Felicia’s Story: Can’t Spend It If You Can’t See It

Meet Felicia*, an Administrative Assistant who lives with her boyfriend in Massachusetts.

What’s your home life like?

My boyfriend and I are currently renting an apartment together. It’s been really good! We both have similar working hours, and we get to sleep at the same time.

What do you do?

I’m currently an Administrative Assistant. You could say I’m a career changer, actually. I got my Master’s degree in teaching originally, and as I was looking for a full-time job, I landed this admin role. I like the job itself and especially the people. The only thing I don’t like is the pay.

What did your childhood teach you about finances?

My parents are immigrants, so they didn’t earn a lot. Anytime they got money, they would save it. I definitely learned how to save from watching my parents do it.

They were actually really good at saving, but they didn’t know the difference between a checking account and a savings account, so they were just kind of putting it somewhere.

I feel like I save, but not as much as they did. I don’t have kids to take care of or a house, but I definitely try to save and I budget every week.

What does a week of budgeting look like?

My main expenses are food, groceries, and eating out, rent (monthly), and transportation (monthly).

What’s been a time in your life that you’ve felt most financially secure?

I think it was when I was little because I didn’t have a concept of money. Also, when I got my first full-time job, I had a bit more income coming in.

How did you manage the income from your first job?

It was the first time that money was consistently coming in. It was more income than I was used to, so I knew that I had to be diligent with how I spent it. At the end of paying all my bills, whatever I had left was for fun. I was very cognizant of my recurring expenses.

What’s the best piece of financial advice you’ve received?

It’d probably be to save your money before you spend it. You’ll get accustomed to saving that amount and only spending what is left over. For example, I set aside 3% of my paycheck every pay period, and that’s money that I just don’t look at.

What’s one thing you know about money now that you wish you knew when you were younger?

I wish that I knew more about high yield savings accounts and investing.

While I don’t know that much about investing, I do know that compound interest is good. I’ve played around with some online calculators and seen how my money could grow over time if invested.

I only wish my parents knew about investing because they could have doubled their money.

YouTube has definitely been helpful. I’m more of a visual learner, so videos help keep me both engaged and informed.

What does financial stability look like to you?

I’d like to get to a point where my boyfriend and I don’t have to consciously budget. Maybe that looks like taking a spontaneous weekend vacation. Or if we had an unexpected expense, it wouldn’t be a big deal because we could afford to pay for it and not go into debt.

What does money mean to you in your life?

Money means fun, freedom, and less stress. If you have money, you may feel less stressed and you can have better control of your time. If you have the funds, you don’t have to be constantly searching for good deals like red eye flights.

What are your thoughts about SaverLife?

I think it’s really cool that savings can be gamified! The digital scratch card I earn weekly is very motivating. I look forward to that email every week. It makes me want to build upon the savings each week and not deplete my paycheck.

I think I’ve won Scratch & Save at least twice. My boyfriend also participates in SaverLife savings challenges and might actually like it even more than I already do!

Anything you’re saving for in particular?

In the short-term, a vacation to Iceland with my boyfriend is definitely on the list! We’ve been talking about going there for so long.

I also have a retirement account, and a certain amount from each paycheck is automatically set aside via direct deposit into that 401(k).

Eventually I want to get a house, but houses here are really pricey. I’m definitely open to moving though if that means buying a house for a more reasonable amount.

*The name of the person in this article has been changed at their request.

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