In the last few years, I’ve been pretty diligent with my financials. This is coming from a girl who had a YOLO mentality and was always worried about missing out (major FOMO). I’m a firm believer of living in the moment, but that sometimes took away from saving for the future or for bigger trips and dealing with my constant rolling debts.
Once I buckled down and figured out where my money went, I was able to cut the unnecessary expenses and put aside a steady amount to my savings and bills. I was SERIOUS about paying off my credit cards before the 0% APR ended, so I put almost all my paychecks to it from all the debts I’ve racked up since college. I gave up things that I thought were important to me because I wanted to maintain relationships and try the latest trends.
A few of the things I cut-down on–
- Eating out– I would save this for a meetup with friends or to try a new restaurant, and not do it just because I was lazy.
- Buying drinks- I live off of Trader Joe’s $5 wine (it’s amazing) and other than that, I’m not a big drinker myself. It is hard to cut out other drinks such as Starbucks or milk teas, but I let my cravings win 1-2 times a week. Don’t let other people tell you that your daily coffee run doesn’t make a big impact, little shit adds up!
- Makeup- I work right next to a Sephora, so it’s actually a curse. I literally walk there during my breaks all the time to check out their newest hyped item. But recently, I just threw away a lot of makeup and vowed to buy things only to replace something else. Plus I love buying travel sized makeup because they’re so easy to travel with and they last you long enough for the next latest craze.
- Skincare- This is pretty much same as makeup, I try to only buy things to replace something else, but this category is seriously tough. I love skincare and trying out new products, so I try to always get samples of them first (it’s quite embarrassing because my friends now call me the sample queen). But because I finish every product that I own, I have to make sure that it’s worth the time and money to invest in it. The good/ bad thing is that my face is not really sensitive so things either work or there’s no results, which is why I continue to use them, but if anything were to break me out, it’s going straight to the trash!
- Snacks- I’m a big snacker, which is bad for my waist and my wallet. I always need a snack in-between meals or a little sweet after my meal to get me through the day. My diet has changed a lot lately, so I’m slowly cutting down on this category (I can write a separate post about this). However, I now buy a mixture of healthy snacks when I go grocery shopping along with some fruits and chocolate to mix it up so I don’t get bored mid-week. Buying things in bulk saves you money only if you portion it out right!
My student loan is another beast of its own. A part of my paycheck directly goes towards it, but since I’m fortunate enough to have a single loan with not a big amount, I’m comfortable with that. For most of America, their numbers may be a lot more daunting with loans in all different places. I know people with $50- 100k+ just on student loans! Similar to what I did with my credit cards, there are companies like Earnest that can help you refinance your student loans. It makes it a lot easier to pay off your loans when you visualize it all in one place.
I still believe in enjoying everyday without always worrying about every penny and your budget, but it’s still important to be money smart. I save up so I can travel more than 2 weeks in one year that corporate America gives us, and it’s totally possible. I want to write a more detailed post about this topic, on how I afford to travel around the world while working part-time. But first and foremost, it’s always important to pay your debts before it creates a snowball effect. Don’t be shy to discuss about your current financial status with your friends and family because they will hold you accountable and support your journey! I love that millennials want financial independence while trying to live their best lives because I’m only trying to do the same 🙂
Cheers to money-talk!