Resolution (n): a firm decision to do or not to do something.
I spent a ton of money this quarter. I’m talking when I look at my bank account, I get stressed out. I’m talking last time I checked my checkings, I had exactly $3.45 left to my name. That kind of spending. And a lot of it was out of my hands– tuition fees, dues, gas, etc. But what bothers me the most looking back is how much I spent on stuff that I don’t even care about, stuff that didn’t leave any kind of impact on me besides a bigger hole in my wallet. And so, as an act of mid-year reflection, I’ve decided to commit to 4 money saving strategies to retain my wealth as much as possible!
1. Change my Love Language
Have y’all ever taken the love language test? (Honestly, I recommend it if you haven’t– personality quizzes are always so fun!) Anyway, the test says that in all relationships (romantic and platonic), there’s an overarching 5 ways of showing love: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. After taking the test I’ve come to understand that the way I receive love is nearly 100% through words of affirmation– but interestingly enough, the way that I show love is nearly 100% through giving gifts or spending money on the person. It’s probably because I’m not always the best at expressing how much people mean to me and the joy that they bring to my life, so often times I rely on gifts to do the job– little mementos that remind me of them, things they’ve told me they wanted, or something that I crafted especially for them.
And you know, this doesn’t apply to all of my friends– there are many people in my life who I’ve just known for so long at this point that our friendship feels all too grounded to need to prove myself anymore. So while I don’t think it’s a bad thing to want to shower people with gifts, I have got to realize that I am NOT IN THE TAX BRACKET TO BE DOIN THIS SHIT SO OFTEN! I’m out here buy full gift baskets and the cutest most aesthetic shit out here FOR WHY?? So, my strategy for this is to start utilizing some of the other love languages into the way that I interact with my closest people. Spending more quality time talking and learning about them (but not eating! that goes back to my money problem!) or helping them out through acts of service or simply just being more expressive of how much I appreciate them can hopefully do the job better than just things they can remember me by!
2. Stop Using Money as a Social Tool
On the note of spending money on food, y’all, it’s ridiculous how much money I spend on food. I can say this quarter alone, if I didn’t need to spend so much of my money on gifts for end of the year stuff/sorority stuff, I probably would’ve spent 75% of paycheck weekly on food. The problem begins with my daily iced coffees. I don’t know if y’all know, but Ivan’s is my ultimate happy spot on campus– and it usually just doesn’t feel right to sit there without an iced mocha latte in my hand right? Problem is, every single iced mocha is a sold $4.39, and one every single day, well…. that just speaks for itself. And that’s not the only food options that stack up in my life too quick. I only get $2 worth of Taco Bell whenever I go there and about $5 of tacos whenever I do Taco Tuesday– but the problem is I’m always eating some kind of tacos. Along with that poké is my new problematic/expensive fave, and not only is it already about $9, my ass always gets extra spicy crab meat and cucumbers too because I’m an insatiable monster. I have a problem!!
But my biggest problem with food is the fact that I use it as an excuse to hang out with people. Haven’t seen you in a while? Let’s get coffee. Want to meet up on campus? Let’s go eat at the Barn (where the $6 wings are always just too irresistible). Want to study together? Let’s go sit at the HUB– where I can be tempted by 4 DIFFERENT KINDS OF EATING OPTIONS. Off school seasons it’s even worse because, honestly, how else am I supposed to get anyone to come back to Riverside if it’s not for food!!
So I guess the solution to this and the solution to #1 is interlinked– I gotta find new ways to be social. Because when you really think about it, just always going to eat at the same places all the time is actually super lazy! So whether it’s time to start hitting the gym with my friends instead (oh God), or discovering new cool spots in town (lol at Riverside), or just something else where we can connect the same but without a $5+ plate of food in front of me, I’m making a vow to myself right now to at least try to look for something new.
3. Spend Money on Experiences
Now this might get a little repetitive because of how related it is to the last point, but I think it deserves another specific promise. The major thing I’ve noticed about my spending habits from last year is a lot of gifts, eating out, and basic necessities. And like I mentioned before, what bothers me the most is at how few of these purchases stick out to me as really being winners. (Seriously, 20 cups of coffee over the quarter? Why, Shiggy? Why??) But when I took a step back and looked at purchases I’ve made over my lifetime that I don’t regret a single bit, I came to the conclusion that they were all rooted in creating a new experience or memory.
Now this means something different for different people. Maybe you want to spend money on concerts, maybe on clothes, maybe on makeup– all of that is super valid! To me, positive experiences mean a distinct two things: rare and meaningful quality time with loved ones and opportunities for personal growth.
So that time where I caught up with my friend from high school over food– that’s an okay keeper because at that time, I was creating a unique experience with a specific person, and not my food. That time when I went to see Get Out with my family friend and my brother (and the ending both scared and scarred the shit out of him)? Truly a one of a kind experience and a purchase I don’t regret in the slightest. In the same way, books have always been the prized thing that I can consistently drop fat stacks on and not feel bad about– because once you buy a book it continues to give back value to your life for the rest of your life.
So the first stride I have to make in this department is better discerning which purchase is going to result in a meaningful experience, and which purchase I’m making just because I feel impulsive. Buying those LSAT books? Honey, yes. Buying another journal even though you already have 20 blanks ones at home? As much as it pains me, girl, nah.
4. Make #TreatYoSelf Meaningful Again
(Off topic, but this header reads too much like a certain fascist’s campaign slogan, I apologize in advance.) When I first got my license, you know where I went? Not to a friend’s house. Not on a mini road trip. Not anything like that at all! No, I took my ass to Boba Tea House in Riverside, where I ordered an extra spicy popcorn chicken for myself for the very first time, because no one had ever given me a ride there before. And you know what, I think that’s where my problem began– my problem of equating spending money (especially money on food) to freedom. Literally any time I leave my house, it’s never really felt complete without me sneaking in a quick little purchase (a snack, Starbucks, a pen, etc.) at some point in the day. If I don’t come back with something new, something to mark my journey outside, was my journey even worth it? That mentality has been messing with me since the moment I got my license, for real!!!
So for this problem I have a really specific strategy to make treating myself feel like something more once-in-a-while and important that it currently is. And the way I’m gonna do that is directly linked with #3– investing in experiences only as a treat. So here’s the plan. Every week, I only get two opportunities to buy something from outside that’s nonessential (otherwise, gas and groceries would have me consistently fucked up). That can be an opportunity to eat out with a friend, buy something from Target (oh the love of my life), or buy a special coffee drink. Besides those two times, I’m going to note all the opportunities I was offered throughout the week and if I was successful in prioritizing the meaningful important ones away from the others. I’m gonna count how many times I have to say no– because in order to truly understand restraint you have to acknowledge temptations– and then I’m going to make an estimate of how much money I’ve saved during that week from developing the ability to say no.
And my treat at the end of the week for being successful will be the opportunity for a good enriching time! Whether it be buying a book off my handy #treatyoself2017 book list on Amazon, or spending a little money to go to a museum or event with friends, or just buying a school/organization thing that I’ve been wanting that bring me bliss– the successfully exercising restraint in all my food and shopping endeavors is no longer gonna be just letting myself go wild for a weekend buying those exact same things I was trying to avoid, but instead giving myself the opportunity to invest back in myself aka TO LITERALLY TREAT! MYSELF! ME! MY SOUL! MY HAPPINESS! AND NOT JUST MY CRAVINGS!
And so in a nutshell, my goal is to making spending my money more meaningful because I’ve honestly been complete trash at money management from the moment I got a job. And the only person that does a disservice to is me!!
Here’s to more quality in life and more quantity in the bank! And I’ll be sure to keep y’all updated on my progress.
Thanks for checking in!