Unfortunately, I have very expensive taste. I only wear designer jeans (as I have convinced myself they better fit my tall frame) and I drool over top of the line handbags. I started this journey when a location and career change forced me to leave behind my wonderful salary and start from scratch…my first few weeks making less money than a minimum wage employee. Originally my intentions were to save money on the things I needed, like laundry soap and food, so that I could continue to buy the things I wanted, like this seasons hot Marc Jacobs sunglasses!
However, somewhere along the line my entire paradigm has shifted. Perhaps it just me getting older, or maybe my parents financial wisdom is kicking in. It could even be advice I read from the monthly subscription of Kiplinger’s magazine seeping its way into my daily actions. I’m not really sure when or how it happened, but this journey has become more than just ‘how much I can save at the grocery store,’ and has become a life lesson…teaching me no matter how little money you make, you can still have everything you want! When you have more than you want it allows you to be charitable (as I have all ready begun to give away some of my free drugstore items to friends and homeless shelters). Saving money and growing your financial portfolio is a lifestyle change! Just like when you make the decision to lose weight. You cannot win with just a “crash diet” and aimless exercise. You must correct the bad behavior, learn the proper techniques of good nutrition, and implement them into your daily life. You cannot lose 20lbs over night, nor will a diverse financial portfolio and plush savings account just “appear.” We all can make minor changes…baby steps that will become walking strides and then sprints toward our goal. Like all good things in life, it takes time.
I read a fantastic article in this month’s Kiplinger’s magazine that discussed finding your money “leak” and plugging it! Track your spending to find out where you frivolously spend money. Do you buy a coffee out every morning, go to lunch with your co-workers 5x a week, easily drop $300 at target, or rack up huge bar tabs? As lame as it sounds my “leak” are books. Even this weekend in NYC I could not walk by a street vendor (selling what I’m sure are stolen books from the library) without buying one. I have decided to make a lifestyle change by taking a weekly trip to the library. Not only do I LOVE the library, but perhaps it will curb my urge to buy a book. I do not need any more books and that money could have been placed into my savings account.
I guess my point is, stick with it. Don’t get frustrated if you do not see instant savings at the grocery store, and don’t feel like you have to deprive yourself of all things you may want. Attempt to make small lifestyle changes. Just because we shop with coupons does not mean we are “cheap.” It means we have found balance with our life….