Today, my friend sent me the photo featured on this blog entry:
> “Where did all your money go?”
> “I’m either wearing it, or I ate it.”
It’s so true. Aside from travel, a significant portion of my money goes to food and shopping for various products – beauty products, clothes, shoes, underwear, more underwear… (I really hate doing laundry).
So let’s talk money.
- Make a general plan. It doesn’t have to be super detailed – let’s be real. We can’t predict everything that we’re going to need (“need”) to spend money on in the next x months/years. Unexpected (but mandatory) birthdays and events come up. Things don’t go as planned, and you might have to take an Uber. Worse, a cab. Phone companies might decide to be assholes!
- Change your point of view. For me, what works is to make a plan of numbers I’d like my savings to reach (vs. limiting myself to a budget) by certain deadlines. Shifting my focus away from “how much I’m allowed to spend” and towards “how much I want to save” encourages me to focus on the great thing I’m doing instead of the things I’m not allowed to buy.
- Get support. I publicly announced my decision not to shop for personal items for the next 6 months, and told my friends to punch me if I don’t keep my word. The way I see it is that lying to myself is no big deal, but lying to my friends?! Unacceptable. 😛
- Compromise. Which activities matter most? If you frequently go out with friends, take some time to figure out what you like. Drinking? Boardgames? Clubbing? Cafes? If you have any say in what you and your friends are going to be doing, try to choose a reasonably priced activity that you actually want to do. Ask yourself: will I have fun with these people tonight? Do I have the energy? Is one night out really worth the $$$ I’m going to spend on transportation, food, drinks, and entertainment? If yes, go. Just be sure to have the time of your life.
- Say goodbye to reward programs. When I buy food, it’s either a burrito or Starbucks. And the occasional Subway (these stores often more accessible than burritos, unfortunately). Thankfully, Burrito Boyz doesn’t have a loyalty program. So, today, I gave up my gold Starbucks card. Not only is this saving money, but it increases the likelihood of putting at least slightly more nutritious foods into my body! 🙂
It won’t be easy. I love spending. It’s impractical and makes no sense, because I don’t come from money. My family isn’t well off. I’m up to $40k in student loans. But I know that I can save money if it’s for the sake of traveling.
Keep in mind — it’s important not to become discouraged. Savings don’t happen in milestones. Every dollar counts.