I earn £13k but impulse spend whenever I'm feeling down. I have to take on extra work just to pay my rent. How can I break the cycle?

Welcome to Money Matters: GLAMOUR’s weekly dive into the world of finance. We’re chatting all things personal finance, from contracting rights in the workplace to expert mortgage advice and saving for your first home, to ISAs and dealing with debt, to help empower you to make better choices. Now more than ever it’s important to understand our money, but so many of us feel as if we don’t have a handle on it – or worse, feel anxious and scared about money. 

So each week, a woman in a unique situation will give us an honest breakdown of her finances, and our expert will tell her easy tips on exactly how to tackle it. So, take a seat, and let’s talk about money…

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Femi* is 28 and currently earns £13,000 working in hospitality in North Wales, after being on furlough during the pandemic. When she feels low, she tries to compensate by spending money, but then regrets it due to her low salary and struggling to pay her flatmate rent. This is her money diary…

I’m 28 and currently on £13,000. This has only just happened after being on furlough at home during lockdown and then moving in with my friend. I plan to move in with my boyfriend in 3 months but I’ve also had disagreements with my current flatmate because my rent is being paid late, causing her problems. I know it’s my fault because one minute, I’m excited and ready to save, but the next minute, I hit a slump and feel alone or unhappy and I end up spending money I don’t have.

It’s annoying because as soon as I’ve spent the money, I know I’ve messed up and don’t know how to fix it. I try by over-working with extra agency shifts which leave me so drained that I just want to be alone and asleep (even less friend time). I don’t like people seeing me when I’m not happy, I couldn’t say why. HELP!


Current account: £0
Savings: £0


Annual salary post-tax: £13,000


Rent: £450 per month to my friend bit by bit
Food: £30-£60 per week, depending on my diet
Transport: £30 per week
Hair: £20 every 2-3 months for braids and I do my own hair to try and save some money
Splurges: £20-£30 per week on alcohol


Credit card: £1200


My worst habit: My lack of financial literacy and priorities. When I go out for a meal I tend to get swept away and don’t want to come back.
My biggest worry: I may lose a friend to not knowing how to handle things, and prioritising other things before her and rent. And not being able to manage money. How am I supposed to confidently move in with my boyfriend without any savings and not being in the plus financially?
My financial hope: To not put money as a priority so I can organise important things like rent, my debt and saving up to move in with my boyfriend and have a normal life in this crazy, broken world.
Current money mood: 😭💀☘

Two things: Thank you for being so honest. We’ve all been a less than perfect friend at times and it takes a lot to admit that. It sounds like there are two things going on here: Firstly, and this is the main one: unfortunately, you’re simply not earning enough not to worry about money. Secondly, your own mental health is impacting how you spend. It’s a vicious cycle that must feel very overwhelming at times. Let’s tackle your mental health first…


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