Not all 20 somethings are fortunate enough to land a stable job that would allow them to live very comfortably (even with a college degree). In fact, I have met plenty of people in their 30s, who simply are always on the edge of being “broke”. It blatantly sucks to feel as though you just can’t afford that Starbucks when you crave for it, or to let loose on a night out because your budget is tight. I have witnessed so many of my friends get seriously depressed with their money situation, and it does not help at all that our tuition and education also cost a fortune of student loan. Now, I’m all about investing in your intelligence and skills. But to spend all that money to go to college to learn how to make more money to pay off the money you spent to learn . That, sometimes, does not put me at ease.
Money has THAT kind of special power. It can give you this extreme freedom of fun, to do what you love, to indulge and splurge, but it also enslaves you in more than one way. It leaves you restless, laying at night, pondering upon all of your spending and the future. It makes you work beyond 50 hours a week. It can turn you against even your own best friends. It’s a love/hate relationship. But definitely more hate to many individuals of this young generation, who yearn for the freedom of exploration and to be able to express yourself the way you are. BUT YOU NEED MONEY TO GO ANYWHERE, TO ACHIEVE ANYTHING! How many time have you heard that? We were raised to strive for a comfortable lifestyle, but also to compete, whether it is with our colleagues, strangers, best friends or even your own parents.
It also does not help either that we are living in a (growing) materialistic world where an individual’s worth may just be as well measured by the shoes/ purse they carry or the money in their wallet. Like many girls at my age, I love fashion and have an expensive taste full of things I simply can’t afford (just yet, well that’s what I like to tell myself). It’s extremely hard to convince yourself that you are “content” when everyone around you are raving about this new fancy restaurant, gorgeous watch, etc. It’s vanity, it’s superficial. Whatever you want to call it. I call it LIFE. We are relying on capitalism to support the economy, which requires people to love the “frivolous” and vain life. If no one wants to spend beyond necessity, we would all be, perhaps, simpler, happier but definitely more backward as a society.
I have spent endless nights thinking about the harmony of money & happiness. How to achieve a sense of fulfillment, richness, while feeling advanced & proud of yourself without working your life away and missing out special moments in life. Here are a few rules that have worked perfect for me since I graduated college this year. I was able to save a quite significant amount (to me at least), while still be able to enjoy different aspects of life.
1) The balance of “enough”. It is hard but manageable! You need to be able to tell yourself when it is enough. For instance, with grocery shopping, you may accidentally or intentionally grab one too many items in your cart. A single grocery item under $5 may seem like nothing. But a few of them added together, multiplied by many trips will break your wallet. Also, fresh produces go bad quickly. Therefore, make a list and try to stick to it + one splurge item at most. You also need to learn “enough” in the sense of how much you make, resting time, and even time/money spent with friends.
2) Learn to love cooking. It’s seriously one of the best therapies that I have ever learned for myself. With Pinterest millions of recipes, there is no reason why you should be eating out every day. Think of your body and the real nutrition it needs. Healthy recipes call for, often, less ingredients and better food for YOU.
3) Pass the little things to save for a big thing. You don’t need to get a pedi/mani every week or be drinking + brunching all the time. It saves your waist, life and health to use that time to relax and treat yourself at home in different ways (have a wine + self mani + facial mask night with your girl friends at home). Save those weekend drinking money(typically in college, this means at least from Thursday-Saturday for me) for a nice vacation to somewhere cool that you have never been to.
4) Invest in yourself. The real YOU. Before you even think about buying yourself a pair of Louboutin or something that fancy, make sure that you have your priority in line! Insurance, 401k (saving plan), some saving cash for emergency, a month worth of rent in your UNTOUCHED saving. Yes, I’m dead serious. You never know when life can turn against you. Be ready for challenges. Invest in gym membership or work out classes that will benefit you in many levels + make new friends 🙂 ❤
5) Pick up new hobbies and develop valuable skills that can be turned into a new income source for you. Yes, the whole cliche of do what you love and you will never feel like you are working! While working that job that you [may] hate, don’t forget to spend sometimes to explore and develop your skills in doing what you love. My 2015 goal is to learn graphic design + French. It’s never bad to know more than one language. I speak 2 fluently and one partly.
6) Most importantly, to be able to give yourself a break and understand that you’re only in your 20. It’s completely okay to not have your shit together at times or know what you want to do with your life. As long as you are trying, dedicating and making plan for your future, you should feel accomplished. Do not get discouraged if you aren’t there yet nor you’re making as much as your friends are. Trust me, everything comes with a price. After all, if you are making enough to afford your grocery, your rent, your bills , a night out every now and then. YOU SHOULD BE EXTREMELY PROUD of yourself. Also, be grateful of what you have and keep the mind set of #teamblessed all day every day. You have no idea how many people out there in this world would kill to be in your shoes.