Figuring out your personal finances is honestly, well, intimidating. It’s this lingering worry in the back of your head—you know you have to get your money sorted, but it’s easier to do it “soon” and until then continue to like memes on Instagram about being broke and still treating yourself (been there.)
Being smart about financial decisions doesn’t have to be so frightening. Enter Tiffany Aliche, The Budgetnista and Prudential’s Financial Wellness Advocate, who knows exactly how college women can choose the right path when faced with so many hard decisions regarding their finances.
Don’t compare yourself to people on social media because not everything you see is real.
Friendly reminder: Social media accounts are a highlight reel. If you see someone living large in one photo, they’re most likely not living that lavishly all times of the day.
Tiffany says, “Social media is like the great magnifier. I think that because of social media we have to be more mindful and diligent about how we’re feeling about our finances…Everything you see is not real.”
Retail therapy doesn’t keep you happy in the long run; it’s only temporary. Focus on true happiness.
“I think the key is that your sense of wellness is not about the number or the amount. I think in order for us to not to lean into retail therapy we have to acknowledge that something else is wrong.”
The best advice from Tiffany is that sometimes the way to treat yourself at the moment is to treat yourself in the long run. For her, it meant sleeping on an air mattress until she had enough money saved up to buy the bed she really wanted.
“I think the only way to combat retail therapy is to fight it with the knowledge that you’re really trying to achieve, which is wellness. You buy something and you’re excited about it for about 10 minutes, one day, or maybe one week and then it loses its glitter and then you have to get something else. It’s a never-ending cycle. I think working on what is truly wrong is important and then working on your financial wellness.”
Determine the best way to treat yourself.
“The journey to financial wellness is deeply personal. When I think of ‘treat yourself,’ I don’t think that buying something on my credit card that I can’t afford to pay off is treating myself. Instead of saying, ‘I am going to buy these shoes’ what you’re really saying is, ‘I am going to purchase these pair of shoes that I can’t afford on my credit card and in the end, I’m actually going to spend more with the interest of the credit card.’ Is that really treating yourself? So instead, treating yourself is ‘I am going to save for the vacation that I want, I am going to put it on my card because I am going to earn points but I’m going to pay it off in full that week.’ I think it is really about breaking down what treating yourself really means.
“If you stop spending money on things that you don’t care about, you actually have money for the luxuries that you want. For some people, they would much rather go to brunch than go to Morocco. And you’re allowed to choose.”