It’s my 21st birthday this Saturday (yay me!). And while I will celebrate, I’d like to think that it will be a more money-savvy party thanks to the time I’ve spent with SALT™.
So, as my birthday gift to you, I reflected on the 21 best money lessons I’ve learned since I started writing for SALT. (Sorry, no returns.)
Here they are.
I was recently in the costume section of a Walmart, picking up some pink leggings for my Piglet costume (my boyfriend is being Winnie the Pooh).
While lost in nostalgic memories of trick-or-treating, a miserable mother next to me broke into a rant about what a “hassle” Halloween is: purchasing costumes, the mess of the pumpkin carving, and cavities, cavities, cavities. I was struck silent.
This is my (slightly delayed) response to that cranky lady: Halloween has taught me some of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learned about being money savvy. So kindly shush.
Gambling is good for your bank account. How many times have you heard that nugget of advice? (I can see my mother cringing as she reads this and hear my father muttering “where did we go wrong?!” over her shoulder.)
Really, it’s true—although I don’t mean wagering extra during your Friday night poker game or betting when the government shutdown will end (all bets are clearly off with that). I mean gambling on specific purchases. Here’s what I’m talking about.
I got my first email reminding me to “apply to graduate.” And with it came 5 minutes of minor hyperventilating and 20 minutes of distracted Googling at my new internship.
The Googling was prompted by another discovery: One of my internship’s competitors was named one of the top 25 best small/medium businesses to work for by the Great Place to Work® Institute.
A few weeks ago, while using an ATM at a state fair, I realized that my bank account was lower than it should be. After checking my account history, I found out that someone had been purchasing songs and vitamin supplements with my debit card.
Just like the Tilt-A-Whirl and Zipper rides by me, the idea of someone stealing my money left me scared and disoriented. Fortunately, I quickly rectified the problem—while also realizing that protecting money is a lot like a carnival. (Despite my highest hopes, kettle corn and angry clowns hovering over dunk tanks are not involved.)
I went into Boston the other day to run errands, riding the subway ten times back and forth from school. I picked up new textbooks from the college bookstore because I didn’t make time to order them on a used book site. I forgot to pack a lunch, so I ordered off the dollar menu and paid in nickels and dimes—I’d used all my quarters on the subway.
Over a hundred dollars in the hole later, and after years of my mother preaching it, I was finally convinced that time management is a money saver.
I would love to tell you that since I’ve been home, I’ve been doing very well with my finances. In fact, I’d probably be lying through my teeth about it if it weren’t for the fact that the editor of this blog caught me splurging on a seafood platter last Monday night.
But after a long few weeks of trying to remember everything I need to get before moving into my new apartment (oven mitts were largely overlooked), I think I deserved it. Here’s what I’ve learned about saving money while apartment shopping.
Since moving to New York City, I learned that I live in “The Village,” that The Village is part of Manhattan, and that Central Park is a lot larger than the Boston Common.
For my internship, I interviewed celebrities on the red carpet, participated in conference calls, and had some true The Devil Wears Prada moments, like picking up a giant ice-cream cake in a 95-degree downpour.
Luckily, I also managed to glean a couple serious financial lessons from this crazy summer. Check it out.
Since becoming a fixture in the professional work space, I’ve been told to dress “casual but look professional,” that “jeans are OK, but, you know, not all jeans,” and my favorite, “I’m not really sure—just look and see what other people are wearing, I guess.”
Thanks. That will help so much for my first day.