I set up Thinking Thrifty in December 2015 with the aim of having something out there that would keep me accountable for my money and ridiculous spending habits. I didn’t think so many people would go on to read it at the time.
The aim back then was to save for a mortgage deposit to buy our own house, unfortunately I fell completely in love with the area we live and the average house price around my part of Altrincham is roughly £350k.
I’ve watched three houses on my street go for over £500k this year alone. Safe to say that deposit is now a distant dream and I swiftly refocused my efforts on saving for retirement instead.
Still, the blog had the desired affect, I had every penny accounted for and my finances had never been in better health.
But back in January disaster struck in the form of an Irish Dancing related tragedy. In the name of children’s entertainment I thought it fun to teach my two year old nephew how to Irish dance after, roughly, 10 pints.
Why you should never attempt Irish Dancing
With no prior training whatsoever, following a few successful manoeuvres, I attempted the ol’ mid-air criss cross, landed with the grace of a rhino and smashed my left foot to pieces. 6 fractures and severe ligament damage – Uncle Knobhead strikes again.
Whilst these sorts of shenanigans bring great joy to my nephew, Spud, spending the following 16 weeks in plaster was not my first choice on how to start the new year.
Sat at home for five weeks staring at the same four walls was sending me deranged. Solitude had kicked in, yet at this point I had no idea how bad it was to become.
Deteriorating mental health
It’s no exaggeration to say my mental health was dwindling away quicker than my money reserves, my head had well and truly fell off and I’m still recovering now in all honesty.
I have been fighting OCD for the best part of 20 years, I thought those very darkest of days were long gone but they soon raised their ugly head again, coming back with a vengeance that I was no longer prepared for.
Trapped in my own thoughts, I hit the booze HARD, becoming a major recluse in the meantime.
Four cans a day quickly became 16-20, and my life had become nothing more than sitting on a couch all day and night spectacularly pissed, aiming to wash away the thoughts but only endeavouring to give weight to them all the more.
If I sat down with a doctor and had this conversation they’d have told me I was a functioning alcoholic at the very best.
A vicious circle was not just forming, it was here. Worse of all, it already had a strangle hold of me. Self inflicted money problems wasn’t helping either, giving me something else to wallow about, as well as a tangible reason to count in fives like a mother fucker to prevent somebody from dying.
Putting all my eggs into one basket
I used some of my emergency fund to move into this apartment getting on for three years ago, and slowly started to spend or invest the rest.
I earned plenty of money, there are always plenty of jobs going in my field, I’d stopped spending like a dick head, so why did I need it?
Because when you are born a bit of a dick head David, you are likely to behave like a dick head at some point – regardless of an improvement in frequency in recent times.
As per above, that dick head moment struck and rendered me disabled January through May.
Statuary Sick Pay (SSP) was my only source of income and I was too arseholed to put myself to work at home with some freelance writing.
I had to take two weeks emergency holiday just to stay afloat and get some money in, but with a drop in income so great – from a decent basic salary and handsome bonus – I was racking up credit like I have never done before.
The no fucks given credit gamble
Constantly reassuring myself in those early stages of the break that it would only be another week or so and I’d be fully healed, soon turned to not having a single fuck to give regardless, the longer it went on – 16 weeks will test anybodies patience.
Priority bills, food, and of course booze, all went on tick as I merrily swiped my card with the delusion I was Posh Spice with money to burn.
I wasn’t well, and I certainly wasn’t capable of making rational decisions, but I was to be back at work soon, I could get back on track easy enough, or so I thought.
The first pay packet lands in my bank, but wait a minute, I’d been skint for months, surely I could just make minimum payments now and catch up later? I deserved a treat after all!
When I think about this thought process now, I’m still astounded it ever passed through my head. I wasn’t someone who buried their head in normal circumstances, but it’s only now I see just how abnormal those circumstances actually were.
It wasn’t long before the Big Irish Wedding I’d had a year to plan for was here, my credit cards were maxed and there was no other choice but to buy a new suit as boozing and convenience food has seen me gain a fuck-ton of weight – 49lbs to be precise. Not just that, with nothing saved away I was going to have to fund this and a trip to Ireland with one wage packet.
Another month of minimum payments ensued, shit creek was about to break its banks.
Steadying the ship and blogging for accountability again
I am not here to kid myself, regardless of my physical and mental struggles this year I have acquired an unhealthy relationship with alcohol – there is no doubt in my mind about that.
For two years I’ve felt this blog has needed me, now I realise it is me that needs this blog. Where as face-to-face I shut down and struggle to speak about what’s going on upstairs, I’m fairly adept at writing it down, whether I think anybody is reading it or not.
For the first time this year I have a plan for what comes next, which I’ll save for another blog, but I suppose if I wanted anyone to take something away from this, it would be that even the most vigilant can fall by the wayside.
I am firmly of the opinion, as money bloggers we should be honest with our readers. You have a responsibility to your readers not to create a fake baked online life.
Recognise, don’t criticise. We all fuck up sometimes.
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