Living In A Material World

12 July 2014

Dress - Primark
Shoes - Topshop

I bought this dress back in June (haul video here!) but yesterday was my first day of actually wearing it - note to self: stop shopping till you've actually had time to wear everything you bought the last time you went shopping. I love it, it's a little bit Star Trek and I think it'll look brilliant in winter with a cropped jumper, ankle boots and black tights as well as being fine for the current weather.

Anyway, speaking of that little note to self about stopping shopping until I've actually worn half of what I bought the month before, I'm being serious. Since she's mentioned it on her blog I'm sure my blogging buddy Kirsty of Indigo Buttons won't mind me sharing here a little excerpt from a blog post of hers, discussing the fact that she'd gotten herself into a little bit of a financial mess and how watching her younger friends (who are mainly bloggers, or at last readers of blogs) seem to live a hugely extravagant lifestyle in comparison to her.

"See... a few of my friends always claim to be broke and penniless, but then they Instagram photos of their latest Boots haul, or buy ridiculously expensive candles, or pop into town for a shopping spree when they're feeling bored. Not that I'm bitter jealous, obvs. But I think it was my slight envy of that type of lifestyle which got me into this mess in the first place. If my younger, jobless pals can splurge on pampering themselves, why can't I? Can I buy the same Neom candles? The same Laura Mercier bath melts? The same Chanel foundation? Well... no. The simple answer is no, basically. I can't afford it and I will never be able to share their extravagant lifestyles. "

Although she's not mentioned anyone by name I'm pretty sure I fall into that camp, I definitely moan about being skint and then go on mad shopping sprees (must resist the Harrods sale...) and I really hate to think I've contributed to making someone else feel down because they've seen me spending.

I've made an effort not to talk about money on here and it's because I know my position in life would really enrage people, but I'm going to be totally honest - I'm absolutely terrible with money.

When I turned 18 and was being offered store cards and credit cards left right and centre I was quite happy to take them because, in my opinion, the pocket money I was getting wasn't enough to satisfy my shopping cravings. I got myself into a huge mess and my parents bailed me out, paid it off and closed them down. I then skipped off to Italy on not one but two gap years funded by my parents (though I did actually work whilst I was away in bars and hotels! Just so we're clear on that!) then came back and eventually went to uni.

Whilst being at uni I've been fortunate enough to be at university in Glasgow that allows me to live at home rent free and with no bills to pay, meaning any money I have has nothing 'responsible' to be done with and can be used for whatever I like it to be. I do have my own income having done some freelance writing work on and off for the past few years so I don't want to give the impression here that I'm still taking money from my parents, but I am living rent free with no bills and what I'm trying to underline here is that I am hugely aware now of how privileged that makes me.

Anyway, what I'm saying is that I have no financial awareness and I know if I were to move out right now and suddenly have to cope with surrendering buying as much as I do, mainly on a whim, to pay proper bills I'd end up on the phone to my parents begging them to cover my rent as I'd spent it all on a new handbag.

I've always had issues with the comments that fly around, more so on YouTube than on actual blogs, about people being 'privileged', as though people can choose which family they're born into and I think that people who go around disliking every haul video or make up collection video they see just for the sake of it really need to get a more productive and positive hobby because, at the end of the day, you don't know anyone's situation - whether that's parents funding them or maybe they just have a job they don't want to plaster all over their online persona. I've always taken the notion that no one should be made to justify or explain themselves or their financial situation, because quite frankly it's none of anyone's business, but I'm sharing this because I feel that I've contributed to making someone else feel bad about their own situation and I want anyone reading this blog to realise that I know I'm in a privileged position, and I know once I move out that my lifestyle will probably dip for a while!

Whilst I'm not blaming anyone for my complete lack of self control, I think in the blogger world, where there's a constant stream of new products (that the majority of people reviewing and encouraging you to buy are getting for free) and constant supply of outfit pictures providing ASOS and Topshop wish lists through the roof (seriously, I'm pretty sure if I added up everything I've spent in Topshop in the past few months I could have had a new Mulberry handbag on my arm) we sometimes feel like we should constantly be buying and that things aren't good anymore unless they're new and shiny and totally the same as what everyone else currently has (mainly free of charge as they've just been released and sent out to what seems like every blogger in the world except you).

I know for me I definitely buy things then often forget about them or for whatever reason don't wear them till about three months later when they've probably gone onto sale and I could have bought them cheaper. I've actually started keeping everything I buy on hooks on the back of my door and not putting things into my wardrobe till I've actually worn them, just to try and cut down on the amount of things I'm buying and forgetting about. I know I constantly buy things with the justification being I'll take outfit pictures or feature them in a haul video, should that really be justifying why I'm buying so much? And, more importantly, if I didn't have that justification, would I be buying it in the first place?

Although I have always been a shopaholic I do think blogging has provided far too many opportunities to justify things I wouldn't have done and I need to start making a major effort to buy less and, more importantly, buy smarter.

I'm going to try and buy things I'll wear immediately (though things like Florida purchases for next summer I will continue with because I know I very rarely come across shorts that I actually like and I know I'm buying them with a predetermined use in mind, not just buying them 'just because') and buy less things 'to slim into' - because that's just depressing. I'm going to try and buy the right balance of things that fill gaps in my wardrobe so I don't end up with loads of the same thing but also buy things that match what I already have. I know I buy too many dresses, which then really only provide one use, or maybe two if you count wearing them with a top over the top half to make it look like a skirt, so I'm going to keep an eye out for separates that I like that can be mixed and matched. I read somewhere you should only buy an item of clothing if you can think of ten other things in your wardrobe it will match with. Whilst ten might be a little much for me, I'm going to try to aim for three. I'll never be the girl with the capsule wardrobe, but hopefully I can be a girl whose wardrobe actually works together and provides easy go-to outfits.

I'm not putting myself on a shopping ban, because I know as soon as I loftily declare that I'm on one I want to buy everything in sight, and also because I don't want to do a short term thing that might last a few days, a few weeks or maybe a month at most. I know for the long run I need to make my skills with money much better, otherwise I have no chance of ever moving out and being financially independent from my parents, so I'm trying to properly change my approach to shopping. I'm not saying no more impulse buys and no more 'just because' purchases because I'm not looking to suck the fun out of life but I am saying I'm going to start making a concentrated effort into shopping more smartly, shopping a little bit less and, most importantly, putting some money into that permanently empty savings account 'just for a rainy day'.

Wish me luck guys!

Join the conversation!

  1. Oh Roisin! You little beauty. Firstly- don't be daft thinking you've made me "feel down" or anything like that. I'm my own worst nightmare! I've always been a shopaholic- I'd head into town in between lectures as a pick me up, or buy a new bloody wardrobe whenever I was feeling down. The thing is- I had the money to do that when I was a student, and had loans and bursaries to burn, not to mention three jobs at once. My pals have always been more *technically* privileged than me, but it's never stopped me spending. It's not a new thing! But I had definitely managed to curb it until I got caught up in the whole blogging malarkey. I think you're right with so much of what you say. I do feel a certain pressure to keep up with other bloggers. It's something I feel at events, weirdly enough. I've heard so many comments and disparaging remarks about other bloggers... And as much as the blogosphere claims to be full of lovely people (and the majority are!) there's definitely some snobbery there I find disappointing. Maybe it's a personal thing...I always feel I need to "keep up with the joneses". Which has obviously fucked me up good and proper, haha!! Anyway- this is a massive comment which feels more like a therapy session than a comment. To be honest with you, I didn't really even have you in mind when I was worrying about my "younger, jobless pals" who live more extravagant lifestyles than I do. For one- you're not jobless! I guess I just find it frustrating that I can glimpse the kind of lifestyle I *want* and I see so many other folk enjoying it, but it's something I'll never have. It's my worst feature. Comparison is the thief of joy and all that. It's a big part of blogging and I definitely need to kick myself up the bum about it!!!xxxxxx

  2. Good luck! I definitely understand where you're coming from. And what a fantastic, sophisticated outfit :)


  3. Excellent post as always :) I know what you mean about the pointlessness of a spending ban. It's like when I try to go on a health kick and say "no more chocolate" - suddenly all the chocolate in the world becomes irresistible and I end up eating an entire bar in the space of five minutes that I otherwise probably wouldn't have even thought to have a square of! I also agree with the idea that your own financial situation is none of anyone else's business, but I think there is a lot of pressure in the blogging world with the "how can so and so afford this, that and the next thing" cropping up a lot. And it's difficult because, as Kirsty said in her comment, there is an element of feeling like you need to keep up with what other people are doing and buying, whether that is financially viable for you or not. Definitely a problematic side of this lovely blogging community! xx

  4. I've nominated you for an Inspiring Blogger Award!

    Faye x


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