Fun with money

The first thing I will say is that this title is probably very misleading. This post isn’t about the fun you can have dropping a couple of hundred thousand dollars at the Gucci store. This is about the fun things I’ve learned that really aren’t that fun, but help me have fun (this is a very overt way of saying that if you budget well, you can have all the dollarz to buy new shoes AND pay your rent- what?!).

I’m the first to admit that I’m really not that great with money. My brother was always the one into finance and I made it through being the hippy, happy-go-lucky one. That was until I learned about monthly pay runs. When I was a student, I was being paid fortnightly in my part time job – that was hard enough! Once I left uni, I found the next greatest challenge wasn’t a lack of money, it was a great lack of financial planning. It was a steep learning curve after spending a week eating almost exclusively tuna and rice (no I don’t regret buying that extra kookai dress on sale).

If you’re like me, you’re well aware that there zillions of resources online to help you out with budgeting etc., but have absolutely no motivation to troll through them. Like yes, duh, of course it’s helpful to put your spare change in a jar and see how much you get after 365 days. However, actual cash and I rarely make friends, so in reality, a lot of these tips just aren’t that applicable. Thus (I love the word thus..), I decided to compile all the things I’ve learned since converting to monthly salary that mean I don’t run out of money for essential things like Taco Tuesday at Mexicali Fresh. And here they are:

  1. Budget. Ain’t no way you’re going to get through the month without some sort of figures guiding your spending. Trust me – $20 for dinner out here and $5 for coffee there really adds up and before you know it you’re back to instant coffee for the next 3 weeks. My friend gave me a great website (shout out to Katie for being a solid good adult) that has an excel budget template that I use. I update my spending weekly (or at least try to, it’s important to have aspirations). If you spend more on one category consistently, it may be good to adjust your budget.
  2. Utilise online banking; i.e. be the dick at the checkout who stands there idly on your phone transferring money to the account that’s linked to your card. This way, every time you make a purchase, you’re forced to think about what you’re spending money on and how much you have left for that thing. For example, I added online accounts to my ASB where I transfer lump sums for food, rent, entertainment and petrol at the beginning of the month. I consider these to be essentials and this way know that at least I’ll be able to drive to work 25 days into the pay cycle.
  3. Be promiscuous – have relationships with multiple banks. My best saving tip is to sign on with another bank where you have just a savings account that’s not linked to any card.  When I get paid, I transfer a certain amount of my pay to this account and aim to leave it there. If I need to tap into my savings because the dog peed on my laptop and no longer works (yes this actually happened -_-), then it takes at least a day to process and I know that I’m not just wasting money on the pair of shoes that are only on sale today…
  4. Know that shit happens. When doing your budget, try and set aside money for the annoying things that you can’t plan for. Like your car breaking down on the way to Tauranga or the aforementioned laptop issue. My friend has two savings accounts – one for long term (your Bali trip this September) and one for emergencies. Disclaimer –  I don’t actually do this, but if I was properly money savvy, I would…
  5. At the risk of letting this run on, I’ll wrap it up for a nice even 5. My final money saving tip seems pretty basic, but is worth a mention – find another things to do. I would say a good 90% of my spending seems to go on food and eating out. My suggestion is to turn cooking parties into social gatherings. A personal favourite is to go for a walk (it helps to pitch it as an ‘adventure’) and then make brunch at home afterwards. You can do french toast and champagne for about $8 per person, opposed to an easy $25+ in a cafe.

There you have it  – 5 somewhat easy ways to be better with money and show off how successful you are as an adult human being. Now reward yourself with a nice bottle of champagne. Go on, you earned it. Jokes, remember how much better that champagne will taste from a vineyard in France #savinggoals.

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