As a semi-recent graduate and quickly being thrown into the real world, I have learned to downsize and prioritize. It isn’t easy and it wasn’t easy at first, but I am trying my hardest to make sense of my expenses and do what I need to do to manage of of the minimum wage salary I acquire bi-weekly.
I have acquired bills such as loans, hospital bills, and credit card bills. On top of that I have rent, cell phone and cable bill plus car insurance and other monthly expenses such as groceries and car maintenance. I have learned to put money away from each check in case of emergencies. I never know what I might need my savings for, but from previous experiences it’s always good to have a cushion on hand.
I have been reading constantly on how to knock down my expenses and I’ve begun to do so the only way I know how. I have to pay the minimal on my hospital and credit card bills. I have to pay what I can just to keep from getting hounded by bill collectors. At this point I know they won’t get paid off overnight. I know that it’s going to take time. I also know that I can’t go out shopping like I used to in college because I have more responsibility. With more responsibility comes more prioritizing. Bills have to be at the top of the list. If you have the money to blow, great for you. Me on the other hand, I’ve learned to be resourceful and I have a lot more learning to do.
I’m not perfect and every now and then I do treat myself to some makeup (a new guilty pleasure) or dinner with friends. I have not stopped my life because of the expenses I have, but I do save in my Savings and my own little personal stash so that I can buy some materialistic possession or go hang out with friends. It’s not easy, but it’s something that I’m learning and I know one day I’ll be in the career I want and I’ll be able to pay more and do more with the money I earn.
Everyone has different priorities. It’s all about prioritizing not so much what makes sense but from what’s the biggest priority and breaking it down from there. It doesn’t matter how old you are, there are priorities. In the midst of making these lists of priorities always make time for yourself. Never work, work, work to pay off bills. The bills will be there whether you’re here or not. Enjoy life, but don’t be so frivolous that you dig yourself into a financial hole that you can’t get out of.