Being an adult is hard. You have to go to work, pay bills, be responsible, save for retirement, and pay more bills.
Don’t get me wrong, being an “adult” is great but boy does it come with some responsibilities. Luckily my parents taught me at a young age that money doesn’t grow on trees and that I always have to be smart about my money. I’ve never really been an impulsive shopper (unlike Dana) and I think it was because my dad would monitor my Amex and bank statements before I graduated from college. After college, he obviously would never do that but I would feel SO guilty spending a couple hundred dollars on something stupid. Why?…well he would always tell me that I should save my money for the future. LAME DAD. LAME.
Over the years, I’ve come up with a few tips that help me save my money.
Don’t become house poor.
Living in NYC is expensive and that includes my rent. I’m going to be honest with y’all, I get help from my parents to pay rent. I know this may go against this post but it was nearly impossible for me to find a safe and comfortable apartment in NYC. I am very very grateful that I get some help and I think that makes me even more smarter with my money. I don’t want my family to say why are we helping you when you are blowing money on shoes, clothes, handbags, etc? It is so important to find an apartment in your budget and properly plan how much you can spend on rent. If you want a little nicer place, know that you have to give or take somewhere else.
Plan out your monthly expenses.
In the world of credit cards, all we do is swipe swipe swipe and boy does it add up. When I first moved to Minneapolis and started my first big-girl job, I made a document that listed what I make (after taxes), how much my rent is, how much my TV/Internet bill is, and all monthly expenses so I could see how much I could spend on groceries, going out to eat with friends, trips, clothes, you name it. Some months you will probably go over your budget but that means the next month you will have to save. Please oh please don’t go into credit card debt because it is so hard to recover from that.
Contribute to your 401K.
If your employer allows, contribute to a 401K and if you are luckily some companies match dollar for dollar or 50 cents to the dollar. It is basically free money so make sure you contribute the max amount it allows you for the match. If your company doesn’t offer a matching program, still contribute to a retirement savings account. Start off with 5% and each year add an additional 1%. What I always do when I get a promotion or a merit increase, I put that difference into my savings account and I do not touch that money. If you just put it away, you won’t even know that it is there since you are comfortable with what you have to spend each month.
I want you to treat yourselves every now and then. It is important and you all are such bad asses who deserve some special goods every now and then. For me, I love Soul Cycle and sure it is expensive but at the same time it is something that I am doing that is good for my body. I just give myself some buffer room in my budget which allows me to not feel guilty when I want to splurge every now and then.
What are your tips of saving? I would love to hear!
Thanks for reading Elle’s Edit. If you have any topics that you would like for me to discuss, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you! xo