Trying to become debt-free – it’s not all plain sailing
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I’ve always been a huge advocate of saving money, since I first got myself into debt in my twenties (it was one of those “Hey, Miss, you’re 18 now, have a credit card and go and treat yourself to something nice!” And so it began…). I recall the conversation I had with my bank about freezing my overdraft and arranging a payment plan with them, so that I could pay it back without the endless increased interest. I realise now that it wasn’t as scary as it perhaps seemed, apart from the fact that I had £50 to live on per week, for food, fuel, clothes and socialising. And that was in the early noughties. Something else I always remember, is wandering around Netto with a rather small shopping list, and a purse full of equally small change, trying desperately to ensure I had enough food for the week to sustain myself. It was generally a case of buying tinned pulses and vegetables (I don’t think frozen veg was such a big thing back then; if it was, I was ignorant to it, and I only had a little ice-making compartment, anyway) and making meals out of store-cupboard essentials. In a way, it was fun. I’ve always enjoyed seeing what I can make out of what little I have available, and (even if I do say so myself), it’s usually been a success.
It wasn’t always fun though. Some days it was downright miserable. I was at the beginning of my adult youth; all of my friends were out partying, and I was stuck at home on a Friday night, instead of out flirting and searching for the man of my dreams (who you will never find in a nightclub, but that’s another story). On the occasions I did go out, I was anxiously watching the pennies in my purse, conscious of the fact I needed to pay for a cab home. My friend would ask me if I was coming to get a drink at the bar, and I remember being so embarrassed at the fact I couldn’t afford more than one or two drinks. In hindsight it would have been cheaper and easier to drive and stay sober, but it was all about drunken fun back then.
I worked hard at saving and not spending, and I’m proud of that part of my life, as it taught me some of the money-saving tricks I use today. My problem is that I like to spend money, and so does my husband, which has resulted in the situation we’re in now.
Since beginning my debt-free-journey at the end of June, when I decided enough is enough, I’ve been working really hard to save money. I’ve budgeted £75 per week for food, and the first two-weeks’ shops have come in around £40, so I’ve managed to save a nice little amount. Unfortunately (such is life), a very important social event took place this week which resulted in me going away with my family and leaving my husband and children at home alone. The prospect of this might well fill you with dread. I have to be honest, I was a little nervous at leaving my husband in charge of the grocery shopping, house and kids, but he’s been pretty good in the past and has never bought anything that wasn’t on the list. He’s even looked at cheaper alternatives to save further.
So, imagine my distress when I got home and discovered he’d spent £150 across 3 shops for a week’s shopping, bought things that weren’t included in my menu plan (which, if not correctly managed and sorted, will result in FOOD WASTE!), and bought loads of sugary treats for himself and the kids, and a European Travel Kit?! I got back on Friday, and I’m still reeling from it now two days later.
It’s so disheartening and frustrating when you think you’re both reading from the same page and your partner goes off on a tangent. Has anyone else had a similar experience, and do you continue to have this problem? What would you do?