Tag Archives: tips and tricks

Budgets For Budget-Challenged People, Like Me

Hey Readers, happy Sunday! Tomorrow I start week 2 at my new job, and I am super pumped! Next Saturday I’m also moving into my apartment, which I’m also super pumped about, but am wondering how people do this budget thing. Yes, I just called it a budget thing… Over the summer I tried, but to be honest I’m a budget-challenged person. Don’t get me wrong, I try to plan a budget and stick to it. I read websites on how to buy groceries on the cheap, and budgeting things like eating out, alcohol and coffee. The problem is that every site I have read are not helpful for someone who is living in a big city.

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I live in Chicago, and while it’s cheaper than New York, rent is still expensive. For a studio in a neighborhood 30-40 minutes away from downtown on the L, I’m spending 700+ on rent. I know for a New Yorker that’s nothing, but unless you want to live far away from everything (which most 20-somethings don’t) you will have fork over a good part of your paycheck to rent. While I am very excited about my little studio apartment, some of the places I looked at were a rip off! One place was $830/ month and the size of my bedroom in my college apartment. It was also a dump and the building smelled, so not worth $830/month!

When you enter the real world, it’s different than college in terms of living. For one, you have an actual salary. You also have:

  • rent payments
  • utilities
  • transportation costs
  • parking bills (if you have a car)
  • groceries that don’t consist of ramen and insta-rice only
  • savings to build
  • credit card bills
  • health insurance
  • school loans… I mean the list just gets bigger and bigger!

So when the websites fail, and your friends/family are no help you just go for it! Right? Wrong, you’ll be pretty tight on cash quickly. Trust me, I’m still learning, but I’m preparing even before my first paycheck comes. If you’re like me and still figuring this budget thing out, check out my tips below on what I’ve learned. It may work well and it may not, but I guess we’ll just have to find out!

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The Quick-Guide for Budget-Challenged People

Step 1: Dedicate one paycheck to pay rent. If your rent is due at the first of month, use your last paycheck of the month before to pay rent.

Step 2: Spread out your other bills accordingly. If you pay rent with your last paycheck of the month before, use that for utilities as well – because that electric bill will come a few days after the first of the month. Then pay your school loans, credit cards and savings with your first paycheck of the month. By doing this you won’t be cash poor at one section of the month, but will have minimized stress and budgeted accordingly. Yay!

Step 3: Make savings a bill. My dad (the finance/stock guy) has been giving me tips on savings and stocks. His advice is to put a good amount into my 401k, but also put at least $150 away each month for savings. You should have at least 4 months of emergency savings if you lose your job, but think about it. If you save at least $150/month for a year, you’ll have $1800 in savings! If that seems daunting, try doing this saving trick, and you’ll end up with over $1300 at the end of the year. If paying $150 out of one paycheck, break it up into two payments for the month.

Step 4: Make more trips to the grocery store. I HATE buying groceries to last me for 2 weeks. I always buy too little or too much, or my produce goes bad. I don’t mind going to the grocery store every few days, because I plan out my meals and I end up saving more. My food also doesn’t go bad before I eat it. We are all busy, but if it saves a good amount of money and waste, why not! Also, don’t go to the grocery store hungry.

Step 5: Make a ‘fun budget’. I like to go to happy hour, or a movie every now and then. So I will always put a fun budget in there. It could include renting movies off of iTunes, taking fitness classes or going out for brunch. Make sure you put what you’ll actually spend in there, not what you want to restrict yourself to. You already paid your savings bill, and your other bills/rent, so you should be good to go!

Start Talking

This post is definitely long, but I hate that people don’t talk about how they budget – especially millennials. It’s just money, who cares what you’re making? All I care about is what I’m doing with MY money. If you have awesome budgeting tips, share them! For budget-challenged people, we want to save money and be financially savvy, but we need some advice every now and then. So start talking about budgets and money, millennials! Maybe it’ll make us all better off in the end.

Those are my thoughts this Sunday, now back to reading BuzzFeed and figuring out which heels I’ll wear tomorrow.

If only, right?

If only, right?

x Kelly

#boss

What’s YOUR Brand Part 2: The Resume

reusme swag

photo credit: Google

Remember the post on how to determine what your brand is? Well if you do, great! If you haven’t read it click here! In regards to part 1, once you get past determining what your brand is you have to execute it. Social media was the first step of execution and now you are on to the resume. My first resume was plain, simple and now that I look back, just really bad. If you do not know how to use InDesign, that’s OK. Trust me. If you are a freshman or a sophomore and are still using Word or Powerpoint, do not fret because you may have not had the experience to work with design programs. My resume is in InDesign and I would make one in Word but once you make the switch, you’re not likely to go back. True fact.

I thought about making this a resume “how to” but to be honest, there is no correct way to do a resume. There are things not to do but it’s very either you did it as correctly as you can. I’ve learned the hard way with terrible resumes but I’m here to let you in on some tips.

Tip 1: Unless you have design skills, please refrain from any uses of color. I use black, gray and purple in my resume. I also made it on InDesign and know how to use Illustrator and Photoshop as well, so it fits my skill set. Some employers hate color but if you are applying to more creative agencies or firms, feel free to use your design skills. It’ll make your resume stand out from the rest. If you want to use InDesign but have no idea how to, ask a friend or take a class. I’m currently taking a graphics class now and it is extremely helpful because I had no clue what these programs really had to offer. One last thing: if you do choose to have color, make sure you have a regular old black and white resume on hand for more conservative companies.

Tip 2: Use numbers. I recently started to do this with my newest resume and it already sounds better. “Used promotion strategies to account for a 35% increase in sales for the month of January.” This sentence is under my job as being a Marketing Representative for Insomnia Cookies. A simple promotions job, which could simply be described as “hand out flyers and free cookies,” turned into quantifiable results. When you use numbers it looks much better than I did this and that. You understood the job/task at hand and did well. You were able to pat yourself on the back for your hard work and great results.

Tip 3: Tailoring. If you’re applying to jobs/internships ranging in different fields and expectations, don’t send them all the same resume. Tailor your resume to the specific application and job requirements. If you’re a sophomore or freshman this is a little harder to do because you don’t have as much experience to tailor but for juniors, seniors and everyone else, read the job description. For instance, I’m applying for internships in fashion PR this summer and I’ll be going through each section and each job to tailor it to what they are looking for. I have a virtual internship right now working with clients who are in the fashion and beauty sectors but it’s only one out of 3-4.

Tip 4: Be different. Figuring out the layout for your resume is difficult but just remember to not to the basic cookie-cutter resume. I hate plain resumes. If you use a Microsoft Word template just walk away from the computer right now and go apply to your local fast food restaurant. Harsh, but it won’t get you a job. I am not saying to make your resume like Elle Woods, where it was pink and smelled nice. That will not get you a job either. But make it your own. What’s YOUR brand? Who is _______? Having a resume that is different from the pack will make you stand out and if it matches the rest of your brand, it looks really nice.

There are so many more tips and tricks I could divulge to you all but this post is getting a little long. My advice is to also make mistakes when it comes to your resume. No resume is perfect but if you make mistakes, you learn. Trust me, my old resume’s are in the trash and that’s where they belong. There are also plenty “how to” resume blogs on the web. Are they all right? No. However, no one is right when it comes to resumes. You can be wrong but if an employer doesn’t like your resume, it happens. Someone out there will and you’ll hopefully be a great candidate and have landed your dream job. Just remember to save all of your sparkle and shine for the interview because glitter and a resume don’t mix.

Best of luck with your brands readers, mine has taken me three years and it’s still not exactly what I want but I’m trying. That’s all we can ever do in this world: try our best and hope for the best.

x KMSH

P.S. I’ll be doing a Part 3 and 4 in the future. Stay tuned!

photo credit: google

photo credit: Google