A Life Full Of Riches 

By Mindie Barnett

Author and motivational speaker Mindie Barnett answers your questions about life, navigating these stressful and uncertain times, while steering you down a more straightforward path.
We welcome your questions and invite you to reach out to Mindie at mindiesmusings1@gmail.com

Hi Mindie,
I wonder if you have any advice on saving money during/post-college. For example, should I focus on trying to buy a new car? Move out of my mom and dad’s house? Or go on vacation? How do I stop having to buy new clothes and keep up with trends? I would love any advice on this topic. I appreciate any help you can provide.

Dear Ashley,
First, let me share I feel your pain. From one shop-aholic to (what appears) another, I often find solace, happiness, and instant gratification from mindless shopping. My purchases happen fast and furious, primarily online, after viewing a “must-have” item on social media. But after many stressful credit card statements later, I’ve learned how to “curb my enthusiasm” for a quick fix and instead put items in my shopping cart to hold for safekeeping. Doing so helps me cope with the FOMO I would otherwise feel and enables me the freedom and space to pause the purchase. If I still really want (or better yet “need”) the item a few days or even weeks later, then it’s there for the buying, and if it’s not, it wasn’t meant to be.

Other quick and easy cost-saving advice you can implement today includes trying to trim down your everyday indulgences. I don’t mean skipping the spa. (Although, if you enjoy a facial or massage every so often, that’s more than acceptable, try and space it out.) Instead, I suggest skipping the Starbucks line or opting for a take-out treat only once a week. The rest of the time, make your java at home or the office. If you can save on at least four-morning coffee buys a week, you’ll save a bundle.

Another easy thing to do is to pack your lunch—again, you don’t have to skip ordering out cold turkey. Instead, opt for a splurge once a week and bank what you would have spent on take-out sushi, salads, or sandwiches. If you’re like me, that could tally up to close to $100 a week! Add that money plus the money you’re saving on coffee, and you’ll have accrued a small fortune in one year—just from two minor but consistent tweaks

An efficient way to save is to have funds pulled from your paycheck and automatically deposited into a savings account (ideally the same one you’re stashing your coffee and lunch savings). You don’t have to make an enormous contribution, so long as it’s consistent. This will help you minimize the chances of dipping in to indulge. Just let the funds sit and grow. They’ll rise the fastest when you forget it’s there!

And instead of cutting up your credit cards (and risking a poor credit score in the process), a better option is to limit your cards. That will ensure you don’t exceed your means and safeguard your new and growing designated savings stash. Another fantastic way to save swiftly is designing a “no spending day” once a month.

After becoming accustomed to it, challenge yourself to once a week! This means that no other money leaves your wallet other than fixed costs. You make your meals, and you find “free” things to keep busy and enjoy the day holistically. Unbelievably, the more engaged you are, the easier this task will be!

Before you know it, you’ll have enough saved for a down payment on your car, and the surest way to get the best deal for your hard-saved dollars is to buy at the end of March, June, September, or December. Most car dealers are given incentives to reach targets—and the biggest bonuses hit at the end of each quarter. So, cash in on that notion, and who knows, you may be able to pull your new wheels into your new apartment parking space within the same year.  

Be easy on yourself. Don’t look at the penny pinching as deprivation. It’s all a part of goal setting and keeping your eyes on the prize. Plus, good money manners set you up for a life full of riches and enjoyment. You’ll soon find the most significant gratification is logging onto your bank account and reviewing the bottom line. That’s an enormously high and much more profound action than a 30-second pick-me-up any Amazon delivery could ever bring! Happy saving, Ashley!