Being financially aware is the hardest choice I made in my 30s but has also been the most significant.

I recently had a birthday (I turned 33) and it got me thinking about life in my thirties. This has been the decade with the most positive development. In fact, I’d say the last couple of years have been the best of my adult life. A lot of this comes down to meeting my partner who put simply is, incredible, and makes me blissfully happy. However, there have also been huge shifts in my daily choices and decisions which have caused a surge in personal growth. When I first turned 30 I wrote about what I immediately learned transitioning into a new decade (read the full post HERE). With those lessons, I made better life choices. So I thought I’d advance that blogpost by pinpointing the deliberate choices which have changed me and ultimately made me happier.

Financially Aware

I was 31 before I took my head out of the sand and addressed the spending habits which marred my 20s. Some people have a tricky relationship with alcohol, drugs, partying, sex; my toxic relationship was with retail therapy. I got a real buzz from shopping but the rush would only last a day, maybe 2 tops. I would quickly move onto my next spending splurge, forgetting I’d spent £100s, often £1000s, only a few days earlier. Although I racked debt up, I was always very conscientious about it. I never missed a due payment (even if I was just paying back the bare minimum) and never got myself into bad debt i.e. black marks against my credit rating. In fact, my credit score was at an all-time high. Therein lied another problem, credit card companies kept throwing larger credit lines at me or offering me pre-approved cards. My 20s were a spiral of spending with access to an endless supply of credit. 

Obviously, the first step was to sit down and take an honest look at the numbers. It was scary and overwhelming. I’d never written everything I owed on one piece of paper before. I quickly began a plan to tackle the debt head-on. First and foremost, no more shopping sprees. The second was to focus on one credit card at a time (I’d pay the minimums on the bulk of the cards and focus lump sums on whichever card has accruing the highest interest). Eventually, I trudged my way through it, but boy, did it teach me some lessons. 

Being financially aware is the hardest choice I made in my 30s but has also been the most significant.

Put Kindness First

This simple and rather obvious choice changed my life. I like so many girls had a string of “bad boy” boyfriends. I was either chasing emotionally incompetent men, sucked in by flash idiots with fancy cars or desperately believing I was the one who was going to “change” him. When I first started dating my now boyfriend the one word I used to describe him was kind. It perfectly summed him up. Rather than being overjoyed, I was weirdly suspicious of it. I thought he must be a werido (sorry, Alex!) and kept him at arm’s length for a while. However, after several stern conversations with myself, my friends and my family, I realised kindness is everything. It’s the most important thing we can be. 

Make kindness a priority and surround yourself with it as much as you possibly can. I assure you life has a funny way of falling into place once you do.

Stopped Talking, Started Doing

This is something I’m still working on as I haven’t fully overcome this hurdle yet. My 20s were filled with lots of aspirations but, if I’m honest with myself, not as much action as I would have liked. I often found when faced with a challenge, I’d either sidestep it, delegate it or simply ignore it. I’m now learning to confront it face on. In turn, this has given me greater control over my business and mindset. 

To “stop talking, start doing” can encompass a range of things. For me, it was learning new skills. I particularly wanted to extend my skillset when lockdown began in March 2020. The pandemic has shown if you want to have a secure source of income, you need to diversify and having a wide range of skills is essential. I do content creation and social media for various brands as a side hustle but it’s something I’d like to grow. I developed my Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Lightroom and photography skills. As a result, I’m able to produce more content myself rather than farm it out to contractors. I’d been talking about doing this for about 5 years, so it was high time I got around to it! 

The reality is, in life or business, you can control a situation far better when you have a handle on every aspect. Facing challenges only strengthens yourself, even if the mountain seems impossible to climb at first.


Decluttering originally wasn’t a choice. One of the ways I paid down my aforementioned debts was by selling my unwanted items. Throughout my 20s I was a hoarder. I rarely threw anything away. I still had clothes in my wardrobe from my school days. I saw my wardrobe as a visual diary of my life which reflected all the different trends and style journeys I’d been on. The truth is, all it reflected was my hoarder-tendencies. 

However, the more of my wardrobe I sold, the more I became addicted to clearing out. I began to realise just how much unnecessary stuff I’d collected and how little of my wardrobe I wore. Most people regularly wear 20% of their wardrobe, which begs the question what’s the point of the other 80%? I became obsessed with maximising what I owned and only keeping things I truly loved. I was also inspired by my boyfriend’s approach to stuff. He’s moved to 5 different cities in 7 years and as a result, has streamlined everything he owns. I saw how much he wore and appreciated the things he owned and I wanted to have that too. 

The less and less “stuff” and materialistic items I owned the freer I became. It was refreshing to see all my favourite and most precious items in one place, rather than squished at the back of my closet. For me, decluttering was a freeing experience and focused my mind on what truly mattered. This coupled with the recent pandemic, my obsession with the latest handbag or shoes melted away. Decluttering really felt like life was put back into perspective. 

Going through the process of clearing out decades worth of stuff has also changed my outlook on consuming.

Caring For My Planet

This one might seem like an odd one but funnily enough, it’s made a real difference to my wellbeing. Awareness is such an important part of growth. Educating myself about the impact of climate change and its impact on our wildlife and environment has been a real eye-opener. This coupled with my above point about decluttering, really spurred me on to be a better, more considerate individual. I was left feeling super guilty by the amount I’d consumed and wasted over the decades and I promised myself I would turn a corner to be a more considerate individual. As cliche as it sounds if we all made small changes, we could make a big difference. Whether it be using reusable straws, supporting sustainable brands, only buying what you need, or reducing plastic consumption, being kind to the planet is ultimately being kinder to yourself and your loved ones.

Outfit Details: Suit – sold out but find similar HERE (trousers) & HERE (matching blazer) or HERE | Bag – sold out but find similar HERE, HERE & HERE | Shoes – find similar HERE & HERE | Belt – find preloved HERE & HERE | Jewellery – similar HERE & HERE

Shop this look

More you'll enjoy

Share this post

Don’t forget you can also keep up with me on Instagram @thatnewdress, Twitter @thatnewdress, Bloglovin That New Dress and Snapchat thatnewdress.

Please note this post contains affiliate links. This does not affect you, the consumer, in the slightest. It simply means the retailer provides a small percentage of the sale to the individual who influenced the sale. As always views remain wholly my own.

Previous post Next post