I’ve been reading a ton of blogs and articles on money lately. How to save it, invest it, budget it, spend it, etc. It all started when I stumbled upon this awesome blog: Give Me Back My Five Bucks. Krystal, its creator, is a young Canadian female, like me, and was in fairly substantial debt just a few years ago. Now she’s super organized with her money (and super disciplined) and from what I can tell, she doesn’t spend her money frivolously, she thinks seriously before making big purchases (and then saves up for them), and she hardly ever buys little silly items, like coffee, gum, etc.
Money and how to manage it is a very personal thing. Obviously some things work for certain people which may or may not work for others. Krystal hardly ever eats at restaurants, which is something I do ALL the time. Mostly on the weekend. It’s the primary way I socialize with friends. Plus I love to eat. So, this isn’t something I’m willing to change to save some money. But I can be smart about it, by taking a packed lunch to work (I do this religiously) and getting water to drink when I’m out (not a big drinker, never sits well in my stomach).
What I have changed is how much I go out and shop for personal items, like clothes, shoes, books, home stuff, and a whole other slew of crap I don’t need. Yes, I will need to buy some summer clothes this year, so I don’t wear my old H&M shorts to work for another summer (they’re just a bit too short, but I wore them all last year because it was HOT and I didn’t have the money to go out and buy work appropriate attire). However I do not need a new dress or skirt every week, and I definitely do not need to buy these things on credit with the intention of using my next month’s pay to cover the charges. I also don’t need that yellow striped shower curtain and matching bath mat from West Elm, no matter how pretty I think they are – right??
Instead of buying these things as soon as I see them, I’m taking the wait and see approach. As in, wait and see how badly I still want whatever it is a week later. Chances are I either won’t remember what it is I wanted, or I’ll realize that it isn’t worth what it costs. If I still want it, then I can save up for it. I’ve been doing this for the past month or so and thus far, I haven’t bought much. A vintage plaid button up for 15 bucks. An AGO membership (through Groupon) for $32.50. And I’m planning on buying some Hot Docs tickets, as soon as I make my movie selections.
Now that I’m not spending that money on stuff, I’m able to save it. In January I increased my weekly mortgages payments by $26, which is about $100 extra per month. And in January I started contributing $150/month to my RRSP, and putting $300-$400 into a savings account. Not too shabby. There are some pretty big ticket items I want to purchase by the end of this year, like a laptop and an iPhone and maybe a new camera. And I REALLY need to work on an Emergency Fund. I’m in a union and our contract is up this summer, and in this environment, who knows what could happen. If I went on strike, I’d have to ask the BF to cover a bunch (if not all) of my living expenses, and I don’t think he’d be too happy about that.