As a single, city girl
I am starting to think of my future and that means saving for a condo in Chicago and investing in my career – two things that are harder to do when I don’t budget.
I recently went through all of my tabs with Uber
and discovered that from January 2016 to August 2016, my Uber expenditures increased by 70 percent. Seventy. Damn. It hurts to realize that cashless transactions like Ubers and Starbucks
re-loads might not be the best life choices.
There’s nothing sexy about finances. Whether it’s admitting that you spent $1000 on food or doubled the amount you spent on Uber riders this month. But if you want a 401K and a home, it’s something to be mindful of.
So where do we begin – purging your clutch or balancing you checkbook?
I met with a lifestyle guru, Grace Keller, Founder of Saving Grace.
With a background in corporate finances and life experience of buying the Louis Vuitton bag and purging it from her closet, she mixes her strengths to help clients have more money in their wallets and more space in their closets.
Grace realizes that it’s more about the emotional attachment than anything else.
She says that everyone has two parts – their professional self and the social self.
Grace mentioned that her and her husband went to brunch every weekend and in doing a financial check realized that they were spending $60+ on basic breakfast foods at Girl and The Goat for breakfast.
People think that you won’t have friends if you don’t go to brunch or that you won’t get an invite anymore if you turn down events to save. This is what Grace calls the “social self”.
Your social self is the pleaser. You think someone will think less of you because you can’t afford to go out or buy a new dress.
Your professional self serves a purpose. It puts longer term investments like education and real estate above short term gains like mimosas.
Things to Consider When Budgeting:
As a city girl, it’s easy to get caught up in happy hour, weekend trips, and lush dinners. And even more so on new clothes – which we’ll get to in a second.
The fact is that we sometimes don’t decide, we just do – which is why budgeting is so important and yet so hard.
Savings: What You Need in Your Bank Account:
To take care of yourself, Grace suggests that you have $1,000 in your emergency fund. This is for unaccepted occurrences like car repairs or health bills.
Additionally, you need about 6-8 months of savings in case you lose your job.
So what about spending – how do you know if you should stay home or go out?
“If you’re not going to remember that $15 drink then don’t do it,” Grace advises.
Overall, she advises that to meet your financial goals you need about 80 percent discipline.
Saving for a Home:
There are some large purchases in our lives. Some are cars, education, vacations, and real estate.
Grace had me question what I thought was vital – like a car. She said that with vacations and cars you want to make sure “you’re not relying on plastic to get you there.”
Depending on what you are budgeting for, it’s important to look at it as a fixed cost so that you will reach your financial goals.
Everyone has their own method to saving and budgeting and spending. Grace recognizes that it’s a discipline.
If you’re starting out, Grace recommends the Acorn app. One of her favorite financial books was given to her by her mother, Suze Orman’s “Young, Fabulous, and Broke.”
She also advises that when you do find Mr. Right you want to find someone with the same financial values.
Cleaning Out Your Closet:
One of the biggest investments – and I think one of the most fun investments – is in a new wardrobe for your work life.
Grace talks with clients about finances, but she also helps them with another emotional aspect of their life – cleaning out their closets.
She spends time with them to understand why we have certain garments to our clients and to really ask ourselves if we wear a piece or it’s just sentimental.
“Sometimes we need that visual cue that it’s not doing anything for you,” Grace says. She advises her clients to do little tricks like changing the direction of hangers to see if you wore them.
While we ditch the trendy pieces, we also ditch clothes as we age. Grace is in her thirties and no longer wears mini skirts.
She also mentioned that The Today Show
a did a piece stating that 53 is the age cutoff for buying a new pair of jeans because it’s “not worth the trouble.”
Letting go. It’s a common theme in cleaning out your closet and budgeting for a home.
Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.