Alright April, welcome to the Happiness Project. This year has seriously flown by, but April marks month 6 of my Happiness Project, and as I outlined here, it’s all about Money.
Ah, Money. The bane of our existence, and the very backbone of our society.
Everybody’s got an opinion about money – how it should be used, who should have it, if it can indeed buy happiness. Me? I don’t think that money equals happiness, but it can provide experiences that bring happiness.
Through my short adventure in the adult-world so far, I’ve had a few different money-mindsets. At this time a year ago, I wasn’t stressed about money. At all. I was working as a waitress/manager at a busy-enough restaurant. Working 4 days a week, I was making hundreds more than I was working over 40 hours at my previous job. Anything I wanted, I bought. Any dinner I went to with my friends, the bill was on my card. I paid for school out of pocket with no stress, and took myself on a number of vacations throughout the year.
And now? Ha.
I traded my job in the restaurant for a more low-key gig at a coffee shop. It’s been a wonderful change of pace, with more reasonable hours and more time to focus on school, but significantly less money. I went through a 2 month period of having no job too, which caused my savings to take a hit. No longer do I have the luxury of treating my friends, or careless trips to Target. I’ve become a total penny pincher, and regret so many of the purchases I made last year. But hey, at least I learned my lesson, right?
This month, I’m saving up for not only life in general, but I’m spending the summer in Los Angeles (eeeep!!!) so I’ll need some walking-around money. I’m aiming to make the best of my current minimum-wage reality and see if I can save up some money this month!
As usual, here are my resolutions for the month of April!
1. Stop Wasting Gas
I’ve been known to go on little cruises and drives when I’m bored, happy, sad, angry, really any time. While I love driving and getting lost in a Spotify playlist, my truck doesn’t get the best mileage per gallon. Plus, with summer on it’s way, gas prices are creeping up. I drive enough already just getting to and from my jobs/school, so I want to be as smart as I can be when it comes to getting from point A to point B.
2. No Coffee Stops
As much as I love a Starbucks run, it’s so unnecessary. I’ve got tea bags at home, the YETI tumbler I’m borrowing from my boyfriend, and plenty of my towns finest tap water to make some tea. The last thing I need is to be spending $5 a day on a matcha latte.
3. Meal Prep Instead of Eating Out
Since I’m always on the go, it’s so much easier to just rush out in the morning and find somewhere nearby to get lunch. Those $8 salad stops in my building add up, and I could easily cook up a batch of chicken and veggies to last me the week for significantly less money.
4. Less Leisurely Activities
This one’s gonna be no fun. But, I keep telling myself that if I save up now, I’ll be able to have more adventures and fun this summer. I’d rather hunker down and finish out this semester and then have the time of my life come May.
5. Do a Fiscal Fast
So I saw this on an episode of Extreme Couponers back in the day. Instead of stacking up coupons and buying his things in bulk, this man took one week every month and spent no money at all. He rode his bike everywhere, did odd-jobs in exchange for lunch, and made sure he was stocked up on his essentials the week before. Now, I can’t ride my bike to my job that’s already an hour away by car, but I can cut out any non essential purchases for the week. I’m thinking fill my tank with gas and stock up on groceries for the week on a sunday evening, and try to last the week without spending money on anything that isn’t necessary for survival.
6. Check Monthly Subscriptions
Now, back when I had money to spare, I signed up for a bunch of silly things. Monthly memberships, premium versions of apps, and classes that I’ve yet to pay off. Now that I need to scrimp and save, I want to take a closer look at where my money is going each month, and if there’s anything I can say goodbye to. Little things like photoshop and magazine subscriptions can wait.
I’m excited about this month, like really excited. Last week I took some time to slow down and relax for a bit, but today I’m back on my game and I’m motivated to keep grinding until the semester ends. We’ll see how I do at the end of the month when I crunch some numbers for ya!