$14,000 in debt - how to pay it off?
April 12, 2014 2:11 PM   Subscribe

I'm 22. I have in total about $14,000 loan in a student line of credit. About $9000 was used when I was abroad on exchange for 6 months(my parents paid my fees, my flight, etc) I currently commute to school and spend, from the line, about $1000-$1400 a month on everything - food, commute, coffee, beer, going out, gifts. I don't pay rent at home, or anything else like groceries (though I mostly eat out when I'm at school...I still gorge on home food)

I realize this is a hell of a lot and wish to cut back. A lot of my spending is on food and going out, and I often will pay for friends' drinks and food (which is dumb). I am learning to cook the things I like and plan on eating out a lot less as soon as I move.

I'm moving to Toronto where I'll be paying $1000 for a tiny studio apartment. I soon will start my job (mid-May) that pays $40,000 + commission, which is on average around $8000 a year. I will be paid weekly.

I'd like to pay off the line of credit, which is interest free til June, ASAP while still enjoying my life.

I have some financial goals: pay for my brother's undergrad (he has 2 more years to go! hope I get a raise before then), take my mother on lots of vacations, invest in great property, etc.

What are some good tips that had you debt free after student loans in your early twenties? How did you cut back on an expensive lifestyle? How can I make my salary last and still create some savings?
posted by rhythm_queen to Work & Money (26 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Budget every single dollar, even if you have a category in your budget for unaccountable "fun money". YNAB has been a godsend for me. Their method works. If you're still a student, you can get it free until the end of the calendar year.

Just keeping track of spending in categories daily does wonders to curb spending, or does for me, anyway.

Their blog is filled with great anecdotes about saving for goals and paying off debt. Dave Ramsay is another oft-recommended source for insight.
posted by supercres at 2:20 PM on April 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Save 10% of your paycheck as soon as it arrives. More if possible. Do this as soon as it hits your bank account, preferably automatically. The money that you saved no longer exists for you. This will form your savings.

Put 20% towards paying off your debt. Again, more if possible. Again, do this as soon as it hits your bank account, preferably automatically. The good thing is, when your debt is gone, you have 20% more money to play with. Knowing that if you pay your debt off faster you get more money faster might spur you on to paying it off.

What's left over is what you have to spend. When it's gone, you have to wait until next month to start spending again. I do this, and it makes it so easy. I know I have X amount of money to spend, after Y and Z are taken out. Everything comes out of this - fun, rent, insurance, etc. I don't have to think about my debts or my savings, they're just automatically taken care of. If I don't have enough X to last the month, I either need to cut down on my expenditures or earn more so I have more X. Adapting to having less was difficult for a few months, but I adapted. I don't have the patience or skill for budgets and such.

Also read The Richest Man In Babylon. Or just read the Wikipedia article for free.
posted by Solomon at 2:27 PM on April 12, 2014

Food and drink is going to kill you as a young person in the big city, and that needs to be your #1 priority.

First, make a budget. Sounds like your take home will be less than $2,000 per month, and half of that is gone to rent right off the bat. If you want to start paying off your loan right away, money's going to be tight.

Whatever money you budget for drinks and dinners out, you should take it out *in cash* at the beginning of the month. That's your fun money, period. Nothing goes on the plastic, and when you run out of fun money for the month then that's it. You can do the same for grocery money if you're having a hard time sticking to your budget.

Mint.com really helped me just to see where all my money was going every month and made me a lot more concious of my spending habits.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 2:30 PM on April 12, 2014 [6 favorites]

YNAB is great.
You might also like the blog "And Then We Saved" written by a young woman who paid off a similar amount.
posted by jrobin276 at 2:41 PM on April 12, 2014

How set in stone is that bonus, and can you plan to apply it directly to that credit? Because that'll knock off almost your entire $9000 student debt in one go, and reduce your overall debt by more than half.

Re food and drink: learn to love beans and rice and drinking at home. But don't over-economize. I work long hours, and it turns out if I just buy the rock bottom cheapest dried beans and plain rice, that stuff will sit in my cupboard for months while I order takeout because "it's late, I'm tired". So instead I spend the extra 50 cents on canned beans and cheater short-cut frozen rice. It's a lot better than the $20 I'd have spent on takeout.

One trick I learned very quickly post-college, in a walkable city with great public transit -- pregame. Basically that means you do the bulk of your drinking at home before going "out", and then you nurse one drink while actually out with friends.

Don't stand people drinks or buy them dinner, as a matter of course (unless it a special occasion like a birthday, a date, etc).

You also have to learn to be mercenary about how you go out with friends. Get rid of any pride about going along to a nicer place than you can afford, for the sake of appearances or not wanting to rock the boat. Be the asshole who refuses to "just split it down the middle" when you got an app and tap water while everyone else ordered multiple courses and rounds of drinks.

Ditto for going out drinking. You get one beer. When the beer is gone, you're done (spending money on) drinking for the night. I don't care if your friends are all getting $20 cocktails. You're getting the cheapest thing on the menu, and you're nursing it to make it last. I still do this, and I'm in my thirties. I don't care, and I highly doubt anyone notices what I'm ordering. (Protip if you get dragged somewhere fancy that doesn't have a $3 beer special, or you need to be on professional grownup best behavior -- order a glass of cava or prosecco. It looks festive on the level of a cocktail, but is still like half the price.)
posted by Sara C. at 2:48 PM on April 12, 2014 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: thanks so much for the advice so far.

@no regrets, why am I only taking home 2000 monthly? 40,000/12 is 3333 and even with taxes it'd probably be more than 2, 000 right?

for anyone whose received commission on top of a salary, when do you receive a commission typically?
posted by rhythm_queen at 2:51 PM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

There are plenty of canadian payroll calulators online. I would use one, putting in the information you know to determine your takehome pay. I think you'll be surprised by the amount various witholdings eats out of your paycheck.
posted by atomicstone at 3:01 PM on April 12, 2014 [4 favorites]

I would just focus on the financial goal of being a debt-free independent adult. You do not pay for friends' drinks- you can't afford it- and your brother can figure out his own loan strategies when he graduates. You will be shocked at how low your take home pay is compared to your 'salary on paper'. Once you are paying rent, expenses and loan repayments, you will already have your hands full. Good on you for wanting to be generous but remember the airplane advice of putting on your own oxygen mask first.
posted by bquarters at 3:14 PM on April 12, 2014 [11 favorites]

The putting 10 percent aside, either in retirement (RRSPs in Canada?) And/or personal savings is always a good idea too- the whole 'pay yourself first' saying.
posted by bquarters at 3:16 PM on April 12, 2014

I did it by not having a car, cooking all my meals from scratch, not buying anything that wasn't a necessity, and only giving myself $20 a month for entertainment (like eating/ drinking out). Given your baseline (you're currently spending more than I did, and I was paying for rent and groceries!) I doubt that's anything like what you're going to be able to jump into right away. One thing that could help would be to make a point of not getting into expensive entertainment habits when you move. You never buy expensive coffee on your way into work because you make a habit of making your own. You never spend a bunch of money out with friends because you make friends with simpler tastes. Etc.

Suggestions to save 10% are nice, but nowhere near enough to pay off those loans and give you the freedom to do other things you want to do. If what you need is a baby step though, take it.
posted by metasarah at 4:06 PM on April 12, 2014

Find free entertainment and fill up your schedule with it. It cuts down the temptation and free time to go to clubs, coffeeshops, first-run movie theaters, and other places where you have to pay to participate. Some libraries show free movies and have cool events and lectures, many museums have one night per week with free entry, music schools often have free concerts. Aim to keep yourself stimulated and entertained on as little money as possible - it distracts from feeling limited by budget restrictions.
posted by cadge at 4:30 PM on April 12, 2014

Best answer: Seriously, cook for yourself. On weekend days for the week. I cannot tell you how much money this has saved me over the past three years. I spend maybe two hours on a saturday or sunday and make enough food to keep me from having to pay outrageous cash every day.

(I'm making enough that I don't have to worry at all. I still do it.)
posted by nevercalm at 4:33 PM on April 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Hi, I have pretty relevant experience. I graduated from a Canadian university in 2009 with $5000 less in my savings than I owed in student loans, and had saved enough to pay it off in about 1.5 years on a ~20k (tax-free) grad student salary. Since then I've been saving about $5k a year, again on ~20-25k takehome salary, or about $1700-2000/month (definitely less than your takehome will be for 40k gross).

It isn't hard, you just have to make it a priority and be conscious about it. I spend enough to enjoy life, but I spend money thoughtfully on the things that matter to me, not carelessly. e.g. I cook instead of eating out, I don't buy lattes because they're twice as much as a coffee and not much more delicious, I use the library instead of buying books, etc, but then I'll spend 100$ for ziplining or to see a show or whatever. You can easily google a million frugal tips online, but the most important thing is an overall lifestyle of being conscious about where you're spending your money, so you can cut back spending on the things that aren't worth it to you.

A huge help (nearly a requirement) for this is keeping a detailed record of all your monthly spending, to see where it all goes. You can do this with apps, by keeping receipts, or by paying everything with a debit or credit card and checking your statement at the end of the month (my preference because it's dead easy, but can be dangerous if you aren't able to control your credit card spending).

Hard to give specific tips without seeing your detailed spending record to see where the money's going, but I suspect you're losing most of it to eating out and/or drinking, like many people in their 20s. Some of that is fun of course but you can cut back on it quite a lot without much pain, if you do it thoughtfully.

Feel free to memail me if you want to see my spending record for comparison, although my city's a bit cheaper than Toronto. I spend about 1500$ a month total, including rent and everything else, but not including savings.
posted by randomnity at 4:36 PM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You are substantially overspending for your situation. Everything you listed that you spend on save your commute is completely discretionary. You functionally have no expenses. I can't even imagine what you do to spend over one thousand dollars each month in walking around money. You should be spending more like one hundred dollars a week with maybe 150 or 200 on your splurge week. Seriously. You are overspending.

I also think you can't afford to live alone and should give up the studio and get roommates and live in a boring neighborhood. That's how you pay off your debt. There's no way you can reach your (very admirable, especially helping your brother) financial goals with your current and planned spending habits.

My qualifications: I saved $12000 over two years in my first job out of college making half your salary. I did it by saving my tax returns, living with family, and only spending $75-100 per week. It's totally possible but not with your current spending habits. You'll be making more money so you can have a higher standard of living than me (living with roommates instead of family, eat/drink out more) but lower than the one you have now.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 4:41 PM on April 12, 2014 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Your pay will be about $2600/month after all taxes, not including the bonus (http://www.ees-financial.com/calculators/TakeHomePayCalculator.htm). You probably won't be able to give your mom lavish vacations or pay for your siblings' education until you pay down your debt and get a raise in a few years.

If I were you I'd continue living as closely to how you lived as a student (although undoubtedly you'll probably have to make some work-related clothing purchases), and put as much as you can towards your debt, like $800-$1000/month until it's gone. $14 000 is really not that much to pay off, you can do it! Treat your bonus as a chance to pay down more debt, once your debt is gone you can switch to sticking your bonus into savings.

Try to limit your socializing that requires you to buy food and drinks, easier said than done in TO, but not impossible. Or eat a bit before you go out so that you can be satisfied with less food while you're out. When I used to eat out rarely I'd treat myself (so appetizer, drinks, dessert), but now I remind myself that I can always order more food next time, so I try to stick to one drink and one food menu item, or no drink and just food.

For clothing, look into building a capsule wardrobe so you can look good with less items, don't buy anything if it's not on sale unless it's the sort of thing that never goes on sale and is going to last you several years (like a solid pair of boots/shoes).

Everyone looks like they have lots of money in TO but remember that almost everyone has very high debt levels, which you DO NOT WANT. If you can eliminate your debt asap and start saving before you're 25 you'll be doing really well for yourself.
posted by lafemma at 5:00 PM on April 12, 2014

My tip, based on painful experience: budget based on the assumption that you will never make any commission.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:01 PM on April 12, 2014 [4 favorites]

for anyone whose received commission on top of a salary, when do you receive a commission typically?

You will typically receive your commission monthly, about one month in arrears. So, if you made a commission in March, you will see the money for that in one of your April paycheques.

I previously worked in sales and our commission structure was set up so that commission was paid up to 100% of target, but anything over was held until the end of the year so if you had a few bad months they didn't have to ask for money back (always awkward!). That position had a much higher ratio of commission to salary though, so I expect you will receive your commissions in full each month.
posted by valoius at 6:22 PM on April 12, 2014

1. Buy a flask for when you're out with friends. Take a pull on the streets if you feel morally obligated to the business model of the drinking establishments you're at, refill your drink with it if not.
2. Bike to work, if/when you can. It'll save you most of your public transit costs, and will make Rob Ford mad.
3. Specifically with regards to cooking: I pretty much knew how to cook, but was bad at making meals in practice until I built up a repertoire of goto recipes, mostly big pots that last for days: vegetarian chili, chickpea tomato curry, etc. If you don't have family handmedowns to equip your kitchen, read Mark Bittman's New York Times article about equipping a kitchen for $200 at a restaurant supply store.
4. Buy clothes at the thrift store. If the thrift store doesn't have nice enough things, try youth-oriented clothing resellers, e.g. the Buffalo Exchange chain. Only buy new if you can't find what you need there after a few weeks hunting.
5. I doubt you're planning on it in Toronto, but don't buy a car, and especially don't buy a new car. Insurance + depreciation + gas = all your money.
6. No cabs. If you 'need' a cab to get home, you drank too much. Drink less.
7. You can save a lot of money living with roommates, and good ones are good to have when you're moving to a new city alone. If you haven't already signed a lease, seek out a shared situation.

I paid off my larger American student debt in just over a year by doing these things, though I was also fortunate to have a higher starting salary.
posted by akgerber at 7:47 AM on April 13, 2014

going out, gifts, I often will pay for friends' drinks and food, pay for my brother's undergrad, take my mother on lots of vacations,

You can't buy love. You will also find, after you have spent yourself into the poorhouse, most people that enjoyed your largesse will not help you out - or, if they do, they will resent you for spending your way into failure. Your only goal should be future financial stability for yourself.
posted by saucysault at 7:52 AM on April 13, 2014 [8 favorites]

Oh, and make your own coffee. They'll probably have free coffee at the office, and if it's garbage, a French press is cheap. You can make cold brew really easily in the summer, too: mix coffee grounds and water, let sit overnight, filter and pour a cup and add ice. I have no idea why everyone sells iced coffee for 2x as much as drip.
posted by akgerber at 7:56 AM on April 13, 2014

I didn't think you were doing so badly until the part where you live at home and don't buy groceries. We're spending almost the same amount of money!! I can't understand what you are spending it all on. If I wasn't paying for groceries and living expenses my bills would be about $300 a month. Where is the rest of that money going?

If you move in with roommates you can get a decent place for $600-700 downtown and near transit. (It is much easier to find a nice place when you move in with people looking for a replacement. The really awesome rentals never even hit the market, they get taken by friends of the people who live there.). That's $4800-$3600 extra a year. That doesn't even take into account splitting other bills, like hydro and internet. You'd have the debt paid off in 3 to 4 years just from the rent saved.

The one really concerning thing is that you are completely aware that paying for your friend's foods and drinks is dumb, but you are still doing it. It won't help you to have people give you pointers on saving money if you aren't going to follow them, even when you agree with them.
posted by Dynex at 1:09 PM on April 13, 2014

Response by poster: @Dynex, it's going to food at restaurants, coffee, going out, makeup. (Wow, I sound pretty vapid lol but I'm keeping it real.)

And yes, it is concerning, but I'm DEFINITELY going to make a change in my spending habits...can't let myself to go the poorhouse buying my friends drinks.
posted by rhythm_queen at 1:20 PM on April 13, 2014

That doesn't sound vapid, and I spend money on a lot of the same things. Just significantly less.

Also the fact that I am allergic to caffeine has saved me so SO much money over the years. I highly recommend not developing a coffee habit. It's better for your anxiety, your health, and your wallet.

If you struggle with not buying things for your friends, and that is really the kind of behaviour that is hard to stop if you don't deal with the underlying emotional reasons WHY you are doing it, seriously consider shelving some of those $$$ plans of yours and spending that extra money on therapy instead. Trust me, it's way better to deal with it in your early 20s instead of your early 30s. It doesn't get better on its own. Advice I wish I'd taken :/
posted by Dynex at 7:22 PM on April 13, 2014

I have some financial goals: pay for my brother's undergrad (he has 2 more years to go! hope I get a raise before then), take my mother on lots of vacations, invest in great property, etc.

I often will pay for friends' drinks and food (which is dumb).

rhythm_queen, I don't mean to be presumptuous and I'm just saying this because I remember answering a couple of your other questions and see some of myself in you. If things don't actually apply to you, though, just write them off and no hard feelings, OK?

Please remember to *take care of yourself first.* You are earning that money to take care of *you.* NOT to pay your debt to the bank, not to educate your brother, not to give your mom what she thinks she's owed in life, not to make sure your friends like spending time with you, not to justify your existence or any respect or love you get, NOTHING. That money is to keep you housed, fed, and reasonably comfortable/secure (physically), now and in the case of emergency. Make sure that your money is working to take care of YOU, in the most immediate sense, before you start thinking about where else it might go.

So bills come first, because paying them keeps a roof over your head. Groceries and other essential non-bill spending comes next, because paying for that stuff keeps your body fed and healthy. If something is essential to your mental health or happiness, I think it's OK to put it in those categories -- I think it's OK to put the money you spend on clothing or makeup in that part of the budget. I'm a single woman in my late twenties, and it's been very stable over my life that I've spent about $1300-1600/mo on bills and what I consider essential spending -- whether I'm living in a $850 studio in Baltimore five years ago or $900 1-br in LA this past year. As a rough estimate, I would guess about $100/mo for utilities, $50/mo for cable/internet, $75/mo for cell phone, $250/mo for groceries (cooking at home most of the time, but cooking cheaply). ($2600 - $1600 = $1000)

Then comes making sure you can stay housed and fed even if anything bad happens, aka, savings. I think the goal for that is usually about 25% of take home (and I'd say your take home before commission, because I don't think you should be counting on the commission before you get it, just so you don't get yourself in a tight spot). Right now, you might want to be trying to sock away enough to feel a pinch, because it doesn't sound like you have much of a nest egg? Still, since your expenses are relatively high, 25% might be pushing it -- just try not to dip below 10% of your monthly net. You'll have to figure out for yourself how large of a liquid nest egg you need to have accessible to feel secure (I feel best with about $5K, but I think the rule of thumb is an amount equal to about 4-6 months' worth of normal spending/expenses). Don't throw extra money anyplace else (including investments or your loan or treating people) until you have a liquid nest egg that you can rely on if there's an emergency. You do *not* want to make yourself vulnerable unnecessarily, you do *not* want to put yourself in a position where you have to rely on anyone else to make sure you're housed/fed/"OK," or into a position where you have to count on anyone else to keep your life from falling apart because of some dumb accident or mistake -- this is your safety net to make sure you never are in that position. ($1000 - $350 = $650)

After that, I'd frankly put fun/discretionary spending. Personally, I try to give myself an allowance. For me, it's because I have a hangup about spending money and will be semi-self-destructive about cutting back *too* much at the expense of having a fun, healthy life. Even if you don't veer in that direction yourself, though, I think that an allowance is a good way to go, because it helps keep you on track and makes your expenses easy to estimate. Personally, I ideally give myself $150/wk (and any eating out or restaurant spending or gifts or apartment stuff come out of that, too). That might be a bit high, though -- as a rule, I don't spend anywhere near all of it, which is how I can afford to do that. Try to give yourself at least $100/wk, regardless, because if you aim too low you're just going to feel deprived, which just sets up a shitty famine/feast dynamic in terms of spending money, which isn't helpful either. ($650 - $450 = $200)

After *that* I think comes your longer term financial goals, the first of which is probably going to be your loan. So, if I were you, I'd probably be putting about $200/mo + the commission money toward the loan.

Once you have a nest egg and your apartment is comfortable, then you might need/want to rethink the amounts you're putting aside for your short term savings (the $350ish/mo) and the amounts you're putting aside for long-term goals (the $200ish/mo + commission), but I definitely wouldn't sacrifice that safety net for a happy loan officer right now. If anything bad happens, you can dip into those savings to stay on your feet, but you can't get back any of that money you gave to the bank early to get rid of that loan ASAP.

In terms of your other long-term goals and predilections -- I completely understand the impulse to take care of your family and friends (and this bank who "believed in you" enough to give you a credit line, etc) and to try and give them everything you think they need/deserve/want. That's logistically impossible though -- however much you give them, they'll always need/deserve/want more. I know it *feels* selfish to keep anything back, but it's actually kind and responsible to make sure you take good care of yourself (so that others won't have to).

If your mother (for example) asks/needs you to give her money every month, look into your budget and see if you can plausibly do that. If you can't (and I would strongly suggest that you can't right now), but you don't want to feel you're abandoning her, try to come up with some *non-financial* way to help instead (for example, by cooking a meal for the family every week and bringing it over or something). Remember (!) to keep some (financial and otherwise) boundaries in place though. Maybe even think about those boundaries now, write them down, and abide by them. Life isn't fair and it is cruel, to many, many people, and you *cannot* correct that imbalance for anybody, even people you love. Before you give or do something for someone, make sure that it's a *favor* rather than a *sacrifice* -- if you're thinking of making a sacrifice, say no (do not try to talk yourself into it or convince yourself you'd "also be better off"). I know that sounds unromantic and even cruel, and it sort of is -- but once a person starts taking from you, he/she will continue to take from you until there's nothing to take anymore. Which is worse for everyone, because then that person relying on you is a mess, and at that point, you are, too. So make sure you guard yourself -- nobody else will.

You don't *owe* anybody any of this anyway. You've got *nothing* to prove. You don't have to justify or prove to anyone that you deserve their respect or love. You already deserve it and you'd deserve it if you weren't able to give anyone a red cent in your life. Please, please, please safeguard *your* independence and security first. Also, make sure that you're not spending money trying to buy something that isn't for sale (like respect or love).

Again, I'm so sorry if this is presumptuous, I really don't mean to be. Just trying to be real about what kinds of financial dangers you might face. It seems like maybe you're prone to trying to spend money on taking care of others or making yourself as pleasing to them as possible, and that is a financial *black hole.* It will beggar you without making anything appreciably better for anyone else. Doing that stuff isn't dumb, it's actually kind and generous. But it's also a sure way to undermine yourself, and your security, and your independence, and with it, your confidence -- so make sure you don't do it! :)
posted by rue72 at 9:08 PM on April 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

I am a big believer in making money count for something. Treat yourself, but rarely. Live spartanly, but find space for the little luxuries.

re: Make-up:

Decent make-up is expensive. I do a shitload of research before buying ANYTHING, and I treat myself rarely. I pretty much never buy drugstore make-up, but a few times a year, I buy really nice NARS or Urban Decay products that I use all the time. That is my general shopping philosophy, as well, but I think with make-up, it can be a bit more difficult to not let your money trickle away in a drugstore cosmetics aisle.

Re: Drinking -

I cringe reading advice to bring a flask - if you're going out to drink, fucking go out to drink! Just spend your money wisely and don't do it too often. Really and truly, going out drinking a lot is going to sap your energy, make you gain weight, and isn't conducive to being a grown-up, generally speaking. I work at a restaurant and I am one of the few who doesn't blow too much of her tip money on booze at the end of every shift. It's dumb. Cut back and you'll have more fun when you go out and have fun.

I don't spend a lot of money at restaurants, but I do like good booze. I treat myself maybe once a month to a night out with friends during which I spend a decent chunk of change (still less than $30) on the good shit. Drinking less also means I require less booze to get a buzz! Make it count. Make every dollar count.

Also, don't have rich friends. Sort of kidding. Not really.

Don't take cabs!

Cook for yourself. Make your own coffee. If you must go out for coffee, do it in a similar "Treat yourself" way, and do it as an occasional treat. A month or so ago, I got an almond milk cappuccino from this really hoity toity hipster coffee shop in LA. It was at least $5. I will do it again in the future. For now, it's my own coffee at home and the shameful gas station coffee every now and then.

I think everyone else has touched on your emotional issues with buying things for other people. That's concerning. I don't really know what else to say, but you need to figure that shit out.

I've had some financial issues in my life, but honestly, the best thing I've ever done is to learn to balance being a total miser with being a lady who likes the finer things in life. I buy an expensive-ish pair of boots that lasts for two years. I don't buy another pair of boots. I take care of my stuff. I buy things and food and drinks that I genuinely like, and the rest of the time, I am not mindlessly pissing my money away. My friends who spend too much buy cheap shit and do it too often. I suspect that you are just letting money trickle away, and you need to cut back, but I think it also helps to carve aside a part of your budget that you can spend on fun stuff. Just make sure the fun stuff is worth it.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 10:48 PM on April 13, 2014

the best thing I've ever done is to learn to balance being a total miser with being a lady who likes the finer things in life.

This is awesome and totally my philosophy too. You can't afford everything- decide what's really important to you. I buy expensive food -cheese, chocolate, organic this and that, but don't buy clothing very often- and definitely try to minimize bar bills and restaurant bills. If you owe money, you can't afford cabs either- luxury items and extravagant gestures (picking up other people's tabs) are for when you're rolling in it, not when you are figuring out budgeting strategies to pay off debt...every dollar counts, seriously. When you calculate the interest you will see- do you really wanting to be paying triple the amount for Tina's drinks or that cute shirt five years from now? Give or take the exact figures, that's what happens, buy now on credit, pay more later- if and especially if you can't afford it in the first place.
posted by bquarters at 10:42 AM on April 14, 2014

« Older Interpreter turned psychologist - navigating a...   |   I will survive! But I'd like to keep my sanity... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.