Preface: to set up the way I think, this post is coming from a stereotypical Dutch girl who gets a rush of excitement when she drives in the rain. Why? It’s a free carwash. I like a good bargain.
I first met Lesley-Anne Scorgie when I was in 2nd year university. I was a delegate in the Queen’s Canadian Leadership Conference and she was a keynote speaker. At that point she was the author of two books, Rich by Thirty and Well-Heeled - books geared at helping people make the most of their dollars. I’m sad to report, though, that my immaturity didn’t take advantage of the ideas she presented and I spent the next 4 years of my life continuing to do what I did best…. Spending every penny my parents dished out, taking train trips like they were no big deal, procrasti-perusing Urban Outfitters more often than I should, and treating myself to celebratory Lululemon on the reg.
Looking back, my older and wiser self now sees that blowing all my (albeit minimal) money on these things didn’t make or break my university years, but I’m sure glad I got it out of my system. Fast forward to spring 2016, a Facebook friend of mine booked Lesley-Anne as the keynote for her sweatworking event. While I was unable to attend, my now grownup interest was piqued when I saw her name come across my social media feeds and I followed her instantly. Lesley-Anne was running a promo: ask her a financial question and I could win a copy of her newest book, Modern Couples Money Guide [click to be linked to where to buy].
Money questions, I had plenty. Don’t we all? But what I wondered most as I am about to embark on my journey as a career woman is what percent of my income I should tuck away. I wanted to start from my very first big girl paycheque.
Getting a tweet back from someone famous is a thrill. It’s only happened to me a couple of times and has always had to do with the hockey sportscasters I bother. This time, I not only got a tweet back but my question was the first one chosen and I would now receive my very own copy of Modern Couples which from that moment forward I held closely and referred to as “My Finance Book”. This book and Lesley-Anne’s wisdom came into my life at such an opportune time what with my new employment adventure coming up. Appointments with my RBC Advisor, pre-empted by readings about saving and investing saw me inspired and excited about my frugality. Her response? Smart savers tuck away between 15 and 20% of their income.
A lot of us dream about buying something wild with our first paycheque. Before my brother spoiled me with a fancy shmancy designer bag for my birthday, that had always been my goal. But now I see myself inspired to save from my very first paycheque, knowing what it could turn into and knowing that the old soul in me is after the comfort of a little security.
I’ve already posted about ways to save when it comes to food (read: Chapter 35 - Waste Not Want Not). But there are a number of other things you can do to avoid frivolous spending that really isn’t adding value to you or your life. I’m not talking about being a fun sucker… if going to a concert or buying that pair of jeans will genuinely make you happy then do it! I try my best not to get sucked into the FOMO social media generates. Instead of feeling like I’m missing out by not going to EVERY SINGLE country concert, I choose one a year to treat myself. Last year it was Shania, and this year I’m hoping it will be the Dixie Chicks… two very epic, once in a lifetime experiences. Similarly, when it comes to shopping I’ve learned to do a couple things: there comes a time when we need certain items (a good pair of jeans, a suit for interviews). Other than those times, when it’s something tempting and unnecessary in the grand scheme, I calculate how many hours I have to work for it and then reconsider how badly I really need it.
I’ve also taken advantage of the sharing society we millennials embrace. I drive a lot, as my mom would tell you my car is always tearing one way or another up and down the 401. In a long distance relationship Joey and I quickly learned the benefits of subsidizing our weekend visits by offering rides on Rideshare. In doing this we made our gas money back (usually in full, sometimes with enough of a profit to cover the weekend’s spending money) and we enjoyed meeting new people to chat with for the long ride. Something we’d be doing anyway, but covering the money it costs and having company for the trip.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that as 20-somethings in an image driven culture it seems that getting your hair, nails, waxing, and tanning done is a necessary monthly expense. But me being me, I get my hair cut twice a year. I get more of a thrill of posting up on the side of the tub and doing my own pedicure for free. Tanning… I’m a redhead so that’s virtually out of the question. And waxing, okay here I admit… your eyebrows and your bikini will thank you for dishing out the moola, there are some things you just can’t do yourself!
Again, these are all just things that I’ve evaluated as fitting for what it is I want to achieve financially and what I prioritize. Having just moved to California I’ve embraced the fitness culture by enrolling in a gym that I would have seen as way more than my frugal self wanted to spend. But for where I’m at right now, not knowing anybody and having lots of time to devote to my wellbeing, I put it at the top of my list of priorities and splurged. When it comes to money everybody is different and that is what makes the world go around. I think that is what’s great about Lesley-Anne’s books… they appeal to whatever kind of spender or saver you may be with tips and tricks for everyone. If you’re looking for a kickstart I highly suggest giving one a read because even those of us with engrained-Dutchness can use some updated, tried and true methods for saving yet having what it is you need/want.