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Well……..now what?

Congrats, you did it!

You put four years into earning your degree, and after graduation, you landed yourself a job! Now you’re an adult. Fast forward a bit, and you’ve gotten yourself a new, higher paying job, still in your field, with more responsibility. You were able to get some money together and moved out. Now you’re REALLY an adult. A few years pass. You have your name and fancy title on business cards; you do grownup things like putting part of your paycheck into a savings account for emergencies, contributing to your IRA account and you got married! You’re at the age where it’s totally acceptable to have a baby human of your own, a terrifying thought and one maybe you’ve even had. Seriously, you’re a bonafide adult human.

But if you’re anything like me, you also may wake up in the morning and ask yourself “where is this adult the world sees?”

I’m now eight years into working full-time in the field in which I majored. I’ve moved up to a top position and make *decent* money. I was lucky to have landed a job out of college and even luckier to have found something that allowed me some financial freedom. I’m lucky. Yet I can’t shake the feeling I fell into this luck, without knowing who I was and what I wanted. Maybe it’s because of luck that almost nine years after the first time I thought I was an adult, I’m just now asking myself “Is this really what I want to be doing?”

I thought there would be an “a-ha!” moment when I actually became an adult. Or at least when I felt like one.

I didn’t get that moment, not for years. Not when I bought my first car, or when I signed the contract for my first full-time job. Not even when I got married. I thought I was doing everything right, by the book. Go to school, find a major, get a job in said major, move up in the world. Your job is important, defining. You spend the majority of your life there, better make it count. Right?

My “a-ha” moment came just recently while talking to a friend over drinks. We were discussing how I’ve become burnt out at my job and didn’t know what my next step was. I just knew I didn’t have the passion for my field that I once did over ten years ago when I decided on a major in college. But what now? I’ve spent my whole “adult” life doing this, how can I just change now? She simply asked me “What did you want to be when you were a kid?” It was something so simple and a thought I’ve never had before.

I’ve never once considered my silly 12-year-old self would have any greater insight to my own self-actualization than my fully grown, adult self would. I wanted to write. And I still do. The minute the words came out, it was like a light turned on. I had direction, a goal. Maybe I’ve been an adult all along, just wasn’t doing what I wanted to be doing with my adult life. Maybe not quite knowing who I wanted to be or what I wanted to do is what kept me from claiming that elusive title of “adult.”

The less risk, the better. Right?

Since realizing what my childhood self always knew, and I forgot, I’ve got a whole new direction I can take my adult life. I’ve always tried to make the most sensible and secure choices when it came to my career. The less risk, the better. That way of living, lead me to become complacent and too comfortable in my position (and not in that cozy warm blanket kind of way), even if it wasn’t right for me. Changing the path you’ve worked your whole adult life on, is a huge risk. I’m ready to take those risks, make mistakes and be the “adult” I want to be.

I’m beyond excited!

By no means do I have it all figured out (maybe I never fully will), but I feel that taking this chance on my 12-year-old self is more rewarding than staying in a job that no longer makes me feel like I’m on the right path. I may not know what being adult really means (besides just because you CAN have dessert for breakfast, doesn’t mean you SHOULD) and that’s ok. I may find out I’m crappy at this and have to figure myself out all over again, but I’m okay with that too. Maybe there isn’t just one “a-ha!” moment for being “all grown up,” maybe I get a series of “a-ha!” moments and being an adult is just evolving and changing around those moments. Whatever the case may be, I can’t wait to get to it.

Happy adulting!

Save $400 This Month, PAINLESSLY!

Small Swaps, big payoff!

Find yourself skipping Sunday brunch with the girls because those bottomless mimosas come into direct contradiction with the bottom of your bank account? Bailing on a nice dinner out because payday isn’t until next week? Sound familiar? We’ve all been there!

A good paycheck is hard to come by these days, even if you do work full time. Live in an expensive area like New York? Cut that check in half just paying your rent/mortgage. In a payroll panic reading how much of your check should go into your 401k/ IRA?

How about that face you just made reading that experts say you need 3-6 months worth of living expenses socked away for emergencies, MINIMUM. Can a girl live?? Have no fear; I have you covered!

I’ve put together a small list of a few tried and true tips on saving and cutting spending in ways that don’t involve you eating ramen noodles every night (unless you’re into that!).

These three small changes can add up leaving you with a bit of extra cash that can cushion any account (and they’re super easy to do!).

The Starbucks stops here.

With specialty drinks commonly priced at $5 a pop, this change is an easy one to make that can save you big bucks. Swap your weekly morning vanilla latte out with a cup of home brewed coffee with warm sweetened milk and you’ve saved over $20 a week!

Even if all you order up is venti drip coffee, this simple swap gives you an extra $15 by the weekend. A bag of GOOD beans costs anywhere between $10-12 bucks and will last you weeks (of course there are cheaper beans out there, I’m going off the assumption we all take our caffeine super seriously here)

Have a Keurig at home?

Stop buying those ridiculously priced (and bad for the environment) K-Cups. Bed Bath and Beyond sells reusable cups for as little at $8 that you can fill with your grinds from home!

I invested in both the single serve reusable cup as well as the reusable carafe cup that’s compatible with my Keurig 2.0. That way, I can make a pot of super strong java and chill it in the fridge (or share with my husband, if I’m in a sharing kind of mood) Find the reusable K-cup I have here!

Total Savings: $15-21/a week

Ditch the brown bag, but bring your lunch!

There are SO many cute options for lunch bags. (I linked some of my faves below) There’s no reason lugging in your lunch has to look anything less than enviable.

If you stop at the corner deli or cafeteria at your job every day, you’re sinking $10-15 bucks daily for what you could be eating for much less. It may take a bit of your time on Sunday, but meal-prepping is WORTH IT!

By making your lunch ahead of time, you only need to throw it into your awesome lunch bag and head out the door, saving you time AND money (win-win IMHO).

If you’re not into full on meal prepping just yet, making a sandwich or salad the night before using what’s in your fridge works just great! Even taking last night’s leftovers work in a pinch.

This small change saves both your wallet AND your waistline. Food that you make at home tends to be healthier than most grab and go options.

Total Savings: $50-75/a week

Secret Saver. 

Not good at contributing to your savings account? Use a self-saving app like DIGIT.

I found the Digit app just last year and have already saved over $800! It’s a huge lifesaver come holiday season! This app is super smart, painless and safe! (Accounts are FDIC-insured for up to $250,000)

After you give Digit permission to access your accounts, it begins watching your spending habits (revolving deposits, withdrawals and daily spending). It then decides the best way and time to save based on parameters you set.

Digit will withdraw a few dollars at a time and put them into a saving account you can withdraw from at any time.

Digit is also customizable, so you can tell Digit to stop saving if your account goes under a specified amount (so there’s no worry of overdrawing) as well as tell it to save more aggressively if you feel up to it.

You can use your newfound savings in any way you like. Transfer it to a savings account (one that will gain interest hopefully) or just have in the case of an emergency (and yes a girls night out may count as an emergency)!

The app is so easy to interface with, you can send a text message (you know, THE preferred method of communication these days) to Digit and get updates on savings balance, checking balance, recent spending and more! Digit becomes your very own personal and digital wealth manager! Click here to give Digit a try!

Total Savings: $70-80/month

*based on my average monthly saving

These three tiny saves rack up to a grand total of $330-$464 a month! You could use that to grow your emergency fund, finance a vacation or pay down some debt. (Or a combination of all three!) Finding small ways to save money is almost like getting a raise, from yourself!

What could you do with a few extra hundred a month? Tell me in the comment section below some of your tips on saving/finding some extra money each month!

Happy Saving!