Financial Perspective: 4 Tips For Post-Grads

 

Financial Perspective The Post Grad Mindset

In post-grad life one of the biggest issues I’ve encountered is how to properly allocate money and my spending. After about of  year of implementing some of my own personal savings strategies, I’ve developed a plan that works for me. I’ve compiled some helpful tips below:

Tip 1: Reward Yourself 

Reward YourselfWhen most people embark on a mission to save money the mentality  is to take things away. In all honesty, who likes giving up something they love? In my experience, absence makes the heart grow fonder.  You’ll start to miss what you gave up, whether it’s your gym  membership or your daily cup of coffee.

So keep drinking your daily cup of coffee, and keep your gym  membership. They are part of your routine, messing with your routine will be a lot harder on you. It’s better to tackle those impulse buys first.  Sometimes impulse buys blend so well into your daily routine you don’t think twice – great example: running shoes. You’ll rationalize buying a new pair of shoes because you have a gym membership.

One thing that’s worked for me is taking that impulse buy and “bookmarking” it. For me, I use Pinterest and pin items I want to a secret board. Then at the end of the month I’ll look at my Pinterest board and see what on the board I still want. Sometimes you’ll find those running shoes are a lot less appealing 30 days later. Other times you’ll find you still want them.

The goal is to limit yourself to one purchase per month off your Pinterest board. If you don’t use Pinterest simply keep a list. Some things you’ll actually end up buying, but generally speaking a few items won’t matter as much after a month or two. Over time you’ll transform the way you buy, by starting to buy the items you really need.

But here’s the most important part. Each month you buy something of the board. That way you’re rewarding yourself on a regular basis.

Tip 2: Save a set amount each monthsave a set amount

The same way you pay your rent or mortgage each month, you should be putting money into your savings account. I like to think of this as “paying” your savings account. It’s okay to start small, the point is getting yourself into a habit of making the same payment each month. Once you are into the routine of putting the money away, you’ll hardly miss it. One thing my dad set up for me at a young age was an automatic transfer of a small amount, $75 each month, into my savings account. You should be able to set something similar up, this way it is automated and even if you forget your bank account does the work for you.

As you start to earn more money, consider increasing the amount you save each month. Especially when you receive a bonus or raise allocate as much as possible to your savings “payment” each month.  Even if it hurts to put money away now, at the end of the day you are paying your future self. By saving a set amount each month you are avoiding living paycheck to paycheck.

Tip 3: Evaluate Your Income

Sometimes there’s opportunity right in front of you. It could be looking for opportunities in your current career or explore small side jobs that you might be able to takeevaluate your income on in your free time. It doesn’t always work but it’s definitely worth exploring for the benefits of added income. One small word of caution is to make sure your side job doesn’t take away from your overall career goals. However, if your career isn’t quite your passion then you should strongly consider a side job that falls better in line with something you love doing. The best part about this is you won’t only potentially be making extra money, but hopefully you’ll be able to invest your time in something you love.

And the money you make with this side job should ideally go straight into your savings. If you rationalize this extra money as a reason to spend more, at the end of the day you’re just falling back on old habits. Make an effort to put that extra money into your savings!

Another, lesser known way to evaluate your income is to check up on any investments you’ve made. Perhaps you’ve set up an investment portfolio or your parents passed it onto you after college? Make sure you understand where your money is going. This might also be a good time to consider making a regular contribution to your investments, the same way you transfer money into your savings (if you follow tip 2).

Tip 4: Make Sure You’re Living Within Your Means 

If you’re read this far you’ve made it to one of the hardest tips to follow – living within your means. By living in this case, I literally mean where you live. One of the largest expenses you’ll pay will be rent. That being said, as a living within your meansgeneral rule of thumb it’s ideal to keep your living expenses at 30% or less of your total monthly income. Sure, this might mean you can’t have the place of your dreams. But look at it this way, in the long-term you’ll be saving more of the money (if you follow tip 2) so one day you can afford a house, car, or other large purchase that you want.

Hopefully some of these tips help you. Happy saving. 🙂

Summer Staycation

Mt. Saint Mary's College

The view from the top!

Even if you aren’t able to take a nice vacation this summer you can still indulge in the approrpriately titled “staycation” at home. The beauty of a staycation isn’t only the money you’ll (hopefully) save by not splurging on a vacation, but the fact you can stumble upon some activities that you probably are overlooking in your own backyard. Sometimes a staycation includes some figurative travel outside of your comfort zone. I definitely ventured past the borders of my comfort zone this past weekend when I embarked on a mountain hike that was off the beaten path. There were multiple times I wanted to turn back, including but not limited to the moments when:

  • The security guard warned us about rattlesnakes being very common in this area.
  • I heard movement in a bush.
  • We could hardly keep our footing climbing up the steep hill.
The whole time I kept thinking “I could just book a flight to Hawaii,” instead of being covered in dirt on a mountain. However, for someone like myself who is always thinking about a million things at once sitting on the beach in Hawaii would not have been very relaxing for me. My toes might be covered in sand but my thoughts about work and life would have never left LA. While climbing the mountain there was absolutely no way I could not think about what I was doing, and because of that it was the perfect vacation.  It also has made me a little more open to doing some more LA hikes in the future.  So I encourage you all to venture past your comfort zone this summer for your staycation. You never know what adventure awaits! 🙂
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All of these things considered, getting to the top of the mountain was definitely worth it.  All-in-all I was glad I made to the top.

Meals by Jackie: Roasted Chicken & Root Veggie Salad

Roasted Chicken

“It’s easy to impress me. I don’t need a fancy party to be happy. Just good friends, good food, and good laughs. I’m happy. I’m satisfied. I’m content.” 
 -Maria Sharapova

My roommate is a very talented cook, and baker by profession so I figured was worth creating a section of my blog to highlight some of her meals. This is a lifestyle blog and my lifestyle is not complete without my nightly dinners with friends prepared by my very gifted best friend, Jackie.

I personally am an aspiring cook, “aspiring” being they key word. However, to be honest most of the time I just sit in awe of Jackie. Her ability to take what ingredients she has and create a fantastic dish is a true talent. I, on the other hand, get upset if I go to a restaurant and they don’t have my go-to menu item: the cheeseburger. She’s helped me expand my food palate, which is remarkable considering the list of foods I don’t want to eat or even try is longer than the list of what I will. We haven’t even shared an apartment yet for a year and I’m already eating three times more vegetables than I have my entire life.

So, how do we manage to have these fantastic meals every night? Jackie, our neighbor,and I have an arrangement that works well for us at this point in our lives. We all split grocery costs, Jackie makes the meal and our neighbor cleans up. Every single night we sit down and have a” family” dinner. It’s fun to pull together all the ingredients we have in our apartment and our neighbor’s and create these amazing meals. We also welcome friends to our nightly dinner, on one condition-they bring a bottle of wine to contribute. The wine is a dinner staple and it’s also a great deal because I know nothing about wine, besides that I only like white wine so I’m trying new ones each night. At this meal, pictured here I tried Acronym wine which I’ll admit at first taste seemed to bitter for me but after another sip I realized it was more of a fruity flavor which wasn’t bad at all. I’d definitely buy it again because it is incredibly affordable for one, and tasty! This whole arrangement has been nothing but fun so far and I find myself excited to go home each day to share food, wine, and laughter with all of our friends.

Roasted Chicken

Roasted chicken with beet greens, rainbow chard, and leeks.

plateofchicken

Root Veggie Salad

Root Veggie Salad: Gold and red beets, purple potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, arugula, mixed baby greens, green onions, pomegranate seeds, with an Oroblanco and black garlic vinegarette.

Girls Night In

Anthropologie Mug

Tea, magazines, and nail polish are the perfect ingredients for a girls nights in. I try to use my nights in to unplug from the world, and that means no computer, phone, or television. It’s incredibly hard the first time you do it, but eventually you get used to it. It helps after a bad day, or just a long week. Pulling yourself away from social networks alone will do wonders for you!