Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Little Things

In the new year, I made a drastic change to my month to month spending. I moved to a 5 piece wardrobe method to cut down on my shopping. I started to pack my lunch every day consistently (saving 1 day for going out with coworkers). All my expenses now are just rent, bills, groceries, transit (pre-tax), and my gym membership. So, that means not very many posts about clothes this year! I've just been wearing the same 2 silhouettes every week to work, and that combined with the cold makes for very utilitarian dressing.

But, I'm really enjoying seeing my savings grow every month, and how that will make my future a lot easier to attain. It's so easy to be young, make an awesome income, and to blow it all on things to enjoy in the here and now. Clothes, drinks, eating out, going out. Sometimes I feel like I spend money on these things to fill some sort of hole, I'm not sure what it is. After I graduated, I felt a little like I had just come out of the prior 10 years of my life preparing, working, and waiting for the very decade I'm in now - my 20s. It was a constant narrative of "You deserve this" or "Treat yourself" and the timeline for that was "Now." 

I had reached the end of my 5 year plan that I had made in high school. Get into a good college. Finish my degree. Find a good job. I didn't know what I wanted after that, and I hadn't really thought about it past the basic life milestones (move out, continue working, get married). I hadn't given any more thought to what my next 5 years would look like except for work - get promoted - repeat. It wasn't until this year that I actually sat down and thought about what I wanted. And I realized that my goals are no longer on a 5 year timeline - they're more realistically on a 10 year+ timeline. And instead of the clear cut path from high school to college to work, post-grad is a lot more circuitous and unwritten. 

Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm okay (happy even) with being a little more disciplined now to make the next 10 years a LOT easier on me. And I'm enjoying appreciating the little (read: free) things - a french press in the morning, cooking fancy plates at home with my boyfriend, the feeling after a good, long work out, and reading on a Sunday afternoon. 


  1. +1 on the packed food to work and coffee. Sure, a bag of (admittedly pricy Third-Wave) coffee is a lot upfront, but making it at work saves me $3 + the drive out to a shop for a cup. I wish I were better at cooking for myself at home, like you guys :)

    What's the real estate game like in Chicago?

    1. You and your fancy coffee ;) You should try some Chicago coffee (Intelligensia, Bowtruss, Dark Matter, Ipsento) if you can get it around your area!

      It's pretty decent! I live in a 1br apartment and rent alone is around 20% of my monthly income. Granted, I do split it with my boyfriend, so that definitely helps! I've been wavering between buying a condo and not buying one though, buthis plans have him picking up and moving in the next 3 years. My job is a lot more flexible and I can work from anywhere.

  2. Sounds like you're doing a great job with your financial goals! As someone who is in the after graduate-school stage of life, I can attest that learning how to be more minimalist with your spending and lifestyle will pay big dividends throughout graduate school and beyond.

    I've been doing reasonably well with my goals this year too. I do get to cook a lot on the weekends with K (though I'm a bit of a control freak in the kitchen, so I end up doing most of the hands-on cooking part, and then he does the dishes). I'm still figuring out how to make cooking fit in better with my work schedule right now. It's hard to know how often I'll end up taking advantage of the free dinners due to overtime work each week because we tend to have so little notice regarding which evenings will be really long ones!