There is not a day that passes when I do not reflect on how lucky I am. I retired at 55 and have a lovely home and a boat plus no real money worries looking into the near future. I then read a story posted online as it was linked to a lady living on her boat in Oxford - link here Click Me
My initial reflection was "that's a challenging financial position" no doubt one experienced by many all over our country. Then I got to compare it with my situation.... but not how I live now, how I lived when I was in my twenties and it was very different to now.
I recalled a week when we ate only beans on toast - yes each evening as that is all we could afford.
When we did go shopping I took a calculator and we had a set budget, I seem to recall it was £18 for a weeks shopping, we chose wisely and when we hit £18 we stopped putting things into the trolly.
Our first house (we never rented - there may be a clue there, but I accept it was a different time with interest rates up to 14% IIRC) we did not have fitted carpets, we had a hand me down rug from Rachels mum, no central heating just one gas fire for the whole house. Our three piece suite was a second hand one we stripped and revarnished it and Rachel made all the cushions to sit on. It was was was affordable to us - no debt for easy comforts.
When we did eventually get a car (we cycled, motorcycled and bussed before) and the clutch went I did it myself using straps and bungee cords to hold the engine in place while Rachel caught the bus to the parts department to get the replacement.
I could bore you more but you get the gist .... make do and mend, no credit apart from the mortgage spend within your income and try and save for that expense you did not foresee.
Of course you need income, we both worked hard to get good jobs, took calculated risks in changing those jobs, stretched ourselves in our work places by seeking promotions. We both also stretched ourselves academically to support or gain the promotions both attaining Masters degrees while working, studying into the small hours and at weekends to make ourselves more employable - our focus our responsibility.
Then when interest rates hit record highs and a half a percent rise took all our end of month cash float, we adjusted and once again budgets were set to the point cash was withdrawn and put into a draw and when it was gone that was that weeks spending.
So I read the article and felt a little guilty. The I reflected on much of the above and more, not typed here and congratulated myself (ourselves) on what we had achieved but more critically HOW we achieved it, hard work, calculated decisions, academic progression and above all planning. Fail to plan plan to fail...
So there are routes to financial sustainability but they are rooted in self, don't ever expect anything from anyone and make sure you know where the buck stops. Believe in yourself, plan, review adjust and plan some more. Don't be lazy, its not good for your health your financial status and your mental wellbeing. There is no better feeling that self congratulation for a thing done well, a goal achieved. If it does not work out analyse, self appraise what you did where you went wrong, what will you do differently. Don't just think that was bad luck, analyse and don't seek out blame as that is just too easy. Far too many people nowadays expect it to be someone else's responsibility for their health and welfare and financial status.
Well that turned into something more than I set out for it to be. Maybe black Friday (day I am typing this) got under my skin as bit as well.... too much 'stuff' people are buying they cannot afford and do not really need.... but maybe that is for another rant !