This month I wanted to try a ‘no spend challenge’ as part of my saving mission. That essentially means I committed to spending absolutely no money for 31 days, excluding things like groceries, rent, my opal card and deodorant because, well, a girl’s gotta eat.
And let me just say, I was killing it. I turned into a no spend machine.
New pair of shoes? No thank you. A bit of superglue and those soles are good as new.
Calling an Uber after a few nights out? Tell ‘em they’re dreaming - the trains run until 2am, after all.
Adding random food to my grocery basket? Absolutely not.
I even quit my sneaky snack habit for good and stopped myself from buying a new outfit for a friend’s birthday party. #outfitrepeater
My no spend month helped me save a few hundred that I’d have otherwise spent, and this month, to bump up my stash, I also decided to put my wordsmith talents to good use and start English tutoring on weekends. Cha-ching!
All up between not spending and picking up a side hustle, I managed to add close to $1,000 to my savings stash in three weeks.
But then disaster struck. With just 7 more days to go for the month, I had a family emergency and needed to fly back home. After a quick comparison to find the cheapest flights, I found a return trip ticket for $400. Ouch.
Then I noticed that many deals gave you the option to use Afterpay at checkout. And I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty tempted.
I had two options in front of me: use some of the money I had saved to pay for flights or create an Afterpay account and postpay my trip home.
A few of my friends have used Afterpay before to pay for things - mostly clothes and furniture - and haven’t complained but the thought of postponing a payment has always left me feeling uneasy.
So being the true skeptic that I am, I looked into it more before making a decision.
Last year, we did some research into the Afterpay habits of Aussies across the country and found that 65% of Afterpay users said the service influenced them to make purchases they wouldn’t normally make.
29.3% confessed to having 3-5 ongoing Afterpay payments.
30% hid their spending from partners, parents and loved ones.
And 36% weren’t aware that the way they used Afterpay could impact their credit score…
Consider my decision made.
One day, I’d like to own my own space, whether that’s a house or an apartment. And to do that, you need to impress the banks with a thick deposit, admirable savings habits and a clean credit score.
And, okay, Afterpay is not the devil incarnate - it’s a tool, like a credit card or a personal loan. But the whole point of this savings nest egg is that I’ll have cash on hand when I need it and won’t have to lean on anyone else to pay my bills or airfares.
So the thought of a few silly Afterpay payments getting in the way of a future home when I had savings sitting in the bank was enough for me to stick to my frugal roots and use my hard-earned savings, as painful as that was. There goes the first paycheck from my side hustle.