Hello Lara’s blog readers! Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Jess Witkins, and I’m a shopaholic. But let me back up a minute. About 6 months ago, my phenomenal friend and superwoman, Marcia Richards, co-created a little bloggy baby with me called the Life List Club. The LLC is a group combined of readers and writers and everyone that falls in between. It’s essentially, YOUR club! What Marcia and I do, and the other six contributors, is write bi-weekly inspirations and real life stories of the ambitions, struggles, setbacks, success stories, meltdowns, and milestone parties that consume all our journeys towards the things we want in our lives. We want to inspire you and help you take the next steps toward accomplishing your own goals, knowing you’ve got pals along the whole journey to give you the nudge you need.
Recently, the group celebrated its 2nd milestone party, which meant we’ve been working on our life lists for about 6 months. That’s a long time, and a great position to look at what goals you’ve set and adapt as necessary, take account of lessons learned, and recognize small successes where you find them. My Life List has many things on it, mainly writing related, but it also included a desire to travel, to save more money, and make changes necessary to one day move to a new city or return to school. Well, that all costs money. And if there was one goal that was sitting quietly in the back of the classroom with it’s glasses cockeyed and kleenex shoved up its nose to stop it from running, it was my life list goal money saving baby. (Yes, I know that was a disgusting image, but this goal needed some desperate attention and a lesson in taking a stand against the other goal babies!)
Now, any hardcore movieholic/chick flick entrepreneur has seen the Isla Fisher film Confessions of a Shopaholic, the film where the delightfully perky redhead spends money on the latest fashions, gets the guy, but also runs herself into rampant, full on debt. *sigh* Fairytale, here I come!
Honestly, it could become my fate. Thankfully, I’m taking charge well before my shoe collection does! I am lucky enough to only have student loan debt so far. But it doesn’t mean I’ve been able to save anything for old age or emergencies. Through college and beyond I’ve been living paycheck to paycheck, and it suddenly occurred to me: with every job promotion I’ve received and higher pay that came with it, I improved my standard of living, rather than take that money as an opportunity to save. For instance, I used the extra money to buy lots of new clothes, a habit hard to break when you manage a department store in the mall! I also spend money on food a lot. A pizza here, some tacos there doesn’t seem like much until you add all the receipts together and it matches what you spent in groceries!
So, I’m making changes. First things first, I can’t ignore my bank statements for months and then manage them all at once. I was forgetting to jot down receipts and suddenly my paycheck was almost gone when I tallied it all up! So now, I vow to manage my finances once a week, making sure my balances are accurate.
Step two was a great idea given to me by a friend I met at a writer’s conference. It’s a website called piggymojo.com which lets you track what you didn’t buy in order to show you what you could be saving. It’s completely private (unless you want to friend others for the pep boost), and you don’t enter your banking information. You do put in a goaled amount you’d like to save and a period of time. Then you synch up to twitter and make updates like if I think about stopping for fast food I don’t need, and I skip it, I can tweet “$6 lunch,” or if I see a sweater I think is cute, but I don’t put it in my shopping cart, I can tweet “$20 sweater” and piggymojo will add up what I don’t spend and I can then look at that amount and put it in my savings! I’m SUCH a visual learner that this is really helping me, and it feels like a reward when I get to “report” in via twitter how much I saved.
Step three was remembering to put your money where it matters. I made a list of what I wanted to do this year. It included traveling to the DFW conference in Dallas, TX to attend the writer’s conference and MEET up with some of my LLC peeps, visit my High School best friend in South Korea, and take a road trip to Yellowstone National Park with my honey. I’ve looked up costs of plane tickets so I know what I need to save. I’m not positive it’ll all happen, but at least I feel I have some concrete plans to work towards. That, and the continuous payments towards my student loans...
How about you readers? What money saving/budgeting tips do you have for this shopaholic? What things are on “saving up for” lists? How ‘bout your life lists? Can’t wait to chat with you all in the comments! And don’t forget, you can find Lara at Gary Gauthier’s blog today! Happy Friday!
Bio: Jess Witkins claims the title Perseverance Expert. She grew up in a small Wisconsin town as the much younger youngest sibling of four, she’s witnessed the paranormal, jumped out of a plane, worked in retail, traveled to exotic locations like Italy, Ireland, and Shipshewana, Indiana, and she’s eaten bologna and lived to tell about it! She deals with it all and writes about it! Come along on her midwest adventures; Witkins promises to keep it honest and entertaining. Go ahead, SUBSCRIBE, you know you want to.
Follow on Twitter: @jesswitkins