Shopping…

Okay, I just don’t get it; people my age are horrible grocery shoppers. Between my best friend and my boyfriend, I almost had an heart attack shopping with them.

Not only do they both believe junk food is cheap, they buy it in horrendous quantities; family-sized packs of Oreos, 24-packs of soda (or pop, however you want to say it), large bags of Doritos or Cheetos or any other chip product. And it’s just for them.

I don’t understand how they go into a store and avoid the produce section, or even the just-add meal section (like hamburger helper meals or things like that). It mystifies me.

It must mystify them too,  because one time I astounded my best friend when she asked me to pick her up groceries. She gave me $50 and just told me to get enough for her to make it through the week. I ended up getting enough for her for 2 and a half weeks for the price of $70; I ended up getting her several frozen meals she would just need to throw in the oven, bagels for breakfast, and various sandwich items. She was astounded that she didn’t need to eat the same thing 4 days in a row for every meal.

Maybe I’m just talented at grocery shopping?

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Budgeting…

One of the dirtiest words as an adult:

Budgets

One of the things I’ve learned recently is that people my age (18-23) rarely like to budget and fail to see the necessities of needing a budget.

For example, one of my friends is also going to school and has many costs associated with her education. However, she chooses to entertain bad habits while at school (especially partying). She called me a few weeks ago and was terrified of being kicked out of school next semester for her outstanding bill of $1200, but she had no idea how she was going to come up with that money within the 2 months she was given by the school.

If she had budgeted, as I have had to do for that past 18 months while paying off my own school debt and returning to school, she wouldn’t have been as concerned.

So here’s a quick step-by-step guide I use every month to make sure I stay on track and can stay in school:

  1. Write down each and every expense you have
    • This includes every single bill, the due date, and the amount due
  2. Analyze monthly income
    • This step is harder, as I get paid on an hourly-biases and not salary, so I try to breakdown my expected pay based on what days I know I’m working (i.e. if I know I’m gonna work 6 days out of 11-day pay period, then I only calculate my pay for those 6 days)
  3. Using a calendar or planner, write down each bill inside it’s respective due date and the amount.
  4. On the same calendar, write in your income on your expected pay dates (i.e. every other Friday, every Tuesday, the 1st and the 15th of the month)
  5. Now the hard part: Using your projected income, subtract all the expenses within that pay period
    • So if you get paid on the 1st and you have rent due on the 10th and a credit card payment due on the 5th, subtract those costs from the paycheck you received on the 1st.
  6. All money not spent on estimated bills can be used in a few ways:
    1. Put into savings, for rainy days occasions
    2. Put back into bills, such as loans, mortgages, maxed out credit cards, or any bill with a large balance
    3. if the amount saved is small, use it to treat yourself to a reward, such as going for ice cream or a movie
    4. Or it can be split up between any of those options
  7. The next hardest part is sacrifice:
    • Give up anything you absolutely do not need (partying, spa treatments, cleaners, dog walkers, services you don’t use, eating out…)
    • By giving up a lot of these expenses, you’re keeping money in your pocket. It’s hard at first, because you’ll think you really do need those things, but you can get by without a Starbucks every day or eating out every other night

It’s a process, but when you start to see the money piling up in your bank accounts, when you’re not as worried about making it to the next paycheck or if you’ll have enough for groceries that week, that’s when it starts to pay off.

There’s nothing wrong with needing help, so please let me know; I would be more than happy to help you set up a budget or help figure out how to handle paying off bills and loans.