I make no secret of the fact that I am notoriously "bad with money." However, I'm not so sure this is entirely true - theoretically, I know how to be good with money. I am fully aware of how to create a budget, I've got loads of little money saving tips and tricks up my sleeve and I don't have loan sharks chasing after me.
But, I'm skint. I have an overdraft which I use, a credit card card I maxed out and a credit account with a certain online store. I don't use these because I'm unaware of the dangers of treating credit like free money - I know full well that the credit card was probably a bad idea and the store account was definitely a bad idea - but I got them anyway.
When it comes to money, it's my mindset that's all wrong, not my skills.
I like clothes. I like shoes. I like makeup. I like nice things in general. I like going to blogger events. I really, really, really like food.
And god, I hate depriving myself of these things. So I spend, and I spend, and I spend, because it makes me happy, and I whisper to myself "I'll be sensible next month, it'll be fine."
Except, of course, it's not fine.
One of my 30 Before 30 goals is to get rid of my debt, and I'm not going to do this without a significant mindset shift. In order to do this, I've decided to make some tough financial decisions. I'll find it difficult but I will hopefully find strength knowing that this will mean I will be out of debt quicker and they are only temporary measures.
Thankfully, I've already made the hardest decision...
1) Downsize my living situation
In April, I finally bit the bullet and moved into a houseshare closer to work. Not only did this dramatically reduce my commuting costs, but it also reduced my rent and bills costs by around £200. It was painful because I love love love living on my own, but even if I didn't have my credit card to pay off, it was still a massive stretch trying to afford it. Now, when I don't have monthly debts to pay off anymore, I will actually be relatively comfortable financial wise.
2) Don't buy books
Over the past year or so, I've really fallen back in love with reading and as a result, spending on books has crept its way into my "not planned for" spending list. The thing is, books are something I really do not need to pay for. I can go to the library and there is a vast array of free books in the Kindle Store. While it means that sometimes I can't read exactly what I want to read, it will really help me reduce my monthly outgoings so I can focus on paying off my debt.
3) Cook all my meals from scratch and take a packed lunch to work
Food is probably my worst spending area because spending money on food is unavoidable and for that reason, I spend and spend and spend on food because I feel like it's justified. However, my love for fizzy drinks, chocolate, buying my lunch from Tesco Express and buying whatever I fancy whenever I fancy it gets incredibly expensive. With a bit more effort and organisation, I could really, really reduce my spending on food by cooking from scratch and taking my lunch to work.
4) Don't buy clothes, makeup, shoes, jewellery and skincare
I have a lot of makeup. I have a lot of clothes. I am not going to die if I don't buy myself any nice new things for a few months. Until my debt is gone, I am going to try to stop buying the above items. If I have to replace something, for example, I run out of cleanser - I will go for budget options.
5) Stop being in denial about why I am in debt
For over two years, I have blamed my debt and general skintness on the fact that my salary isn't where I want it to be and that I live down South. While my salary and the area I live in most definitely do contribute to my financial struggles they are not the sole reason. I've had to have a strong word with myself and admit that I am very irresponsible and I have created my debt myself. I do spend too much on food, I do buy things I don't need, I totally ignore my budgets and I spend more than I earn even though I could live within my means if I chose to.
There are other things I could do to sort myself out financially. One thing I know I should do is kill my social life for a few months. No nights out, no weekly swims and definitely no London blogger events. However, my mental health is very, very important to me and spending my money on these things improves my mood greatly and long term - unlike a new dress or pair of shoes. In this instance, I'm prepared to draw out the process of removing my credit card from my life in order to have a good time while I deprive myself of more material things.
It's going to be a tough journey, but it will be worth it in the end.
Operation Supervixen is my own personal transformation programme. In July 2014, I decided I was utterly fed up of being miserable, unwell and feeling like I wasn't reaching my full potential in life. To combat this, I decided I was going to radically transform my diet, maintain an exercise routine and centre my leisure activities around personal development. To keep me accountable and help others in the process, I started Operation Supervixen.