I’m not big into New Year’s resolutions because I feel like it’s just too much pressure and most people don’t stick to them (and I know I wouldn’t). However, I have had one big goal on my mind a lot lately, and that’s saving.
I’m really, really good at spending money. Clothes, books, items for the home, macarons at Laduree…yup, I like to buy all that. Often. But the time has come for me to really make a concentrated effort at changing my ways, because I’ve come to the realization that I need to own an apartment at some point in my life. Renting is basically throwing your money down the toilet, whereas owning is an investment.
Love ya Cher, but this will no longer be me!
It feels like an unreachable goal because I happen to have wound up living in one of the most expensive cities in the world, especially when it comes to real estate, but there’s not much I can do about that. I love NYC and it’s close to my family, so that’s where I live. And if I ever plan on owning an apartment here, I need to get serious about A. saving, and B. working more. If I do both of those things, there’s a chance that I could one day have enough money for a down payment.
I have other goals too, and things that I would like to buy that cost a lot. There’s travel – I’ve never been to Europe and I would love to go, but I don’t have the funds (well I do, but I’d have to wipe out my bank account, which doesn’t seem wise). I’d also like to buy a new computer at some point, and Photoshop to edit my pictures-all pricey. Hence, the need to save – both for long term goals (apartment), and short term goals (travel, etc).
Anyway, there’s just come a point where I have to stop buying so much stuff that I DON’T NEED, and every cute thing that catches my eye, and start really considering where my money goes (or so my Mom tells me, anyway). Being in a good place financially, and especially owning an apartment or home, says to the world (and myself): I am a stable, together person. Younger people might not understand this, but I’m going to be 30 in two years, so these are the things that have started to be on my mind.
Now believe me, I have no intention of passing up fun things like brunches or dinners or really special experiences to save money-that’s part of the fun of living in New York. What I plan/hope to do is stop buying clothing that I don’t need (because I wear scrubs five days out of the week), books that I don’t need (because I have about twenty piled up in my apartment that I’ve bought and haven’t read yet), home decor items that I don’t need (because I live in a tiny apartment and it’s pretty much full already)…and as for those macarons at Laduree…well, I’ll try to cut back :).
No more shopping like Carrie…then maybe I’ll be able to afford an apartment like Carrie’s!
I actually do have some strategies for saving…not that any of them have actually worked for me yet, but I’m planning to take a renewed interest in implementing them as part of my effort.
Buying only ONE un-necessary, just-for-fun thing per month is something I tried last year and only stuck to for a short time before losing interest. If you only buy one thing per month, it makes you really consider your purchases. I’d have to choose the thing I LOVE, out of the millions of things that I see and want – and when you don’t buy things often, it makes each purchase more special and fun anyway. I’ve also found that when I see something I like and resist buying it, I usually wind up forgetting about it anyway…and by the time I see it again I’ve usually lost interest. Waiting. Instead of buying things immediately when I see them and like them, I will wait to give myself some time to think it over. Last year when I was making an effort to save, I created a wishlist board on Pinterest where I can pin everything that I want to buy. That way I can buy it later if it’s something that I keep thinking about it and really want. The thing was, when I was doing this last year, I’d look over the board every once in a while and realize I’d lost interest in most the of stuff on it-I still liked it all, but I no longer felt like omg I must buy that! So that’s a helpful strategy.
Taking a break from this!
I’m certainly not about to stop posting about items that I love on this blog-in fact, I sometimes feel like that helps me because once I post something, at least I’ve shared it and written about it-then sometimes I feel okay with not actually buying it. Also, I hesitated to post this as 1. I don’t usually write about personal things, and 2. I might totally fail at this/lose interest in it…but it’s on my mind, so I wanted to share it. Also, I saw a quote this morning about how writing down your goals increases your chances of achieving them, but telling a friend about your goal doubles that chance. This reaffirmed my determination to share this – I think by sharing your goals you feel more accountable to them.
Any of you out there NOT big shoppers? I know there are people who just don’t shop (mostly men, I’m guessing) and I’d love to hear how that’s possible. Any saving strategies? I’m all ears!
text image created by me-not sure who to attribute that quote to. all other pics via Pinterest
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Hahah, I feel ya with posting about things, sharing them, and often feeling okay not buying them yourself. It's a huge plus in the blogging world and I'm very happy about it! Good luck with your plan– sounds like you have a great strategy and I'm sure you'll see results before you know it. Happy New Year! xox
I think you've got a solid framework in place, and blogging instead of buying is great for cultivating style without the purchase. I'm actually not a big shopper to be honest. Frankly, I don't have the money and most store's pounding music and fluorescent lighting make me feel like I'm on drugs ; ). However, I have insanely expensive taste so I've taken to DIYing and thrifting to quell my need to consume pretty things. If I see something decor related that takes my breath away, I try my damnedest to recreate some sort of version on my own. When it comes to clothes, well…you know my dirty little UES thrifting secret. Things like basics, luxury denim, cashmere- I've been able to find new, or close to it at the thrift stores (You wouldn't believe the things rich ladies get rid of). No, it's not the same as floating into Kate Spade or Bendel's but it's still nice to get a touch of fancy in lieu of just shopping at H&M. Another trick I use is I don't allow myself to bring home anything "apartment decor" related, until I sell something I already own on ebay or craigslist. Many times I've thought "but who the hell would buy this?" but someone always does!
I'm two years older than you are Jackie, and let me tell you, I have the same worries about finances and being a homeowner some day. But keep in mind the generation you were born into. It's just not the same as it was for say, our parents. We have insane economic hurdles to cross that they didn't (ie: the outrageous cost of college tuition, the recession, the sick twisted real estate and job worlds here in New York City ; ) So be kind to yourself and try not to beat yourself up too hard if you pop into buy a pretty once in a while. You're only human!
I think my next DIY is going to be trying to recreate that gorgeous Flynn table lamp from Arteriors, that you blogged about a while back, with some paint and a clear glass lamp base from Target. Fingers crossed it turns out!
Here's to a healthy happy and prosperous 2014!
I am right there with you… turning 30 this year, learning how to save is at the top of my list! I linked to an easy little challenge on my blog today… take a look you may want to try it out too. And I agree, create wish list on your blog totally brings satisfaction… something I plan to do more of this year. Happy New Year! Glad we were able to meet this year, looking forward to getting to know each other more in 2014. xxo
I am right there with you and so glad you posted this! I like the pinterest board idea and am going to do that myself. Love your blog!
Good luck on your new financial goal! I totally support you. My parents always told me that money in the bank is power, and I have always lived by that. It's more impressive when you can help out a friend in monetary need without hurting your quality of life, than if someone's toting around Chanel bags and YSL suits but can't spare a quarter to a friend/family member, and are swimming in debt. The latter are illusions of wealth and serious disappointments when the truth reveals itself.
I totally support this decision, as I'm going through it myself as I TRY and ween myself off of shopping. I tried doing this by limiting my personal shopping budget to $150/mo and that didn't work at all. Buying real estate in this area is a huge achievement and I wish you the best of luck obtaining it.
It's so hard isn't it? But if you put your mind to it you can do it — plus keeping really helps, right? Love your blog!
Thanks Monica, Happy New Year to you too!
Thank you so much for the great comment Alexis! First of all, you still need to teach me your thrifting secrets because every time I've gone, I've spent just as much as I would at a regular store-I'm insanely BAD at finding good stuff for cheap! I can imagine how satisfying it would be to get a great deal on a designer/high quality piece, even better than buying something new. And I definitely think that getting rid of one thing for every new thing that you buy is such a great idea. I've done that with clothing, to keep the clutter down and to make sure I'm not holding onto things that I never use. I've sold a lot of old clothes on Ebay, it's such a great way to make a little bit of money while also reducing clutter.
"Sick and twisted" is a perfect way of putting it-real estate/prices on everything just are NOT normal in NYC. Unfortunately that's just all the more reason that I need to work more while also saving…it's tough living here in that respect, but worth it. I'm SO happy to hear that someone feels the same way and is having the same kind of thoughts. Sometimes I kind of feel like I'm the only one dealing with this…especially in blog world where it often feels like people are just able to buy so many designer bags and new things constantly.
Thank you so much again for the thoughtful comment Alexis! Happy New Year to you too…and if you pull off a DIY of that lamp, I will bow down in awe of you (and probably want to buy it from you, haha) 🙂 Let me know how it turns out!
Thanks Fallon! The challenge you posted is awesome…so simple but looks like it would make a big impact. I might try that for saving for short term goals, like the new computer or a travel fund. Happy New Year to you too! I'm really glad we got to meet as well, and definitely looking forward to seeing you and all the other girls again 🙂
Hi Cara! Thank you so much for the kind words, I really appreciate it! So happy that you're going to try the board idea, I definitely think it helps. Happy New Year and thanks for reading 🙂
Thank you so much for the support Chantelle! It feels awesome to know that other people are on the same page…I've never really written a post like this and wasn't sure how other people would feel about it. I agree with what you said 100%. I admire people who have their finances in such good shape that they don't have to scramble when an emergency comes up. That feeling of security is definitely better than any material object-I need to keep reminding myself of that!
Thanks Rebecca! I actually was really inspired by you and all of the other ladies at the party the other day and that was part of what brought this to the forefront of my mind (well that and my Mom pushing The Suze Orman Show on me :). Maybe we can all help each other out in staying strong! It's tough but it really helps to know that I'm not the only one who has a little trouble cutting back. Thanks for the support!
Thank you so much Stephanie! I really appreciate you reading. It definitely is tough but hopefully I can make some progress. Happy New Year!
Great decision! Saving money is so important! I'm not a very big spender mostly because of my years as a grad student. If I didn't need something, actually need it, I would talk myself out of it. I still have the habit now even though the money problems are gone, and a lot of times I get it a few weeks later on clearance! So good luck- it'll be so worth it!
That's so sweet! I could definitely use an anti-shopaholic support group. I think we need to start one 🙂
Agree. Perfect for short term goals. My BF and I are doing to together so we should have a nice chunk of change by the end of the year. Now I just have to work on the large saving and I will be set 😉
This is a great post! I work two jobs, not because I need to but because I want to save money for a trip to Europe with my best friend (we leave January 31!!). I really like the idea of only buying one just-for-fun item per month. I tried limiting eating out, like for lunch. It's so easy to forget your lunch or just be too lazy to pack or cook, but those small purchases add up! I just keep telling myself I'll be thankful when I'm in Europe. Also, whenever I get the urge to go shopping I now go to the gym. At this rate I'll be in the best shape of my life by summer!
Such a great post! It is so hard to try and save when you live in a city with everything at your fingertips. I often find myself popping out on my lunch break and roaming around soho — I usually end up purchasing something. This cold weather has solved that problem, as I try to leave the office as little as possible! Unfortunately that's not the only issue. My biggest struggle has been the constant visitors that I have had that want to go out and do fun things, I don't blame them but my bank account sure does! A good time for me to save is during the summer when it is so easy to do fun (and free!) things outdoors. For now I find all the things I do with friends involve money to stay out of the cold– can't wait until we can all just be lazy at Central Park!
I totally admire that you have a goal to own an aparment in the city. I am currently saving just to move, which is totally costly in itself! Hope you reach your goal, sounds like you have some solid ideas on how to do so!
Oh my goodness, I totally have a problem with this. The thing is, I love shopping. And as a blogger, we are exposed to SO MUCH STUFF.
I think your idea of waiting is great. A lot of times I have the impulse to buy, and then after a couple weeks it's not as important. Another idea is to pull out a certain amount in cash each month and that is your shopping money. When it's gone, it's gone. I think it's a lot easier to budget when you have cash because you physically see it disappearing.
Good luck on your apartment hunt! That's such a big, grown up step 🙂
See, I knew there were people out there who could resist shopping! I wish I had your willpower/discipline…hopefully it's the kind of thing that can be cultivated. Thanks Holly!
Ooh, a trip to Europe! Lucky you, that is going to be amazing! Totally worth saving for. What you wrote reminded me of an article I once read about a couple who wanted to cut their spending because they were saving for a trip to Paris. Their strategy was, everything they wanted to buy, they would resist by thinking of exactly what that saved money would get them in Paris. So like if they wanted to buy a lamp that cost $50, they'd tell themselves, well instead we can save that $50 and it will buy us two glasses of wine and dessert in Paris. They tried to be really specific in thinking of what they would buy on their vacation with the saved money, and the act of comparing the two things seemed to help them. Wish I could remember where I read it…buy anyway it seemed like another helpful strategy. But also, the gym instead of shopping…I'm impressed! You rock 🙂
Thank you so much Katie! You're right, this city is just SO tempting…if I worked in Soho I would definitely be in trouble. My sister mentioned that we should start looking for cheaper/free things to do around the city, which is definitely a great idea…I need to start researching that a bit. And it's true that doing things with visitors can be costly-all the cabs, drinks, dinners, and activities add up fast! But at least you're spending on experiences-which are a better use of money than material objects. I've heard that a lot and in my experience I've found it to be true. Good luck with your move and thank you so much for the support 🙂
It definitely can be cultivated! 🙂
I love your comment Rachel! I couldn't have said it much better myself-I simply love shopping! And exactly as you said, blogging and reading blogs makes it that much more tough, because I just come across SO MANY cute, pretty, fun things that I want to buy. But using cash is definitely a great idea-scary to actually see how fast it disappears. Credit cards really give me a bit of a warped view on spending. It would be a huge step to own an apartment, you're right. It's still a looong way off for me, but having a concrete goal in mind is really helpful to me for saving. Thanks so much for your comment 🙂
Great list, this will help me put the "treat your self" mentality on the back burner.
Catching up on my blog reading this holiday weekend and saw this post. I think your plan of pinning things for later is helpful. I have a Pinterest board with all kinds of stuff I want but I'm content to let it be there until I can afford it. Closer to home, I love desserts way too much. But I've found that if I bake them for my blog, take a taste and then give them away, it somehow satisfies that craving. Good luck with your goals, whatever they may be. Love your blog.
Very good idea! Sometimes I don't want to bake because I know I'm going to eat it all, but I need to do your strategy and just bring whatever I bake to work…people will be more than happy to eat it I'm sure! Thanks so much for reading Anita!