When I was 18, I had a mate. We loved dancing and used to go out together to keep each other safe from grown up drunk people. She was a solo mum, lived in a nice place and had nice things.
I lived at home, had a good main job, and a part time waitress job three nights a week. Always nearly broke.
One day I asked her how much rent she paid, because I was thinking of leaving home and didn't know much about anything.
Well the mortgage...
What? Is this your own home? How can you afford to go out? How can you afford anything? How do you do it?
Oh , its not what you get, its what you do with it.
We didn't get out till late that night. We didn't do much dancing either.
This girl was highly organised. If she wanted an expensive dress she put it on layby and was prepared to wait for it to be paid off. She was confident of her sense of style and knew she would still love it and wear it three months later.
Lessons from this story
Mortgage, utilities, food and savings are non negotiable expenses. This money cannot be used elsewhere.
Planning for what you want to buy or do can help you make an informed choice as opposed to a choice on whim.
Prioritse. Can something wait? Is it necessary? Do you really want it?