When it comes to payday, what's the first thing you do?
I think we all know what the answer should be.
But life isn’t that simple. And the rush of payday floods your brain with excited hormones that compel you to spend. Not scientifically proven. But close enough.
Personally, I try to save first, but I don’t save properly. I always end up purchasing something extravagant or unnecessary near the end of the month.
This month it’s a dress that’s gone into the sale and was *actually* in my size, last month it was gig tickets that were released the week before payday (thanks, Foals…) and I always use my very small amount of savings to purchase these wants.
So, even though I look like I’m doing the right thing by putting £200 away every month, I’m usually just topping up what I’ve taken out.
When it comes to working on your personal finances, planning your payday is a big part of that. So we asked a selection of millennials living in London about their payday habits.
What’s the first purchase you make on payday?
Dani: Book a holiday, joking. I look at flights for sure. Then maybe buy two or three pieces of clothing.
Georgia: Move my money around and then (even though I know I can’t afford it) a payday breakfast or lunch.
Ben: The first thing I do is transfer a set amount into a joint account, so when all the bills go out on the 1st, they’re covered. And really, after that, it’s personal bills i.e apple music, contact lenses, direct debits, etc. I don’t really splash on personal purchases until later in the month when I know everything is covered.
Sarah: Unfortunately, a train ticket…
Sasha: Island Poke and contact lenses. Legitimately, every month.
Sam: First thing is 10% goes to Church, then I move money into savings and my wedding fund.
Guy: Something nice; something I’ve wanted and will do this as a treat for being good with money for the rest of the previous month.
Elliot: A treat. Usually food. I’ll hit up Waitrose and pretend I can always afford to shop there - £20 of craft beer for the evenings that I bought purely for the texture of the can, a large stick of olive bread that’ll eat on my own with three tubs of hummus. Also, sweaters.
Hannah: I don’t really have a thing I spend my money on first. I set most of bills to go out on the 1st of the month so they’re already paid and then the rest of the money I’ll split between the different areas of my budget. All very exciting aha.
Matt: All goes on rent. And then paying off my laptop. I bought my laptop, justified because I have a job in programming. Regret not getting a 15-inch screen though.
Ben: First thing? Buy a pint. My credit card bill is due two days after payday. Rent is due four days after payday. Bills are due 5 days after payday. So normally just leave it and watch it all disappear over the next week.
Adam: Dirty lunch!
Richard: Gig tickets, or topping up my savings where I took money out for gig tickets. Also, food.
Josh: I go through phases really. This year has been more about spending. It depends on what my future is: i.e I upgraded most of my PC equipment this year so the home edit suite is bangin’. We went on holiday a few times too. I’m thinking 2020 will be a saving year.
With a few (very sensible) exceptions, nearly everyone responded with something that we’d consider a ‘treat’. We’re living in generation ‘treat yo’self’.
To explain, simply existing in London is pretty expensive right now. Especially when you’re still climbing up the career ladder. But then, even those who have high-incomes, are often faced with credit card changes and high-interest debts from ghosts of renting past.
Basically, if everything’s going down the pan anyway, why not go down the pan in a nice pair of boots drinking an even nicer glass of wine for one day a month?
Why put money away for a rainy day if it already feels like a storm?
Feeling financially stretched?
It’s hard to find the motivation to be strict with yourself, especially if you feel negatively about your finances.
If you’re faced with many monthly repayments that eat into your wage, it can feel like you’ve failed before you’ve even started. So why would you try and budget?
Look into debt consolidation and refinancing if you feel constantly financially stretched.
I get it, I really do.
As someone who seems to constantly try and fail to improve my financial situation, I’d rather feel good for a hot-minute in a new coat over sitting and crying looking at my bank balance.
But I’m trying. And it starts with paying yourself first.
Pay Yourself First
Paying yourself first is the first and important step in sorting out your personal finances.
Paying yourself first is about taking the time to move your money about and pay money into your savings or pay off your debts before anything else.
If you’re facing many high-interest debts that eat up your monthly salary, then consider debt consolidation or refinancing to get yourself a better offer.
With loans up to £25,000, starting from 3% interest, a Leap loan could save you money over time. Use our loan calculator to see if we can help improve your quality of life.
Why Pay Yourself First?
Effectively, you’re paying your future self. You’re prioritising your personal finance and working towards financial freedom.
Even if you’re not into budgeting, paying yourself first is a simple and effective way of making sure all your important purchases are already covered.
Once all those things are taken care of you have the rest of your pay to go towards whatever you want. Whether that’s olive bread from Waitrose or beer or a banging payday breakfast.