I’ve toyed with the idea of writing this blog for quite some time now. At first the desire was to share a few helpful tips with fellow mummy friends striving to live on less, the less being statutory maternity pay. But as I spoke to more people about budgeting and being creative when it came to social activities I realised that is it not just women on maternity leave who are counting the pennies these days. It is people from all backgrounds and spheres of life, sometimes the people you least expect to have to budget. Is life really more expensive now or do we simply ‘need’ more? Have we bought into the lie that what we have defines who we are and how successful we are?
While the effects of economic decline are never welcomed maybe the challenges that come with it present us the opportunity to reassess our spending habits and our priorities. This has certainly been the case for me. My husband has had a lot to do with my re-education when it comes to spending. My name is Lisa and I’m a self-confessed shopaholic. While I like to shop I will only do so when I’m ‘getting a bargain’, which I tend to use as justification for my spending when questioned on the itemised joint bank account statement. The Ikea bargain corner justification doesn’t wash with Steve, “It’s not a bargain if you didn’t need it in the first place Lisa.” Alas, I usually end up conceding that Steve is right, while never telling him that of course.
Steve and I both had very different attitudes to money when we first married, largely influenced by the upbringing we each had, but as the years have passed both of us have imparted some financial wisdom to the other. Steve has taught me that buying cheaper clothes frequently is a false economy, it is better to save for a while and invest in fewer good quality statement pieces that look better and last longer. I like to think that I’ve taught him to shop around for those good quality items, to ensure you’re getting the best price for your money. As our life together and our attitudes evolved, our family grew and our disposable income diminished, or so it seemed. It’s true that you live to your means so each time I found myself on maternity leave I had to reign in our finances a bit, truth be known what I really did was just spend the way I should have been spending all along. We changed where we shopped, what we bought, how we ate, what we did with the kids, and while sacrifices had to be made along the way I found it surprisingly liberating. I’m now on my third maternity leave and truth be known our finances look better than they did when I was on full pay, I kid you not.
I know that I’m not alone in my quest to use money wisely so this blog is to be my labour of love for those, who like me, want to be wise stewards over that which they’ve been blessed with. I will endeavour to pass on helpful tips on living well and spending less. As we journey together hopefully we’ll be able to pass on wisdom to one another. My heart is that money will not be something that binds us but rather something that enables us to enjoy life and what we have, to live well, without fear, false expectations and mounting debt.