I live in a very expensive city where rent is comparable to a mortgage payment and next to high-end jewelry stores men sleep on grates to stay warm. It’s a city of dichotomies, naturally beautiful landscape with million dollar condos next to halfway houses, but as humans we easily adapt and so you’ll often find people side hustling to afford the luxury of calling this city home.
One day while at my side gig, I was chatting with one of my colleagues who was talking about not knowing what she wanted to do next. I’d guess she’s about 24-26. She was considering giving up dancing for a career that was more stable and was struggling with wanting to travel and affording to go back to school.
When I asked her what was holding her back the most, thinking fear or anxiety over giving up dancing which she had done since she was a child, she confided that money was her biggest obstacle. She couldn’t figure out how to save enough and make her money cover all of her needs and wants.
Which got me thinking, how many other young people are struggling with this idea of money as scarce and not plentiful. It had to be a lot because I too remember the feeling of being student poor and it aint’ cute!
But what I have learned since my ramen days, is that while money may feel scarce, the real scarcity is determined by the decisions you make with your money. Ask yourself: do you really need another pair of $98 leggings? Is that $40 water bottle any better than a mason jar? Can you really not get fit at a $20/month gym instead of the $140 yoga membership you only use 4 times a month? We all have the power and ability to make our money stretch and it all comes down to the decisions we make every day.
One way I make my money work for me is by automating my savings and calculating how many hours I worked for that item. Both are simple ways to make your money stretch. How?
Automating your savings takes the work out of budgeting, when your money is in your account, you’re more likely to spend it. By automating, you take away that temptation and there are many online banks with low fees that will help you manage your savings. Personally, I use Tangerine for all of my short-term savings. There are no fees and you can create multiple savings accounts for various goals.
Another way I save money is by calculating the hourly cost of more expensive purchases. If your hourly wage is $15, then a $241 pair of skinny jeans will cost you… 16 hours of work!!! It’s kind of shocking when you look at it that way.
So here is my challenge for you this week, before every purchase you make, even if it’s a Tim Horton’s coffee, consider what that money could do to your student loan debt, travel savings or your retirement – yes friends, we’ll be touching on that a little later.
For now, don’t think of your money as something that you don’t have enough of, think of it as something you can create more of by the decisions you make every day. How do you make your money stretch?