Act Your Wage
What kind of relationship do you have with your bank account balance?
My bank account balance and I are best friends, until I decide to look at it. If you’ve ever held your breath when your card was being swiped this is for you. There is hope for us.
The term “money management” always seems farcical to me. Somehow my brain associates it with managing tons of money, not my nickels and dimes; but if we learn to manage whatever little (or much - working with an affluence mindset) we have, then it will only get easier as we accumulate more wealth
In The Rich Bitch Guide to Love and Money Nicole Lapin states that three things will determine our financial future:
What you make (your wages)
What you owe
Your money habits
The biggest issue here is our money habits.
When you get your paycheque - what is the first thing you think about?
When I just started working - the first thing I thought about spending money on was myself. I waited all month for this, I am definitely treating myself to a good lunch or that semi-expensive wine (ballin’ on a budget). As I got a bit older, I started taking the money for bills out first. But now, I focus on my “fun money”. In the book Nicole states that 15% of our salaries each pay period should be earmarked for “fun money” - that’s usually what I use to get a mani/pedi; and buy wine and books.
This 15% lets you know how much wiggle room you have for your weekend plans - a night out with the girls/boys; making a big purchase; or going to that concert. Living within your means, and acting your wage begins with this 15%.
At first, this felt like I was limiting myself to only 15% of fun; and adulthood is already hard enough without thinking that you’re 85% responsibility and only 15% fun.
Luckily, at that time I was getting tired of the same routine every weekend. It felt like I was just waiting for the weekend to party away my problems and then wake up tired on Monday to do the whole thing over again. You just get to an age where you realize this can’t be the only existence. I also changed jobs and felt way more fulfilled so I didn’t have to “numb” myself on the weekend anymore.
This lifestyle I had created, that I could barely afford, wasn’t improving my life in any way really. I was seeing the same people, in the same spaces, drinking the same thing, and slowly losing my hearing because of all this loud music. Gladly, my closest friends were on the same page and we moved away from this party weekend life to more relaxed after work drinks (in environments where we could actually TALK) and weekends at the beach. This was a much better way to spend a weekend - I’m visiting new places; getting closer to the people I love; and really enjoying the outdoors.
No matter what you prefer to do (with your friends or alone) go for experiences that can really add to your life. The activity with the most reward for the least cost. This goes for all your purchases - will they add joy to your life; is it something you need; what kind of value is it adding?
Something else that can help us act our wage is what Nicole calls a “lifestyle analysis”. Before I get into it, let me just say this can be.a bit tedious, but it is totally worth it. This analysis is basically an audit - looking at everything you spend money on every month. After you’ve laid out all your expenses you do an assessment of what are needs and wants.
After assessing this, modify your spending habits and ultimately your lifestyle.
If you fear that you’ll be a boring home-body…you won’t! These are simply some tools to help us be better and live more enriching lives. You don’t have to say no to that expensive concert and if you choose to go you won’t need to live on ramen for the next month.
We’re balancing our budgets in order to balance our lives.