The other day I wrote about changing the way I spend my money, and I didn’t really get to my why, so I wanted to elaborate about that today. For some genius hacks for how you can reduce your spending and define your wants vs. musts, check out The Simple Dollar’s article here.
What I have been really missing in life is a cushion. I live paycheck to paycheck, even though I make a lot more money than most people in the world. I also have an incredibly daunting amount of debt, both private and from law school loans. The number of days I have felt hopeless about my loans are countless. And when I feel like, “what’s the point?” of paying anything towards my insanely huge loan balance, that’s when I make the dumbest financial decisions.
So I decided that I needed to change things up to find a way to have hope about my situation and figure out what I need to change to actually stand a chance.
The steps I needed to take were:
- Figure out what my values and goals for my future were
- Figure out what I was spending on
- Figure out what I could cut, what I needed to keep to survive, and what I might choose to keep (at a cost)
- What makes Mirabelle truly happy?
So last week, I told you about what I was actually spending my money and time on, and what you (fairly) can assume about me based on this.
It was a rude awakening that I could not continue being the selfish spender I have been for years. I’m not going to ever be perfect, but I need to persevere to be better.
In addition to figuring out my budget, I’ve also been figuring out my calendar and how I can spend time on the things that are actually important to me. Things that give life to me, energize me, and help me in the long term are the activities I am looking to increase.
I’m human, so yes, I’m always going to make some time for watching The Bachelor with my best friend (because, seriously, these people make WORSE decision than I do!). But I’d rather plan ahead for these things, instead of waking up at 9pm on a Sunday and realizing I’d spent five hours watching Gabrielle Union in Being Mary Jane on Netflix.
So what gives me life? What’s good for me? What are my basic needs?
I need a new job (to continue moving into a career that I’m passionate about and where I can leverage my skills to empower others):
- I’m networking a lot right now. However, I was doing this even before I was searching for a job. I’ve always enjoyed learning and so I’ve always gone to interesting events, met new people and learned from people who are at the top of their fields. This one isn’t hard to maintain.
- I also enjoy staying connected with people, so connecting on LinkedIn and reading people’s posts and articles is fascinating, so that one isn’t hard for me either.
- Applying for jobs is the WORST. Remember that year when I applied to somewhere between one and two thousand jobs? That was awful. Applying jobs today comes with the worry that no matter how many jobs I apply for, I might not be able to get out of where I am. So I have to remind myself that networking will help me find the jobs that are a good fit for me, where someone might be looking out for my application!
- The Obstacle: I need to cut out watching tv and aimlessly browsing social media to properly focus on this!
- The Solution: Networking, spending the needed time to apply to jobs, and some patience are my formula to success. Also, I love writing AND finding solutions, so filling out job apps is actually quite fun once I get into it.
I love being fit and want to be healthy:
- I already cook a lot, so I just need to continue this to cut out my restaurant days.
- The Obstacle: when I’m stressed, I tend to eat… without stopping. When I’m happy, I feel like my joy carries me for miles and miles. So I need to remind myself that being fit and happy will help me avoid filling the void with food (literally!)
- I have a standing desk, so I don’t sit very much during the day.
- The Obstacle: I need to cut out sitting on the coach on weekends. When I’m not working out or with friends, I’m either driving or relaxing at home. I need to figure out how to cut my sitting time on weekends.
I have been putting my mental health first. I’ve reduced how many hours I work (after work is over), started meditating every morning, and finally committed to going to therapy every week.
- The Obstacle: When work is stressful, I can’t sleep, and when I can’t sleep, I struggle getting up in the morning. When this happens, it’s really hard to get my routine to kick off strongly.
- My Solution: After hearing a podcast called Sincerely X (the anonymous version of Ted Talks on Audible.com), I started thinking long and hard about daily meditation. I recently subscribed to the app Headspace upon the CEO’s recommendations. It has worked miracles in my routine! As a competitive person, the fact that it’s gamified is AMAZING! I really don’t like losing my 10-day and 30-day streaks, so I force myself to meditate before my morning routine every day. Ever since I signed up, I haven’t missed a single morning meditation. I was missing accountability, and even though the app is a robot, it’s still holding me accountable. I’ve also discovered that every time I hit a goal, I get to share a free month’s subscription with a different friend! (Note: I’m not paid by Headspace, and haven’t really looked into other free options. For me, it was really important to find an app that would hold my attention, have good graphics and used a gamification structure that would work to my advantage!)
- The Obstacle: My job stresses me out and I’ve been dealing with some difficult circumstances personally this year.
- My Solution: I start every morning with an uplifting newsletter from my favorite pastor, read some good books and make sure to count (and write down) my blessings. Focusing on the positives in life and reminding myself that there is hope is the best way to keep my mind in check. I’ve also mentioned that I meditate and go to therapy. All of this reminds me that I can put my wellbeing first, and that I have a lot of amazing resources.
I love food, traveling and live music:
- Since I am cutting out eating out, travel and concerts, this one is hard. However, as I mentioned in my last post, there are a host of ways to do these things for free.
- The Obstacle: It’s hard to find free food, trips and concerts.
- The Solution: Joining groups, getting active online and calling upon your friends for suggestions is a great way to start. Also, reminding myself of the big picture (no debt, lots of savings, and hopeful retirement future
I want to start a family, but I’m broke.
- Spending less time on expensive things, and sticking to my budget is the best way to stop worrying about my future.
- The Obstacle: I’m accustomed to a certain lifestyle.
- The Solution: The idea of being free from debt is a HUGE driver for me. Reminding myself of how incredible life will be when I’m debt-free is the best motivator here. No amount of bone marrow from the DTLA restaurant Miro (I know, weird splurge) will ever make me happy in a sustainable way!
- The Obstacle: I’m currently single.
- The Solution: Keep at it, Mirabelle! You’re only 30 – there’s plenty of time to meet Mr. Right. Also, nobody would ever say I wasn’t mature enough to have kids – I’ve certainly been maturing!
Spending time with friends and learning
- As a singleton, I have a lot of time and energy for others. The great thing is that there are lots of free or cheap activities I can (and do) do with my friends.
- I’m never at a loss of things to do or people to do them with.
- As I mentioned, I network a lot. That is, I go to lots of events where I get to meet interesting people, and continue building my friend circles, my professional networks and my understanding of the world!
- The Solution: Continue to attend free events, read interesting articles and blogs about well-being, finance, careers and anything else that peaks my interest!
So now you know, what I prioritize and what I’m working on in terms of my schedule.
How do you figure out what you spend your time on? Are there any areas you would like to restructure? What tv shows are you addicted to (and do they ever cut into your productivity)?
Please comment, share your thoughts and let me know what you think. Please help me keep this a positive forum, though. I am so excited for some debate, but let’s respect each other please. I reserve the right to monitor and delete inappropriate posts. Thanks in advance!
Featured image via