keep myself going and functional
- I’m doing weekly therapy sessions.
- I’m bullet journalling.
- I’m talking to close friends and family.
- I’m enjoying my job.
In some ways then I am more than okay. At work I am thriving and love being challenged. But that is where all my energy goes and there is nothing left for taking care of myself or having a life outside of work. This won’t work long term.
So I asked to go back on anti-depressants as I know they will help me sleep. That in term will give me more energy to exercise and eat better, which is all part of taking care of myself. The activity I do like doing is with friends, which ups my social activities. The only side that feels hard is my family, where I just don’t feel like I fit in any more. My depression brain is sending all sorts of messages and at the moment, right now, they are too hard to untangle. I need some space and time to unravel my thoughts and find my place.
It’s a weird place to be right now. I don’t want anyone to treat me differently, but already see it happening with family and it sucks. It makes me feel I can’t be myself as depression me needs special treatment, which I don’t believe that to be true. I just want people to know I am trying, but I’m trying for me, not for anyone else. Don’t put pressure on me to conform. Don’t be offended if I say no. None of this is about you. It’s just me and that’s okay. I need to find my own way and I’ll ask for the help I need, don’t try to force it on me.
I don’t feel broken. I don’t need anyone to fix me.
My brain just isn’t quite working correctly at the moment and that’s okay.
I’m okay with not being okay.
I’ve been itching to declutter and tidy my house since December, but have waited until I could dedicate some solid time to it, to do it properly. I think this has always been about more than just the physical things I want to clear out, but it has only come to light as I’ve been doing the physical decluttering that the mental decluttering is coming to the surface. More on that later.
In terms of physical decluttering, I felt I had so much stuff taking up space that my home was feeling suffocating. Not nice! This has stemmed from a change in mindset I’ve been through in the last year. I’ve switched from wanting all the things, to wanting all the experiences. Many of the things I have bought or been given over the years have not stood the test of time and live up to the memories that are much more valuable. I’ve also bee inspired by a few people out there taking a more minimal approach and it resonated so much.
I decided to buy the hold grail of tidying books – The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up by Marie Kondo. This was a really interesting read and it definitely made me think about what I have in my space differently. I’ll admit now that I did not fully follow the method, but I definitely took on the principles, which led to a much more thorough clear out than I would have been able to do otherwise.
My clear out has been so thorough that I now cannot put my car in the garage as there is so much stuff in there that needs to go to the tip of charity shops (I have a plan for the next week or so to get this gone!).
It was an exhausting few days, but it was so therapeutic doing it and seeing the results instantly. This is also when it hit me about the mental decluttering. I turned down a few invite over the weekend as I wanted to concentrate on doing this and I think I was able to process some stuff I’ve been working through in therapy while sorting out the things. I’ve been letting things sit silent rather than face them over the last year and it’s all just under the surface and I am worried I will explode, but now I feel calmer. I want to face some things and deal with them no matter what the outcome as I know that will be better than keeping the issues all within myself. It’s made it very clear to me that some relationships in my life need to change, just as I needed to change how my home felt. It’s made me assess what is important to me and in turn what is therefore not important and has to go.
My home now feels peaceful and welcoming again, which is good timing seeing I’ve had to work from home this last week after hurting my foot (yes caused by tripping over the decluttering). I have space and gaps in cupboard and drawers and I have no desire to fill them up. I’ve moved things around a bit to give the things I value more space. My bedroom is no longer the storage area and my space room is now set up as a work space again. The cats have their space, but do not possess the whole house anymore (to their complete disappointment).
It’s a horrible feeling and one we all feel from time to time. It’s something I’ve working through with my therapist and it is very much linked to comparison. Comparison is the thief of joy as they say and it’s true.
I’ve been trying over the last few months to get better at naming the emotions I am feeling. This is so I actually acknowledge they are there and what ever I am feeling is valid. Resentment has come up a lot recently and it’s been horrible. There are also feelings of guilt and shame associated with feeling resentment. It’s a messy feeling that can really drag you down. I’ve also been told I shouldn’t be resentful as it is frowned upon, which is why all those other feelings get stirred up as soon as it appears.
But you know what? I’m fucking allowed to feel resentment!
It is a valid feeling. I don’t like it, but it is okay to feel it. I think actong it would be wrong as often the person or thing you are recentful of is not aware of how you feel. It is one of those feeling that I would think twice about making any decisons. Recognising it, acknowledging it, and then moving forward is my way.
It is however hard feeling to talk about. People get ashamed or defensive when it comes to negative feelings even if it is not really about them. For example I’ve been feeling resentful that all my friends are in relationships and I’m not. That is not their fault and I am truly happy for them, but it doesn’t make it easier to ease the sadness and fear I feel. Also ive been feeling recentful or my parents and sisters because a lot has changed in recent years and I think I preferred it before. Again that is not their fault, but it doesn’t make what I’m feeling any less valid, it is just something I need time to work through.
Emotions are messy, espeically when you’ve spent most of your life repressing feeling because when you shown them the feedback from people has been negative and reenforced the need to hide them away. It’s not easy to start to feel them again, but I’m going to work hard to bring them alive.
Following on my post earlier in the year I have continued my thinking about how I spend and save my money to be able to do the things I want to do. I want to emphasise the ‘do things’ aspect of my thoughts as that is really a big shift in my mindset over the last few years. Doing things and having amazing experiences goes beyond money, but I find money or the absence of money can get in the way of experiences. The stress money can cause can be horrible, but I truly believe you can have great experiences no matter what your budget it. As I said this is a shift for my own mindset as I have very much lived in the moment with money over the last 7-8 years. I mean I have saved when required, but it’s always been for something specific – my house, a holiday, etc. – rather than having a fun fund or emergency fund to keep life easy. I want to stop living payday to payday as it is so not fun!
So I’ve continued with my goals from January (paying of my credit card and setting up my emergency fund), but I also want to get rid of some hindering spending habits. Lent is the perfect time to do this as a lot of people are giving things up and having a set amount of time to work with is something I have found useful in the past. Although I am not religious I appreciate aspects that have transferred into mainstream society. So for lent I have set up a no spend list!
There are several habits I have formed over the last few years that I feel have gotten a bit out of control, or that I definitely spend money on without fully thinking it through. So I have created a short list of things I will not spend money on for lent:
- Buying takeaways, including lunch at work and food at the cinema
- Buying non-necessities – books, candles, accessories, makeup, stationary and other stuff that falls into this category
Basically I want to question myself every time I need to spend money. I want to be become more mindful of my spending and where I choose to give my money. I already have a lot of stuff and I know I do not need more stuff. Along side this I am thinking about decluttering my entire house (I’m actually itching to do it, but would like a block of time to start with) and also think about giving and receiving gifts differently. I want to be generous, but mindful. I suppose I really want to get to a place where I do not worry about money as I know the choices I will make will support the life I am leading.