Tag Archives: twentysomething

Lessons Learned: 2015

1 Jan

This is the only tradition I have surrounding the new year, and I’ve come to really look forward to it every year. Here’s 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.

In adulthood, you make your own growth

This year felt weird, in a not-great way, and it took me a while to put my finger on why. Then I realized: for the first time in my life, things haven’t changed. I still have the same job I did a year ago, I live in the same apartment, I hang out with the same people. There haven’t been any major accomplishments this year, just me showing up to work and doing my job and coming home.

It hasn’t been a bad year. There weren’t any tragedies in my personal life, I went on a couple nice trips, it was perfectly serviceable. But nothing happened. My whole life, every new year meant a new grade in school, and 2014 (my first full year graduated) included a couple of major changes. I don’t feel like I grew much in this last year, because you need change for growth. Continue reading

On reacting, deciding, and trying to sort out my future

5 Mar

From April 2013 to September 2014, just about every choice I made was a reaction. I wasn’t getting interviews for the 50-some jobs I applied to, then I was offered a summer internship in a field I wasn’t particularly interested in located in an oil boomtown. I took it, sight-unseen. By the end of the summer, I still hadn’t gotten any of the writing jobs I was applying for, so they offered me employment and I took it. Housing was really expensive there, so when a family with a 3-year-old offered to let me rent a room in their house, I took it and moved in. Four days later, my friend decided to come join me, so I found an apartment and signed a month-to-month lease within 36 hours. Then, within four days we found a cheaper two bedroom and signed a lease on that starting the next month. Continue reading

Why I write about money all the dang time

4 Feb

This weekend, one of my friends “confessed” that he stopped reading my blog because he was tired of reading about my budget. Now, that’s totally fair, not everyone gets the same ridiculous joy from the graphs on Mint as I do.

But they're so pretty!

But they’re so pretty!

The thing is though, I don’t write about my budget to be annoying, or to brag, or to make people feel bad about wherever they stand. I write about it because having control over your finances can buy you some really valuable things: namely freedom and peace of mind. And because these things are not as hard to achieve as you might think they are.

Too many of my peers feel like their money controls them, instead of the other way around. That results in constant stress, skipping out on things they want to do, reaching the end of the month with $5 to their name, and constantly crossing their fingers that the car doesn’t break down.

When my car needs repairs, I am unhappy, because no one enjoys spending $500 to fix their brakes. But, I can pay for it without changing anything about my lifestyle or going into debt, I just replenish my savings account the next month instead of putting money in investments. It’s a ridiculously comfortable feeling. Continue reading

My nowhere-near-perfect super-great apartment

31 Jan

When I’m in a waiting room of any sort, the first magazines I’ll pick up are about home decorating. I spend a lot of time perusing Apartment Therapy. When I’m home, and have access to cable, I watch HGTV.

But I’m a renter who does not have piles of money to spend on redecorating an apartment that I probably won’t even live in for that long. I love having a home that makes me happy and comfortable, and I especially love not spending thousands of dollars to get it that way. So hello, The Internet, and here is a little photo tour of my lovely post-college apartment (okay, it’s my 4th apartment post-college, but I only graduated 19 months ago, so it counts).

Also, this post is super long. Just a warning.

IMG_1974

When I first visited this apartment and saw the wood floors and built in shelves around the (non-functional) fireplace, plus the fact that it was in my price range, I knew I wanted to move in here. The layout of the living room is kinda awkward, with doors on three walls and the fireplace on the fourth, so furniture placement was tough but I’m fairly happy with how it’s set up.  Continue reading

Picking a future

26 Jan

I wrote a few days ago about the freedom that comes with being graduated – namely, that you get to make your own choices now. However, as with all freedoms, that freedom comes with great responsibility – and outright terror.

I can already feel time slipping away – I’ll be 24 in March. That’s too old to be young and stupid. Heck, when my mom was 24, she was a mom! And as I realize I’m already in my mid-twenties, I can’t help but freak out about all my hopes and dreams, and trying to figure out which ones I really want.

Part of me wants the whole domestic shebang – marriage and kids and a cute little house and the PTA (and of course, I’d have to do the whole finding-a-dude thing, which is easier said than done). Part of me wants to be a nomad, living out of a suitcase (which involves figuring out a way to earn money whilst not being tied to an office, also easier said than done). Part of me wants a high-powered career (and I’m also not entirely sure what that would look like or how to get there). I’m drawn to living in a big city, with a ton going on, and also to a small town, where you run into friends at the grocery store. Continue reading

Congratulations, you are now in charge of your life

18 Jan

I just read a very cool article on LinkedIn written by a guy who has found himself in increasingly more interesting jobs due to his willingness to show up and work hard.

In it, he discusses the fact that throughout childhood, and generally all the way through college, our life paths are set out for us. There are goals and deadlines and if we just work hard we will succeed. Sure, some people step off this path and lead fascinating lives, but most of us chug straight through our educational years toward what looks a lot like a finish line.

And then, of course, we discover it’s not a finish line at all. This can feel utterly terrifying, because suddenly there is no path. There is no one telling you how to succeed (other than, perhaps, the vague “get a job”) and there’s no easy way to measure how well we’re doing and if we’ll achieve what we want. It’s really scary, even though it should be exciting.

Imagine, though, if alongside your diploma, you had been handed a certificate that stated, in the same big, fancy writing:

Congratulations, you are now in charge of your life. Continue reading

Why the 50/20/30 rule is ridiculous

17 Jan

There is a rule floating around the interwebs that says you should organize your finances according to the 50/20/30 rule. Essentially, your fixed expenses should total 50% of your take-home pay, 20% should go to savings/investments and the 30% left over is for discretionary spending.

That sounds pretty stupid to me, because as I’ve said before, percentages mean nothing except in relation to an integer.

Let’s say you’re a recent grad making minimum wage. In the U.S., that’s $7.25 ($9.32 here in lovely Washington state, but let’s go with the low number. If you work 40 hours a week, and are single with no dependents, that’s $13,500 in after-tax money a year, or $1125 a month. Continue reading