My Journey to Stronger Financial Condition

At first, this post was purely intended for personal note, a little reminder for myself so I won’t be out of track again. But when deszell asked me to write something for Fashionese Daily (I owe her a product review :) ), I thought why not giving her this, as it may invite others to share their experiences, so that I can learn from theirs as well. That’s the beauty of this beloved community, right? So bear with me, because it’s gonna be very long :)

The Moment of Truth

Back in the days I was still working in Jakarta, money did come and go easily. The only time I could push myself to save is when I was about to get married. Few months later, hubby got a job in Kuala Lumpur and for that reason, we had a long distance relationship for one and a half years. During that period, I was impulsively shopping like an addict. But I won’t say I was a shopaholic, I was just an irresponsible spender who squandered all the money I earned. There was one point that I felt extremely guilty every time I shopped. Yet, I couldn’t stop.

After I resigned and moved to Kuala Lumpur, I was given got monthly personal allowance from hubby. That time, circa 2007, I was new in Fashionese Daily (now Female Daily) forum and as many other forum members, I found a new addiction; makeups! I bought insanely lots of cosmetics. To make it worse, this city, Kuala Lumpur, is a city of warehouse sales where you can get a Shu Uemura blush as cheap as drugstore’s brands. On top of that, I was overexcited that I could find brands and limited edition products that were not sold in Jakarta.

To be honest, I feel ridiculous now to remember how I could be that person who used to have 60 of blushes, 50 something of lipsticks, and 5 or 6 foundations at the same time! And God knows that I don’t wear complete makeups everyday. Then I started to worry when I realised that enough was never enough for me. I kept wanting more and more. Not only on makeups, there were years when I could got myself a new bag every two months. They were not thousands of dollars bags, but the thought of how I could be such person who never be content, is the most shameful part.

Well, people change. I change.

The First Step to My Spending Habits Change

There was some point at the end of 2009 that hubby and I had been forced to profoundly rethink about our financial condition. Not that we were broke thankfully, but it was hubby’s employer that happened to have changes in their financial situation, and caused some foreign employees to get delayed salary payments. It wasn’t happening for one month only, but four! Four crazy months where we had to keep withdrawing our savings because some expenses needed to be paid. Oh, Life! Facing such unpredictable condition, I decided to stop fulfilling my wants. A thing that later on came to be called as the black period.

However, fortunately we did survive (walaupun ketar ketir juga memasuki bulan ke 5). Every cloud has a silver lining, it is said. Not only did we end up saving more than we had withdrawn when the employer finally banked the paychecks, we also came to realise how really important it is to have a strong financial foundation (we’re lucky that we had the so-called emergency fund at that time). Furthermore, when it’s needed, we’re pretty much able to sort out our priorities. That’s the power of “kepepet” :)). So I thought, why not doing it – sorting out our priorities – in daily life?

Building Up Our Spending Priorities

So there I was, listing our spending priorities. I list down what basic needs that both of us will need:

  • Good quality of food
  • Decent home
  • Proper savings and investments
  • Enough budget on maintaining personal health and grooming
  • Appropriate amount of leisure and holidays.

Quite much like that, I suppose. I don’t put a couple of our very, very personal spending priorities here. They’d better remain undisclosed :D.

My Next Step to Keep Our Financial Situation Healthy

Since then, slowly but sure, I have been trying to be more, and very, selective on buying things that I want. How did I do that?

  • I’ve learned that I don’t need to be hysterical whenever sale season comes.
  • It’s great if I can get good bargains, but I am no longer easily lured by it. Well I am still, for once in a while :D.

My point is, I TRY to shop consciously, without any provocation.

I now limit to buying clothes and shoes when I think I really need to freshen up my wardrobe.

When is the ‘When’ in Terms of Shopping?

Well, I think it’s safe to say that I buy three or four fashion items (clothes and accessories) every month, sometimes less than that. Summer/Spring season is time when I shop more than usual. Oh yeah, clothes are my biggest weakness :D. For being such an anomaly, I am not really into shoes. Well, I like pretty shoes but I just can’t keep too many shoes in my apartment. Can’t accept the idea of having unknown dirts stay inside my house, let alone asking me to wipe and clean my shoes after wearing them. I don’t love them that much. Therefore I can survive wearing the same flats and fitflop for, hmmm 6 months or so ( malu-maluin ya? ^_^ ). Well it’s funny that sometimes we buy things to impress others. Really, only two or three people who might notice that you keep wearing the same shoes everyday and re-wearing your tops every two weeks. Even more, they merely do not care at all.

Me, like many other women, also love beautiful handbags. However, looking on my experiences, when I had new bags, I simply forgot the older ones. I am not one who diligently change bags everyday and when I get myself bags, I never think about selling them afterwards. For that reason, those bags usually end up piling on my wardrobe. So currently, I’m wearing what I’ve already had. My last purchase is a Cocomomo leather bag which I bought on July 2011. I have to admit that it is hard to resist those temptations, but I know that it’s all about where I put my head at. When I get used to it, I definitely can go through it. And if I really want a certain bag that is quite costly, I’ll wait and ask hubby to buy it for my birthday gift :). Oh speaking of asking a bag from him, once he said that he would be pleased to trade it -the bag I want- with equal amount of shares, for my birthday gift. Oh boy! **tepokjidat**

The Bottom Line: Stronger Financial Condition

Remember my aforementioned spending priorities? If you don’t, there is no need to look back and re-read them, because everyone has their own priorities. I’m not trying to preach you here, because hey… who am I anyway? Sometimes I myself still get confused about my own priority :). That’s why I feel it’s important to make the list. So when I feel like buying a bag which costs an arm and a leg, I make sure that I don’t sacrifice things which I prioritize more. You know what? My life is easier that way. It’s too tiring to try to fulfill my never-ending wants.

Anyway, having stronger financial condition becomes my long term goal as it needs to be built gradually. But developing a self contentment is what I need to achieve right now. By that reason, I need to be more sensible in shopping. I need to accept that not everything I want has to be mine, even though I have the money to buy it. Lesson learned that those rainy days can come again anytime.

That’s it. I think I have been babbling too long :D