It’s no secret I’m a sucker for buying clothes…and I’ll say “buying clothes” instead of “shopping” because I’m actually pretty impatient and would rather not take my sweet time in a store. I don’t like “floating”, which is a term I’ve come up with that essentially means mindlessly shopping for the fun of it. I like to be in and out, BUT by no means does that mean I don’t spend a ton.
Now back to spending like a lunatic, this bad habit of mine developed after college when I found my first full-time job. It had perks, I had time to go out after and do anything I wanted (which was a typical trip to happy hour multiple times a week), and I had an actual mediocre income where I could afford rent, my bills, and any extra money leftover would be for “fun” things.
The sense of saving was non-existent after college, which was crazy because I feel like I’ve ALWAYS been pretty smart financially and crazy about saving since my mom got me my first debit card when I was 12. Sounds insane, but the woman knew what she was doing with setting limits on my checking account and nothing more which really helped me learn the concept of saving if I wanted to go do fun things, like have spending money for big things like traveling abroad and saving for college.
once I graduated college, started actually making money and being financially independent, I went to every musical festival I could afford (on my credit card), shopped a TON, and went out for drinks and bites multiple times a week. Obviously, after that first year, I put myself in credit card debt that took FOREVER to pay off (not fun!) It wasn’t untill Quarantine where I ended up debt-free and actually had a pretty decent savings for the first time in a long time!
If there is anything POSITIVE that came out of lockdown and quarantine, it was financially putting myself in check.
Everything was closed for about three months, literally everything but the grocery store and gas station, which meant I literally couldn’t spend money anywhere on anything (I’m not an online shopper either, so that helps). I learned to slow the f*ck down for once, which was a great wake up call for me because my whole life I’ve felt like a hamster on crack running on a wheel constantly socializing.
And now that I’ve been back working pretty much full time, and everything is somewhat back to normal, I’ve finally found the fine line between enjoying life and self discipline. With that, I’ll leave some pointers that did and currently keep me in check:
+ Avoid Paying Minimums
Know your limits on your credit card. Make a budget and be reasonable with how much you can actually spend on your credit card. Emphasis on “be reasonable” because I made a budget and was not…reasonable. When you start paying the minimum of what you owe, it’s going to build up slowly and you’ll be stuck FOR A WHILE paying minimums. It’s hard to break a habit!
+ Make a Physical Budget You Can See and Get Notifications
Having a budget on a document that you can actually see works wonders. There’s apps for these and personally, my favorite is Daily Budget. You note your income (bi-weekly or monthly), your monthly bills (rent, bills, loans, etc.) And with the app, you can set a goal on how much you want to save from your paycheck (10%, 15%, etc.) After you put in your information, it will let you know how much you have for spending weekly and monthly!
+ Figure Out WHERE You’re Spending
Check your statements and note where you’re spending money that isn’t essential. All those Starbucks trips, dollar sh*t from the Target Dollar section (It’s the DEVIL’s corner!), and happy hours add up. For me, I love food and shopping so if one week is based heavy on going out to eat, I can’t buy a single piece of clothing.
Cold hard fact here is just because you’re making more, doesn’t mean you CAN spend it. I learned from a serial entrepeneur, Michael Bosstick, who runs an all-women podcast company, Dear Media Studio, that just because you’re making more doesn’t mean you have to live like you are. Totally. F*cking. True.
This year’s been a friendly reminder to enjoy everything in moderation! Anyone with me?
Simplistic and Realistic approaches to West Coast life and style