As Destiny’s Child prophesied, “thou shall pay bills,” but if you’re just starting out, chances are the numbers on those bills are a bit alarming. The sick thing is, if you’re an American-born lady who’s likely been bombarded with capitalistic-fueled imagery her whole life, when you start to make actual money it can be easier than you think to blow it on senseless shit. As women, we all have to take care of ourselves, and if Suze Orman hasn’t scared you yet then Scotch & The Fox is here to get personal on the matter: it’s okay to want and/or buy things, but it’s shitty to be financially blindsided. We surveyed some of our own faux pas to bring you the 6 financial mistakes thou shalt not make if you want to feel good about the state of your pocketbook.
1) Becoming rent poor
Navigating living on your own? Rent will be your #1 expense, and, unlike owning a home, you can’t exactly put money or work into it hoping to turn a profit. Meaning you should aim to find a place that’s 30% or less of your annual take-home pay (your income minus taxes.) For single or attached foxes, as long as your apartment is in a safe neighborhood, you’ll need to be willing to cut corners to save a little money. No dishwasher? Small kitchen? Time to get creative and think of a way to make sudsin' up your pyrex pan a fun time.
2) Being reckless with your restaurant game
If you don't have a dishwasher or aren't that enthusiastic about cooking every night, chances are you'll be going out to eat every now and again. A few ways to lower your check when out with a group:
-Don't say yes to ordering a bottle of wine/champagne/straight up vodka if it's been a hard week unless you're ready to pay your portion. Ain't no shame in the ole game of having a pre-dinner cocktail at your place before meeting up with your lady friends. That way, one cocktail in, that $5 glass of happy hour wine might be all you'll be paying for in the drinks department.
-Don't be a hero and say "I've got it!" Every young fox has to pay her dues and that often involves not having a lot of disposable income. Agree to foot the bill once you've become CEO of your own clothing company or general HBIC of whatever you choose. For now, try and go dutch as much as possible: it's just fair and simple.
-Skip the dessert and make that $2 Raspberry Tarte from Trader Joe's in the comfort of your own home. Which brings us to:
3) Shopping at the same place for everything
While we'd all like to make a one-stop shopping trip every time we run out for Saturday errands, it's better (and cheaper) to get different things at different places. Example: I go to Trader Joe's for wine ($5, thanx), fresh flowers ($4!), and frozen Za's (usually around $5.) Next I stop at Lund's for muh deli meats and produce, catching a BOGO or two like I mean business, and Kowolski's has become my conveniently-close-by emergency grocer for pantry staples like pasta.
4) Not assessing what's really valuable to you
Maybe belonging to a health gym trumps getting a new fall wardrobe this year. Or maybe you decide to ditch the weekly spa treatments to save for a vacation. Whatever the case, everyone is different and you're entitled to spend your disposable income however you choose. Just know you'll have to sacrifice something most of the time, so prioritizing what things have value to you will be important.
5) Avoiding checking your credit score like the plague
Just do it--it will scare you into behaving. Creditkarma.com is legitimately free like its sassy commercials say so.
6) Being overly stingy
You don't have to foot the bill to feel like a million bucks. Money is just another form of energy, and getting someone even a small gift that won't break the bank (flowers, their morning coffee), is a good way to feel abundant and keep good money karma flowing your way.