My Money Makeover (by Alicia D. Dervin)
When I was younger, I laughed when people I knew always said “If I only knew then what I know now…” and followed the phrase up with something that they would have changed about their past. To me, it seemed like an easy way to convince yourself that the mistakes you made back then were okay because, well according to that disclaimer, you simply didn’t know any better.
It wasn’t until I graduated college and was officially out on my own that I found myself using the term. My regrets didn’t stem from the late nights I stayed up watching movies as opposed to studying nor the early morning hangovers that resulted in the skipping of a Friday morning lecture. I regretted the financial decisions that I made and immediately knew that a money makeover was in order if I wanted to build a solid financial future.
The transformation certainly didn’t happen overnight and I will say that progression is still being made. Developing a plan that I knew I could stick to and alter as needed was essential. I told myself that I didn’t have to be a financial expert or have a degree in accounting to make smart decisions with money. That’s when I turned to another saying I heard used quite frequently by adults when I was young; “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” I was certainly willing to change. I just needed to know the way.
After years of frivolous spending, where would I begin? A budget sounded like the ideal place for a fresh start. I knew how much money I was bringing in each month and I knew how much needed to be allocated for rent, utilities, groceries, etc. All I had to do was write it down. Who knew it was going to be that simple?
The difficult part was adhering to the amounts that I set aside for other things; toiletries, entertainment, dining, and so on. How was I going to fight the craving for a slice of cheesecake when I lived next door to The Cheesecake Factory? How was I going to avoid going to the movies when it was only minutes away?
I had to change my way of thinking and begin to explore other options. I extended the grocery budget a little in order to have something at home that I could indulge in when the urge for sweets crept in. I began to cook more so that I wouldn’t have to swipe my debit card at lunch. Instead of paying for the gym membership I’d been considering for months, I decided to exercise at a friend’s gym at her apartment complex. Biweekly manicures at the nail salon turned into a DIY project in which I could change the color as often as I liked without paying someone eight dollars. I was starting to save money in ways I hadn’t even considered before.
It was time to manage my new savings.
Editor’s Note: This is Part 1 of a 2 part series. Find out Thursday how Alicia revamped her saving and spending plans to jumpstart her transformation.
Alicia D. Dervin is the author of “Sex Isn’t Enough” (Createspace) available on Amazon.com and AliciaDDervin.com. Follow her on Twitter @AliciaDDervin