Happy Monday! Today’s blog post was requested by one of my college friends, how cool?! I love when you guys request blog posts, so please keep the requests coming!
When my friend texted me about this post I started to think…what are my splurge items? And how long did it take me to save for them? Honestly, I didn’t have an answer right away! After thinking about it for the rest of the day, I think I’ve got some good content for you guys! So if you’re asking yourself right now- why am I qualified to write this post? The answer is because I’m pretty good at saving money! Actually, I’d argue I’m really good at saving money (when I want to). Right now to be completely honest, I haven’t been trying to save like crazy and here’s why: my student loans are paid off (which obviously took a lot of saving to do so!) and so now I’m just giving myself a little break.
Since paying off your student loans is probably not the kind of splurge item you’re looking to be inspired to save up for…I wrote a whole post about why splurging on items and investing in yourself is okay. It’s linked here and it’s all about my nearly $500 FRYE X GMG Combat Boots. Side note-a year after making that purchase, I don’t regret it for a second! These boots are by no means your traditional “wardrobe staple,” but they’re the perfect balance between being unique and one-of-a-kind, while also being a boot that works with almost every outfit!
Back when I was working in NYC in the finance industry I was making a really nice salary (IMO), especially considering it was my first year out of college! Right off the bat I had approx. $500 from each of my paycheck going into my 401K. How adult of me, right? If you have the option at your job to put money into a 401k and you’re not suffering from major credit card debt, then I’d say definitely take advantage of it! Ultimately, the easiest way to save money is to have it automatically put somewhere you can’t touch it. I’m by no means an expert when it comes to saving money. I’m just sharing what I did since it worked out pretty well!
After taxes were taken out of my paycheck (ouch!), I split the remainder of my paycheck by 50-70%, the higher percentage always would go into my savings account (to pay off my student loans). I never saved less than 50% of my paycheck. That was my rule and I didn’t budge on it. It didn’t matter if I really wanted to buy a Cartier bracelet or pay for an upcoming vacation, no less than 50% of my remaining paycheck would stay in my checking account. (I had direct deposit so my paycheck automatically went into my checking account and then I’d move it into my savings.)
The other 30-50% of my paycheck (more often than not it was 30% of my paycheck) would remain in my checking account so I could afford groceries, gas, and other items (like my Frye boots! Which I’d categorize as a medium-sized splurge). It should definitely be noted that I was living with my parents at the time. This was a huge reason why I was so successful at paying off my student loans so quickly. I recognize how much of a luxury it is to not have to worry about paying rent, but I also recognize not everyone is in that same situation. So with that being said, if you’re paying rent or a mortgage, then you’ll need to adjust those percentages somewhat and that’s totally okay, as long as you stick to them. Be realistic, be reasonable, and be honest with yourself. If you say “I can only save 10% of my paycheck because the other 90% goes towards bringing my standard poodle to the groomers every day of the week,” then maybe you need to learn how to groom your own dog to save some money there, or maybe just don’t bring your dog to the groomers every day of the week. My honesty came in the form that I knew I could have probably saved 85-90% of each of my paychecks and get by on just 10-15% of the remaining balance, but I also knew I wanted to invest in a work appropriate wardrobe that would make me feel confident in the office, so I gave myself a bit more of an allowance there.
If you feel like you need to start smaller, and you can’t imagine taking a hunk of your paycheck and throwing it into your savings account, here’s another idea for you: when working in NYC I brought my lunch in every. single. day. Lunch in NYC costs about $25-30 for something good (not McDonalds). If you think about it that way, each day I saved $25-30, minus the cost of groceries, which was minimal. On top of that, I don’t drink coffee, but nearly everyone else in the office did. So if you drink coffee, try skipping Starbucks 4 days of the week and only treat yourself to it on Friday. Then take the cost of your coffee order, multiply it by 4 and put that money into your savings. And you know what, this can totally work if you dedicate yourself to it! Sure it’s going to take a while to save up for that $7,000 Cartier bracelet (on my wishlist!) if you’re only putting $20 worth of coffee orders into your savings account each week, but you’ll get there eventually and I can bet you, as you get closer and closer to reaching that savings goal you have, you’ll be even more motivated to put more money away to get there even sooner.
Now, if neither of those options seem realistic for you, then here are a few last ideas: make some extra money with a side gig. One idea is that with the holidays coming up you could easily get a temporary part-time job. While I’ve never done this exactly, I have found random jobs on Care.com. People either LOVE or HATE Care.com, and I guess I fall into the first category. I mean, I actually have a really cool story about Care.com. I saw someone in my hometown (Redding, CT) looking for last minute help at a small party. At the time I was home from college, where I had a job as the Assistant to the Director of Special Events so this totally seemed up my alley! At the end of a veryyy long night I was exhausted, but I also left thinking “gosh, that’s the most fun I’d had in a long time!” I also left with a few really nice bottles of wine in addition to a couple hundred dollars (yes really!). It was crazy! I think I calculated it out to making $40/hour, and the even crazier part was that I had fun while doing it!
I’m not currently seeking any jobs on Care.com, but I’m making some side money on Poshmark by selling clothes I no longer wear/no longer fit. It’s a great, and super easy way to make money! You can also bring your clothes to a second-hand store, which is less time than doing Poshmark, but you might not make as much money depending on the cut they take. But anyway, back to the idea of saving money…I think it helps when you have specific earnings to put towards savings. It might not be easy to take your regular paycheck and put it towards saving up for an expensive handbag or a new car, and honestly I think I’ve even struggled with that too. However, with my side income I can easily reason with myself that it makes sense to put that extra cash towards a big purchase.
Alright! I hope some of this helps! How do you save money? Do you think you’ll use any of these tips/tricks?
With love from Greenwich,