Lately, I've been working a lot. My friend Aileen just nabbed me a pretty sweet gig with a pretty high pay for day rate, and the kids I nanny for have had a few days off school recently so I've gotten more hours at my normal job too.
My bank account's excited, as is my trigger finger. It's been a little hard for me to stop spending more money than I need to! I'm pretty sure this well's going to dry up soon, and I need to make sure I have all my ducks in a row before I get that tattoo I've been craving, or buy those expensive shoes I really need.
So reader, I'm writing this post for both of us.
HOW TO MANAGE YOUR FINANCES WHEN ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS SPEND YOUR MONEY.
1. MAKE A LIST OF YOUR EXISTING EXPENSES.
Let's start with the obvious, shall we? My rent and utilities run about $450 in the winter. I also am required to pay for my medical expenses, which can total anywhere from $50-$100. My credit card payments are around $30, I usually use $80 worth of gas. Already that totals my monthly expenses to ~$635. I also spend about $2 on coffee every other day, which to me is a very necessary purchase. That brings my end total to $665. Figure out what you already are supposed to be paying for everything, and then calculate how much extra money you have.
2. MAKE ANOTHER LIST OF THINGS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SPEND MONEY ON.
For most of us, the holidays can be a very draining financial time. I like to make a list in my journal of things I want to get for everyone, along with a cost estimation next to them. A lot of times if the item in question is a little broader, I'll write something like (NO MORE THAN X DOLLARS). For me right now, there are a few things I'd like to spend some money on.
- I really super want to get some wrist tatts. I'd imagine this will cost me about $100, because they won't take more than an hour to complete.
- I also want to get a new blanket for my bed. I've found a company that makes blankets like the one I had as a baby, so I'm going to get one for myself for Christmas.
- I desperately need a new pair of winter shoes. As happens every year, I've walked the soles off of my boots, and I'd like a new pair.
Who wouldn't want Neapolitan Fluevogs?
- Lastly, I've been daydreaming about getting a massage for awhile. Just as a present to myself for sticking through my job, and dealing with all of the shenanigans thrown my way in the past year.
That's just my list. Make your own list that is more suitable to your wants and needs!
Maybe you need to make a save&spend goal board? Eventually, I'd really like to get a new camera. Right now that's absolutely NOT in the cards for me, but I'm keeping my eyes open, and my finances a little bit in check for when the day comes.
After you've made your list of wants, it also helps to go through and prioritize what's most important. Maybe you don't want to be 100% practical all the time, but if I got a massage and tattoos, maybe my feet would be cold all winter, you know? Think about what's important to you, and prioritize your list as such.
3. TREAT YO' SELF.
My finances have been a disaster area for so goddamn long that with my recent pay increase, I've been letting myself go a little. Even though this post is mostly about making sure to keep yourself in check, sometimes you just have to be good to yourself too.
The other day instead of getting plain coffee, I had chai instead. Tonight my friends invited me out for dinner, and I said yes. Criterion movies are on sale at B&N for one more day, so I splurged and bought 3 Women. Next week, I'm going to order some Christmas presents online, and get my birds some millet treat for their cage.
A few short months ago, going out to dinner would have zapped me for a week. It's nice every once and awhile to be able to have a freakin' hamburger with your buddies and not worry about going into debt.
The point of this windfall post is the following: So maybe you have a holiday bonus. It's good to put the majority of it into safe keeping (financial experts say you should have at least three months worth of expenses stored away in case of emergency) but sometimes it's ok to get that chai and reward yourself for a job well done.