In my paycheck-to-paycheck days, I used to dread going grocery shopping. If I needed to go to the store right before pay day, there was a distinct possibility that my checking account wouldn’t cover all of the items on my shopping list. As I walked up and down the store aisles and tossed things into my cart, I nervously added up the costs. I frequently checked my account balance in the store to make sure I had enough funds to cover the bill. I was petrified that I would miscalculate and have my debit card declined at the checkout counter. Fortunately, that never happened.
However, there were many shopping trips where things had to be put back because I was just cutting it too close. The non-essentials, like snacks, were the first things to get cut. I also had to amend meal plans and recipes on the fly, putting back some of the needed ingredients because I couldn’t afford all of them in that shopping trip. It was a lousy feeling. Granted, I have been extremely fortunate in my life and I have never gone hungry. But in my broke days, it was frustrating to have to worry about what I now consider a really small amount of money. The thing is when you don’t actually have it, it feels like a ton.
Over the last several years, my financial picture has really improved. I have broken out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle and now carry a cushion in my checking account. The cycle wasn’t easy to break out of and it wasn’t a quick fix. Over time, I increased my income, better tracked my spending and paid off some credit cards. My financial health is an ongoing process!
Today, I am so happy to be able to walk into the grocery store and get whatever I need and want without worrying about a debit card denial. Having a full pantry makes my heart sing. I feel like I am providing well for myself and my family (which went from two to three members since I’ve improved my finances). Not having to shop to the penny makes doing that a lot easier. I can stock up when there are sales instead of only being able to grab the immediate necessities.
Even though being able to cover my grocery list is no longer a concern, I still advocate for keeping food costs under control. Even though I’m no longer a Broke Millennial, I still try to be a prudent consumer. I shop with a list, but sale items and try to keep the splurges as treats, rather than the norm. I’ve learned that managing costs is a cornerstone of personal finance and one I try to follow. It is nice to have enough money to ignore the rules sometimes, though.
This story is part of the Broke Millennial No More series.
Laura Gariepy is a blogger, freelance writer and side hustler enjoying lake life in central Florida with her fiancé, mother-in-law and cat. She writes about money, travel and life’s journey. To see what she’s up to, please visit her website: https://www.everydaybythelake.com
Written by Laura Gariepy
Photo from Pexels
Edited by Bridget Dennin
Disclaimer: Any products, banks, or companies mentioned in this article should not be taken as an endorsement from or by the Broke Millennial brand.
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