I’m quite happy with my progress really! But I still need to get a bit better at spending less. There’s nothing big to cut back on, just small things that could save a little every day, a few kroner a day adds up in a year.
I think one of my main challenges is ignoring the absurd wealth around me. The thing is, compared to a vast majority of people in the world, I am extremely lucky, I have everything I need and much more.
It’s just that it’s hard to save, cut back and make real sacrifices when I’m surrounded by the absurd wealth of my country. While many countries in Europe are trying to deal with recession and serious financial problems, Norway is doing great. We just set another record in Christmas shopping, the average Norwegian spent 10.000 kroner (about 1700 dollars I think) on Christmas gifts. Who does that?? In my world, that is completely absurd, but that’s not extreme cases, it’s the average person. Which means, apparently, the average person gives away things like iPhones and iPads for christmas without even worrying about it, everyone around me expects to have that sort of things. And I have friends who keeps telling me things like “I really have to save money now, I’m so poor, I shouldn’t have spent those 20.000 kroner on a weekend in Paris”. I don’t even know what to say to that. And it makes me feel bad about my own situation, having to worry about tiny expenses that these people don’t even think about. Every time people say tings like that to me, it makes it so very clear that I live in a totally different world from theirs.
I don’t think it’s true that money has nothing to do with happiness, I would definitely be happier without all the financial stress. But, money isn’t everyhing. I think my challenge is to focus on what matters, spend a bit on things I really, actually enjoy, try to live within my means, which surely would make me a lot less stressed, and try to simply ignore the people complaining about not having the newest iPhone.
a pat on the back for this one! I’ve actually become much better at living within my means. Not perfect at all, I still spend money on some things I don’t absolutely need, and sometimes don’t think through everything I buy like I should. But, I payed back my credit card debt in june, which was too much, but still a lot less than last summer. And since then, I’ve managed to keep it down. I’ve used my credit card a few times for emergencies, but it hasn’t been big sums, and I’ve managed to pay it back within a month or two. So I now have no credit card debt at all. Very happy about that!
And, I’ve done that even though I actually make a bit less than I did. That is, my regular salary in this job is better than in my last one. But I made extra money for writing reviews in my last job, which I did a lot, plus I was paid extra for working weekends. There are few opportunities for earning extra money in my current job. So I think my total is actually a bit less.
It’s really hard, I hardly have anything to spend at all, and bills and expenses are a constant source of stress. My income is probably above average, so it’s not that. But Oslo is one of the most expensive cities in the world, and living here alone on a normal income is almost not doable. But, I’m doing quite a lot better, which I’m proud of! I finally managed to get an overview of most of my expenses, which helped. I struggle with that, and I used to check my bank balance and think “Hm, not so bad, I have some money to spend, hurray!”. And then later, after I had spent some extra money, discovering some bill I hadn’t thought about. That happens a lot less often now. I know, more or less, what my realistic budget is. Also, I have to say, discovering the joys of flea markets has helped things. I can go there and get some clothes, books and DVDs for next to nothing. Which makes me feel that I’m indulging a little and enjoying new things, without spending much on it.
Now I just need to keep it up, and preferably get a little bit better still.
flea markets! I’ve never bought clothes at flea markets before. There’s just something about wearing clothes that other people have worn, it feels a bit yukky. But I have a friend who buys all her clothes at fleamarkets, she’s very enthusiastic about it. She asked me to go along to one today. And I found quite a few nice things! They look more or less new, and are really quite nice. And they cost nothing at all. Plus, I found two sofa cushions that are really nice and looked completely new, they would have cost several hundred kroner in a store. So, I’ve now decided to start going to fleemarkets much more often. It really is a great way to get more clothes, in a really, really inexpensive way. After all, my feelings about wearing other people’s clothes are just feelings. It doesn’t make much sense, I can simply wash them before wearing them. Vintage stores tend to be considered the coolest clothes stores here. And well, they really get many of their clothes by going to fleemarkets, picking out the good stuff, and selling it really expensive.
So, off to more flea markets I go!