One of the things I internally struggle with the most is personal financial responsibility. On one hand I want to be frugal, pay down my mortgage and save for the future but on the other hand I want to buy all of the shiny things that catch my eye and all of the wonderful lotions and potions that are going to make me beautiful.
For one reason or another I've had a pretty tough few years and I have learnt that shopping doesn't actually solve any problems (and makes you feel even worse when you get your credit card statement) but also that squirrelling away all of your cash, whilst satisfying to see your savings increase / mortgage decrease, isn't so much fun either.
As with a lot of things in life, you need a balance.
I think that financial responsibility is one of the most important things in life to learn but sadly, as far as I'm aware, not taught in schools in the UK.
Even a small understanding of how money works - how to earn it, how to spend it, how to borrow it and how to save and invest it would make a massive difference to the lives of so many people.
All in all, I am pretty sensible financially. As you know, I like to go out to lunch. I like to shop. I like fancy make up, jewellery and expensive handbags. But I know when to stop. I would never buy something that I knew that I couldn't afford or put myself in debt just so that I could have a new car or go on holiday.
I am not a financial advisor (however I did learn a lot during my time working in corporate finance) but I do know that with a little creativity, intelligence, guile and ingenuity you can live the life you want without having Kim Kardashian's bank balance.
Of course you'll need a little help - I'll shortly be introducing my "Little Luxuries" series which will showcase my ideas and suggestions on how you can live a truly luxurious life without breaking the bank, getting into debt or preventing you from saving for the future - which in itself is a luxury, no?
But in the meantime here's your pre-course reading list:
- Orchids On Your Budget: Or Live Smartly On What You Have a delightful book by Marjorie Hillis written in 1937 which gave her a wonderful insight into living elegantly on restricted means in post-depression America;
- Ausperity: Live The Life You Want for Less a more modern tome by Lucy Tobin.