If you know me, you know that I’ve been up to my eyeballs in credit card debt since 2013. I opened more cards than I needed, or could handle, and charged just about everything. To put things in to perspective, I maxed out my Southwest credit card only one month after receiving it in the mail. Who does that? What did I even buy?
Adulting is hard.
In December of last year I moved back in with my parents. At first, I was embarrassed— I mean, I’m 27 years old (come on). But now, I’m mostly thankful for the opportunity to live rent-free, and to have been able to save money. In 12 months, I have completely paid off all of my debt (I had a lot), took two vacations over the summer, and am now in the process of car shopping! Go me.
I realize not everyone has the luxury of living at home, rent-free, with minimal expenses— but I have learned a few tricks to help pinch some pennies regardless of your financial situation (thanks, dad).
1) Commit to saving a decent chunk of money from each paycheck. Since my expenses were little-to-none, I was able to save about $1,100 from every single paycheck and put that towards my credit card bills. Some months it was more, some months it was less (let me live, ya know?). The key is to budget any upcoming events, outings, bills, etc., decide how much money will be leftover for those two weeks, and figure out how much you can afford to put in to your savings.
At the very least, try to save $50 from each paycheck, $100 a month— it will add up, I promise!
2) Plan out any big purchases or shopping sprees. From one shopaholic to another, I’ll be the first to admit that I had a hard time cutting out shopping. Some (a lot) weeks I would spend more on outfits than I should have, but I would write it off as an investment— because, ya know, the blog.
What I did learn, though, was to spread out your purchases. For example, if I was buying $200 ankle booties one week, or going buck wild at Forever 21, I probably wasn’t going to be buying anything else for the remainder of the month.
In the past, I would have just charged it and called it a day. Now, I sleep on it, wait a couple of weeks, and plan out my discretionary spending. It’s a work in progress, but it has helped me get a grasp on some financial responsibility.
3) Eat out less. This seems like a no-brainer, but staying in and cooking at home is a huge penny saver. Whenever I would fly out to Austin, we’d choose a few days that we definitely wanted to eat out, go to happy hour, or try a new restaurant, but would grocery shop for the remainder of the days. This saved so much money, it’s kind of insane.
If things are tight, because you have a higher bill or want to save a little bit extra one month, there are countless healthy, affordable recipes on Pinterest. Take advantage of them!
4) Make sure someone is holding you accountable. Luckily, my dad is in finance, so he’s really great at this kind of stuff. He set up a secret savings account, which is where he would plunk my $2,200/month. It was an account that I could see, but couldn’t touch, so I was never able to transfer the money back to my checking account.
While this worked for us, I know it’s a bit extreme. Even a simple monthly reminder to add a little bit to your savings account will help keep you accountable and on top of your funds.
5) Find a side hustle. Since I was contributing a big chunk of my paycheck to my savings each month, I found new ways to make money, to subsidize my shopping. I set up a shop on Etsy, sold old clothes on Poshmark, and started to make a small profit from my blog. On average, I was probably making an extra $200 each month, which was just enough to buy that new outfit I had been eyeing.
If you’re looking for some extra cash, I highly recommend Poshmark. It’s addicting, trust me.
At the end of the day, it’s just money, but I feel so much more at ease knowing that I am debt-free and just a wee bit more responsible.
Girls just wanna have funds, am I right?