When I was 18, I spent my last $2 on a two-for-one Mars Bar deal at the local servo. I gifted the chocolate bars to my little brother and sister after a long, long walk home (I couldn’t afford a bus ticket) because I was generous and stupid in equal measure.
Soooo I was worth less than 10 cents. I couldn’t afford my asthma medication anymore and my parents – bless their sweet, strict souls – were not about to bail me out. This was all a teaching lesson, I’d gleaned, for never being that kid who squirrelled away gold coins into a money tin. I never found joy in saving, in seeing that number grow; I spent what I made, completely and entirely, and now my recklessness had come back in the form of two slightly chuffed younger siblings and the knowledge that I couldn’t afford to travel to university the next day. Though in my 18-year-old mind, what’s the point of having money if you can’t enjoy it, right?
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. No. You idiot.
I have learned in the years since that the point, dear little 18-year-old me, is this super boring (but super important) thing called security. Because, yes, buying shit I don’t need from Instagram influencers I don’t even like is enjoyable, but cuddling a bottle of Bali Body or Hello Smile late at night won’t feel all that crash hot when you can’t pay your rent.
For example, I legitimately felt anxious about purchasing this $6 hot dog on New Years Eve 2012/2013. How fun is being broke?!
So ‘security’ became my focus (not straight away – I blew $14,000 on a two-and-a-half-month trip around Europe first, because travel makes you richer than money ever can blah blah blah bleh blergh bwldjfjskf).
The point is, five years ago I was dead fucking broke and how I viewed money was worlds away from how I do at 23.
This has all been on my mind today because the ABC’s newest, shiniest podcast The Pineapple Project has dropped and it’s ALL ABOUT WOMEN AND CASH. Hosted by comedian Claire Hooper, the first episode was like jazzercise for your money psychology and holy shizknuckles I want to make money a priority in 2018 (see also: blogging, ethical shopping, eating bountiful bowls of pasta). I want my money to work hard for me, preferably by growing and multiplying and doing little backflips and somersaults and stuff.
So, let me arrive at the thing you all clicked on the headline for, and the most interesting thing I learned from Episode One: It turns out our attitudes towards money and our spending behaviours see us slide into four, distinct personality groups. They are:
Money Avoidance: These people don’t want to know about money, or the state of their finances. They feel negatively about the whole goddamn thing. They don’t check their bank statements ever, and just cross their fingers and toes whenever they splurge a fat chunk of cash on something they probably can’t afford and definitely don’t need. Budgets are bullshit to them. Money is cursed and stupid. Fin.
Money Worship: Having lots of money is crucial to their happiness, ok? There’s just a teeny tiny problem: they never feel like there’s enough of it. They probably have a fair amount of credit card debt, put work ahead of their relationships, and find themselves in precarious situations because they make financial decisions that they probably can’t afford. Oops.
Money Status: Who they are is inextricably linked with what they’re worth. When people ask about their salary, they tend to inflate the figure. They love splashing fat stacks on things that they believe enrich their life – fancy cars, jewellery, clothes – even when those things may be outside their means. They also tend to lie to their significant other about spending habits, the dirty rascals.
Money vigilance: Regardless of how much money they have saved, these people are always alert, concerned and watchful about their financial welfare like an anxious little rabbit. They have an utter distaste for putting things on credit; in their mind, if people are buying things, they should be able to pay for them outright. They get a kick out of saving but may struggle to enjoy the benefits their savings can bring.
At 18, I was money avoidant through and through. Nowadays, I am money vigilant. If you’re interested, you can take the test to find out what you are right here.
Money is something that I take rather seriously now; the more I save, the less I want to spend. The prospect of being 18 and having nothing makes me feel a ripple of anxiety right across my belly.
I will deny this if any of you ever ask me about it in person… but one of my favourite days of the month is payday – but not because I can go buy stuff; because it means I can transfer whatever is left over in my ‘spend’ account from the previous month to my ‘savings’ or ’emergency’ accounts. Being able to see those numbers climb month on month is like a pat on the back. It’s my nerdy, dorky, savings heroin and I’m utterly addicted; when I couldn’t transfer any money across at the end of December (Christmas shopping) I felt deflated.
Full disclosure: The aim is to transfer $1000 over every month. Most of the time, I make it. Some of the time (when I indulge in too many espresso martinis and deliveries from The Iconic), I fall short.
Here’s a little rundown of what I’ve deposited into my savings account over the last few months, when I’ve been hit with the glorious surprise of a major car service, rego, and Christmas…
January 2018: +$1500
December 2017: +$0
November 2017: +$573
October 2017: +$1000
See? Not exactly consistent… but it’s a work in progress. Especially when I’m renting with Mitch and, naturally, it’s not always easy to save.
I will try my goddamn hardest to make sure at least $1000 is going into my savings every month in 2018. I’ll keep you updated on how I go. We can be like a book club! But for money!
In the meantime, listen to The Pineapple Project. Seriously. It’s fun and you’ll learn all of the things. You can find it in iTunes.
My big goal? This year will be the year that I INVEST IN SOMETHING. I want to buy shares, and I want to know what the actual fuck is going on when stories like this one are the top of Apple News.
Do you have a money goal? What personality are you? Let me know in the comments xxxx