From fashion to lifestyle, from music to diet. It seems that every week my timeline is telling me something new. Idealised promotions on how the ‘perfect’ person looks lurch from behind phone screens or shop windows. Every one brandishing its very own big shiny price tag. Ensuring that even if I wanted to conform to every single one of these trends, my bank account could not. There are two things to consider when avoiding the allure of these ideals. The first being our self acceptance and the second being our approach to money.
Fads and Self Confidence
I will be the first to admit that I have fallen in to my fair share of fad ‘rabbit holes’. New outfits that didn’t make me feel good, diet fads that made me tired and music albums I never listened to. Hundreds of pounds thrown at an image that I will never achieve. Of course, the solution to avoiding the fads and thus saving our money is to love ourselves unconditionally. To recognise that we do not need to change and spend our hard-earned cash on cheaply produced products that help us to temporarily fit a certain mould. Easy right? Clearly no, and this most likely won’t be the first article you’ve read that tells you to do so.
When I am stood in the drugstore isle staring at all the pills and potions promising me beauty, I force myself to remember the epiphany I had last summer while travelling (yeah, I know – cliché). We went to the supermarket to find some after sun and were met with shelf upon shelf of skin lightening products. There were oils and creams and soaps and shower gels – all claiming to make your skin shades lighter. That is when I realised. There is no one idea of beauty. Compare this to the fake tan products that decorate our shelves.
Acceptance of our ourselves has been altered by the advertising companies that sell skin darkening products. Yet take a 10-hour plane journey and that golden-brown skin we crave so much is being sold as undesirable. Proving that if we learn to accept ourselves then companies will not be abe to monetise from our insecurities.
Fads on a Budget
It would be impossible to keep up with this ever-changing world, especially on a student budget. The ability to avoid the fads not only revolves around a need to be comfortable with ourselves but also an understanding of how to be sensible with our money. Our overdraft disguising itself as extra money when we are feeling tempted to spend. In my personal experience I have begun to see it as an extension of my bank. I do not fear going in to it anymore and once I am in there is no stopping me.
Resisting the fads may start with believing that you do not need to change but following them has more palpable consequences on our finances than one would expect. According to ‘Save The Student’ the average student spends double the amount of money on shopping and clothes than they do on course materials per month. This is illustrative of how difficult we find it to avoid spending our money on trends. Budgeting at university is hugely important.
In terms of resisting the fads for the sake of your pocket I would recommend making a monthly spend spread sheet that accounts for all aspects of your expenditure. Everyone’s monthly income is different and you will know what realistic bench mark is for you. The idea is to set yourself restrictions so that even if you are unable to dissuade your mind from pining after the latest fad, the rigidity of your budgeting should.
Help and Advice
If you want to seek any further guidance in money management whether that be in the context of shopping, household bills or your student loan then the student union does offer a money advice service as well as online tips on the website under the ‘help and advice’ heading. If you are struggling with money and it is causing you to feel uneasy or anxious do not hesitate to get in contact with these services.
Resisting the fads is easier said than done but nesseccary if we are to save our money and sanity. Critique your mind set when you’re faced with a situation in which you could fall in to the trap. Ask yourself if it is really worth the money? Do you have the money to spend? There is nothing wrong with treating ourselves but we must be mindful when it comes to how much we are spending when we do.