On a regular morning, I received a text that turned my day upside down:
“Your credit card bill is due….”
It was the end of the month, time to repay my debt. I looked at my new Channel purse and convinced myself that it was all worth it.
Was it? Was it truly worth it? I remembered the weeks that I ate one meal a day just to buy a pair of Gucci sneakers. I had a part-time job but never been able to develop a saving. The day I received my paycheck, I went straight to the mall.
I had become obsessed with luxury goods, thinking I was the fashion icon and deserved to own the finest wardrobes. You would see me carrying the new Louis Vuitton collection, walking confidently on the campus. But you wouldn’t see me in the restaurants, movie theaters, bookstores, and gyms because I spent all of my money following a fashion trend.
That is the thing about vanity: it would take over my life. I grew apart from my family, friends, and teachers who used to like me. My grade hit rock bottom. I wouldn’t be able to control myself until vanity took away my happiness, too.
One day, I was walking out of the mall, and I saw a girl who was about my age, eating a chocolate waffle. That used to be my favorite. She looked so happy surrounded by her friends. They were talking about boys, schools, and TV dramas.
I went back to my apartment and stared at my designers’ goods in silence. Those goods couldn’t comfort me when I was down, and couldn’t talk to me when I felt lonely. I could hear my stomach calling for food and my heart crying for help. I finally saw through the light that I needed to have self-control of money.
That was my biggest financial crisis: always spend but never save. After knowing this, I started to sell some of my collections online and deposited my income into the bank. I also bought short-term and long-term CDs (Certificate of Deposit) to actively manage my savings accounts.
I am glad those dark periods of my life have passed. I would like to share my story here to alert those who don’t saved money. I faced a tradeoff between basic needs and unnecessary wants, and I chose to prioritize the wrong one.
Saving money is as important as spending money. In the COVID-19 Pandemic during which a lot of people have lost their jobs and sources of income, saving stably shows its importance here. At least the money we saved before can satisfy our basic needs during this difficult time.
Spending is easy, but saving is not. Trust me. I know. So here are some tips for you:
1. When you get your paycheck, estimate how much you need to spend, and how much you can save. Calculate a threshold and enforce it every month (unless there is an emergency).
2. Try to visit banks often to learn about their investment products, and be a responsible manager of your own accounts.
3. Before you decide to spend, ask yourself: is the good you want to purchase a necessity? If not, give yourself a day to think.
4. If there is something that you really want to buy, ask about buying options.
I hope my experiences are inspirational, and you all can become your own master of savings.
This is a guest post by Wendy Li, a junior at college, majoring in Economics Accounting. I am passionate about personal finance and accounting, and I can bring some valuable insights into how to save and make money as a college student. I also have a share interest in video and blogs creation.