How To Get What You REALLY Want By Saving

Thanks to Millennial Money Man for allowing me to write a contributing article. He has a similar story to mine, and has great advice for millennials looking to get out of debt.

Friends are always asking me how I paid off my student loans so fast, paid for part of a wedding, and saved enough money up to buy a home. I’m a big believer in what I call, “conscious spending”. I truly believe no matter how much money you make there is opportunity to save more.

I was making $30,000 a year at my first job post college. I was working for a startup and made friends quickly because most of us were under the age of 25. One thing that stood out to me was the amount of money people were spending. Most of my new friends were making under $40,000 a year and spending money like they made $100,000. Starbucks coffee and breakfast EVERY morning, followed by lunches out resulted in a minimum of $20/day spent on food WHILE at work.

That’s $400/month and doesn’t take into account the after work happy hours and dinners out!


While I was unhappy with how little money I was making, I was bringing my lunches and drinking the free coffee at work. It allowed me to put about $1000/month toward my student loans as well as put $300/month into my house savings fund.

I continued to work hard and eventually moved companies where I received a larger pay increase. At this point, my loans were paid off and I started putting more money into my home savings fund as well as putting a little bit away for my wedding.

By the time I turned 26, I had paid off $22,000 in student loans, saved $10,000 for my wedding, and $79,000 for our house down payment and closing costs. Had I spent money frivolously, I wouldn’t have accomplished all of these goals in four short years.

I did take several vacations after college, but I saved for them, I didn’t charge them on my credit card. I also enjoyed going out to dinner with friends or shopping occasionally, so I am not suggesting you give up everything you love.

You have to be purposeful in your spending.  What is it that you really want? Do you enjoy your $5 coffee that much, and your lunches out? If so, great, that is what YOU ARE CHOOSING to spend your money on because it is important to you. But if you want to save for that house or whatever it may be, you need to comb through your finances and see where you can cut back.

Happy Saving!



Money Matters

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How you spend your money matters. Whether you’re making $40,000 or $100,000 we all make choices about the way we spend our money. I believe our relationship with money often comes from our parent’s relationship with money. When I was young, my parents opted for expensive daycares and private schools to give my brother and me every opportunity they never had. Could my parents afford  private school? Hardly. They did it because they felt it was best for us, but at the end of the month there was not much money left over and it wasn’t as if they were spending it on themselves. My parents worked hard over the years to put themselves in a good position financially, and I believe all of this has to do with the way I view money today. It’s this view that causes my husband to often call me the “fun police”. I have big goals and am always looking ten steps ahead.


After  college graduation I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted to start paying off my $22,000 in student loans, save for  a wedding and a house. So, I did it. In 2011, I was 22 years old, living with my parents, putting $300/month into a home savings account, and working away at my student loans. Before you assume I was working some high paying job, I better set the record straight. My first job, post-college graduation, was for a Seattle  merchandising startup making $30,000 a year. I was working 60+ hours a week, and had very little to show for it. In April of 2012, I was promoted, which included a pay increase to $37,000 a year. Over the next year, I had several other (small) pay increases and continued saving and reducing my student debt.

In May 2013, I got engaged. My husband and I decided to put our wedding off until September of 2014 so we could save. In December of 2013, I made my final loan payment. I had also been looking for a new job and was hired by a larger Seattle company. At that point, I received a larger pay increase.While it would have been easy to spend more money since I was making more, I stuck to saving for a house and our upcoming wedding. We received help from our families for the wedding, but still had to come up with $10,000 on our own. By September 2014, we were able to save the money and celebrate our marriage debt free, which was an amazing feeling.


Once the student loans were paid and the wedding was over, there was only one thing left; our house. If you’re familiar with the current housing market in Seattle (or many other places throughout the country) you know that a lot of properties are going for $100,000 or more ABOVE list price. In the area we were looking, there was nothing available below $450,000. We put in four total offers and looked for seven straight months. Every weekend was spent at open houses and multiple weekdays found us walking through homes throughout Seattle. My husband works nights, so I would go walk through them after work and if I liked them, I would bring him back to look at them the next day. If I knew they weren’t a contender, I didn’t even bother. It was a stressful process but in the end we ended up where we wanted to be. In June 2015, we closed on our house. We had saved enough to have the necessary $79,000 (down payment and closing costs) needed for our home.

What do I know? I know my goals.  I tend to drive my husband crazy because when I get an idea in my head, I won’t stop until I get it, and when I graduated college, I had three big money goals: loans, wedding, house. At the age of 26, I’ve accomplished them all. Now that we are in our home, we’ve set a new goal to beef up our savings before we decide to start a family. I am constantly fielding questions from friends and family about my savings plans. The goal for this blog is to inform them, and other young people, how you can really get what you want in life by making smart money decisions. But my best advice is simply to know what you want and don’t stop until you get it.

Happy savings!