The Big Bad "B" Word
I admit that budgeting isn’t something I took seriously until the last few years - it is also a serious regret.
I am always surprised by how many people in my age group (still) simply disregard living on budget and saving for a rainy day (or retirement). We don’t realize the importance and should have actually started years ago. On a recent news segment it was stated that if you retire at the age of sixty and have one million dollars saved, it will not be enough money to live off for the remainder of your life. I rarely watch the news because it leaves me feeling very anxious...
Many millennials prefer to live by the FOMO mentality; you only live once. I believe, however, the key is to find a happy balance. Saving all of your money is no way to be blissful. Yet not saving, and even spending more than you have, is equally not the way to succeed. I like to think of it as the evolution of diets. As young women we have probably all started and ended one too many (fad) diets. Finally one day you realize it isn't about dieting but rather eating healthy while practicing portion control and exercise. We allow ourselves to cheat every once in a while, which is totally more than ok and keeps us content. Saving money is like eating healthy and exercising- it is the best thing for you and will help you in all of the years to come.
When it comes to shopping, spending (or not spending) money is a simple and logical thought process. I often will stop and literally ask myself – do I need this? Basically if you can differentiate your needs versus your wants then (hopefully) you can save a little money. Most of the time the purchase will be a want; I want the new Chloe bag but I do not need it. This practice is easier said than done and it helps if you hold a personal style rather than follow trends. As a side note: not succumbing to every fashion trend does not mean you cannot be stylish. If you can learn the truth behind that statement then you can definitely master a minimalist wardrobe and still be fashionable. Although I must admit that shopping for wants is needed in a woman’s life – especially when Zara sale season allows you to purchase four pairs of leather shoes for the price of one.
When it comes to beauty my method remains the same. Do I need it? I don’t allow myself to buy any new product (of a specific type I already have) without finishing what I previously bought. I remind myself that I don’t in fact require another red lipstick when I already own a favorite shade. I like to convince myself that budgeting isn’t solely based upon not spending money; it is growing up, becoming confident in yourself and taking accountability for your choices.
If you don't know where your money is going, check your stomach. We live in a city where new restaurants and cafes are popping up every other week making it hard not to indulge. I have made a conscious decision which involves rarely eating out during the week. Instead, a weekend visit to the market is a ritual. In order to stay on budget, (because we all know that a trip to the market/grocery store can become more than expected) I map out my menu for the week. This allows you to take into consideration extra leftovers for work lunches. If you don't bring a lunch to work, you will spend money. My boyfriend and I also make espresso at home every morning - this alone can save a minimum of twenty dollars a day per person (over a thousand dollars a year!!!).
We cannot forget the never-ending feeling of wanderlust. Wanting to see the world, experience different cultures and escape the never ending winter. Some will argue and say that traveling on credit is worth it (because you only live once). Personally, my suggestion is to save first, book later. It truly comes down to planning; booking a flight six months in advance can really aid in costs; therefore month three to six is used to save for the flight. Since you just booked your ticket six months in advance, you now have that time to save for accommodations, food etc. I think a vacation is much more enjoyable when it is already paid for.
Of course I would love to spend and not worry about anything; but in reality, I've actually embraced budgeting (a little) - it's definitely nice to feel in control and not have to stress over debt. I even kinda feel like a real adult.
By: Megan Autumn
Megan is a creative being and footwear enthusiast within the fashion world of Montreal. Mildly obsessed with dogs (mostly her pug), Drake, cacti and PB. She's not a nice morning person until caffeinated, can get hangry, and generally prefers staying home. She is currently taking baby steps towards her life goals of retirement as a writer.