Hey friends! Happy Thursday.
One of my sweet readers Kate sent me the idea for this post! Here is what she said in her email: “Another idea, since I have learned from and like your money tips posts: avoiding shopping for clothes/other things that you “want” and don’t need or shopping on a whim. I’ve improved here but I know it’s a trap, especially with all the “SALES” emails and Instagram posts out there!”
I love this topic! Truly, as many of you know I’m a reformed spender. My spending hay day was when I lived as a single gal in Chicago. I always had new clothes, a fresh mani/pedi, hair cut and color, and eyebrow wax.
I would soon fall in love with my future husband Drew, and he has been THE BEST influence on me when it comes to money. I’m very thankful that we live a financially fit life together and that money is not a stressor for us.
I’ve written a few financial blogs in the past. One that I’ve been thinking about lately is: See You Later Student Loans: Practical Ways to Pay Off Debt. Together we wrote that blog post and together we paid off $34,000 in my nursing student loans in 2 years so we could start SAVING for our baby’s education instead of paying off mine. It felt SO darn to be out from under that debt before Max was born.
This topic is SO appropriate right now with the Nordstrom sale about to open to the general public! You’ll see all the style bloggers going hard and trying to make you swoon over everything. That’s their job and how they make money, and I love them too! But, you have to be rational. Last year I bought ONE thing from the Nordstrom sale and this year I’ll probably do the same (been eyeing some Zella leggings for weeks).
So without further adieu, here are my tips:
- Thou shall NOT impulse buy. I mean, how cute is every single thing on Instagram?! From the fashion bloggers to the baby clothing, it could definitely turn into a money hole if you aren’t careful. My best advice is to NOT impulse buy. I typically make myself think about something for a few days. Add it to a cart and sleep on it. This gives you time to decide if you really, really want it. And don’t get tricked into thinking that it might sell out, if it does…it isn’t a big deal and you will find something just at lust worthy. ALSO, you can unfollow an account if you really cannot find the discipline or spending control. If there is a style blogger that has you buying everything because she just wears it SO well…maybe you have to take a break from her 🙂 Bottom line for this point: You NEED to think about your purchases! Ask questions like: Do I really need this? Is it because SHE looks so good in it? Do I have what I need to complete the outfit? Do I have something similar in my closet already? Then take some time to see if you are still thinking about it in a few days.
- Figure out where you can save, and where to invest: Drew HATES when I say that Lululemon is an investment. HAHA! You have to figure out where you want to spend on certain goods and when you can save. I prefer the fit and the quality of more expensive workout clothes (a la Lululemon and Athleta and for maternity: BLANQI Women’s Maternity BodyStyler and Bao Bei Maternity). Believe me at this point, I’ve tried almost every brand under the sun and have had Lululemon leggings longer than I’ve been dating Drew BUT, on the other side of the spectrum I rock mostly Old Navy for maternity style. They are affordable, fit me well, and I know I’m only going to be pregnant so many times. Another example would be our bed frame we just bought. Steinhafels had a BEYOND GORGEOUS frame that was $2,100. I instantly fell in LOVE with it. We then went to Ashley Furniture and saw a similar style for $700. I really, really liked it but didn’t have the same immediate feelings of lust. That is an enormous difference in price, so after an extensive search we decided that was the best for our bedroom and our pocket book. Guess what?! When it was delivered and put together, I came into the room and was in LOVE. If I went on first impression and decided soley by appearance we would’ve been spending $1,400 more…which is a lot of nursing shifts 😉 Bottom line for this point: You have to step back and be rational. Price around. Really consider if the higher priced item is worth it and the reasons why.
- Wait and save. Each year, Drew and I prioritize a list of bigger ticket items and then assign them a rank. For example, this year it was a kitchen sink and a king size bed. Since the DAY we toured and bought the house I’ve been wanting a new sink. BUT, there is something really satisfying about saving up and waiting. I loathe the ceiling fan in the living room, but it didn’t make the cut this year. That’s OKAY! Bottom line for this point: Instead of recklessly spending or charging your money away, WAIT AND SAVE until you can comfortably afford it and still have a healthy savings after purchasing! It sounds like something our grandparent’s generation might do 😉
- Have someone to keep you accountable. I’m very lucky to have a financially fit husband. Yes, we still have a financial meeting every single month to go over bills, talk about goals, and assess how we are doing. As our family grows, it feels EVEN MORE important to be smart with our money so it doesn’t create unnecessary stress. If you are single, find a friend that has similar financial goals! Or use an app like Mint that will literally say, “Hey, I think you are spending too much on clothing!” Bottom line for this point: Especially if you aren’t the best with money and spending, you need some accountability in your life. At least an app would make you slow down and think a little more before purchases!
- Stop eating and drinking out SO much. This one is huge and really adds up. The more you can cook at home the healthier it is for your waistline and wallet. Drew and I pack ALL of our lunches each week, with rare exception. As far as drinks go, my coffee habit has really scaled back. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a soy vanilla latte…but, view it as more of a treat nowadays. If you are happy houring all the time, it certainly adds up…even with those happy hour deals 😉 Bottom line for this point: Be sensible. Pack your lunches. Brew your own coffee. Scale back going out to eat to a time or two a week.
- Be a responsible adult. I read this article entitled 40 Important Milestones You Can Have In Your Life Besides Getting Married
yesterday during lunch. I absolutely loved this quote as it relates to the subject: “…And getting to the maturity level where you can tell the difference between treating yourself, and being financially reckless and irresponsible.” Ya’ll we have to take responsibility. It isn’t cute to overspend or just keep charging it. In a generation filled of YOLO trips and experience seekers, you need to find a responsible balance. You need to figure out a budget and then stick to it. Bottom line for this point: It is TOTALLY fine to add some fun money and splurges in, but it cannot be treat yourself every day.
- Have long term goals and plans. This could be its own blog post and better written by my husband. BUT, we definitely have a vision for our finances. We refinanced over a year ago and moved to a 15 year mortgage. Max has an Edvest education account. We both have retirement funds. We have long term plans and goals. It help us keep our short term vision aligned. Bottom line for this point: You HAVE to plan for the future.
- Thou shall not have credit card debt. Credit cards have the highest interest rates and the average American household has $15,355 of this type of debt. This is the first debt that needs to go. Drew and I pay our credit card balances off in full every month (no exceptions!). Bottom line for this point: Credit card debt should be focused on, paid off, and then not re-accumulated.
And will screw up and learn…
Drew and I were talking about this subject last night in bed and he suggested that I add a few places where we have screwed up and learned from. One that happened recently was that we COMPLETELY forgot about our home warranty when we were having a plumbing issue. This probably costed us hundreds of dollars because we just didn’t utilize something that we PAY FOR for situations like our leaking kitchen sink.
With my business launch coming up, the one place I forgot to add into our cost was for legal fees. This is a sizable expense, and something that we didn’t plan for. It is SO important for us to protect ourselves and our families. I took complete responsibility that I should’ve added this to our list of upcoming expenses.
Hope ya’ll picked up a tip or two from this post.