Have you seen Lil Dicky’s music video for “$ave That Money?” It’s hilarious, and pretty emblematic of the average, materialistic millennial. We want to have the cool lifestyle, the clothes and cars, and in most cases, without spending a lot of money. I, unfortunately, spent a lot of money in August. Like, ‘get a big paycheck and didn’t save most of it’ spending. I can make excuses, like that my entire family came to town, or that I needed to re-up my wardrobe for the fall season, but really, I was just being irresponsible, reveling in my first big paycheck.
As someone who is starting to be financially independent, this wasn’t so smart. Huffington Post reports that more than 36% of millennials live at home, and a similar percent receive financial aid from their parents. I’m trying not to be one of those people! Even though I know my parents would help me if I asked, I want to be someone who has money in the bank and I want to feel good about my spending habits.
So I’m making an insane decision: for the rest of September, I will not spend a penny on excess. This includes my beloved mint matcha lattes and “Friday Beer Day” lunches with my coworkers. I’m even going to force myself to take public transportation or walk, and only drive or Uber in an emergency. In short, I plan to be rich (well, richer) and spartan until October 1. Good thing I already have some great fall stuff, or I’d be dying in this self-imposed torture.
It’s going to be hard, but my goal is to force myself to make things work for me. This means wearing clothes that I already have, and cleaning out my closet when I realize what I’m really not going to wear. I’m going to pack lunches, or go hungry at work! My hope is that at the end of the month, these forced habits will feel regular, and I’ll keep my financial responsibility going, if on a more moderate level.
In some ways, I’m already more financially responsible than a lot of my friends. I always set aside part of my paycheck for my savings. But what really sets me apart is that I don’t drink a lot, and I rarely go out; two things that twenty-somethings love to do that drain their bank accounts fast. In Boston, the average beer costs upwards of $7, and even a simple gin & tonic at one of the clubs I used to frequent clocks in at around $14. On the rare occasion that my best friend can convince me to leave my bed for a club, I drink water with lemon (which is way healthier and looks like vodka anyway!), and spend zero dollars, while she might drop upwards of $40 in one night on just one or two drinks! Money in the bank for me! So I’m already on the right track…
– Prescriptions and things like tampons
– Groceries (but no prepared food because that’s basically the same as eating out)
– Basic cleaning supplies and home goods (like toilet paper – I’m not an animal)
– Anything I’ve already scheduled, like my eyelash extensions appointment and the street festival I’m going to with friends
– Taking the trolley (it would be like a ten-mile walk, and I have a prepaid monthly pass, so technically it isn’t spending any more money than I already would be)
– Going out for lunch or after-work drinks
– New clothes & shoes
– Makeup, skincare, haircare
– Manicures and Pedicures (I’m really good at them, and honestly should just do myself)
– Driving to work and paying for parking
The good thing is that if done properly, my experiment will have a ripple effect of sorts. By not driving to work, I’ll be doing more walking, getting more sunshine and exercise. By cooking my own meals, I’ll be eating even healthier than I usually do! Having to recycle outfits will stimulate my creativity, which will help me blog. Basically, a lot of wins across the board!
But what do I really hope to gain from all this? Besides what seem like foolproof ways to lose weight, I want to change my attitude, and prioritize what matters to me. One of my goals for this year is to do a lot of traveling, and it is a much better way to spend my money. I already have so much, a lot more than most people, and I should definitely be cognizant of that, instead of always trying to get more. I’m going to get back to living a life about experiences, not possessions, and I’m pretty excited about it.
Have a great weekend! I have a really exciting whirlwind of an adventure. Follow along on Instagram @starrynight64! XX, Gabrielle