Author: Amy Lynn
Welcome to Wasted Wednesdays!
Now before you get your hopes up, this is not how to have a wasted Wednesday or perfect drinks to enjoy a wasted Wednesday… this is about how to not waste money after college. For most of us, graduating college was like reality slapping us in the face. We had to find full time jobs, places to live, and get our lives in order. Reality did not hit me fast like a Porsche driving down the freeway doing 120, it sort of hit me like a VW Bug, slowly getting crushed by a monster truck. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but after college I moved back home and got a full time job making well under what I thought I would be making at 21, but it was a job and I took it for what it was. Oh and I also bought a new car one month after graduating college AND the student loans kicked in roughly 6 months after.
In order to not bore you with the tiny details of my life, let’s fast forward four, yes four.. sigh.. years to the present. I still live at home. I’ll pause while you gape in horror… I’m still making a car and student loan payments, as well as the other bills that come with being an adult. Now I really cannot feel too bad about still leaving at home, I mean the majority of my generation does still live at home, or moved out after college, failed at life, and then moved back home, so the way I look at it, at least I never tried to move out, right?! Well now that I’ve been engaged since December, I’m starting to feel my parents’ boot up my butt to move out. I mean they’d never force me out, well maybe at 30, but for now, no forcing, just urging. I started to panic about this back in January (I currently still live at home..) so I decided to start a spreadsheet to manage my expenses in the event I move out. Sort of prepare me for the mass amount of bills I will encounter and know exactly what cash I have left over after all my monthly bills are due. Until you start writing down all your expenses, you never truly realize how much you spend on food, it’s frightening. Now that you have the general gist of what Wasted Wednesdays really is, let me start this first segment off by helping you get started with a budget spreadsheet.
I created a blank document in Excel to get started and then I gathered all my bills. When you consider your monthly bills, don’t forget to consider your bi-yearly bills as well. Here’s what I have (it might help jog your memory about what you pay each month, etc.):
Phone Bill (Monthly)
Car Payment (Monthly)
Student Loan (Monthly)
Car Insurance (Bi-Yearly)
Now I also have a few other items of expense that come up yearly or monthly that are good to factor into your budget even though they are not necessarily bills:
Doctor’s Visit (Yearly)
Eye Doctor’s Visit/Contacts (Yearly)
Dentist (Yearly) (Ermmm I haven’t been in a long time but I need my wisdom teeth out this year, so I had to include this..)
If you can estimate all these costs by using previous years amounts you can divide the amounts up by 12 (months) and add that amount into each month’s budget that way you can save for the eventual appointment. It’s better to expect a two hundred dollar doctor bill 8 months in advance and be able to put away a bit of money each month to save for it versus having to dump all the money at once. I wish I had learned this lesson sooner!
I’ll leave you with this small, but very important step, for this week. It might take you some time to really realize all of your bills. Next week I will tackle expenses like clothing, food, necessities, gas, etc. Happy Wasted Wednesday!