We meet again! First of all – let me say, I’m absolutely stoked that you decided to continue following montifresh and read my next post. Let’s get goin!
My previous post touched on four ways how to make “The Big Move” run as smoothly and accessibly as possible. But let’s be real – the best and least stressful way to make this next chapter start off smooth, is having a few saved pennies in the bottom of our piggy banks.
SO – How TF do we start saving money NOW?
I’ve done some yummy research and have found some fantastic ideas that we NEED to start applying to our lives, like.. yesterday!
(I stumbled upon another wordpress blog (theyounghopeful) that writes a “a girls’s guide to thriving in college.” Hot damn! I wish I would have stumbled upon their posts three years ago. The specific post that I will be quoting is “The College Student’s Guide to Saving Money,” and while some of the tips would have been helpful to know as a freshmen, a couple of them can still be useful for graduating seniors.)
I have highlighted two of the tips that I found to be most helpful –
1.Commit to a savings schedule.
- Save 10 dollars every paycheck.
- Keep every $5 bill you come across and stash it in your piggy bank. Every month, you can record how much you saved and then try to match that or do better next month (but do not buy stuff just to get a $5 bill as change, cheaters!)
- Save an extra dollar every week. This one requires a lot more self-discipline. Essentially what you are doing is setting a certain time period—say, 5 months. For every week, you will add an additional dollar to your piggy bank. So the first week, you will donate 1 dollar, the 2nd, 2 dollars, 30th 30 dollars, and so on until you reach your 5 months, and then you start over. If you REALLY want to save money, keep this up for an entire year!
2. Institute a “no buy week” once a month.
This is obviously going to be easier for some than others, BUT try choosing 7 days out of the month when you keep that debit card and extra cash hidden away in your top drawer. No groceries, no eating out, no coffee shops, no alcohol or partying, even as far as no uber rides. You’ll be surprised with how often you’re throwing $3 here and $9 there on meaningless items that you don’t actually need to be spending $ on.
3. Make a budget!
I find this tip to be most important. Jennifer Edwards, a professor at Point Park whom teaches an entrepreneurship for the arts course, provided our class with a Skype meeting with professional dancer, Amy Smith. Smith is a founder and co-director of Headlong Dance Theater, a Philadelphia-based contemporary dance company. She provided us with a budget sheet that allows one to calculate how much their time is worth.
VALUING YOUR TIME
Determine the cost of your life for a year. What do you need to earn to live without financial panic?
Monthly rent _________ x 12 ________
Internet __________ x 12 _________
Cell phone _________ x 12 ________
Liquor, going out, etc. ________ x 12 __________
Artistic research ________ x 12 __________
Student loan debt _______ x 12 ________
Utilities __________ x 12 _________
Car/transport __________ x 12 _________
Groceries __________ x 12 ___________
Classes/workshops _______ x 12 _________
Clothes, books, etc. ________ x 12 __________
Savings __________ x 12 ____________
Vacation _________ per year
Use this number to calculate week, day and hourly rates. Divide your annual number by 1500: this is your hourly rate. Multiply that by 8 to get your day rate. Multiply that day rate by five to get your week rate. Use these numbers to negotiate for pay and budget your projects. Your time has value!
MY WEEKLY RATE IS $__________ per week.
MY DAILY RATE IS $_____________per day.
MY HOURLY RATE IS $ __________ per hour.
Fill this out for yourself and calculate how much YOUR time is worth. NEVER let someone devalue you as an individual, OR devalue the art form in which you are studying/working by paying you less than you deserve.
As dancers we tend to believe that “working for free” is a good way to network ourselves into the professional community, and while sometimes this is the case, most of the time it is not! By working for free, you devalue the art form and yourself as an individual in the art form’s community. A musician would never allow someone to record his music without some sort of payment, a lighting designer would never light a show without receiving the money he/she deserves, and a plumber will NEVER fix your toilet for free. (I mean- am I right, or what?!) What makes dance any different? Be strong and stand up for the greater good of our art form! YOU deserve payment for your work! DANCE DESERVES PAYMENT!
The last two money saving tips come from an article written in US News. (http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2015/05/15/10-essential-money-saving-tips-for-college-graduates) This blog gives personal finance advice accumulated from voices behind numerous money blogs.
4. Be a social deal seeker.
We all want to be able to get away from “work” or be able to step outside of our small 2 bedroom apartments, but what is the best way to make those fun, extra activities affordable? “Happy hours, lunches out and expensive exercise classes are all fun and tempting when you start receiving your first paychecks, but these daily or weekly luxuries will eat away at your budget fast…One of the best things about being fresh out of college is that most of your friends are likely in the same financial boat as you– cash-strapped and paying down debt, but free from the time and financial responsibilities of family. Keep your college crowd together and grow your new city circle of friends by planning fun, low-cost activities such as picnics, pickup games and free outdoor festivals. Also look out for activities on daily deal sites like Groupon, LivingSocial and Gilt.”
5. Set a long-term goal.
“Budgeting does not always mean just saving; you can also budget in fun. Whether it’s a new couch, tropical vacation or dream home to own, setting a long-term goal will motivate you to stick to your budget and reward your financial responsibility.”
Woah – while that’s full of details and pretty damn dry, it is SUPER necessary to read and study before your parents finally decide to do the ole’ “cut-off”
My next post will be FUN and uplifting, I swear by it!