I didn’t plan on going on a shopping spending freeze, but as I started going through my schedule for the next month, I knew I needed to curb my spending habits quite a bit. Well, I’m not not spending money, just reallocating it. With a handful of trips coming up and a certain procedure for Teddy coming up and I’ve been saving for a car (!!!), the shoes and the handbags and the jewelry and the dresses can wait.
While money can be a bit of a taboo subject, I think it’s an important thing to be aware of. Saving money and making smart choices with a budget are healthy habits we should be getting into when we’re young. I have always been a little OCD about my income/spending… even when I was super young; I babysat a few nights a week throughout middle and high school and barely touched what I saved. (Two major purchases I remember making were paying for a trip to Italy and a Coach handbag!)
Even when I moved to NYC, I basically had two jobs. A “real” job at a startup and then building my blog pretty much at night. It was extremely hard. Balancing the two workloads, but after a year… it was so worth it. To make ends meet, a lot of people I know get a second job out of college. It’s not the most convenient and it’s not the most fun, but it does help set you up for financial success if one paycheck isn’t cutting it. (All about the side hustle and multiple income streams!!)
When it comes to saving, I personally just pretend that I only have a certain percentage of my income. The rest goes straight into a savings account and it’s essentially like it doesn’t exist. (Unfortunately, the hard part for me is that my income is essentially commission so every month is different. But I always have a goal of putting a certain amount in the account no matter what… so some months I have less discretionary spending and my saving always remains constant.)
The major thing that I see all the time (and even feel it myself) is that there’s pressure to “keep up” with what other people are spending. The problem with this is a) everyone is different and b) you never really know someone’s real financial status. Have you read this article about L’wren Scott? I cannot even tell you how many people I know who have found themselves with debt trying to keep up with a certain lifestyle. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying, “Can we pick another restaurant? I’m on a budget.” or “Can we try this museum instead? It’s free entry this weekend!” Instagram and everything is can add even more pressure. (Recently, I’ve been falling victim to feeling jealous about other people’s apartments and insane vacations…)
The key, in my opinion, to proper budgeting is simply awareness. Awareness of what your income is, what expenses you have that are unavoidable, expenses that you can avoid when necessary, and even aware of what kind of personal spending habits you fall victim to. Switch to carrying cash only if you tend to overspend when shopping or buying too many drinks when out on the weekend. Download Mint for your phone to track spending and budgets on the go. Don’t avoid your bank account even if it causes anxiety… dig into it so you can start making really smart choices!
Knowing that I had Teddy and travel expenses coming up in the next four weeks really helped me make better decisions now so I don’t find myself disappointed in my saving next month. I even went shopping with my friend this past weekend and completely resisted spending any money despite the fact that I had more or less fallen in love with three pairs of shoes. (I mean, really… are these not perfect?!)
What money management tips do you utilize?