As always, the last week of sweet summer comes with a mix of emotions for me. I love the long nights of summer when it’s warm enough to be out sans jean jacket and the weekly country fairs, cottage weekends, and patio dinners that summer brings. At the same time, I actually really love everything that September brings with it. Maybe it’s because I consider myself a lifelong student but I love how September feels like a fresh start. After a summer of too many meals out, poolside sangrias, and sleep ins, the start of September can be a great way to get back on track for the final third of the year and a second chance to finish 2016 feeling great and on a positive note. This past summer has been especially busy for me. I travelled around Australia, Japan, and Korea and then came home for two weeks filled with get togethers with friends and familys while at the same time trying to pack up to move to Windsor to start a new graduate program later this week. The craziness of the past two weeks (and three months) has made me really want to use to September to focus on my health and organization. First up on my list? Getting my finances back on track.
Mad’s post, “An Opportune Time to Start Saving” from last month was the exact inspiration and perfect reminder I needed to get back to reality financially after 8 months of travel and holidays.
I completely agree that finding balance between cutting expenses as much as possible while still enjoying yourself is key to loving your life. I’ve been living the student life for seven years now and therefore have some excellent ways to be financially savvy and thrive on a student budget.
Disclaimer: I am not a coupon clipper nor do I consider myself a Sally Saver. I’d much rather go to the gym than spend hours browsing flyers for sales. For these reasons, I think my tips are perfectly achievable for 20-somethings trying to juggle a million different things.
Make it automatic- a proud moment for me as a 20-something was setting up automatic withdrawals from my chequing account into a few different savings accounts. It feels so good to know that I am taking a pro-active approach in saving for my future. Most of the time I don’t even realize the money’s been taken out and it’s a guaranteed way to make sure I don’t skimp out on my monthly savings when I do a bit too much retail therapy. As Mad’s post suggests, saving between 15-20% of your income is ideal, but remember that something, no matter how small, is better than nothing. The sooner you start saving, the faster it adds up.
My old roommate, Syd, (check out her guest post here), gave me the suggestion of buying whatever produce is on sale each week. It’s an easy way to save money and also gives you a great variety in your diet. Because of this, I automatically switch up my fruits and veggies every week and never get bored with what I’m eating. Plus I end up trying a lot of new recipes! I’ve taken this one step farther and applied the sale rule to my cosmetic products. I stock up on my shampoo, facewash, and moisturizer whenever they’re on sale and trust me, the savings add up!
Finally, I am very much pro goal-setting. I use lululemon’s goal setting guides and try to update my goals every 6 months. Starting with where I want to be personally, professionally, and financially in 10 years and working down to the upcoming year, helps me put into perspective the things I need to be doing now to get to where I want to be. Acknowledging your financial goals, whether it's a house, car, or holiday, is an excellent motivation to start saving. September also means an excuse to buy a new agenda. Writing my important dates down for the upcoming months in my new ban.do agenda has already helped me get on track with my goals for the remainder of 2016.
Enjoy your last sunny days of summer 2016!
Lots of love,
As much as we hate to admit it, we’re almost halfway through August which means summer is slowly coming to a close. But have no fear! There are still a few weekends left to make sure you end Summer 2016 on a high note. Our best tip? Schedule in a last minute road trip or a girls weekend with your closest friends! Mad and I try to do an annual trip every year and even if it’s just somewhere close by and more of a staycation, we always end up making so many memories. Last summer, we had an unreal weekend at the cottage with our favourite girls and we can’t wait to repeat again next week when we both reunite for the first time this year (stay tuned)!!
For some inspiration to plan a spontaneous getaway, here are some of the highlights from our 2014 and 2015 trips!
New York City- Summer 2014
Cottage- Summer 2015
Lots of love,
It’s a quote seen all over social media in varying ways but always along the lines of “the magic happens when you get outside of your comfort zone” and I could not agree more. I’m the kind of person who’s extremely shy in crowds when I know no one but outgoing when I’m in a group of people I’m comfortable around. And when I’m in a new situation and out of my comfort zone, I can feel really nervous and quite emotional. I was the child who called home in the middle of the night to get picked up from any sleepover I attempted. And I always hated going to summer hockey camps and trying out for new teams. I remember trying to hold the tears back in the locker room and during the drills, because I hated the feeling of being alone. After making it through the first hour, things would start to look up and I always ended up really enjoying myself. I made incredible friendships, was apart of great teams, and developed my hockey skills well enough to be recruited by NCAA universities.
Fast forward 10 years and my parents have just moved me in to my dorm room in Plattsburgh. Unknowingly, we moved in on the Friday while pretty much everyone else moves in on the Saturday of Move-In Weekend. I cried myself to sleep after we said our goodbyes on the first night and for the first half of the next day. I felt lost, alone, and extremely scared. I didn’t even know where to go to get breakfast! I survived the night and the next morning I asked someone how to get to the dining hall. As the day went on and I met the rest of my freshman class and teammates, my nerves gradually disappeared. The first few weeks were filled with unknowns and too many learning experiences to count. Over the next four years, I learned to embrace the unknowns and take every new experience as an opportunity to grow. My years at Plattsburgh State really shaped me into who I am and who I want to be. The memories and friends I made are lifelong. I know now that my university experience would never have been the same had I not taken the risk to go to a university in a different country where I knew no one.
It’s four days after my graduation from Plattsburgh and Mad and I have just checked into our hostel in London after our first meeting with the Contiki crew. We’re about to have an incredible three weeks travelling around Europe and some of the most fun I have ever had but I am feeling so nervous and homesick. Even though I have my best friend with me, it’s still a situation where I have no idea what to expect and barely know anyone in the group. Luckily, I once again survived a scary first night and the next three weeks turned out to be life changing. We both really caught the travel bug and I realized I wanted to see and experience as much of the world as I possibly could. Our contiki tour set the foundation for my current location and everything I’ve experienced during the first seven months of this year. By putting myself in an uncomfortable situation, I allowed myself the opportunity to see new places and try new things and I realized I loved every single minute of it.
When I arrived home from our Contiki trip, I knew I wanted to see more of the world. I eventually decided on a working holiday in Australia after the completion of my Masters. Of course, my fears followed me on my flight to Sydney last December. I was in tears during my connection in the Vancouver airport and completely questioning my decision to take the year off instead of finding a real “big-girl” job. I’m so happy I overcame my fears and took the leap to just do what I wanted to do. This year has been the best year of my life and by stepping outside of my comfort zone, I was able to realize what I want from my life, both personally and professionally. I’m coming home in two weeks with so much clarity that I know I wouldn’t have, had I settled into a job and location where I was comfortable.
I’m the first to admit that it’s scary to do something you’ve never done or to go somewhere you’ve never been. My best piece of advice? Always remember that the hardest part is making it through the first night. Once you do, you’ll realize that the reward and what you stand to gain is always more than worth the risk.
We'd love to hear from you- feel free to share a time when you've gotten out of your comfort zone and tried something new!
Lots of love,