Molly Madsen gives helpful tips on how to live within your means and save money.
I graduated college with pretty realistic expectations on money. My paycheck was actually hitting 4 figures for the first time, and I knew exactly where my money was going…loans and rent. I never felt the pressures of keeping up with the Joneses, AKA society, and then one day all of it changed.
My friends were buying houses and cars, going out to eat, buying new clothes, and joining nice gyms. Where was I? Sitting at home wearing clothes from high school, driving a car with a door that doesn't open, and working out at the free gym at my office.
I’ll admit that none of those things are all that terrible, except maybe wearing clothes from high school, but I wanted what they had! I started shopping, eating out, vacationing, and I joined an amazing(-ly expensive) gym. Before I knew it, I was spending more and saving less. What happened?!
My friends are keeping me from getting rich!
OK a little dramatic…I am keeping ME from getting rich! I am trying to keep up with the Joneses that never existed in my life… until I created them! After months of living it up, I had a come to Jesus moment with my bank account. Since then, I've made 3 quick changes in my life to help me snap back to reality.
#1: Save up for items that cost over $100
In college I was so good at saving up for big purchases. At the time that was anything over $20, now it’s anything over $100. Right now I really REALLY want a bike. Before I can buy my $500 bike, I have to save $750. Why save over the amount? I want to have something left over when I buy my bike. I can’t spend everything I save.
#2: Only shop with a list
It’s really easy to pick up a package of cookies on a trip to the grocery store, but if it’s not on the list it’s easier to put it back. I've even made the rule that I cannot go shopping until there are more than 5 items on my list. Not only does this give me time to decide if I need the item, but it saves me multiple trips to the store. If I forget an item, more than likely I can live without it until the next trip.
#3: Just say no
One of the hardest things I have to do… say no to friends. Obviously, my friends and I share similar interests, and when they do something fun, I want to do it too! When it comes to eating out, I've made it a little easier on myself by making the same rule as Stacy: I can only eat out 1 time a week. For other activities like concerts, sporting events, and trips to the movie theater, I have a heart to heart with myself. Will this set me back on my goals? Have I spent too much this week already? If the answer is ‘No’ to both questions, I go have fun guilt free.
By making these 3 changes, I can stop keeping myself from getting rich and start enjoying the affordable life.
Written by Molly Madsen
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