Tag Archives: spending

How To Spend Your Money After Graduation


This was another google search term that led to my site. It’s an even better question than the first one, What should your net worth be at 30? And I have a better answer! After graduation you should spend your money on… Your immediate needs. This means food & shelter. Make sure you have a roof over your head and more than left-over pizza in your fridge. Don’t go out every weekend to eat at restaurants and call it a “need” because it’s food — that’s entertainment. I suggest lots of fresh veggies & fruits, but you can live on mac & cheese if it’s your thing. A small emergency fund. Work on building up a buffer of about $1,000 to see you through any immediate catastrophes, like reduced pay due to taking a sick day or an unexpected dental bill. If you own a car, I would suggest a […]

Tracking my spending… so far so good


As some loyal readers may remember, I used to be fairly good at tracking my spending. Eventually my tracking became more erratic, and eventually I gave up entirely. Recently I resolved to track every cent in 2012. Why? Well, I’ll be honest, my first reason is not to “know where the money is going” so I can “make changes next year” (though that is a secondary benefit for sure). No, if you want to know the real answer, it’s this: I like charts. I like when other PF bloggers do their year-end summary and they can tell you EXACTLY how much they spent on EVERYTHING. I’m really a huge fan of those posts with piecharts where the author says, “and here you can see I spent 27.34% of my net income on clothing…” I love it. My OCD heart just sings when I can see those figures. And if there’s […]

How to buy big


I was talking about credit cards with some friends, when one of them remarked that he agreed it was important to never spend more on credit than you could afford to pay off — except for big purchases, like a vacation or a computer. I asked why those were the exception and his reply was: “What else am I going to do? Just save up $1800?” Well.. yeah. I really don’t think it’s a different process to buy an $1800 object than it is to buy an $18 one, the former just requires you work longer. I think the problem with credit is that it’s made instant gratification so accessible, we justify using it to buy things that we’d otherwise have to wait for. This is really bad because things are more expensive when you buy them in credit. They’re actually more expensive twice over: first, because of the interest […]

A no-spend January


First of all, Merry Christmas! I know it’s Christmas Eve, but thanks to my German heritage, that means I’ll get to open most of my presents this evening :) I’m very excited to give and to get! In other news, I’m planning a no-spend month. I think it’s important, and post-Christmas will get me the least amount of criticism because everyone else will be dealing with their credit card hangovers and assume I’m in the same boat. I need a no spend month for a number of reasons. First, I need to see of my emergency fund is actually realistic. Can I really live off less than $900 per month? Secondly, it’s good to break the cycle of how accustomed I’ve become to getting everything I want. Humans are adaptable creatures, and my income jump from undergrad has gone from feeling privileged to commonplace. It’s time I return briefly to […]

It’s not about not spending money


Having this blog and being passionate about personal finance sometimes gives the wrong impression. Instead of taking my posts to be about responsible money management and saving, some people hold the idea that budgeting is just about not spending money. Um, no. I love spending money. I spend lots of it, and I spend it often. I even buy things that people think you’re not supposed to buy on a budget, like indulgent trips to coffee shops, chocolatiers and Sephora. But that’s because budgeting is not just for people trying to get out of debt, it’s for everyone. And it’s not about not spending money! It’s about spending your money wisely. I really like lattes. Ditto make-up, iPads, new clothes, homemade chocolate and fine wine. I have no interest whatsoever in giving up the things I enjoy. But the reason why I feel I don’t have to sacrifice is because […]