Where Does Your Money Go?

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One of the best (and scariest) things I ever heard about living in New York was this – “You can’t walk out your front door without $40 leaving your pocket.” At first I laughed, then I cried, then I sighed in agreement. Living in New York (or any urban area) can be extremely expensive, and then add on trying to find entertainment and “live your life” as a young person enjoying the place you live, and you basically go for broke each month. At the end of last year I made myself an excel grid (helllooo type A!) to catalog exactly where my money was going, and boy, it was an eye opener. I got honest about what was really important to me to spend my money on and makes me happy (yes, that includes clothes), and decided to cut some of the fat. If you’re asking yourself “where the ?&*! did my money go?!” at the end of the month, the below might help you prioritize where your cash should go:

Rent – “House poor” is a common phrase used in NYC. It is something I have been before, and promised myself I would never do again. Make sure you can really afford your rent, even if that means living a few blocks away from your dream neighborhood or taking on a roommate. Rent should never be above 1/3 your income.

Food – I go back and forth on my priorities with food here, and I think honestly most girls would feel the same way. The truth is when you have a significant other, you spend much more money going out and ordering in food than you would when it’s just you. Sometimes I miss the “old days,” when I could just whip up quinoa and chicken and not have a man’s hunger to worry about, but then again I’m also experiencing much more of my neighborhood any city by going out. If you DO spend a lot of money going out during the week, try to cut back on the other food expenses you may have, mainly bringing lunch to work (left overs) and losing your sushi or Starbucks habit.

Fitness – Again, I’ve talked about this before on the site (exactly a year ago even!), but what you spend on fitness is really up to you. When I was in a teeny apartment with roommates, it was important to me to have an oasis to escape to, and it made sense to spend more on a gym with classes and beautiful showers. Now, I just need a treadmill for the winter and some weights, so my $10 Planet Fitness membership works fine for me. I do indulge in boutique classes now and then. My favorites right now are SoulCycle and Prana Yoga.

Clothes & Makeup – Don’t think you’re being vain here – truly admit to yourself if clothes and makeup are a priority to you. For me, I love styling clothes and playing with makeup. I always have – since I was a teenager and saved up my coffee house pay to go to the mall. To make room for my monthly shopping budget, I cut back on fitness, entertainment and travel. It’s all about balance!

Entertainment – This is another area I have cut WAY back on in the past year or so. While I love going to new places and seeing my town, I try to take advantage of fun/cheap things to do rather than extravagant nights out that end up costing hundreds of dollars. It also may be a sign of getting older, but apartment dinner parties or wine nights in are some of my favorite things to do, and I’m spending much less on alcohol and cabs – simply because I’d rather spend the money somewhere else!

Travel – I’m in a time in my life where the most travel I’m doing is a driving distance away, so I don’t save up much for travel. I’m lucky that my work sends me to some great places, so I do get to indulge in travel without paying for it myself. However, I do have several friends that love to travel and need to get out of the country at least twice a year. If that is your gig, be sure to cut back on clothes, entertainment, and going out so you can save. You can have it all, but not all at once!
Where do you think your money goes?

 

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Add Balance to Your Resolutions

I’m a New Year’s Resolutions type of girl. Always have been. I love the idea of starting fresh and gaining a new perspective. However I can also understand those who shy away from resolutions or think they’re silly, especially if you’ve been in the habit of making resolutions only to give up on them after week 1.

But here is the thing. Week 1 of the new year is hard. Week 1 is confusing and jolting, and you’re not in your sweatpants at your mom’s house polishing off the last of the sugar cookies while she does your laundry. So add in some restrictive “resolutions” and it can begin to feel like self-inflicted torture.

That’s why I always try to add pleasant resolutions along with my more “healthy” or hard-working goals. Below I’ve added some of the most popular resolutions I’ve heard so far this year, and how you can help yourself out:

“I want to be more organized” – This is my first resolution at the start of every year. It’s easiest to break this down into smaller goals, or something in particular that you haven’t conquered yet. For me, it was my work space and office. It was a complete mess and not a place I liked to chill out. So in addition to cleaning out garbage, giving away product I don’t need and making room for new things, I also added decor elements and bought some fun prints on Etsy. You can also do something similar when organizing your closet, beauty supplies or even finances. Add a little of the super cute with the shredder.

“I want to cook more” – Without realizing it, all my girlfriends and I made this same resolution this year. It’s especially easy in New York to forget what your kitchen is for, and during the holidays you are barely home in your apartment to use it. There is no need to drop your paycheck at Whole Foods and Bed Bath and Beyond while you try to become a chef this week. There are lots of cheats to this one. Buy a Crockpot and pin some of your favorite recipes that can cook while you’re at work. I signed up for Blue Apron, a site that will literally send you everything you need to cook 3 delicious recipes a week without you lifting a finger. Or, you can enlist the help of a kitchen-friendly pal (or Mom) who can help you set up your kitchen with the basics, and give you easy recipe ideas.

“I want to lose weight” – The worst of the resolutions, in my opinion. I hate the way this one is phrased. I’d rather we all start saying “I want to treat my body better.” When I start looking at weight loss and health as a holistic approach vs. one sided or one minded (and I’ve slipped up more than once), I always feel better than when I hit the treadmill with all I’ve got so I can’t move the next day. Think of ways you take care of yourself that make you feel happy – a spin class, watching a motivational speech, or even a massage. After you do those things, don’t you feel enthusiastic and inspired to put better things in your body? So then the goal is to do more of those things that you need to feel in a great place to take care of yourself! I frequently do things that may seem “indulgent,” like have an afternoon at the spa or go to a boutique gym class, because I know it will have amazing effects on how I take care of myself for the rest of the week.

“I want to do something that scares me” – This is a new one I’m trying this year. I’ve always been intimidated by yoga. As much as I can try to practice at home on my own, I know I need to suck it up and go to a studio where I can better my practice. In order to tackle this intimidation, I need to look at it like an accomplishable challenge, so i have a list of studios in my area where I will try a new studio each week. But some work best when they do something scary with a friend. I know when it comes to going to new places or meeting new people, I almost always need to have Adrianna by my side : )

What are your new years resolutions this year?

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Update: Staycation

After a lovely Christmas at home, I’m back in New York and trying to get a jump start on my New Years resolutions. So far, a lot of it has to do with healthy eating and getting the apartment organized, which I started with unloading 3 bags of trash and 2 trash bags of donations yesterday. Not having to consistently check email or the phone has been amazing, and a much needed break for my brain.

I know many of you are on break from school or also taking a much needed vacation. BUT if you’re spending a few days at your desk this week, be sure to tell us what you’re up to with the hashtag #desksidedistraction. Want to know how you’re staying sane before the new year!

Happy Holidays!

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Christmastime Is Here

Breakfast at Yurman's

The stretch from Thanksgiving to Christmas is my favorite time of year. I consider it one gigantic holiday instead of two days of celebration. Every day I try to take some time to reflect on what I am most grateful for and how I can give back to those I love. I also like to take some time to think how I can work even harder towards my passions and goals in this upcoming new year. While the lead up to the holidays can be hectic, the time with family is a great chance to reflect and think about what you really want to be doing… maybe because you’re much more in tune with your most loving and authentic self.

So this holiday, while you’re frosting cookies or wrapping presents or enjoying a silly Christmas movie, try to think about how you can really treat yourself after the holidays. What is it you get most excited about, and can keep this holiday feeling year round?

Happy Holidays to everyone!

 

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