lifestyle

A Month of Spending | Quarantine

Hi y’all,

I’m sure like everyone else, my town has been relatively shut down for the past months (since March 13th).

I thought it would be fun and interesting to see what I spend in a month when I really wasn’t going anywhere. I pulled up all of my credit card statements (I don’t use cash ever) and took a look. Keep in mind I’m a teacher and in grad school, so my priority is saving money right now.

A Month of Spending in Quarentine

I’m going to try and organize this by date and since I’m doing a month, I figured I’d do it April 18-May 18th.

4/26-Kendra Scott     $82.55 (this is one of their sterling silver bracelets. On sale)

4/28 Hulu + Disney+ $12.99

4/29-Raising Cane’s $9.22 (lunch)

4/29 Loft  $91.24 (clothes)

5/10- Timberlake Pharmacy $5.84 (milkshake)

5/12-Apple $3.99 (book)

5/12- UVA $2400.00 (Summer Semester)

5/15 Lilly Pulitzer $192.07 (this was the date it was posted)

5/15 Erin McDermott Jewelry 44.76

Grand total: $2797.90 (without UVA tuition payment- $442.66)

Obviously, I’m not really driving anywhere so I didn’t have to buy gas this past month. I normally buy gas every week when teaching. Also, I only pay for 3 semesters a year at UVA so I actually break it down and put $800 toward school every month, so I did not really take $2400 out of one monthly paycheck. My UVA semester doesn’t even start until June 8th, but payment was due by the 18th so I made sure it was in early.

I’ve been working recently on saving money, so I wanted to share with you what this looked like.

Do y’all find yourselves saving more since Quarantine/Social Distancing started?

xx,

Lindsey

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Savings over Spending

Hi y’all,

In case you don’t know, I am trying super hard to save money. I recently went to a Financial Literacy seminar held by a sustainer of the Junior League. While this particular seminar focused more on purchasing stock in companies that were “sustainable”.

At the end of December, I sat down and made myself a monthly budget for 2020.

In Charlottesville it is super expensive to live. The average cost of an apartment is about $1500 a month, without utilities or anything included. I’m single and teacher meaning that I have to really watch my monthly income (I only get paid once a month). I also know I’m a shopaholic. I’m working on it, though!

In order to make a slightly realistic budget, I sat down and looked at my “must have” expenses. The ones I have to pay each month. For me, this is gas since I’m super lucky to have the living situation I have.

In order to start my budget, I split my monthly salary in half. This is what will go immediately into savings.

I also know I have to pay for grad school every semester. I have no financial aid, no scholarships, or grants. If I save $800 a month, I’ll be able to pay for each semester in full. This is about a quarter of my salary, or half of what is left after I split my salary for savings.

The only major expense I have every month is gas, which is about $120 a month. I have to get gas at least once a week. In the winter, it is sometimes more since fuel tends to be more expensive and I use more in the colder weather.

Whatever is left over is what I can spend guilt free, of course it is better not to spend this money, but at the end of the day, I know I cannot only limit myself or my spending will get out of control.

One thing I did for myself in 2018 was start a high yield savings account through Ally Bank. This allows me to have an interest percentage over 20 times the national average. In my regular bank account, I get about 3 cents a year in interest compared to almost $30 a month with Ally!

I started to use the Mint app to help track my budget and spending more efficiently a few days ago. It’s already way better than it used to be. I was able to create a “goal” in the app which will allow me to see how I’m working toward my goal of owning a house and paying for grad school without loans.

To break it down, the easiest way I have found to save that is common sense is:

1. Divide your monthly salary in half.
2. One half goes to your savings account. This is money you cannot touch.
3. The other half is divided into what you need to spend money on, or extra savings. I split this in half, and half goes to my education fund, leaving me with a quarter of my monthly salary to spend every month.

If you have student loans, I would figure out how much you need to pay on your student loans, and then divide in half from there. Obviously, it depends on your living situation as well.

What have you found that is useful for saving money?

xx,
Lindsey

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Financial Planning for the New Year

Hi y’all,

Since it’s the beginning of the year, it’s time to get finances in order! I have been really thinking about my financial goals. They have changed slightly, and that’s okay!
Now, please keep in mind, I am no financial expert by any means.

My LONG long term goal is to buy a house. This was my original goal for this year; however, with interest rates only becoming higher, now is not the best time. However, I can keep saving my money and working toward this goal because the interest rates won’t stay this high (or even higher) for long.  In fact, if you look at patterns, major election years (typically Presidential elections, the interest rates drop because of uncertainty in the market).

My shorter long term goal is to get a puppy, an apartment, and pay for my master’s degree. I am so proud to say that I have yet to take a loan out for school and I would love to keep that going! I currently do live at home while I save some money (I put all my money into school while I was working on my teaching license). However, I put aside a little from each paycheck to be able to afford an apartment in the near future. This is the same for the puppy. If you know me, I’ve been talking about a puppy since before I graduated college. This is THE goal of the year (besides getting admitted to grad school-fingers crossed). However, unlike with grad school, I completely control getting a puppy.

How am I accomplishing these goals?

First, I semi-dumped the brick and mortar bank. I still have a savings account and credit cards with one; but I basically use it for transactions that I need to do over the counter, like depositing cash. I also deposit any checks using mobile banking through this bank so that I am only making one transfer to my online bank. An online bank offers higher interest rates because they are not funding buildings and staff like a brick and mortar bank. My brother switched to it first, and I did while I was student teaching. Now, I’m so thankful! I earn so much in interest every month which is such a nice bonus. I also opened a credit card and checking account with my online bank.

Paying attention to where my money goes. This is by far one of the hardest things for me. Especially since I use a credit card for 99% of my purchases. However, I have recently started using the “wait a few days” rule. If you’re still thinking about the item 48 hours later (or 2 days), pull the trigger.

Use Ebates, Swagbucks, Ibotta, etc. for extra savings. I love using Ebates and Swagbucks. I find Ibotta is harder for me to use because I don’t always buy the items that they are offering deals on. However, Ebates and Swagbucks are hands down two of my favorite things on the internet. I get savings by doing simple things. Swagbucks by taking surveys and watching videos. I can also earn by shopping, but I always choose the higher percentage cash back between Swagbucks and Ebates.
The one downfall to Ebates is that they only pay quarterly (but it does mean you get more in a chunk).

I don’t do invenstments through apps; however,  I do own stock and have a 401 K hybrid plan through my school system.

Financially planning/budgeting is also key. I have to budget, and right now the largest part of my budget every month is gas (I typically have to fill up once a week).

How are you financially planning for 2019?

xx,
Lindsey