Tags: budgeting | personal finance | wellness

20-Something Learns to 'Enjoy Life for Free'

20-Something Learns to 'Enjoy Life for Free'
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Tuesday, 21 March 2023 02:29 PM EDT

After indulging in spontaneous trips, impulse Amazon purchases, trendy new clothes and too many dinners out, 28-year-old Alexis Howard has vowed to keep her nonessential spending to just $50 a month for an entire year.

If Howard’s history with spending is any guide, she is capable of the seemingly impossible challenge, Fortune reports. Earlier in her career, while Howard was earning $65,000 in San Francisco, she managed to save $20,000 in one year.

Just achieving that milestone inspired Howard to learn more about personal finance and investing.

In her current experiment for 2023, Howard’s $50 “indulgences” do not include rent, groceries, pet food and essentials, or investments. It isn't too different from the no- and low-buy challenges that have become the rage on social media, especially among women.

But that meager $50 Howard has allotted herself has to cover clothes, eating out, socializing, travel, food delivery and the like. A tall order, especially for a 20-something.

Howard admits it hasn’t been easy to disconnect from favorite social media apps, like Instagram. She doesn’t want to be tempted seeing one of her friends living it up in, say, Rome. She also admits cutting back on the night scene with friends is a little boring.

But Howard’s new budget goal isn’t getting her down, either. “Now that we’re halfway through March, it feels intuitive,” she reasons. “When your budget is so tight, you really, really have to be clear on what matters to you.”

So far, Howard says, she’s learning that living with (mostly) just the essentials is satisfying enough.

It also is a big help that Howard’s closest friends are very supportive of her aspiration, with many meeting her at her apartment to split a bottle of wine, for instance, before going out (Howard says it counts as groceries).

Since the beginning of the year, Howard has been walking more, taking the bus, giving herself her own manicures—and reading a lot of books, especially self-help books, to keep herself motivated.

Howard did fall short of her goal in February, when she had unexpected travel expenses to Pennsylvania to attend her grandmother’s funeral. That month, she spent $93. So far for March, Howard's spending has already added up to $46.

Howard knows her challenge is a bit extreme for many but thinks that if someone even just dares themselves to save $100 a month, it could be an educational exercise that could lead to better personal finance and budgeting.

As Howard puts her liberation from spending so freely somewhat philosophically: “You’re breaking your dependence on overconsumption. You’re learning to enjoy life basically for free.”

Over a lifetime, Howard says, cutting back on one's spending inevitably leads to financial empowerment and savings and that, she maintains, can be spiritually motivating.
 

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StreetTalk
After indulging in spontaneous trips, impulse Amazon purchases, trendy new clothes and too many dinners out, 28-year-old Alexis Howard has vowed to keep her nonessential spending to just $50 a month for an entire year.
budgeting, personal finance, wellness
458
2023-29-21
Tuesday, 21 March 2023 02:29 PM
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