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,