When I started working in 2016, seeing these “massive” paychecks in my bank account was new to me as a new grad PT. But it confirmed that I finally made it as a new grad PT. I had lived incredibly frugally and found any way I could to make money up until this point. I was a Resident Advisor in college to pay for my housing and food, on top of holding multiple part time jobs on top of a full time student class schedule. In PT school, I would babysit as often as I could to have money to pay for groceries, and I would find seminars around the library that had free food that I could mooch from.
So when I finally had a salaried full time job as a new grad PT… I went HARD.
I went out multiple nights a week and eating and drinking to my heart’s content. I bought all new clothes, a new car, the expensive produce at the grocery store, pricy gym memberships, the newest iPhone… and did not bat an eye at the prices for all of this. I just threw whatever money I had left into my savings account, which was not much. And as a new grad PT, I did not care about what I saving. All I cared about was spending this newfound money!
So How Do I Curb My Spending Habits?
Once my husband introduced me to financial independence, I was hooked. But I knew I needed to start with decreasing my spending.
So if you’re looking for some advice to help curb your spending habits, especially as a new grad PT who is trying to pay off your student loan debt ASAP, here’s what I did and what worked for me:
1) Stick To A Budget
I seriously can’t stress this enough. Especially early on as a new grad PT if you are working on paying off your debt aggressively! According to a survey by Mint, 65% of Americans said they don’t know how much they spent last month.1 That is INSANE to me. How you can expect to save money when you don’t even know what you’re spending?
Using budget apps, like Mint, have helped me tremendously. Look back at the last 3 months of spending and see how much you’ve spent, what you spent on, and see what areas you can cut down on and stick to those numbers. Sometimes after reviewing, you’ll find that you have so many unnecessary spending!
2) Use Cash Instead of Credit Cards
The tangibleness of cash allows you to physically feel how much money you have and how much you give away when you spend. This will allow you to keep better track of how much you’re giving out. Credit cards may seem like an easy way to make a big purchase, but if you’re not paying your bill in full every month, that crazy interest rate will end up making your purchase more than you thought.
And although I’m a big fan of credit cards (hello, travel hacking!), I only do this because I PAY MY BILL IN FULL EVERY MONTH. If you can’t do this consistently, then stick to cash. If you can do this, read my article about 2 Starter Rewards Credit Cards to get you started on your travel hacking journey.
3) Separate The “Wants” Versus “Needs”
Sit and really reflect on your life priorities. What TRULY is a “want” versus a “need.” As human beings, we all need food, water, and shelter. Make sure you have money for those things, and then move down to the next tier of priorities.
But remember that everyones “wants” and “needs” could be different from yours, based on what you prioritize in life. Did you really NEED that expensive coffee from Starbucks? Ok, maybe, if you only go once in a blue moon, and you only got a few hours of sleep the night before and missed your alarm for work. But did you also really NEED that pair of sunglasses and that gourmet cupcake you picked up after work? Mostly likely not. Stop giving into the consumer culture of our times, and figure out what’s best for you.
4) Make It A Fun Challenge
To get myself to curb my spending, my husband challenged me to spend as little as possible for one month. Just one month! By him presenting it to me as a short term goal, it helped me to stay focused. And when I found out that during that first month, we were able to achieve over a 50% savings rate (!), I found myself wanting to keep shooting for the moon! Many times we find that a long term goal initially can be scary. By breaking it up into short term goals, it helps us to stay encouraged and keeps us in line with our long term goal.
Now take these tips however you want, because remember that personal finance is truly personal. I want to share what worked for me, because maybe it’ll work for you too! Especially as a new grad PT, you are now spending all day taking care of others. Take this time to take care of yourself, because you deserve it.
But if you need more guidance, I would love to help you curb your spending habits. Click here to schedule your FREE 20 minute consult with me today!
Note: I am not a certified financial advisor/planner or a certified financial analyst or a CPA or an accountant or a lawyer. Remember, I am an allied health professional, just like you! This website/blog is for entertainment and educational purposes only. Please consult with your financial advisor(s) regarding your personal finance, investment, and tax matters.
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