Finance for Millennials

I am a 28 year old graduate who has been living in London since I finished uni working in ‘media’ and therefore not earning huge amounts whilst a lot of my peers are earning decent wages because you know, we’re almost thirty. Yet I have managed to buy a one bed flat and am bored of people saying that it is impossible to buy in London.

It is really just basic maths you spend less than you earn and save the rest. Yes it takes ages to save. Yes it means not eating out all the time and spunking money on ASOS when you are having shitty day and yes you have to bring in your own lunch to work but it IS possible.

I bought a place when i had to move out of a house i shared with a man friend after it turned out he wanted to replace me with a girl who genuinely used to work in a circus. I looked at renting a one bedroom place but it was cheaper to pay back a mortgage rather than rent on my own and bonus is its my place and next time someone wants to run away to join the circus (and by that i mean fuck someone else) they can damn well move out and post their keys back through MY letter box (not a euphemism to be clear).

Of course saving the deposit is not easy, it involves keeping a very close eye on your finances. Each week i check what i have spent and tally up the amounts into categories to see where i can shave money off. Being confronted with a bank statement that looks like a pub crawl itinerary of the roads round work should scare you into actively avoiding going out for drinks for a while. Sometimes things seem like little expenditures — like a coffee each morning before work but if you don’t keep an eye on it you wont realise that you have actually spent £50 on chai lattes in a month and £50 each month over a year ads up to £2600 which is a decent chunk of money.

Most things that we buy aren’t necessary we look in the media and on apps like Instagram and see what everyone else ‘appears’ to have and we get jealous and think ‘i work hard, i deserve a fucking spiraliser’ but you wont use it and everybody else’s Instagram is a lie. They don’t really go for dinner at Hakasan evey week — they go once a year and post a photo of it, they don’t however post a photo of them staying in geeking out over documentaries on Medieval Gothic Architecture eating the last tin of beans in the cupboard. They should. We would all be happier.

Once you start saving it is much like how i imagine exercise to be — addictive, you get in to it, you start counting pence in your account like calories on the back of those nakd bars that I see people buying (don’t bother they are over priced, eat a sodding carrot instead and save yourself a pound). Setting up a direct debit from your current account to a savings account will help. When I lived at home straight after Uni I was working a shitty job living at my parents not paying rent, if like a lot of millennials you have this luxury this is the time to save, save, save. My Mum made me save 70% of everything i earned during that time as the fine print of living at home, getting my washing done and generally getting over the depressing realisation that from here on in you are going to have to start thinking about your future and be an adult.

Another top tip is if you ever find your self getting a reasonable lump sum save it, do not buy a handbag with it. I was run over when I was 24 and the driver drove off — a hit and run if you will- i got a couple of grand from the ‘where there is blame there is a claim’, it wasnt a huge amount of money for having a bad back for the rest of my life or the indignity of having to get my housemate to do up my bra before work for several weeks but it increased my savings and increased my interest on my savings. I don’t ever think about how my life could have been if i had of bought a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes with that money instead but i do think about how my life would be if i was still renting and sharing with people. Right decision was made.

Since starting Uni (ten years ago) I managed to save a deposit on a flat in zone three on my own and now i want to save again, ready for my next move which will be happening in the next few months if everything goes to plan. Join me in my crusade to rid us of the idea that we need everything and embrace doing the sensible thing to become a financially independent person. Fun I know.

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