On Budgeting

Happy September! Can you believe it? I keep hearing people say: “Where did the summer go?” When all I can think is, “Where has this entire YEAR gone?” I’m so looking forward to this month though. I have lots of family birthdays to celebrate, my sweet Danish family coming to visit, TWO brand new jobs starting (a full time position and an exciting work from home gig…more deets to come!), and ah…FALL! September might just be my favorite month.

Yesterday, my boyfriend and I opened joint checking and saving’s accounts. Eeeek! I joked before we walked in the bank that “This is it! No turning back!” He laughed…nervously (love you, my dear). But it’s really nothing to be afraid of! We’re celebrating three years together this month as well, (busy, busy month) and just decided it was time. We live together, so a lot of our bills are shared already. After discussing our options with my parents, they encouraged us to sign on the dotted line. We did, and feel great about the decision! 💸 💸 💸

I was pressured a bit by the man helping us to open a credit card with the bank. I firmly told him I wouldn’t be needing one. I have one credit card with a $500 limit, and that’s it. I can thank my mother for instilling good money management in me from a young age. However, I’m by no means perfect. I have always lived paycheck to paycheck, which is a cycle too many young people get comfortable with. I would argue that it’s really hard not to though…with student loans, car payments, rent, food, etc. etc. etc. on entry level salaries, it’s always something. But it comes down to priorities. Maybe you can “afford” to get a new pair of shoes, but not without maxing your budget (or whipping out your credit card). It’s my goal this fall to get out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle, while remaining financially independent from my parents.

So say it with me now…MAKE. A. BUDGET. And I don’t mean just saying you have one. Write it down. Write down every single bill you owe each month, and what dates they are due. Then write down how much money you’re bringing in (accounting for tax deductions, insurance policies, etc.), and the dates the checks are deposited in your account (I like to underestimate that number so there’s a little cushion there). Add up all your bills and deduct that number from your monthly income. Then deduct how much you want to save each month from that remaining number. Whatever is left is what you have for all the ~fun stuff~. It might not be much, but I promise it feels better to know if an emergency happens, you’re covered. No need to call and cry to your parents, or anyone else, because you’ll be able to save your own A$$ (get it).

It seems like such a common sense thing…but I had never made a real budget before moving to New York and knew none of my friends had either. And man, it’s a game changer. You feel SO empowered knowing exactly where every penny is going. Make one. You won’t regret it.

Check out my friend over at Quarter Life Poetry, she illustrates the struggle hilariously and will make you smile!
Check out my friend over at Quarter Life Poetry, she illustrates the struggle hilariously and will make you smile!

My boyfriend and I are setting a specific amount that we’ll each deposit monthly in our joint savings, then our joint checking will be used for our bills, then we still have completely separate accounts that can be used for personal expenses (or gifts for each other without being caught!). Having multiple “pots” of money has made it easier for us to manage and budget. At our bank you can even go online and nickname your accounts so it’s easy to know what to put where. Purchasing a house is several years down the road for us, but it’s exciting to know we’re taking the right steps to be prepared for when that day comes. What once seemed impossible is looking a lot more manageable now!

Are you financially independent? Do you have any special tips or tricks to budgeting? Share in the comments! And for more advice (from someone who knows a LOT more than I do about this stuff) check out The Financial Diet. I have this site bookmarked and check it regularly for really informative articles.

Cheers! (but only buy wine if you can afford it),

E

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Hello Old Friend

What a year it has been. Whew. And it’s not over yet! So…I’m back in the South. I left New York and moved back to Asheville, NC, to live with my boyfriend again and I haven’t been this content in a really long time.

It’s funny that this time last year I was in the same place, but not the same place at all. I wasn’t settled. I needed to get away. So, I went- to New York EFFING city. All alone. And I did it for six months. Without a doubt, it was the biggest half-year of personal growth I’ve experienced in my life.

Before moving away I depended on my relationship for my happiness. And my sadness. My successes, my failures. My relationship was everything. And while I’m always going to be the co-dependent type in relationships (ahem, I’m a cancer after all), I’m more confident and independent than I’ve ever been. And I will always owe that to New York City.

People didn’t think I could do it. Hell, I didn’t really think I could do it. But I took a deep breath, jumped, AND I DID IT. There were tears. There were laughs. Late nights. Early mornings. Drunk rides on the subway. New friends. Old friends. I learned so much about myself…about life.

Coming back doesn’t mean I failed, or that New York “beat me” as New Yorkers love to say when people move on. Simply, I missed my people. So rather than staying and being miserable to prove some invisible point to myself or others…I left.

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I’ll look back on my months in New York City with a smile for the rest of my life. It was a moment in time that I had dreamed about for so long, and now it’s on my list of “did that” rather than “do that.” And I’m so damn proud.

I’m excited to be writing again in this city surrounded by so much love and inspiration (…I have a rekindled love of the color green #concretejungle). It might be the end of yet another chapter for me…but this is really just a new beginning. Look out.

Love,

E

Whatever Floats Your Boat

Hey y’all!

First of all, I’m so SORRY the blog hasn’t been as regular as it was before I moved to New York. Sometimes life gets in the way! Along that line, ~life~ has been on my mind lately…and how different it is for all of us. Specifically, mid-twentysomethings.

Being from the South, people are generally married pretty young. And having babies young. That’s what I always wanted. I dreamed of the white picket fence and the dog and the older son and younger daughter by the time I was 30. It’s all I knew.

But, things have changed…completely. I have a couple weddings I’m going home for this summer to watch people under 30 tie the knot in the “traditional” way. Which is amazing and beautiful and I wish them all the best. However…the idea of that in my own life right now honestly makes me want to run away and not come back. And I’m entitled to those feelings as much as they’re entitled to their wedding rings.

I had pretty strong views about the world before moving here, but they’ve certainly been heightened, and sometimes challenged, by the people I live with, the people I work with…the culture I’m completely surrounded by. Plenty of 30-year-olds in New York City are single and focused on themselves, maybe contemplating a marriage before 40. Maybe.

That is not to say those humans are “right” or that the humans at home are “right” and New Yorkers are wrong! We’re all allowed to live how we want to. That’s what’s so beautiful about being alive, right? You get to decide.

It’s OK to be 23 and questioning your sexuality. It’s OK to be 20 and a mother with a husband. It’s OK to be 40 and not want kids or a traditional marriage at all! It’s when people start to get judge-y or preachy about how their life is best and your life isn’t, that I have a problem.

We’re young. We don’t have it all figured out (despite those that project that as a facade). AND THAT’S OK. I’m embracing that uncertainty in my own life as best I can (it’s not easy) and I hope you can try, too. Don’t beat yourself up. And don’t think you have to try and be anything that you’re not.

Cheers to letting go of judgements and embracing your now. Wherever that is, it’s more than OK.

-E

On Being Present

Do you ever have one of those moments where you’re like… “I’m in my life. I’m LIVING this blank.” Admittedly, it happens to me most when I’m eating. Like, that’s apparently when I’m super ~present~. For example: “This pizza is the best pizza that I believe has ever entered my mouth. I am going to take a moment to appreciate it because it’s completely and truly magical.” Obviously that’s not anything I’ve ever thought though. Borrowed from a friend.

Or when eating Peruvian food in New Jersey with someone you love (highly recommend).

But, on a more serious note…sometimes it’s bigger. Sometimes there are moments where you look around and are like… “I’m living this. I created this life that’s all around me.” And, that’s pretty fucking cool.

Those moments have been hitting me lately, mixed with extreme doses of anxiety. Ahem:

“Like, wow, I’m living in New York (proud).”

And then, approximately 30 seconds later… “WOW I’M LIVING IN NEW YORK AND SOMETIMES IT’S LONELY AND IT’S WINDY AND I’VE BEEN DRINKING A LOT AND SOMETIMES I SMOKE TOO AND SOMETIMES I MISS MY MOM MORE THAN I CAN EVEN HANDLE AND I’M TIRED OF ONLY SEEING CEMENT AND I MISS YOGA BUT IT’S SO EXPENSIVE AND I WONDER WHERE I’LL BE WORKING IN A MONTH (anxiety).”

But, basically, ultimately, really…it’s so cool when you can take a step back and just be happy to be where you are. And maybe not even be happy about it…maybe just to even see it is what matters. Especially living in this extremely fast paced city, it’s so easy to never check in. I could probably hop on the subway and get to work on autopilot with my eyes closed at this point. Like, a robot.

But it’s New York! In the Spring! This is what dreams are made of (right?)!

So…I’m trying to be in the moment. I’m trying to stop and smell the roses (at the market…where they live…because there is no grass…) and I’m trying to be thankful for everything I’m learning. About life. About friendships. About love.

Everything isn’t easy. I would venture to say nothing is easy right now. But. I fucking moved to New York City in the dead of winter alone and I’m fucking still here and I’m fucking proud of myself. That single moment (and other great ones since) will always be mine. And sometimes, the internets.

“It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing and there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. Right? And this bag was just dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. That’s the day I realized that there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video’s a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember… I need to remember… Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can’t take it, and my heart is just going to cave in.”

–Ricky Fitts, American Beauty

So, cheers to being present y’all- and seeing the beauty, wherever you may be.

–E