Money

Being in the middle of an “Economic Downturn” and hearing words like Trillion Dollar debt and unemployment really has me thinking about my money.

Over all I avoid most common mistakes the general public makes around my age. I have never opened up a Credit Card to get a free t-shirt or sandwich and I’ve never maxed out a Credit Card over frivolous items that didn’t hold value to me.

In full disclosure, I did max out my American Express (3K) by going to India for my cousins wedding and being unemployed for a month and a half. My current remaining balance is $606.11 after 3 months of aggressively tackling my debt. (That wasn’t my only debt, but those don’t matter anymore since they are paid off).

Along with my AmEx, I have my student loan, which I haven’t been too worried about this year. In 2010 I definitely made more of a conscious effort to make extra payments now and then. Not so much this year – this needs to change.

I’ve pulled my Credit Score and my Credit Report and I’m doing really well. I think to help me fly over those last 100 points I need to diversify my investments. (sounds scary right, I know).

Before I get into this let me give you some background information. I’m making 15K more in NY then I was in DC and somehow it seems harder to get into an apartment and budget out my spending. And contrary to what people believe, you can find apartments for less than or around $1200.  You just have to be able to compromise a little with your commute time.  I would never ask anyone to compromise with the safety of their neighborhood though.  But what has changed from DC to NY?

Well now I have a partner in crime.  ❤ I go out more in NY then I ever went out in DC. I also eat out a lot more in NY then I ever have anywhere else.  Part of this is due to the fact I don’t have my own personal kitchen. (Great Uncle is a Vegetarian and very particular about items).  Also, we like to travel and watch movies – which are $13 bucks a ticket in NY (WTF!)

This is definitely a new spending habit, it’s one that isn’t going to go away b/c I want to continue to go out and have fun and experience different things.  But this also takes a decent percentage of income I used to delegate elsewhere (like savings, or items for the house).

Alongside with this change, as of recent I’ve become a bit more self-conscious of what I’m wearing, and what earrings I have on, and what jewelry matches, etc.  I was NEVER this girl.  I’ve never had an interest it and I couldn’t (and still can’t) justify spending $ (no matter if it’s on sale or not) on those items.  As of recent though, I’ve begun to feel guilty about not caring more, I feel as if I give off the wrong impression.  These are definitely items I don’t care for, and I’m a pretty smart girl, I don’t need labels to define me or anything it just seems that I’m giving off some misconceptions.  It was difficult/easy with Shivani b/c she was always the dressy one – but she also let me borrow her stuff so it wasn’t a big deal. My new Partner in Crime is very well put together and definitely pays attention to all those things. I feel like I gotta keep up and I’m not.

Honestly – those two concerns up there are what is keeping me from looking into other investments. I don’t want those two items to slide but they also take up a good percentage of my income.

I feel like the “eating out” will take care of itself once I have my own kitchen but my concern is what if it doesn’t. And aside from that I have to refurnish and restock my entire apartment. That definitely costs $ – good $. Not being in college anymore also makes me want to have nicer furniture.  Also new clothes is fine and all that, but all that jewelry and keep track of it and if the crap breaks.  Who wants to deal with all that?  I’m also allergic to fake jewelry, after moving to NY I force myself to wear it more – but my skin becomes very sore and irritated after.  😦

I always knew what “was” important to me, but I’m having trouble figuring out what is important to me “now”.

Is saving now and investing more important to me than “living” now.  Can I find a balance?  Are these completely stupid concerns to have and should just suck it up and invest my money already?

BTW – when I say invest – I mean in 401K and Roth — Starting in your 20’s versus starting in your 30’s makes a WORLD of difference.

There has to be a way to have it all. Anybody know how?

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