I remember shortly after my boyfriend started dating, he said to me, “You know, you’re kind of a baller for being a teacher.” While I appreciated the compliment (I expected to go my entire life without being called a “baller”), I wondered if he was insinuating that I maybe spend a little bit more than I make, and am drowning in debt. This got me thinking if everyone in my life thinks this.. The truth is, I am a scrupulous saver, pay my credit cards in full every month, contribute to my retirement, and still am able to travel. Travel is my one consistent luxury, but even that is done on the cheap. Here are my little tips that allowed me to afford what I want. It takes a great deal of discipline, but when I think back to drinking a beer at Temple Bar in Dublin, or while overlooking the Austrian Alps, I know how worth it the discipline is.
Supplement your income, and forget it’s there: This deserves a post in and of itself, but the short version is this: With the dozens of money-making apps out there these days, I am convinced that one has to TRY to be broke unless, of course, your 9-5 has been compromised. As supplement, drive for Uber, deliver UberEATS, babysit for few hours a week, freelance, teach piano lessons… The list goes on. The truth is, if you’re not living the life you want to live, you can.. It just will take a little bit of extra work on the side. Once your supplemental paycheck comes in, stick it directly in to a separate account and forget it’s there. When the time comes to make your purchase (and only then!) can you access this account.
Prioritize: For me, my spending priority is travel. I know so much can change at this stage of life, and I never want to look back and wish I did more in my (tax-filing-wise) single days. When I’m in the mindset that travel is my priority, it makes purchasing decisions so much easier. For example, I’ve been contemplating a new vacuum purchase for, literally, six months. I’ve done my research, asked around, and read blogs, but, at this stage, have decided that a good ol’ fashioned broom will have to do. Why? Because the vacuum I want is $400, and I would rather spend those $400 to fly to Houston to visit my best friend and her sweet baby. I know people whose spending priority is clothes. For them, things like signature cocktails are going to have to go by the wayside. No matter what your desire is, choose one, and stick to it. Odds are other things are going to have to go.
Cut Costs: Think about what you’re spending the most money on each month, and brain storm ways to lower that cost. Trust me when I say, there’s always a way.
– Is it eating out? Cut back on that. One simple rule I’ve adhered to is that if I’m eating alone, I’m cooking. There’s no reason to pay for a meal out if it isn’t in the company of friends. Another fun thing my pals and I do on occasion is potlucks. Choose a theme, send up an online signup, and have a blast.
– Is it utilities? Ah, this is one that people think they can’t change. False! When I realized that my teeny condo was racking up a $150+ monthly electric bill, I became hellbent on getting this down. I started air drying my clothes, scrupulously turning off lights, and keeping my heat and AC at a reasonable temperature.. And guess what? I’ve yet to see an electric bill that is more than $90 a month.
– Is it the little beauty luxuries? Get your hair done at a beauty school (or DIY at home!), forego the mani/pedis and do your own nails (it’s really not that difficult..), waxing you have my permission to get done professionally… That stuff isn’t easy… BUT, if that’s something you’re spending a lot on, maybe it’s time to shop around. Many beauty schools do waxing for a fraction of the cost of salons.
Really, Really Think About Your Big Ticket Purchase. OK, so you’ve saved your money, and you’re ready to make that big purchase… You can splurge, OR you can be a little more careful about it. Is that LV Speedy available slightly used? Or can you save money by flying on a Thursday night rather than a Friday night? Ask around. Do your research. Don’t spend money that you don’t have to!
There you have it! These little hacks have afforded me to visit my family in Florida, trips to Ireland, Austria, Italy, Mexico, Houston, Arizona, California, and all over the East Coast. It all takes a little discipline and prioritizing, but you can do it!
Ways to contact and discover Britt:
At her blog
at Basic Britt