You could say I fit the profile of a “girly-girl.” I enjoy buying fashionable new clothes, getting my hair done professionally, and my personal favorite, the manicure. I’ve had a part-time job at a local diner during the school year and worked full-time the last two summers. I’ll be the first to admit I have taken advantage of having some substantial money in the bank while still living under my parents’ roof.
As soon as I got my first job, my parents helped me set up a debit card through the bank they already used. I really took advantage of this new freedom and new plastic by shopping to my heart’s content. My shiny new debit card easily kept up with my lavish lifestyle until one day this summer when my debit card declined a $50 withdrawal from the ATM to pay for my nails. INSUFFICIENT FUNDS glared back at me on the screen. How could this be if my entire paycheck was automatically depositing into my checking account twice a month? After this endeavor, my parents sat me down and we looked at my bank statement. To my surprise, we discovered I had literally seventeen cents left in my account after a weekend spent at the mall. I realized the breakdown of the amount of money I was spending on clothes and salons, and I had concluded I was spending a large amount of much money to keep up with things I don’t really need.
After learning this tough lesson about my spending habits, I’ve trained myself to keep track of where my money goes. In other words, I built a spending plan. Creating a spending plan may sound tedious but in all honesty, it’s a lifesaver. I made the mistake of only using my income for unnecessary expenses rather than distributing it into more sensible places like savings, gas, or insurance as well as entertainment and fun. Before, I chose to have only one category, entertainment expenses, instead of having more diverse categories that will eventually allow me to do more with my money. It’s actually easier than you might think to plan where your income, or the money you receive, could be put to use in the best possible way. I also strongly advocate allotting a set amount of money for your savings from each paycheck—it’s never too late to save for the future! Knowing where your money is going is an enormous weight off your shoulders and gives you peace of mind about it. Based on my story, it’s needless to say that I highly recommend creating a personal spending plan. That way, you don’t make the same mistake I did and fear over drafting or a grim future due to lack of savings!