Two words: Spend Less.
Sounds so simple, yet sometimes we forget how easy it is to get carried away with that simple little plastic card. I look at my parents who managed to save enough to help their kids through their education, and get settled into adult life, yet also live a comfortable life of their own and prepare for retirement. Then I look at myself, living in a [yes, expensive] city, and am constantly trying to figure out the best ways to save so I have less to worry about. Wondering how much do I need for an emergency fund, to go on vacation, to buy christmas presents, and yet also live a comfortable and enjoyable life without feeling stressed about my budget.
Yes, yes, there are apps for that. But in the end, it’s still up to you to ensure you save, and budget properly.
What’s my struggle?
The balance of enjoyment of today with the balance of enjoyment for the much later tomorrow. Perhaps this is morbid, but what if there is no real tomorrow. What if there was only the now. And then flip the coin, what if you have too much fun now, and then tomorrow you’re like “oh crap.” And there’s the anxiety button.
I’ve dated apps like Mint and Learnvest (definitely great and helpful), but in the end, I enjoy that my credit cards have simple breakdowns for me too – i.e. Amex allows me to see what I’m spending the majority of my money on, pretty easily. So yes, I consult apps, but I’ve also made my own budget system at this point.
I take my monthly paycheck and split it down to the requirements (and “requirements”):
- Food and weekly necessities
- Gym membership
- Additional monthly subscriptions or payments
- website hosting fees
- Play money
- Buffer amount (for things that come up)
I know what the X amount is for necessities and required or built in payments are. Then I subtract what I’d like to put into savings each month, and then the rest I have to play with. I usually break down the play money by week based upon what is going on that month. Some weeks I may have more, and others I’ll have less based upon when I went over a little.
As for savings I usually try to set a yearly goal, and then based upon what I have going on each month, some months I’ll plan to save more and others less (i.e. I may spend more around Christmas or a vacation).
In the end it’s all about balance and having a realistic perspective. I want to have fun, but I also want to feel comfortable and safe.
Adulting is tough.