Has anyone ever told you that you should have six months of living expenses saved up at all times? Just in case your car breaks down, you get fired, or have a medical emergency? If so, give yourself a pat on the back. If not, this is me telling you now.
Have you ever had a bad day at work? A day that not even the happiest of happy hours could reverse? A day so shitty that you begin to fantasize about the idea of flipping your desk and telling your boss to go fuck himself? Welcome to entry-level employment.
Remember all the times you brought your lunch? Remember all the times you suffered through the office coffee? This is where the “fuck you” fund comes in. This is where it all pays off.
When I was 18, I was taking my '93 Dodge Intrepid (RIP) to the shop at least once a month to be fixed. On New Year’s Eve, I was driving it home from the Godsend of a body shop that I was now on a first name basis with, and it broke down again. With love, I said "fuck you" to my Intrepid and walked across the street to the dealership. A few hours later I emerged with a brand new Nissan and a sense of relief.
It was totaled eight months later.
That's not the point. I made an adult decision, the car loan helped build up my credit score, and I was financially independent.
Fast forward to a month before my college graduation. I was having a rough day at my internship. You know, fixing the copier and being someone's bitch. I pulled another "Fuck You" and bought a month-long backpacking trip through Europe. My future employer wasn’t pleased that I pushed my start date back. You know what? Who cares, it was my money and my vacation.
All of these rash decisions were brought to you by my "Fuck You" fund.
Hindsight being 20/20, could I probably have made better decisions? Yes. Did I make a few mistakes? Yes, but I have learned from them. Would I change anything if I could go back? Nope.
My parents like to call this an "Emergency Fund". Clever, I know. My more affluent friends like to call this a "Fuck You” fund.
I'm absolutely not advising you to quit your job and definitely not encouraging you to curse at your boss, ever. We're not here to burn bridges, we're here to build new ones.
Having a bank account you routinely set aside money in not only allows you to make large purchases regret-free, it also protects you if you ever are in an actual emergency. I know you've seen the commercials with the debt collectors and the people hiding from their landlines. The commercial may be dramatized, but the situation is very real. It only takes one unforeseen medical bill, a broken-down car, taxes owed to the IRS, or a forgotten student loan payment to create a domino effect into debt.
I know six months of expenses may sound like a lot. But a few life changes are 100% worth the peace of mind. Take a minute and write down every payment you make monthly, it might be less than you think.
Rent, utilities, subscriptions, car payments, gas? Student loans, I know you have them. What else?
I'm not saying this is something you can form overnight, saving takes time. That's why you'll feel badass when you finally have enough saved up that you can blow a portion of it on your dream car or the vacation you've been waiting for.
A coworker of mine brings a PB&J for lunch. Every. Single. Day. He also drives a Corvette that he paid for in cash. Another friend of mine works at least 60, sometimes 70 hours a week. He pockets the overtime and doesn't owe a single dime on his home.
Me? I drink the stale office coffee and bring my lunch religiously just so I can vacation how and when I want. The money has to come from somewhere. What are you willing to give up now to benefit in the long run?
Start with what you can. Most banks don't charge extra for opening a new account, especially savings. Most of the time you can even do it online. Try putting $20 a week into this bank account. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it’ll add up quickly. Try to increase your contribution each paycheck.
If your parents hand you a wad of cash for Christmas or your birthday, put it in this account. The same can be said for your bonuses or overtime at work. Is it easier to spend this extra cash on bottomless mimosas at brunch or on that new Express sweater that you just happen to have a coupon for? Sure. But won't it feel a hell of a lot better if you don't have to pay $400 a month for a car because you could actually afford a down payment? 100% yes.
Try to stray away from the instant gratification lifestyle that is so popular among our generation. I promise you can put away $20 a week and your lifestyle will not suffer. This is the first step into the wonderful world of financial independence.
As always, thank you to Zack Mathis for reminding me that puncuation exists for a reason.