How to change my way of thinking about money


I’ve grown up with very little money. My family have always struggled, my mum as a single parent has worked endlessly for years and years to put food on the table, a roof over our heads, keeping the electricity on etc. SO for that reason, I’ve sort of become a bit… protective over my money?

I work 2 jobs and I’m a full-time student, I get paid weekly (from one job), monthly (from the other job) and every term (student loan). I have enough money to give to my mum every month to help with bills/food etc. I have enough to pay my own bills and I have enough for luxuries, going out or buying a few things - as well as saving for my emergency fund.

But even though I budget enough money for spending on whatever I want, I always question whether things are ‘worth it’ or not. Even if I know I’d use it all the time, I’d question spending money on something a teeny bit expensive because I fear I’m wasting money or I’ll run out and struggle. I won’t go out to a club or bar or get an Uber home or whatever because of the money I’d have to spend, even if I’ve budgeted for it and have more than enough.

I had £30 left over from my ‘spend on whatever you want’ budget from last week and want to buy something that I wouldn’t normally buy i.e. a lipstick or something, but I can’t bring myself to do it because spending so much on a luxury makeup item is just… too much?

Sorry, I’m rambling. But my question is, how can I change my thoughts about money? How can I overcome this and occasionally treat myself?

(Marcel Ruhf) #2

I actually think being frugal is a very good trait to have. Most would probably ask the opposite question of yours.


Oh I completely get it. Most people want to stop spending money! But I feel like it’s gotten to the point where I can’t enjoy my money and don’t know why I bother working so much when I can’t bring myself to buy anything nice.

Like, I’m 22 years old and I can’t bring myself to buy the things that I want because I just think ‘if I buy this £40 thing, then I’ll have £40 less in my account’ … but realistically the alternative is to just have the money in my account and not actually going out and living my life. I feel like right now is the time in my life where I can be a little bit reckless with my spending and buy the things that I want when I don’t have many bills, rent, responsibilities etc.

(#savetheseabass) #4

Your budgeting should cover wants as well as needs. When you divide into categories eg food, rent, clothing etc make a budget for treat. If you put £10 a week (or more if your budget allows) into a treat pot you won’t see an expensive lippy as a waste but a budgeted for item.

Being stressed about no money or being stressed because you are too anxious to spend money are equally bad. Everyone needs a little pick me up every now and again


This might be a controversial opinion, but personally I’m 21, been employed full time since 18 and now recently switched to contracting, and I always just spend like crazy until Monzo is empty and declines (I use a credit card as emergency fund). It’s probably not healthy and definitely not a good idea, but you know what, as long as all the bills and rent are paid I’d say go ahead and spend, enjoy yourself.

As long as you don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation (where you can’t pay off a credit card or bills) I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Your pay check is there to be spend and enjoyed after all, and you’ll have plenty of time to get a good-paying job and actually save money once you finish your studies.


Also check out this post: What would you tell your younger self about finance?


There’s nothing wrong with wanting to treat yourself now and again… the key for a happy medium is to get into the habit of finding things cheaper…a lot of things come down in price after the first few months of launch and it’s good to have the mindset of “do I really need this, right now”

Impulse buying is the key to financial downfall, but a thought out approach is what helps you keep your money…

If Boots are selling a Clarins lipstick for £22, doesn’t mean it’s that price everywhere… if you could get it for £15 somewhere, that’s £7 you’ve kept for little effort…


Oh yeah I always do that! I use my student discount whenever and wherever I can too! I mean, sometimes I spend over an hour looking for a decent Dominos voucher code :wink:

My issue is before I used to spend a little money on a lot of cheap things. Things that ended up getting lost, broken or were just tatty. Now I’ve said to myself I’d rather only buy one good quality thing rather than lots of little cheap things. But dropping a lot of money on that one quality thing is just really hard for me to do. I can’t get over this mindset that I need to buy the cheapest thing, rather than the best quality thing.


I’m way too anxious to put myself in the position of not being able to pay bills! I currently have a couple hundred on my credit card and overdraft but my loan comes in soon so I’m using it to pay it all back and then close those accounts / only spend like very little on the credit card and pay it back in full every month. It’s all 0% anyway.

I just worry that I won’t have any spare money/back-up money and if I do, then I worry it’s not enough so I rarely spend my money to treat myself. It makes working 2 jobs really draining cos I rarely ever get to reap the rewards.


Close the overdraft but keep the credit card, it’s handy if you want to build your credit history and can serve as a safety net should you need it.


When I didn’t have a fixed income the way I managed this was to look at how much I want to save for a month, then at the end of the month look at how much extra I have on top of that.

That ‘extra’ becomes my spending money for the following month, which I can spend 100% of guilt free, as I’ve already done the work ‘saving’ from the chunk of income the ‘extra’ came with.


You’re a student and clearly extremely financially responsible. Have your small luxury spends here and there when appropriate and enjoy your student years but focus on the studies, avoid any interest bearing payments like the credit card unless it’s a tiny credit building immediately payable purchase.

Keep an emergency fund for that unexpected utility adjustment bill or car breakdown or whatever emergency shit can come up.

Get graduated and good grades, but remember to manage work and play. Once or twice and month do something social, spend lots of time doing cheap social things or healthy ones.

On that note, I wish I’d stsrted, maintaining and being engaged via linkedin before my final year. Do that now, add everyone you know, everyone you meet, follow companies who you want to work for, follow companies in places you want to work for. Start building a professional network, gain skill endorsements.

Despite only doing this actively for a year my profile is looking more used than many working professionals. It’s a great source of jobs, information on subject matter and articles and networking. Since new year I’ve turned down maybe 3 genuine job offers and about 6 dragnet ones. And I’ve started the interview process on 2 from LinkedIn recruiters never mind my own personal efforts. It’s a comforting position to be in as graduation looms in a few weeks.


maintaining and being engaged via linkedin before my final year

I can relate. I was initially dismissing LinkedIn as being “in the past” (as an employed software engineer with an already decent CV so no real need for it) but turns out LinkedIn is actually quite good - it’s nice to have it as a backup plan as you can literally have a job in days should you ever need it. Recruiters are always hungry for fresh meat on it. My profile is barely completed and yet my inbox is already full. :joy:


I resonate with your post in general.

What I would say is something I heard just a week ago: “being cheap can become expensive”.

Translation: the trade off between quality, quantity and price can sometimes mean investing a little more on some purchases can actually save you money in the long run.

Secondly, you work hard and should enjoy a reward now and again. Money is a simply a medium to facilitate smoothness in your life. So long as you’re financially disciplined, which you are, then take comfort in the fact that you cannot take money beyond your grave. Make memories and enjoy experiences because time is the real money & you can’t turn the clock back. C’est la vie!

(Eve) #15

A lot of papers like the Daily Mail like to imply the working class are spending money frivolously on things eg you see news articles like “mum spends too much on Christmas presents/ dinner”. At the risk of starting some sort of political debate I think denying poor people the right to purchase nice things is ridiculous. God forbid a family gets one nice meal if they’re poor? The outrage!

This was a thing I didn’t understand initially and had to be taught by my friends (who grew up in relatively poor families). “Middle class” in the UK and “middle class” in the US has really different meanings. When they said they were poor, I assumed they meant destitute/ homeless etc.

It’s good to be frugal, but if you’re stressing so much and feel like you can’t even spend your own money on a treat once in a while I think that’s not good either! I’d rather spend a bit more money and enjoy myself while I’m still young, as long as I’m still living within my means.


are spending money frivolously on things eg you see news articles like “mum spends too much on Christmas presents/ dinner”

Isn’t money made to be spent anyway? I never understood people criticising others for spending.

In fact the only reason that newspaper exists is because some people are foolish enough to spend and sustain their existence. :joy:


What about having a rule where if you don’t spend your ‘spend whatever you want’ budget on yourself, you have to give it to a cause you don’t like at the end of the month?

(Danny) #18

There is another topic on here somewhere ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’ - it is nearly 100 years old, and the parable it tells is set thousands of years ago but honestly reading that book and adopting even just a bit of what it teaches would go a long way to improving your financial life. I wish I’d discovered it when I was your age!


My personal view is that when you can afford it, you should treat yourself. You work dam hard for your money. You deserve a treat every now and again

(TWM) #20

I’m with you on this, I often feel I’m missing out on some life magic because I have this strong desire to live without debt, I’m achieving this as I only have my mortgage although I have set the bar high with regards to how much I pay per month, but I am confident and very hopeful that when I complete on that I will be so much more content and will then have the freedom to do whatever I want whenever I want, don’t get me wrong I don’t live on dry bread and tap water,I actual fact live a pretty comfortable life but I fear that I am obsessed with driving down my mortgage almost at any cost…

Fyi I have 9 years left on my mortgage, I have a 13yeae old son and a 9 year old daughter. Who will probably both want to go to uni, so once my mortgage is nearly finished, I will probably be entering into a whole new get debt free mission to get rid of all the costs that go with uni.