The recession (and not having a proper job for about a year) has taught me a bit about money and how not to spend it.
These are a few of the things I’ve learned, though I learned some the hard way:
- You really can control your spending if you can see what you’re spending. I made a spreadsheet to chart what I earn, my monthly bills, what I owe, what I have saved, and what I can consider “me” money. It’s really helped me become aware of my spending habits.
- Don’t charge it unless you can pay it off. An easy one, so why don’t more of us follow this rule? I’ve learned that if I can’t pay cash for my tall chai at the Starbucks at school, I shouldn’t charge it. As it is, I will be paying off my tea and coffee habit for the next year or two… so much for the caffeinated grad student lifestyle.
- Simple meals can be filling and cheap, and cooking for my b-chan makes me feel incredibly creative in the kitchen.
- Some things really are free… free entries to parks (my camera thanks me for these), free entree when you buy two, free mini facials at a training school, free cake (at least where I work, I try to steer clear of these lest I give in to my sweet-tooth).
- Libraries have books! I love books! I can’t afford them all! OMG I can go to the library! Yes, I’m in library school, but until last year, I never really visited any of my county libraries. University libraries also have non-academic treasures for some light reading.
- The right accessories can spruce up your wardrobe. Scarves, pins, and faux pearls can go a long way to creating some neat outfits.
- The bank is not here to help you, no matter how often they say that they can help you figure out your finances if you give them a call. My current credit rating does not thank me for that call. I’m more than a little bitter about what they did when I called about adjusting my interest rate and/or minimum payments.