I found out yesterday that a girl who graduated college a year ahead of me – is now unemployed and living in Vancouver. She got laid off from her job. Yikes. I told her I’d be on the lookout for potential openings anywhere, but it’s tough. There is so much competition and very few job postings. She even mentioned once that she might consider payday loans or a cash advance. Every day I’m grateful that I have a job that’s relatively secure (as secure as you can get in this industry at least).
And then it got me thinking about a lot of things. Money-related, of course.
My apartment building looks like an ugly sack of crap compared to where my friends are living in Vancouver. But, I’m paying a lot less rent than they are paying to live in the trendy parts of town. I live close to work so I don’t have to spend money on transportation, I don’t go out partying every weekend, and I’ve learned how to prioritize and save my money for the things that I value the most. I’d love to live in a great apartment, eat in expensive restaurant, buy shoes and clothing, drink beers at pubs, and say yes to every fun social event that comes up. But I can’t. Not because I don’t have the money, but because that’s not in my personality to spend money on those kinds of things anymore.
Money is made to be spent. I fully agree. But spent on the things that you value. My new budget allows me to save about $1,300/month, but I have yet to save that much. Why? There are things I want to buy. I work hard, and I want to enjoy myself. I wanted to start skiing, so I spent $1,200. Today I bought 3 tickets to the upcoming Death Cab for Cutie concert ($182.85) – nobody’s paying me back – my treat. I took BF out to a $40 sushi dinner the other night. Some people might choose to spend money on other things. Others will have a problem with what I spend my money on, and that’s okay. It’s not their money. That’s what’s so great about personal finance – we get insight on what other people value in their lives. And that in turn forces us to take a look at how we spend our money.
$900 of my money every month automatically goes into savings no matter what. That’s how much I need to save in order to meet my financial goals. So if I can save anything more than that, it’s a bonus. Living the lifestyle that I live, I have the potential to save about an additional $400/month. Some months I come close, some months I don’t. And I’m come to realize that I’m okay with that. Being financially independent is about depending on yourself, feeling comfortable with your money, living within your means, and achieving your own personal financial goals.