There I was, in a better position financially than I had been in a long time, but finding myself far more skint than I ever was when I was 19, a receptionist who was wet behind the ears and earning £16,000 a year.
How did this happened? Ten years ago, on a good old chunk less a month than now, I had my nails done each fortnight, was out five nights a week and had a wardrobe that was bursting at the seams. Now? I’m resigned to at-home hair dyes and treat myself to a new jumper only when the one I wear religiously gets a hole in it.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a plea of poverty. Just one of pure confusion. And, for someone unable to comprehend the thirties that are running towards her like an ever-raging tide, it’s quite difficult for me to admit that my life is somewhat different to that of the 19-year-old me.
With age sadly comes responsibility. While I was paying my Mum a bit of housekeeping at 19, I wasn’t feeling the true and bitter burn that comes with the TV licence renewal, or the winter gas bill.
Now, at the ripe old age of 29, funnily enough I care more about being able to watch my favourite drama and keeping warm than I do about the newest ankle boots on the market.
Neither was I squirrelling money alway before I’d even seen it as I do now, in the vain hope that the weeny percentage I sacrifice to an ISA each month might one day manifest itself into a home that I own, and in which I’m allowed to actually paint a wall without landlord approval.
Of course I wasn’t. I was p***ing my money away and living for each glorious moment. Now it’s a constant thought that each glass of pinot or every tube of foundation is half of another brick in the house that still feels a million miles away.
Image Credit: rentacarbestprice.com
Holidays become comparative to stamp duties. Nights at the theatre become relative to another inch towards a deposit. Finally, my money was entirely my own back then. The biggest commitment I made was to being in the pub by a certain time on a Friday night with the girls.
Now? I get paid and, as I blink, I watch increments of £100 disappear from my account for baby gifts, wedding presents, hen dos and 30th birthday holidays.
As I unwrap yet another homemade sandwich out of the savers-range tin foil for my lunch, I think back to the endless holidays, constant stream of parties and bulging handbag collection.
And realise that actually it’s a good job my late-twenties has cursed me with a limited budget.
Because I’m too bloody old to keep up with it all now anyway.
Article have been lightly edited for length/clarity.