PERSONAL FINANCE

I Trusted My Self with My Money and Wasted 5,000 Dollars

Never Again Will I Spend Money Without a Structure

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I still remember the feeling of getting my first paycheck.

I was working as a part-time Barista whilst attending University full time. The fact that I could sacrifice some of my time for money is something that I wasn’t used to.

After a month of working, $500 landed in my bank account and I literally felt like I could buy whatever I wanted in the world.

So many possibilities, I could buy that pair of headphones I really wanted or save all of it for a few months and buy myself something really nice. I was in University, I had no bills to pay, so the $500 was all mine to spend.

Now, imagine the exact same mindset but with a full-time paying job and bills to pay instead. I still felt like I could buy anything I wanted. If there was anything I wanted, I would buy it outright or save for a few months and then buy it.

I was by no means broke. In fact, I kept looking for ways to spend more money. Telling myself that I should be spending the hard-earned money. Why else would I be putting in all this effort if I couldn’t spend it?

Then came the winter of one year where my girlfriend and I decided to take a last-minute trip to New Zealand (This was all pre-COVID of course). I knew the flights and accommodation were expensive but hey, what’s life if I didn’t get to spend the money I earned.

Throughout the trip, we did a lot of expensive and fun things. All the while the balance in my account slowly dwindled to zero.

I started worrying but pushed it aside. After all, it is a holiday, I am not meant to worry, I am meant to go all out and enjoy it.

After the trip, as you can guess, I didn’t have much left in my bank account. I had a meager $200 to live off for the next month or so until I got paid again. I was desperate and confused.

How could I have spent that much? How could I have let my balance drop so low?

For the rest of that month, I had to — shamefully — borrow money from my girlfriend just to get by that month.

Okay, let’s never do that again, I told myself. From now on, I am going to be more intentional about what I spend.

I really should, dare I say it …….. create a budget.

or a spending plan. Whatever you name it, it was clear that I needed some financial structure in my life. It was clearly getting out of control.

So create a budget is what I did next. Which is a whole other story on it’s own.

Final Thoughts

Fast forward a few months and I like to think that I am doing much better now. Both financially and mentally. Casually spending all that money with no structure made me worry about the balance in my bank. Every time I bought something, I would be happy for one second and then go right back to stressing out about how low my balance was.

A budget although a mostly unwelcomed word has introduced a much-needed structure in my finances. I still don’t enjoy budgeting but I do see the need for it in my life. For me, having a budget means that I can spend guilt-free on the things that I want and that I know I am doing the right thing with my money.

This article is just to share my personal experience with how I came to implementing a budget in my life. In hopes that it might help some of you out there.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. If you are interested in the budget I use, I wrote about it here :

Disclaimer: This is by no means intended as financial advice, this is just me sharing my personal experience.

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Engineer. Programmer. Computational Designer. Currently in Sydney.

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Bradenkoh

Bradenkoh

Engineer. Programmer. Computational Designer. Currently in Sydney.

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