I always thought that the 25 year old version of me would have all of the glamourous luxuries that I couldn’t afford as a university student. I was sorely mistaken. I was a cocktail waitress at a busy sports bar throughout university and am now an entry level salaried employee at a large corporation. I had way more money working in the service industry than I do as a junior level professional.
Here are some lessons about 20-something budgeting I’ve learned through my new career fiscal awareness and a little bit of maturity.
1. If you’re going out for a night to sit at a bar and chat with your friends you can do that at home for free.
2. Your smoking habit was cool when you were 19. Spending $10+ a pack sucks. So does getting cancer.
3. Work clothes can be bought at thrift shops. Hear me out! Skirts, blouses, blazers are timeless – they don’t need to be bought new as they rarely change. Don’t believe me?
4. If going out with your friends means maxing out your credit card every weekend they’re probably not your real friends.
5. Many of your favorite restaurant dishes can be made at home. Most likely they’re not delicious because they’re difficult to make, they’re delicious because they’re bad for you.
6. It took me a long time to realize this one. YOU ARE NOT A SOCIALITE…stop spending like one.
7. Unless you are a socialite…then you do you girl.
8. When you’re coming home from a night out take the bus/subway as far as you feel safe and THEN take a cab.
9. Graduating from college is no excuse to stop pre-gaming.
10. Bringing your lunch to work saves $200/month – easily.
11. You don’t have to go to every birthday party you’re invited to. Especially if those parties are held at venues that are above your group’s current means.
12. To avoid buying a new outfit for every event keep track of what you wear when. Rotate outfits based on the company you’re going out with. Helpful hint: selfie from the neck up if you’re worried about repeating outfits on social media.
13. Someday you’ll have a great place. You’ll have a door man and granite countertops and a guest room. Do you really need to be spending half of your salary on a Sex and the City type apartment? Same rule applies for leasing cars btw.
14. Some parents insist on helping out their adult children. Don’t let the fact that you can’t keep a budget be the reason your parents aren’t retiring.
15. Buy pajamas and exercise clothes from Wal-Mart.
16. If you can tell the difference between premium and non-premium booze go for it. If you can’t then get the cheaper stuff. Don’t be a douche.
17. If you and your partner constantly need the expensive entertainment to have fun with one another you should probably look for a new partner.
18. Drug habits are expensive. Seriously people…not worth it.