Are any of you also part of the see it-want it-get it brigade? I certainly was, and it’s taken quite a lot of hard work to change that. Now I just see it-want it, and feel rather disappointed I can’t get it then and there.
So, can I ever buy what I want, or am I doomed to eternal frustration?
Of course I can still buy things, even outrageously expensive things, if I so desire. I just have to make sure that I have the money to do so before I hand over the plastic, rather than guiltily stressing out afterwards. The new mantra is want it-save for it-get it.
Let me give you an example. There’s something I’ve wanted for a long time, but thought I’d never realistically be able to afford. Well, two things actually. Flights to America and to Cambodia.
Unlike, say, a new laptop or even a car, I can’t write down the exact price of these, because they’re constantly changing. This would be the first step: write down how much the thing you want costs. Whether it’s a mansion in the centre of London, or something much smaller, you need to have an idea of the cost, so that you have something solid to work towards.
Secondly, we need a time frame. For me, I know that I can get flights much more cheaply if I go before I reach 26. That gives me around 650 days to save. On the basis that I go before I turn 26, a rough estimate would be £800 for Cambodia and £500 to the US.
Thirdly, get out that calculator! In my case, to save £1,300 in 650 days would be £2 per day. So, roughly the price of a cup of coffee.
Depending on your personal situation, you might need to switch the last two points over. For example, if you know that you can only afford to save a very limited amount per month, you’ll have to work out your time frame on that basis.
Now then, do we all have a chubby pink piggy bank to pop in those pounds every day? A daily act of physically putting aside the cash would be reasonable for something like a meal out, or a new pair of jeans, but I’d probably need a life-sized piggy to save for my ambitions.
A better idea for me is a savings account and a standing order. It took me about two minutes to set mine up. I have the set amount going out from my current account on the first day of the month; then I have a leftover amount to live off for the rest of the month. If I forget all about the savings account for the next 650 days, and do absolutely nothing else, I will have amassed enough to see my family in Cambodia, and friends in the States.
It’s something I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to do, but as the sand grains slip through the hourglass, slowly but surely, I’ll get there.