Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Still figuring it out...

If you asked me at age 15 where I would be at 25, I probably would have said something about having a good job, a husband and a family. I probably wouldn’t have described a white-picket fence, because my suburban neighborhood didn’t have too many of those. At ten years old, with a limited concept of life, I had no idea that at 25 I’d only just be starting off my adult life. I didn’t know anything about student loans, car payments, rent, or any of the other amazing features that are my current life.

As a recent graduate from a masters program, I have a job that I enjoy, a decent apartment…heck, I even have a pet. I’ve been living in St. Louis for just about a year, and am enjoying all that the city has to offer. Having spent the past few years in a small college town, the move meant a lot more to do, but also higher costs for pretty much everything. I certainly have my favorite splurges…eating out seems to have become more of a habit than a treat. I have an unhealthy obsession with Target, and never seem to get out of there without spending at least $50. I also love seeing live music, but concerts are not the most affordable entertainment. As I haven’t quite found that special someone yet, there is also a cost attached to dating and/or exploring the singles scene...except who has time for that?!

For those of you that read chick lit, Confessions of A Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella is one of my absolute favorite books, probably because in many ways I am Becky Bloomwood. Like Becky, I seem to be able to rationalize any purchase at the time. Unlike Becky, my financial misteps aren’t always so comical, and I haven’t gotten to my happy ending yet with the handsome billionaire boyfriend, but I’m working on it.

With the economy in such a volatile state, it’s a scary time to be a young person. The bills seem to pile up endlessly. I am currently sitting and waiting for my paycheck to go through at midnight tonight so I can pay all of my bills right away. And yet, I am never willing to give up my grande skim vanilla latte. At 9 am each morning, the $3.49 always seems worth it, regardless of whether or not my credit card can handle it. As a 25 year old, I enjoy having a social life and exploring my new city, and I want to be able to do so without feeling guilty about it. If there is one word I hate…its “Budget.” I just can’t do 'em.

So why am I blogging? I would never pretend that my experience as a young, broke person is all that different than everyone else’s. I would imagine that most of my peers also struggle to make their paycheck last, no matter what their salary is. I am also the first to admit that I’m not an expert….I don’t have any special tips or secrets as to how to save or make good financial decisions – ask my bank manager or credit card companies.

Really, I decided to start writing a blog to challenge myself. I want to learn to be creative about saving, while still having fun. Do I think that I will quickly go from being a shopaholic to a thrifty saver? No. That’s just not realistic. But rather than wallowing in self-pity when I reach the end of the money before the end of the month, I’d like to live with a little-less guilt and a few more dollars. Plus make a dent in some of those student loan and credit card payments.

Here begins my journey, we’ll see how it goes.

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