Invisible money.

Can't pay for something you want?  

Stick it on a credit card.

Need the latest trainers?

Use the finance option that is offered.

Want to have the car washed and vacuumed while you go and look around the shops?

Stick it on your bank card and use your overdraft.

It is so easy to use invisible money.  When you can't actually see the money...placing it on a card - internet purchases, electronic banking, easy credit.  It can be a very easy way to overspend and get into debt.

Society pushes people to spend out of control:

Take out food, drive-in food outlets, restaurants, cars, cafes, coffee shops, Deliveroo...

Clothes and shoes with logos, the newest, the latest.

Technology...the latest model of phone, of computer, of TV.

Advertisement, PR, celebrity endorsements.

Then what happens when there is a genuine need:

The fridge needs a repair.  The car needs tyres.  The kids need new school shoes.  You need fuel to get to work.  The childminder fees need to be paid.  Your mum is sick and you need to go and help her.   The cat needs to see a vet.  You break a tooth and have to visit the dentist.

A healthy attitude to money  is treating it as a finite amount.

There is one in and one out direction in your bank account.

Needs have to come before wants.

Debt can build up so very quickly.

So how do you get out of it?

Write down every.single.thing you spend, no matter how small.

List your absolutely necessary expenditure - rent/mortgage, food, utilities, council tax.

Rethink your expenses.  Do you have to eat out every week?  Can you make it fortnightly or every three weeks?  What about your possessions?  Do you need three TVs in your house?  Do you have old phone handsets you don't use anymore?  Sell what you don't need.  Put the money into an emergency fund.

Say no to some things or find different ways to access them.  

Stop impulse buying.  Going to walk around shops isn't a hobby.  Is it a bargain if you don't actually need it?  How many do you already have?  

Does shopping make you feel better?  Try other things that don't cost you money.  Sort out your kitchen cupboards.  Plan some meals with what you already have.  

If you do use a credit card, aim to pay off what you spend every month.  This is achievable right now - and if it isn't, don't spend on it until you have paid the balance off in full.  A good idea is to keep a credit card for emergencies until you have a cash emergency fund.   

Yes, it might take you months to pay off your debts and build up a fund to get you straight - but liken it to getting over an illness or recovering from an operation.  It takes time, the same way it took time to build it up.

FM xx


  1. When we were newly married in 1985, we were really, really having to watch every penny. Every month, when my wages went into the bank, almost the entire amount came straight back out again, mortgage, gas, electric, council tax (rates as they were then), water rates, phone, saving for TV licence etc. Husband's wages were paid weekly, so the food, petrol, and day to day living expenses came from his wages.
    I had a book in which every single amount of money in or out of the bank was listed. The pages had four columns, Date, Amount, Plus/Minus, Balance Remaining. It was a life saver at times, as it's so easy to spend and forget you've done it!
    At the end of every month, we had £11 or thereabouts left over, and most months that amount was put in the savings account as a rainy day fund.
    We made our sandwiches for work over the week on Sunday evenings, and froze four days worth, a couple of biscuits each were wrapped in tin foil every evening, ready for the lunchboxes next day. A day out was spent hill walking, or wandering along the beach, with a picnic for lunch!
    Holidays were spent at home, doing the garden, decorating, having a few days out, and perhaps one meal out over two weeks away from work.
    We learned to be sensible with our hard earned money though, and that's no bad thing.
    I have a credit card now, but only ever use it to pay for on line shopping, and it's paid in full every month. It's one that gets me vouchers for my favourite department store too!
    We live reasonably close to a huge shopping Outlet, which we avoid like the plague unless we're present buying for Xmas. We've seen the queues though, on weekends all year round, as we pootle out to somewhere quieter and far more lovely. The place is usually heaving with shoppers, and the number of coach parties that arrive is just ridiculous. Why do some people shop for fun, and almost always pay via plastic?
    An ex work colleague of mine had a holiday in Australia one year, and California the next, all paid on credit cards. She and her husband ran up debts of £23000 on their credit cards, for two holidays!
    The following year the husband was made redundant and they were scared senseless that they'd lose their house, as they were still paying for the holidays they'd taken. Thankfully he found another post straight away, but did they learn their lesson? Did they flip! To celebrate him getting his new job, they booked a three week holiday in New Zealand, and paid for it with yet more credit cards!
    The temptations to have credit cards are enormous though, when our son started university, every which way he turned during Fresher's week was wall to wall with companies offering credit! He's not soft, so avoided them all, but for kids of eighteen, free from their parents for the first time in their lives, to be under so much pressure to have a credit card is disgusting!
    Our son, fortunately is like us, if you haven't got the money for it, you can't have it, no matter how desperately you want it! Neither he nor his wife have a credit card, and neither of them have any intention of ever getting one! They have one child and love to spoil him, but it's done with money they have, not money they borrow!
    I wish schools would start educating youngsters in financial matters from quite an early age. It's never too soon to learn how to handle your money!

  2. We use our cards for everything and pay them off each month. I tried money a few years ago going to the bank to get the cash but I didn't know how much I spent or had left in my account with a credit card you know each month what you've spent.

  3. i have noticed that they are pushing loads of adds online and on TV for magic money extra early this year , really they should be banned but theres an awful lot of MPs with connections to these firms so thats never going to happen


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