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I recently went to look at new sofas. My current sofa has not been treated well and has seen more dramas than I care to remember (honestly, if my sofa could talk…), so, with that in mind, I thought it was time to invest in something new.
I decided to go to one of the bigger sofa shops – you know, the ones with a permanent sale that ends 5pm Sunday – and it wasn’t long before I’d been accosted by a very loud salesman. We were discussing how much this gorgeous new sofa would be, and here’s what he trumpeted in my ear: “Will you be paying for it today or will you be paying for it in the Never Never Land?” INTERESTING. So basically, do I want to pay for it properly, or do I want to send £5 per month to a fictional island where you can go if you never want to grow up?
‘I’ll pay it off later’ is something I started saying when I was 18, when a bank literally handed me a credit card with a £2k limit at my university fresher’s fair.
A minimum payment every month was dangerously addictive, and I quickly learnt that I could live like a frickin’ queen for about £14 per month. This habit got even worse when I moved to London at 22. A rubbish graduate salary in London is a poor combo, so sadly most things got sent to Never Never Land (NNL for short). And we were all doing it – everyone whipped out their credit cards for Friday night cocktails or a Topshop spree, but no one ever ever talked about it.
One girl I knew had a £20k debt from shopping, another had £15k. No one batted an eyelid, because of course, they’d pay it off later. I’d pay it off later, too. That was the power of NNL – it just became normal.
When I was about 28, NNL slapped me hard in the face and booted me out. The recession kicked in and letters from the bank started appearing. ‘How have I spent all this money?!’ I thought, as I added up my debt. It took moving cities (and out of London) and a new job to pay it off. I’ve still got a little bit left, but nothing compared to before, and my financial outlook is totally different. I realise I was very silly, but back in the pre-recession heyday, it was all so easy. I’ve got a decade of bad habits to undo… let NNL rehab begin.
West Midlands lass blogging her way through newfound motherhood and trying to get on the housing ladder in the smoothest way possible. Leanne also writes for ‘Money and the Mum’.