You can't have everything.
If you're like the rest of us, you only make x number of money annually. What you choose to spend that on or how much you choose to save is completely up to you. This is a huge privilege and responsibility that most of us face shortly after the rents kick us out of the nest. Many recent post-grads aren’t used to earning a decent paycheck and being faced with deciding to allocate the funds productively. Are you going to spend every single cent the second you earn it? Are you going to sit in your apartment alone every weekend just to save all your money for retirement? Is there a happy medium? It's your money, your decisions.
But…you can’t have it all.
It's okay to go out to lunch every day. It's also okay to buy a $4 cup of Starbucks every morning. Just like it's acceptable to go out of town every weekend and plan lavish vacations. The same way it's perfectly fine to never wear the same outfit twice. It's your money and your adult financial decisions.
But are you thinking about your future?
On the other hand, it's okay to live simply. You may live in a small, barely-furnished apartment. It's fine to drive a beat up car that you cross your fingers and say a small prayer before you attempt to start the ignition. It's perfectly fine to never travel or even leave the city you live in.
But what are you saving all that money for?
Where is the happy medium? Are you willing to sacrifice one cup of Starbucks each week to help pad your retirement account? Would you consider bringing your lunch to work to save up for the vacation you've been dreaming of? It’s extremely difficult to cut back on the things you love to save up for distant ideas such as a down payment on a house or even retirement. As an adult, financial decisions are just a few of the many annoying weights on your shoulders. It’s easy to swipe your card for that $4 coffee, your $6 cocktail after a long day at work, and that $15 worth of take out that you’ve been dreaming of all week. But what are you willing to sacrifice? You can spend all your money now. But what happens if you need to pay an unexpected medical expense? Or your car breaks down? What if you find a Groupon for an amazing 6 day trip to Italy and you’re the only one in the #squad who can’t afford to go?
You only make so much money. Unlike your mimosas, that paycheck you get bi-weekly isn’t bottomless. Trust me, a girl can dream.
What are you willing to sacrifice? Skip happy hour one night a week and put that extra $20 towards an Italian vacation. The wine is better there anyway. Bring your lunch every day for a week and put that extra $40 towards a down payment on the car you’ll eventually need. You probably don’t need those new Michael Kors wedges, you already have 2 pair anyway. Take the extra $150 and put it in your IRA. You’ll watch it grow over the years and appreciate your decisions when you’re 65.
I’m not advocating that you save all the money you make. I’m advising that you make a few sacrifices and find your happy medium. Find your balance between spending and saving and plan a budget that fits your needs. Splurge a little, save a little.