Two days ago I realized that I still had to pay second semester’s tuition and I had a total freak out.
I was going to run out of money.
I had been considering leaving my job and looking for something different – something that suited me better. I knew I wouldn’t make as much money anywhere else, but club life was starting to get to me… it looked like I was going to be stuck there now, though.
Because I’m me, my mind just started running. What should I do? Should I pick up a second job, should I start looking for a sugar daddy, should I call my mom? Would I be able to make my rent until the end of my lease, would I be able to afford to eat, would I have to move back to Victoria? OH GOD.
It was not great.
I’ll be totally honest with you guys: I should have enough money. Between work, my savings, and help from home, there’s really only one reason that I would be running out of money and that is *gulp* …. I’m spending too much.
I spent a half hour lamenting to my roommates (“you should quit your job, it’s not good for your soul” “my soul needs to be able to pay rent !!!”) and finally one of the girls suggested that I go through my bank balance and really figure out where my money is going.
I put it off for about a week because I knew it would be awkward and embarrassing for me to recognize my terrible habits. I literally didn’t want to know what I was doing wrong – probably because, in all honesty, I already did know.
I sat down today and gave myself a stern talking to. I told myself that this was not an exercise in self loathing, but a learning opportunity. Forgive yourself and move on, y’know?
All of this to say in the end I discovered that my spending could be divided into three main categories; coffee shops/restaurants, groceries, and drugstores. And guess which one I spent the least on? Groceries.
Additional expenses included the premium spotify account that I forgot I had, uber, and booze – but even combined those things didn’t come close to what I’m spending at fuckin’ Rexall.
The biggest lesson here for me is that I eat out too much. And funnily enough there weren’t even that many big “restaurant” purchases on here… for the most part what really killed me was stopping to get food on my way home from work (usually at McDonalds because it’s 3am and there’s one right by my house), and picking up a $3 coffee. I know we’ve all heard this a million times before, but $3 a day for a whole month is 93 dollars in coffee alone! Oh man.
If I have to leave Toronto because I spent 100 bucks a month of coffee I’m gunna be real upset.
Another big lesson? I use my debit card too much. I have a student bank account which gives me a certain number of free transactions, but after that I get charged $1. So if I use my debit card 30 extra times like I did last month, that thirty dollars that’s just gone. Poof.
I know this is all pretty basic stuff, but honestly it’s stuff that I’ve never looked at very closely. When I started school I had years worth of savings in the bank – I was in a pretty comfy financial situation for a first year university student. It didn’t really occur to me that I could one day just… run out of money. And truthfully since I’ve moved to Toronto I’ve known I was spending too much money. I’m constantly surrounded by beautiful people in beautiful clothes drinking beautiful drinks and eating beautiful salads and I just want to keep up!! But, alas, that is not the world I live in.
If you’ve never done this before, I highly recommend you try it out – even if you’re not currently in dire straights. Maybe you’re making similar mistakes to mine?
If any of you are budgeting experts, please share your secrets with me. Anyone got a sweet get rich quick scheme that I should try out?