Why can't I manage my money properly?
So today I've been feeling a little frustated with myself that I can't seem to manage my money properly. Just some background: I'm in my mid 20's, recent college grad, working fulltime at the job I had all through college (which doesn't pay the greatest!), still haven't found a better paying job yet. I just don't understand where all my money goes when I have so few bills, I don't have rent or a mortgage to pay or any home related bills; just my cellphone, car ins, gas, and gym but I just feel like I can never get ahead in my quest to save money. I would say my spending habits aren't that bad, I do enjoy going out to bars/restuarants pretty frequently with my S.O., and I do buy things, but I'm definitley not the type who blows through every dollar they have on rediculous things like $90 jeans, $80 shirts, and $100 nights out 3 times a week. If anybody has been in my situation before and has any insight into how I can better manage and save my money please let me know, your help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for reading.
Yes I've been there, we all have. It's mainly due to a lack of income or plenty of income but too much spending. In most cases its the former.
Generally jobs these days barely just pay enough to survive but you go out and buy a few things - even if they're small and cheap and the cash soon wittles away. Then you'll have people try to convince you that you're bad at managing your money.
You're not bad at managing it, but like most folk you don't have enough money coming in to live the sort of lifestyle you'd be happy with. You need to sit down and work out a budget sheet. If you have MS Office on your PC then you can setup a spreadsheet to work out your outgoings and incomings. Deduct the outgoings from the incoming and then divide the leftover by the weeks in the month (roughly 4.5). Thats how much you can reasonably afford to spend on treats per week.
There are a lot more necessities (read: unnecessary things) today than there were 50 years ago. When you see older people that have accumulated wealth, it's because they grew up in an era where being outdoors for free was their gym, the phone was just an occasional convenience, and the internet and high-tech consumer purchasing didn't really exist. People fixed up their old cars, bicycles, and radios because things weren't made disposable back then. It was an era where old was often better than new.
It's not just you, but it's the entire mentality of the country that is going to hell in a handbasket. My best advice is to take a step back and figure out what your real goals are. Once you do that, you should be able to eliminate a lot of expenses that you once thought you really needed.
Being in your mid 20's is a good reason you can't save..lol..thats my scenario to, saving is really difficult to do, I found that when I was working a shyte job that didn't pay so well, it was impossible to save, because it's hard to when your not making much, which makes sense, but once I started making more money, and checking my bank account to see the number grow, it made me wanna save more and more, almost like a game.
But when your makin a little here n there, you just wind up living pay check to pay check, which 60% of the people in my country are donig, so your definitely not alone.
I bet once you get that job you went to school for, you'll make more cash, and be much more motivated to save, as for now, all the little expenses in life add up quick when your not makin much.
Today, 01:35 AM
Listening to the responses so far I feel better and agree with you guys in that its hard to save when you have an active social life and make little, I'm embarassed say exactly what my weekly paycheck is, but its always under $500, often under $400 depending on O.T. and holdiay pay and what not. I think it just vexes me because I used to do good at saving when I was younger (age 17-20) while actually making less than I do now, but to be honest I really didn't break out of my social shell until age 21, I didn't go out much at all and lived a pretty boring existence consising of school, work, and sitting around.
Some easy ways to cut down on daily spending habits is to look at the little things you spend everyday. Is it coffee, lunch, sodas, snack machines? Buy all of that at the grocery store and skip out on the deli stuff. Do you buy dinner everyday? Make it instead. Food and stuff are definitely in the top of daily spending habits one can cut easily by replacing it with food from the grocery store and making it yourself.
I've been searching for a heart of gold...
- Neil Young
I agree with the other posters who said that if your income is lower than what you need for your desired life habits, then you will never be able to get ahead.
But....one thing you CAN do to be proactive at this point in your life is to keep a log of all the money you spend for an entire month.
Either keep a small notebook with you or in your car, or bring all your receipts home and enter them in the log each night.
Just having a concrete record of where and how you actually spend your money will illuminate some places you might be able to cut back a little bit, even if your income is lower than what you want.
It might actually be easier to teach yourself money management skills while you are young and money is tight, this will help you avoid accumulating credit card debt when you do eventually start bringing in more income.
Write everything down, when, what and how much you spend.
Make yourself some spreadsheets and categorize it.
How about creating a budget also?
What are you saving goals? If its to put x amount of dollars away each month, do it first thing. Then divide up your left over money into the appropriate categories, and limit yourself and only spend that.
The easiest way to figure things out, is to track and budget.
If you've never seen the show "Til Debt Do Us Part.." check out this website.
She's very good at ways in how to get yourself on track financially.
Including an expense calculator [ie based on your income how much should go towards food, car, expenses etc]
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Get a budget... write it down... stick to it, but give yourself some wiggle room to have fun too so you don't feel pressured by it not to live.
Originally Posted by maverick554
Other than that, get a debit card and online banking and watch where your money is going... I think if you keep track, you'll be quite surprised and disgusted.
Until I got control of my money, I realized more than half of what I made in a month was going towards food and eating out... it's a bad habit that sneaks up on you.
edit* here's a good budget form you can print out on PDF
"Conversion is not like a flu shot!
It's more like being hit by a 30 ton logging truck..
..how can you say you've had an encounter with God, who's enormously larger than a 30 ton truck.. and not be PERMANENTLY changed?!
This is not anger, this is passion, and ALL passion is born out of anguish!"
Christ did not die so you could sin, but so that you would be free from its power over you!
That will burn through your cash faster than you can say Jack Flash. Think about it this way:
Originally Posted by maverick554
You spend $7.00 per drink. You have several drinks. You then pay for a cab home. You do this 2 nights per week and that adds up to $150.00 per week. Money you could be saving.
My opinion - stop drinking. You'll save a bundle.
I go on the lowest mobile cap plans and keep my expenses to a minimum.
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