It was back when I learned to drive. I was working part time and trying to enjoy the summer time before I went off to uni. I worked three days a week and get paid at the end of the month. When I was done with work on a Wednesday, I would jump in the car and head of somewhere to enjoy my whole new level of freedom, sometimes not returning until I had work the following week. I would take my bank card instead of cash and never really think about the money. I'd buy things like fuel for the car, campsites and food. The problem was, I would never check my account or budget before I went. I would just have a rough idea of what was in there but never actually check. Once when I got back home, I finally convinced myself to check and had very little left. I was pretty shocked. I would always think "I’m young, I should be living…" then adopt the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality, but always have a feeling of unease when it came to checking, because I knew I shouldn’t be doing it.
I eventually managed to tell myself that budgeting did not mean I couldn't be spontaneous, it just meant I would feel better that the end. I started making myself check my accounts at least once a week and putting budgets in place. I felt so empowered once I started looking that it actually became kind of fun. The trips then became about how cheap I could make them and remember when my tent broke I simply built a shelter instead of buying a new one. It became much more of an adventure then, and I stopped feeling uneasy checking my accounts.
These days my trips are far more planned and I often make a budget... and I usually stay in hotels, but I still set a reminder each week to check my accounts and stay on top of my finances.
What is your biggest struggle with money?
Not shopping around!! I am a sucker for an easy life and end up paying more for it because I miss out on better interest rates, account benefits and payouts.
What is your tip to help others save?
Always, always check. No matter what. Better the enemy you know and you will feel far more empowered by knowing.
This money story was written by Michaela Regan.
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