Being broke in your twenties because of going out has become cool. You see it daily with the “shut up and take my money memes” and even the recent news story about the Beyoncé fan who used her rent money to go to a Beyoncé concert thus causing her to be evicted-stupid. From countless music festivals, to overpriced hipster restaurants that charge $15 for two bites of a burger there are plenty of ways twenty somethings are encouraged to spend instead of save.
I never bought into the stereotype of the spendthrift careless woman and the financially stable man.
My parents taught me to budget my pocket money at the ripe age of ten and I have been budgeting and saving ever since. My boyfriend is a CPA so needless to say he does the same when it comes to saving. When we do spend, we like to spend our money at steakhouses but this is typically only a few times a month, is carefully worked into our budget and is in place of spending money on other sources of entertainment.
Here are some examples of how twenty somethings are typically spending their money and how you can avoid this trap:
Stop splitting the bill.
If you go out to eat with a bunch of friends and you don’t order the fancy drinks or the expensive entrée do not fall into the “split the bill” trap. Why should you pay for someone’s fancy mojito or craft beer when you have been sipping on ice water the whole time? To avoid the potential awkwardness when the check comes, before you order let the waiter know that you would prefer separate checks for the table. This will save you money and at the same time your friends won’t feel guilty about their extravagant orders.
It’s ok to say no to going out.
If your friends invite you out and you have had a rather expensive month, it’s ok to let them know that you have to sit this one out because it’s been an expensive month. This does not mean you are broke, this means you are an incredibly responsible individual who would rather save money than spend money you don’t have or rack up a ridiculous credit card statement. Your friends may even postpone that outing and suggest a less expensive outing to better accommodate you.
Cancel your subscription boxes.
A friend of mine was raving about Blue Apron. She claimed it was the best thing she has ever signed up for and urged me to sign up, after I expressed some interest she gave me a free meal. I went on the website and saw the subscription prices. The price was $54 for three meals for two people, how is this a deal? I can go to Trader Joes and buy groceries for meals for a week for $54. I decided to not even sign up so I could get the free meal in fear of being charged $54 for not cancelling my subscription. This is a huge money drain and while it may look cool on your Instagram feed, it’s not going to be kind to your wallet in any way. If you did this twice a month then you would be spending $1,296 annually on your food subscription.
Don’t be afraid to DIY
Every eight weeks like clockwork I would go to the hair salon and spend $125 for color and cut and every four weeks I would spend about $45 getting my nails done. I realized what a drain on my bank account this was becoming and I decided to delve into the world of beauty DIY. Let me tell you ladies, my hair has never looked better thanks to L’Oréal Superior Preference and my nails are doing just fine without their acrylic coats. This has allowed me to save a large chunk of money and has given me the liberty to touch up my roots without having to wait for the next available appointment.
Just say no to hipster food.
If you like spending loads of money on bite sized food that looks cool in pictures but leaves you starving, then you have fallen into the hipster food trap. This is a massive waste of money. I don’t care how “organic” or how good their “proprietary sauce” is, as far as I am concerned it’s not worth the money. You can spot one of the restaurants by usually seeing the chefs wearing fedoras or by seeing poutine on the menu. If you are paying $15 for two soft tacos, it’s too late you have just eaten at a hipster restaurant and wasted your money.
Don’t buy girls’ drinks.
This is for the men out there who think it’s a good use of their funds to buy girls drinks at the bar. When I was single and a guy would ask me if he could buy me a drink, 9 times out of 10 I would politely decline. Men, it’s far more effective if you go up to a woman and strike up a genuine conversation with her instead of buying her drinks. If she is interested in you it will not be because you paid for her drink and if she is not interested in you it will not be because you didn’t. Bottom line: buying girls drinks only hurts your wallet.
It’s ok to not go to the latest and greatest festival or concert.
I love concerts. I love the feeling of dancing and singing to my favorite songs and most of all I love the memories that come along with going to concerts. As much as I love them, I don’t always attend them. It’s ok to miss out on a festival or a concert and just catch the next one when you are in better financial standing. Next time you see an awesome lineup, log into your bank account first and make sure you have the extra funds to spend on it without putting it on your credit card and definitely don’t use your rent money to pay for it.
I don’t find it impressive when someone has credit card debt but is rocking Yeezus footwear. As a rule, the only things I always buy designer are my jeans. I do this because they have the best fit on me and wearing good fitting jeans makes tops from Target, Forever 21, or H&M look amazing and put together. I have a few designer handbags and shoes but I typically only buy those every couple of years. Don’t dress to impress others, dress to impress your bank account.
Spending is fun but I promise you that with time saving is more fun. Once you begin to equate the same gleeful feeling you get when you make a purchase with the feeling you get when you see your savings account balance increase. It’s okay to treat yourself every now and then and I am not suggesting becoming a hermit but when it comes to a lifestyle, live below your means and your bank account will thank you.