Monday, July 2, 2012

Let's Be Honest...

          Ok so its time I'm honest with myself and everyone around me.  Believe it or not I don't like people knowing my struggles but I feel as though this is one many people can identify with and are too afraid or embarrassed to confront.  So here it goes...

          Ever since I started college, I've been living far above my means.  I took out more than I needed in school loans and spent money I didn't have on things I didn't need.  Did I do it to impress someone? Yes, myself.  I wanted things I had never had before, like a real Coach bag and the latest laptop or phone on the market.  I felt I could finally get those things, after spending all my life saving and putting away, because I could finally afford to.  You see my head was filled with the statistics my school was spitting out.  "Average starting salary for undergrads is $54,000".  "Less than 1% student default rate on loans".  In my eyes I could live it up in school because I could pay it all back once I was done.

          Were the stats right?  Yes, but just because you can pay it back doesn't mean you can afford to.  What I failed to realize was just how much being an adult would cost, let alone $54,000 isn't what you wind up taking home at the end of the day. 

          It's now, a year after I graduated college, that I'm finally coming down from my financial high to face reality.  You can't live Oprah's life with an average person's salary.  So this month I'm giving my budget an extreme make over and going on a financial detox diet.  What will this consist of you ask?
  1. No Eating Out:  Alright let's face it, eliminating this completely would also extinguish most of my social life, but drastically cutting down on the amount of times I do and making sure I always bring lunch and make breakfast will save me about $120 a month from my regular $250 budget.
  2. No New Stuff:  I'm embarrassed to tell you the amount of money I spend on shoes, gadgets and clothes a month, so I won't.  The aim this month is to buy NOTHING (minus the essentials like personal care and household necessities). 
  3. Traveling:  Yeah as much as it pains me, I will not be going anywhere this month minus my annual trip up to Maine for the 4th which requires less than a full tank of gas. 
         That is where the majority of my money goes so its time to address those areas head on.  While this is a trial to see just how much I can save in a month, it is the first step in a much longer process of paying off all the debt I've accrued in the last 5 years and beginning to live within my own means. 

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