Earn / Spend / Earn / Spend

When I first started thinking ‘oh God, I could really do with a lot little more cash in my life’, my mind initially jumped to wondering how I could mange to earn more money, without either compromising my PhD, or losing too much of my precious free time. After a few swift Googles, I found (shockingly), that it’s actually pretty difficult to earn quick and easy money with minimal effort, so I closed down my laptop and hoped for some cash to just fall into my hands.

Unbelievably, what I didn’t really think about, was how the amount of money I have available to me is down to two factors – what I earn, but also what I spend.

It’s easy to wish for a bigger income, but maybe (particularly in the short-term), it’s actually easier to try and reduce your outgoings a little bit.

London is so great. London is also so expensive.

Even so, when I thought about what I spend on a weekly basis,  I came to realise that so much of what I was spending my money on was just totally not necessary, and really didn’t line up with my priorities.

pizza.PNG
Food is always priority.

So, the first thing I did, and the first thing I would recommend anyone else to do who is trying to survive as a broke Londoner (or a broke anywhere-else-er, really), was to think about where my precious $$$ get spent.

For me, this is what the breakdown looked like;

  • Rent. Oh my God, renting in London is so expensive. But everyone does need a place to live. In the short term, there’s not a lot you can change about this, but in the longer-term, it’s more than possible to find somewhere that suits you in terms of money and location, if you’re willing to put the effort in.
  • Travel. Getting around London is actually really easy (totally not what I thought when I first moved here, but it’s actually one of the best-connected cities in the world), and not too expensive for a pretty decent service. However, I did notice that I was spending quite a bit on tubes / buses / Ubers, and planned to work on this.
  • Food. I. Love. Food. However, I don’t really love cooking (or even preparing – I’m just too impatient), so I do have a slight tendency to grab my food on the go (I am such a meal-deal fiend), which definitely works out as more expensive than if I home-made more often.
  • Eating Out. Again, I love to go out for food. If I could, I think I would eat out for every meal. However, it goes without saying that this involves a lot of cash.
  • Alcohol. Oh alcohol. I do adore a cocktail (glass of wine / champagne / fruity cider) or several. Drinking is expensive everywhere, but London takes it to another level.
  • Nights Out. As well as paying for drinks, you have club entry, Uber / taxi money, and most likely some kind of food before or and after. Ideally pizza-related.
  • ‘Fun’. In this category I decided to count all the fun ‘activities’ I do around London. Yoga classes, galleries, gigs, festivals, various pop-ups, parties, cinema / theatre tickets, bowling, the list goes on…
  • Clothes. I don’t spend huge amounts on clothes, however, I do like to feel ‘myself’ in the way that I dress, and struggle to resist an interestingly-patterned shirt or any kind of silver jewellery.
  • Holidays. Another thing I adore is travelling. I want to see everything, which obviously involves spending hella money.
  • Miscellaneous. Here, I counted anything not covered by the above categories; gifts, bath products (oh, Lush), necessities (toothpaste, shampoo, etc), stationary, and anything else that I buy that I really don’t need, but just can’t resist for whatever reason.

Thinking about this really was incredibly eye-opening. No, I don’t have a lot of money right now, but equally, I spend a lot of it on either things I don’t want, or don’t need. In my future posts, I’m going to go into more detail about how I streamlined what I spent in each of these categories, without compromising my happiness levels.

If you’re broke in London (or even just want to be smarter with your spending), I would definitely recommend establishing where you spend your money as the first step, before thinking about what is necessary to keep you happy, and what really isn’t.

Good luck!

xxx

Leave a Reply