Written by Alli
So you're an adult now, congratulations.
Here is how to not waste your money.
By the end of this post, you'll have 7 categories to watch out for to adult successfully without wasting your money.
Scroll to the bottom if you'd rather watch a video.
It’s the minimalists that said,
“We work at a job that we hate so we can buy things that we don’t need to impress people that we don’t like.”
Impressing people is baked into society. Advertising pushes us in the direction that you need THINGS to appear a certain way to other people and it’s a trap almost everyone falls into. Even ourselves included at times.
The overarching idea of what we will cover is this: if you can remove yourself from trying to impress other people and just buy things that really bring you joy, you will do more things that are true to yourself AND you'll save a lot of money in the process.
So, here are the 7 "adulting" behaviors that are keeping you broke:
1. Going out to eat a lot
Obviously being an extrovert like myself, going out to eat and being social is important, but we’ve learned how to be social in ways that align with our values and fit in with the goals that we’re trying to reach. So that means organizing social events outside, going hiking, inviting people over to our house to eat dinner, etc.
2. Going to a happy hour all the time
This is something that is absolutely adulting. I remember when I first got my job, I went from broke college student to full-time employee, like what are all these numbers in my bank account?? I regularly went out with my friends after work and on the weekends. It really added up quick, turns out drinks are not cheap most everywhere in the country, but especially if you live in the city. It’s pretty easy to hit a $100 dollar bar tab a night. What we did was shifted to having people over our house more. If you do like to drink, nothing wrong with that, have some beers and some liquor at your house and you can have just as fun of a party if not better at your own house than you can at the bar. And you don’t have to worry about driving or ubering places.
3. Buying nice clothes
I love clothes and I used to be a Stitch Fix junkie. Through Stitch Fix, I would get an order of clothes every single month for $150 bucks. I was just doing that because I felt like I have a big girl job now, I need to dress the part. When I stopped buying clothes for the sake of “adulting,” I realized that no one cared what I look like [to a point, obviously, if you look homeless they might be like, okay maybe she needs to brush her hair.] But I ended up wearing the same pants to work most days of the week and no one ever noticed. And who cares if they noticed, they're the most comfortable best pants ever and I love wearing them! Buying into the fact that we have to always have new clothes is bullshit.
I'm a total gadget junkie, I love technology. When transitioning into “adulthood,” I found myself buying a lot of stuff because I thought it was neat, even though I may not really use that much. For instance, when we were living in the van we bought a drone from someone who had it and used it twice. Like that’s something I would've done. Proudly though, we actually used the drone to shoot some of our YouTube videos that I'm sure you’ve watched. Buying things because they're cool and not necessarily useful is a good waste of money. You don’t need that new Apple Watch or that new iPhone. The phone you have now works just great.
Pro Tip on Gadgets: Something we've done to save money on some of our gadgets is we buy a model or two years old. The camera we film our YouTube videos on is a Sony Alpha 6000. We bought it when the 6500 were out and it was a lot cheaper and there's a lot of resources online. You can do that with just about anything, obviously look and see if the new ones are really worth the money, but most of the time tech only makes like small incremental jumps. So two models back isn’t exponentially worse than the one you can buy now, but it is exponentially cheaper.
5. Taking expensive vacations
This is so hard in the age of Instagram when you see everyone going off to Thailand and living it up! We are huge travel geeks and so we do still spend money on travel, but we've found ways to optimize our travel. Check out our blog post on how we spent 10 days in Cozumel, Mexico for $800 dollars each (including flights!). We have really found ways to optimize our expenses while traveling. We've also really enjoyed just traveling more locally. Camping out, taking the van and going places that are nearby is a lot cheaper than buying that transatlantic flight. We live in America and it’s so beautiful here and there's so much we still haven’t even discovered. Appreciating what we have at home has also given us a newfound love and respect for our country.
6. Buying a house
Buying a house is like the most adult thing you can do, right? It’s like the American dream, but in a lot of cases people get themselves into trouble buying a house, either they're not ready financially for it or other expenses come up when you own a house that you might not expect. If you want to know how to buy a house super smart, check out our post on how to househack and drop your housing expenses to zero.
7. Buying a new car
A lot of people feel like they need to buy a new car because they want something reliable and of course with all the tech and gadgets. Thankfully, cars nowadays are super reliable, most are going over 150,000 to 200,000 miles with pretty minimal repairs. I don’t think you need a 2018 model in order to have a reliable car for the next 3 or 4 years. What we've done is we buy cars that are maybe 10 years old, 7 to 10 years seems to be a sweet spot. The cars still have less than 100,000 miles on them, they're still super reliable, they look good, they're usually in good condition and they cost like a third or a quarter of what a new car would cost.
If you do all of these things you're obviously going to save a ton of money but if you want to ramp up your savings rate even more, download our weekly checklist, which is a checklist of everything we do every week to stay on top of our finances. It just takes 10 minutes a week and you'll be on your way to achieving your financial goals.