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.