As a freelancer living and working in New York City for the last few years, I quickly learned how to live ‘big city on a budget’— but I wish I would have started sooner. With all of the responsibilities that college and post-grad women face, finances, a lot of times, become an unwelcome burden that either gets overlooked or pushed aside.
Practicing money management skills early on, however, sets the stage for a strong, successful path of financial independence—which is instrumental in creating your best life, right now. Establishing some savvy spending habits will not only allow you to save money, but also develop valuable management skills that you can utilize in every facet of life.
Work within a budget. Planning is the key to financial freedom; make sure you know everything you owe. There are great online planning tools out there and most banks now offer smartphone apps for customers that make tracking spending easier than ever. Watching what you spend and how you spend it will help you create a sense of accountability and curb unnecessary purchasing quick.
Pay attention to your spending habits. As you become more mindful monetarily, you’ll find ways to save that you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed. Recently, I realized from my daily coffee habit that my ‘room for milk’ made the coffee the next-smaller size. Changing my order (and still getting exactly what I wanted) saves me a quarter every day. When you have a java jones like mine, now that adds up!
Set goals, reward yourself for achieving them. As mentioned in our Smartest Ways to Splurge article, there is nothing wrong with rewarding yourself for a job well done. However, if we consistently treat ourselves to that new sweater or a mid-week mani-pedi, we spend more and enjoy less— a trip to the salon may sound like the best way to de-stress, but don’t forget the strain it puts on your wallet.
Save towards something sensational. There is no better motivation than to set aside part of what you save towards a big dream. Always wanted to travel abroad during college? Need that post-grad cert to catapult your career? You’re less likely to splurge on unnecessary goodies when you’re working for a greater goal. Memories from a life-changing trip or landing that dream job totally trump small spending.