This ones for all the yopros and side-hustlers who are sickkk of stressing about money each month.
For two-and-a-half years, this was me. Contrary to popular belief journalists do not make a ton of money. Some do. But as a reporter just starting out, I’m not one of them.
For the past year and a half I’ve become queen of the side-hustle. I work full time, babysit part-time, and sell clothes online like you wouldn’t believe.
Despite all of that, each month I would find myself upset and stressed about not having enough money.
My mom taught me about being responsible with money growing up. But in that first year of freedom, I certainly wasn’t. Those paychecks were just dying to be spent on facials and at Ulta. I even ran up a coupe thousand dollars in credit card debt.
When I couldn’t afford to buy my family and friends Christmas gifts last year, I had finally had enough.
NO SPEND JANUARY
It’s pretty much self explanatory. Pick a month and don’t spend any money! I found January to be helpful because I had gift cards from Christmas that I could use when I wanted a treat or felt like I needed to spend money. But any month will work. Here are the rules:
- Only spend on the necessities. For me, this was rent, utilities, student loan payments, gas, and groceries. I budgeted out $50 a week for groceries and used the Walmart Grocery app to make sure I was staying on budget. If I needed something like toilet paper I would just spend a little less on food.
- Plan ahead. I knew I had to travel for an engagement party in January and ultimately spend a little to get there. Set a little bit of money aside at the beginning of the month for the times you won’t be able to avoid spending money.
- Save 10% of everything you make. Before I started this, I had $3 in my savings account. No joke. Now, I have hundreds simply by saving 10% of everything I made. Whether it was 10% of my paycheck or $6 from the $60 I made babysitting, it added up quickly.
- Keep a list of the things you want to buy throughout the month. And treat yourself to what you’ve wanted most when the month is over! By then you’ll probably have more self control and only want to buy what you can actually afford.
TIPS TO MAKE IT EASIER
- Walmart Grocery App. I’m a Trader Joe’s girl through and through. It’s seriously one of my happy places. But when you’re on a budget this app is great. It’s also like buying your time back because you can order everything from your phone, pull up, and an associate brings your groceries to your car. Cheap groceries without ever having to step foot into Walmart. Side note: you can pretty much order anything they sell in the store on the app, so I use it for toiletries and cleaning products too.
- Find free things to do on weekends! Go for a walk with a friend instead of grabbing a coffee or drink. Find a local farmers market to walk through. You can sample things without spending a dime. Spend time organizing your house or catching up on projects.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t slip up here and there during the month, but I was intentional about what I was spending money on. I used to eat out almost every day, sometimes for both lunch and dinner. Buying groceries and bringing food to work has made the biggest difference. By doing it for an entire month I created a habit, and am still bringing lunch to work and making dinners at home.
I used to be afraid to check my bank account. I’d avoid it for days. Now, I check it twice a day because it’s awesome to see my savings growing and to know how much I have to spend on extras if I want to.