Tag Archives: budget

Tips For Saving Money

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Obviously living alone requires you to be a little more focused on your budget and on what you should & shouldn’t be spending money on. I speak with experience because I sort of got fucked over last year and decided I wanted to live the party-lifestyle only to realize that yes I can sure party hard, but it would’ve been best in my pj’s at home.

Yes I did it all, the weekend getaways, the fancy dinners, the premium alcohol, the bars, etc. but then I got sent back to reality fairly quickly when I realized that my credit card wasn’t going to pay itself off.

My parents often told me this and told me that about budgeting and credit cards, but did I listen? Probably not as well as I should have. Sometimes in life you have to learn from your mistakes. In the meantime, I’m not your mom or your dad but just a friend giving you some advice.

Tip #1 Setup A Budget

This is EXTREMELY important and honestly I should’ve been more strict with myself about this critical step that could’ve saved me from owing Mr. Visa a shit load of money. Don’t skip this step please. It’s very easy, create a budget using Excel, or an online template. It’s very important to take account everything your spending money on. Making a budget can even help you realize why the heck you are spending money on certain things and help you manage your money a lot better.

Tip #2 Eating Out 

I won’t go too much in depth here because I’ve actually written 5 Basic Tips On Surviving: Food Edition and it will encompass how you can save money by modifying a few eating habits and eating out is one of them. Trust me there’s nothing I love more than going to a nice restaurant to eat but then there’s drinks, a bottle of wine, etc. It’s important to pick and choose your nights out and definitely do not go out every weeknight. If you’re like me, young homeowner & living alone, try 1-2 times a month. Make those special nights count.

Tip #3 Shopping

So whether you’re a male or female, shopping can get out of hand for anybody. Car parts, home decor, clothing, etc. it all adds up VERY quickly. It’s important to include a section of your budget allotted to  shopping, i.e. $150 on clothing twice a year or $300 a year on home decor. As for car parts and other larger projects like vacations (I specifically mention car parts because I am currently building a vehicle) you need to create a separate savings account for this, that way you can add a small amount weekly or bi-weekly without it affecting your priorities.

Tip #4 Setup Auto Withdrawals

It can sometimes get overwhelming to have several bills to pay, that’s why auto withdrawal can help you make sure your payments are on time. Late payments can hurt your credit & cost you a lot of money in interest fees. But at least with auto withdrawal you’re safe and this also helps make sure you don’t spend the money on things that are not priority.

Tip #5 Don’t Spend Money You Don’t Have

This ad is quite funny, but it’s extremely realistic. #debt

I cannot stress this enough and yeah my mom told me so many times and I didn’t listen, so maybe you won’t listen to me either but just realize that credit card companies like to target young consumers such as me and you and what they did was they kept sending me letters allowing me to raise my limit. I was always good at paying my bill in full until it got out of hand and I regretted saying yes to that first letter, and then the second and then the third… It’s okay to have a credit card and use it for the benefits that some of them offer but PLEASE don’t see as free easy money, make sure you can pay it off.

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Life Goes On: Panic, Plan & React

Do you ever feel like everything is going great for you, life is good, the relationship is good, everything at the house is good. When you find yourself in a position where you feel invincible, like nothing can go wrong, but then again, how can this be real?

Well the truth is, it’s not. If you’re life is so perfect and nothing is wrong with it well then f*** you. Seriously. Do you ever have these moments when all of a sudden the shit has hit the fan? I do. In fact, I have made myself an editorial calendar of the approximate times my shit will hit the fan and it’s based on a quarterly schedule.

Calendar Joyride is over

Things are fantastic and out of this world for 4-5 months and then boom your car motor blows up and your dog suddenly needs emergency surgery. When this happens I just want to lose it completely and wake up from this horrible dream. Unfortunately it’s not a dream, it’s reality. What’s important is the crisis management plan you need to put in place.

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Step 1

I’m a pretty emotional girl, so this may vary for you. I say let your emotions out, cry, scream, laugh…whatever it takes. My boyfriend told me I was talking in my sleep last Friday, saying ” Everything will be alright, everything will be alright (and I was laughing hysterically at the same time)”, so whatever works best for you, do it. Get all the negative out so that you can put your action plan into place and start thinking straight.

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Step 2

You need to evaluate the situation(s). My car’s motor blew up, so my first move was to establish how much I paid for the car…Now on a side note I do have a background in auto mechanics and know a lot of people in the automotive industry so this event that is definitely a big deal, was a manageable big deal for me, having connections really helped.

So I paid $2000 for this car almost 3 years ago. If I were to “scrap it” it wouldn’t be a total loss because the car did serve me for 3 years and I didn’t have to put any money on it. Now my other option was to repair it and find a new engine, which is what I did. notepadCalculating the cost vs. benefit made me realize that by fixing up the car I would be able to drive it for another few years.

*Fun fact: A lot of Japanese cars can go up to almost 400 000 km! 

So yes I resolved my problem, but that’s only part of it. Money is the MAIN issue here. This is not free, were looking at $1100 in total cost of repairs & my dog needed surgery so I had to tack on another $400. Now I didn’t mention this before but ya I have 2 jobs (thank god). One full time career and one part time job that pays for the extra’s including the emergency situations.

Life is so unpredictable sometimes you always need a back up plan. You also need a cushion and by cushion I mean extra cash saved up for the occasional “life slapping you in the face” moments. It’s called life.

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Step 3

Know where to cut down. In other words, lock yourself up, you’re not going anywhere and you’re eating tuna cans (not literally) but this is the survival attitude I want you to have!dec23-survive

You’re in “money saving mode” and on high gear too until you’re done with this. Don’t be dreaming of Martini’s, you’re drinking wine out of a box this week. (Ew gross don’t even do that!)

Just remember that you’ll manage to work things out. Just follow my 3 step guide: Panic, Plan and React. And remember, life goes on.

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Vanessa Barbeau

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