A few weeks ago, a number of my friends and I were getting excited for a fun night out in the big city. This weekend wasn’t going to be cheap as we were celebrating and going “all out” to the fullest extent. While there is absolutely no harm in celebrating life and doing fun things with your friends (it actually should be encouraged) inevitably you are going to have to consider, can I afford this?

While a friend and I discussed how stoked we were for the weekend ahead, he mentioned this concept to me, be smart & act your wage and encouraged me to talk about it here. I’ve always been a person who makes a budget at the beginning of each month (thanks mom). I’m old fashioned, and so I write it all out  on a piece of paper and then whatever is left over after paying bills and putting away savings is my fun money. I am also fortunate enough to have a residual income, which I talk a little bit about here.

But more so to the point, a lot of us millennials really aren’t acting our wage. Depending on where you are at in life and your career (if you have chosen that path) really should reflect how you are spending your “fun” time. Again, I just want to reiterate that I am not a fun crusher but here’s the deal:

  • In a recent poll released by the Canadian Payroll Association it was found that 48 per cent of respondents said that they have to rely on each payday to pay their bills and 40 per cent of them admitted that they spend an amount equal to all or more of their net pay each week.
  • In an article released by the Canadian Millennials An Abacus Data Practice it was stated that 78% of millennials reference their friends’ spending habits to determine how to spend their own money.
  • It was also found in a Canadian study done by Project Millennial that, “the most consistent debt is credit card debt [which] helps support [millennial’s] lifestyle and acquisition of ‘stuff'”.

If this sounds like you, it might be time for you to take your spending habits into consideration. I know it can be tough to turn down a fun weekend away or a night out on the town but the reality is credit card debt is not fun. Using your friends’ spending habits as a reference point for your own is not smart and neither is spending all or more of your pay cheque as soon as you get it.

While money isn’t the be all end all, it is nice to not have to worry about enormous, crippling debt. If it seems impossible right now to start making a change in your life to be more conscious of your spending habits, start small. Cut out those expensive luxury Starbucks drinks, put your bar change into a big tin when you stumble on home, or actually sit down and make a monthly budget. Whatever it is, take those baby steps towards building a better and more financially stable future. Still have fun with your friends and treat yourself when you feel the need to, but remember to be smart about it and act your wage.

Yours truly,

Melissa Alyse