Hi, my name is Sam, and I am broke AF.
At 28, I didn’t think I’d be here right now saying this, but life keeps getting more expensive, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.
First, I was unemployed for half a year. Then, my health care doubled in price. Then, I started getting all these bills. And at the same time, I attempted to LIVE because #life. Months later, though, I am still here existing, but I’ve racked up some debt and it’s time to pay it off.
It’s not a ton of debt compared to other people, but I want to start saving real money and stop digging into my savings whenever I want to do something. Before I can dive deep into that arena, I need to pay off this debt.
I first mapped out a game plan that I could totally afford to do while still buying one to two fashion things a month, dining out and drinking, and going to Starbucks every day. I would pay my credit cards off in six months. Simple, right? Wrong.
Suddenly, everyone wanted to do things. Suddenly, my closet started begging for new items. Suddenly, events and services I forgot about started to charge me for things I didn’t plan for.
One thing I have always struggled to do is say “no.” I love doing things! I love people! I love being social! It’s a gift. It’s a curse. It has made me completely horrible at spending and saving money. But recently, I’ve been embracing the word “no” and it’s actually, kind of, slowly working.
Welcome to my very first ‘YEAR OF NO.’ Here are 8 things I’ve said no to while *trying to* pay off my credit card (note: you will not see coffee on this list because it’s necessary to living).
1. Going to bars with overpriced drinks
Okay, this could be perceived as a lie, but I have at least tried to keep expensive places out of my life while trying to not spend money. It’s hard because I don’t like cheap places, but it’s also good because I’m not sure how I convinced myself that $15 was a good price for a glass of wine when a decent bottle costs less than that. I’m coming back to reality, y’all.
2. Ordering pizza when I don’t feel like cooking
No! You have so much food in your cabinets and fridge! Eat something in there. This is me to me every Thursday. I’ve gotten better about this. Like, sometimes I just don’t eat instead of ordering pizza. When the diet and the wallet win, you know you’re doing something right.
3. Getting mid-week dinner/drinks with friends
Socializing is great and all, but why does hanging out always cost money? I mean, it doesn’t have to. You can hang at someone’s apartment instead of a bar or restaurant or idk, a museum?! But during the week, I either want to grab something on my way home or just go home. And not to someone else’s home. To my home. I want to put on yoga pants and take off my bra, okay? I also pay a fuck ton of money for barre each month, so to get my money’s worth, on weeknights I usually choose working out over hanging out (with people or with my computer) because there’s zero chance I’ll wake up to work out in the morning.
4. Cooking multiple recipes with lots of ingredients I don’t have each week
I am trying to make use of as much as I already have in my kitchen, instead of buying a bunch of ingredients each week to make a few recipes. That makes my meal plan for the week boring, but affordable.
5. A trip to Florida with friends
It sucks when your friends plan a trip and you have to opt out because of money. Even though I technically could afford the trip, I knew it would be a major setback in my debt-paying plan so I didn’t go. My problem before was that every time I’d get a step closer to saving more or paying off more debt, I’d then spend that money and more on trips. Now I’m trying to be more realistic and aware—and it’s working.
6. Going to the doctor
Shit is expensive. And by ‘shit,’ I mean the costs that come with already paying for health insurance. I went to the doctor and got an x-ray a few months ago and it basically cost my rent. Cool.
Unless brunch is the main weekend event, I see no need in wasting my weekend days eating bad-for-you food and drinking mimosas anymore when I could be doing something productive while eating the (healthy) food I have in my cabinets. I say this KNOWING that I do enjoy going to brunch, but not if I spent the weekend already socializing. When it comes to spending money, you have to pick and choose your weekend events wisely.
8. New on-trend clothes
I’ve allotted myself a certain amount of money I can spend each month on clothes, and since then, I’ve invested in things I needed like nice jeans and nice sneakers and searched for bargains on new tops at Nordstrom Rack and TJ Maxx. I honestly didn’t realize just how bad my shopping habit had gotten until I started seeing reasonable price tags on clothes, as opposed to the $100+ clothing I was browsing before.