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),