From then I basically spent the next 12 months focusing on reducing my debt.. it was tough but I finally reigned in my spending somewhat.
There were two particularly bitter moments from that time – one was that I got my very first bonus… it wasn’t much but it was my first significant one… sadly the minute it hit my account it had to go straight onto the credit card… that sucked. It was 12 months of hard work and late nights and this was my reward that turns out I managed to “pre-enjoy” and now it was pay back time.
The second bitter moment happened when I, all of sudden, found myself dating someone somewhat seriously. That’s the thing you see when you are trying to spend less, the first thing to get cut is the obvious one – alcohol. Turns out when you are no longer a hot mess (or at least a milder version of your trainwreck self), you actually become likeable enough to be dated.. funny that…
Anyway so one night we were meeting some people for dinner, it was the day before payday and I had about £10 left in my bank account (fairly standard situation back in those days)…So trying to be semi-shy, semi-cute I awkwardly asked the boy if he could sponsor my dinner tonight… I remember this look of disbelief mixed with disappointment on his face.. all he said to me was that he didn’t know any other 30 year old with a well paying job who was living payday to payday.
That’s the thing you see, I got so good at faking that I had it together and pretending to be a grown up that it took him by complete surprise.
All of a sudden it occurred to me that if I don’t get my sh*t together I will be having lots more of these awkward conversations… because you know.. relationships may get serious and you may find yourself doing grown up things like talking about a deposit on a house or travelling together or whatever else grown up couples do.
Sounds stupid but since I had been more or less single most of my life (or at least never managed to make it to the serious part), it never occurred to me that I would one day have to be accountable about my money to someone else… I thought the accountability part ended when I turned 17 and left home?! Turns out that’s where it is meant to begin…