Money, money, money. The root of all evil. Or at least the root of a heck of a lot of stress and several arguments between Mr Chef and me over the years. We’re both crap with budgeting and saving and, ever since we moved to Greece, we’ve been living on a shoestring anyway. Whenever we did get some extra cash, we’d blow it on plane tickets or Christmas, so we’ve got no savings, no pension, no emergency fund – none of those things you don’t care about when you’re 21 … . Then one day you wake up and you’re in your thirties.
And suddenly those things – uncool as they are – start to matter. I wonder if my kids will need glasses, braces or (God forbid) surgery. I worry that the creaky old heating system we have will finally break in the middle of winter. I think about how I would scrape together the cash to hop on a plane if something happened to my parents. … And I see my in-laws – in their late fifties – borrowing money from us, which they will never pay back, and I cringe at the thought that one day I might have to go so far as to ask my own kids for money. That, more than anything, made me decide to tackle this now.
I hate talking about money. I hate thinking about money. But it’s a fact that money is part of our lives, and the longer I ignore our finances, the bigger the elephant in the room will grow. My long-term goal is to sort this out, but like most things it’s a gradual process, so my goal for now is to track my spending for a month and create a budget. I’m combining ideas from this post by Little Coffee Fox and Sami Womack’s FREE Take Control of Your Spending course to do this. (Both stumbled upon while I was aimlessly scrolling through social media and feeding Giant Baby).
I know what my ‘small leaks’ are. Going out to cafeterias and buying pretty drinks (hence the picture) and food – cooking at home, ordering takeaway and eating out. I love these things, so I’m not going to stop doing them, but I am going to allocate a set amount each month and not overspend. I’m going – as the guys at You Need a Budget advised me – to give every dollar (or euro!) a job.
I know having lots of money does not automatically make you happy. But not having enough money to cover basic expenses does make you miserable. Trust me – been there. Money can’t buy you love. But money can buy you plane tickets to visit the people you love. And having a cushion – even a little one – makes you feel safe. It gives you security … and freedom. This is what I hope to achieve: control over my money so that it no longer controls me – how I feel, what I do and what I dream of doing.