Monday, August 20, 2012

Change your Thinking, Change your Spending

Control your expenses. Once I got my apartment, I didn't run out and furnish the place immediately. My first purchase was a bed. Other than the computer (my boyfriend, now husband, had to purchase it on his credit because I wasn't credit worthy), I literally had nothing. I was living out of a suitcase because I had no dressers. My dad gave me his microwave so most of my meals were made that way until I could purchase pots & pans.

When your happiness is at stake, it's funny how little we actually need in order to be happy. I purchased a 26 inch RCA television from P.C. Richards & Sons. Since I had no credit, I had to buy things with cash. I patiently waited for holiday sales when buying electronics. Once I got a television, I tuned into The Suze Orman Show regularly. She offers excellent financial advice.

I made a pact with a hippie co-worker to stop buying clothes unless it was socks and underwear. Think about it. Do you ever wear all of the clothes in your closet? Unless you've had a significant weight loss/gain, many of us buy clothes because shopping is a pastime. I rediscovered items that I hardly wore and put them to good use.

I got all of my dressers / armoires from the Thrift Store. As a matter of fact, I still own those same dressers because the quality of the wood is something that you just don't see too often anymore. When I finally moved, I remember when one of the movers saying "Be careful with this, I know it's expensive because it's real hardwood." Haaa, the price on those 2 dressers was so little, I don't even remember what I paid for it.

The New York Public Library (NYPL) is an awesome resource. The NYPL, and most library systems, allows you to transfer books from one branch to another at no cost. I would sign on to the libraries website and put whatever books I wanted to read on hold. If you take advantage of their free online service, your books will put to the side for you and all you have to do is pick them up.

Some of the changes you make might be for the short term but your mindset should always be open to learning more. Always look to educate yourself on different ways to save money. Don't just say, "Oh, I have everything I want now. I'll stop saving." As someone that left her parents house at the age of 19, I have learned to get knowledge from multiple situations. I am constantly learning. I will take valuable information from any source. Even people that I can't stand, teach me what NOT to do.

A few examples of what not to do:
• Counting on someone paying you back by a certain date, which you need in order to pay your bills
• Calculating how much of a bonus you will receive and using that number as part of your budget
• Assuming that you will get a tax return
• Lending money that you can't afford to lose / Investing money that you can't afford to lose
• Choosing a vacation that forces you to come back to a huge credit card bill
• Dating someone that doesn't have the same financial outlook and doesn't want to change

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