Lemme say it right off the bat: adulting is hard.
Since I’m about to graduate uni, I’ve been thinking a lot about what being a bona fide adult really means.
Waking up a normal human hour, look at the credit cards to apply for with no credit, vacuuming more regularly, eating three real meals a day (I had popcorn and wine for dinner yesterday… I felt very Oliva Pope)…
But I realised that I’ve been wasting money on things just because they make me feel like I’m adulting.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m alllll for treating yourself sometimes. But realistically, no one needs a $4 chai latte every morning. Whilst $4 doesn’t sound a lot, it can soon add up by the end of the year. Those fancy drinks can cost a lot of money over the course of the year, so it’s always better to try and reduce the number of drinks you’re getting every morning. It’s actually surprising how effective these little savings can be over the year. One of my friends made a small saving on her electricity bill the other day by using the Smart Meter Texas website to review her monthly electricity usage. This helped her to find the cheapest electricity provider deal, allowing her to save a small amount on her monthly bill. She even agreed that it didn’t seem like much of a saving at the time, but it soon adds up by the end of the year. She ended up saving quite a bit of money. Perhaps that’s the next thing I should look into. I should start negotiating some of my household bills down next to save money.
My mom is a total power businesswoman (and yes, a full adult) and only indulges in a Starbucks cappuccino about twice a year (and never without pointing out that it’s half a cup of foam). So clearly, one does not have to splurge or maintain a ton of expensive habits just qualify as an adult.
Here’s what I’ve been cutting back on to save some money:
Honestly hour: I am no cook. I don’t enjoy cooking for myself and I’m not good at it. But I’m always floored by how £7 in groceries can last me two or three days of meals or just get me one at Pret a Manger. Going to the grocery store instead of ready-made stuff has saved me soooooo much. Also having good plastic containers to store food is the name of the game (any suggestions?!).
Also, for me, eating out is usually a social tool and isn’t about the food. So I’ve started to meet friends for coffee or to go on walks instead. And if I do go out, I make it an occasion. My friends usually appreciate the low cost of hanging out with me (ha) and it makes sitting down to lunch or dinner at a restaurant way more fun.
Fancy Drinks (both alcoholic and caffeinated)
Another honesty hour: I love going out. I am happiest when I go out multiple times a week. That’s just who I am.
But I’ve learned that I don’t have to spend money on tons of drinks. Splitting a bottle of wine with a friend and then sipping on one drink for the rest of the night makes for an equally fun time. Or if, I know I’ll be going on a more expensive night out, I’ll budget accordingly. That I’ve been avoiding the bank account hangover.
I’ve also started making my own coffee at home and never buy water bottles. I invested in some fun travel mugs (and stole this one from my flatmates). I save at least £20 a week on fancy drinks and when I do get the occasional Iced Chai, it tastes even better.
I almost spent £120 this week on Apple EarPods because one of my super put together friends doesn’t go anywhere without them. I don’t even have an iPhone (#teampixel).
Then I almost spent £15 on knock-off ones. But I looked around my room and saw my good old purple earphones, my spare black ones and two pairs of headphones and spent the money on Avengers: Infinity War instead.
My point is, most of the time you don’t need the fancy tech. Computers work as perfectly acceptable speakers and your phone can probably do most other techy things.
Reading Fancy Things
Honesty hour round three: I don’t actually read that much.
Sure, on vacation I can burn through books. But during ‘regular life,’ I’m lucky to finish a book in a week. I also find myself spending more time reading online magazine articles or email newsletters than ever flipping through a real magazine, let alone a newspaper.
I still have a shelf full of unread books and can grab a friend’s copy of Vogue if I need some inspiration. Not dropping £10 here or there on books or subscriptions to things I’ll never read, hasn’t made me feel like something is missing at all.
I’ve definitely become more comfortable accepting what ‘adult’ habits are financially realistic for me.
I still try to do my nails once a week, invest in good quality clothes and keep my planner and Google Calendar chock full of stuff. One of my friends sometimes gambles on things like rugby world cup betting, if he ever makes any money from it he usually puts it towards something. This could be an alternative method to get some cash rewards to let you treat yourself now and again. Anyway, simple things, like my nails and clothes, make me feel a little more put together.
What makes you feel like a put-together adult? What do you splurge on? ?