Last Thursday was payday and I was so hungry all day that it hurt. Payday. For years and years and years, payday meant an automatic splurge. Splurge might be an overstatement but for the seven years that I have been working, the entire weekend after being paid meant unchecked spending ― a pricey lunch, new haircare and beauty products, countless small unnecessary purchases of this and that that ended with me being broke and with loads of useless things.
I am a millennial who struggles by the third week of each month until I am paid again. For quite a few years, on paper, I made enough money to live comfortably. I could pay my bills on time and in full, cover all my living expenses, eat well and save. But years of unchecked spending, impulse buying, next to zero savings and not a dot in investments, has left me in debt and the once comfortable life is becoming harder to maintain.
I am grateful for many things and I know I am blessed. I am permanently employed and have secure and certain income each month. I have the support I need to get by but this is simply not enough. I desire so much more. I want to thrive.
Last year, one of the few non-fiction books that I read and liked was, “The Millennial Game Plan: Plan, Career and Money Secrets To Succeed Today’s World” by Laura Shin. Shin’s book featured examples of millennials who successfully dealt with credit and students loan debt by engaging in contract and freelance work and expanding on entrepreneurial pursuits. Millennial Game Plan was filled with resources and tools that were all North American (US mostly and little thrown in) and as such it had very little to help me here in Jamaica. Nevertheless there were three money principles that Laura Shin shared and these resonated with me. These three money principles are:
1. Spend less than you earn
2. Invest as early as possible
3. Earn more
I thought I had absorbed these principles into my consciousness in April 2015 when I first read the book. I didn’t. But I believe I am finally getting this lesson now. Last Thursday as I sat at my desk, sipping water and nibbling a round bun, I refused to dip into my monthly salary before I thoroughly identified and planned my meals and necessities for the month of February, paid my rent, utility bills and credit cards. I am growing up and it hurts like hell but I am happy and grateful to be finally here in this moment.
Note: I got into a little trouble because of the first line of this article, family members were concerned about my welfare. I was hungry and stayed hungry not because I did not have any cash at all with which to buy food. That pay day was also the second day my menstrual cycle, I am tired and nauseated and I chose not to eat. (Chantel DaCosta, Thursday March 3, 2016)