Savvy Saturdays: Why Saving Now Is Important

It doesn’t take a lot of common sense to understand that the more money you save, the better off you’ll be financially. But saving can be hard. In fact, when you live some where like Los Angeles or New York where the cost of living is through the roof, it can seem damn near impossible.

When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it can be hard to see beyond next week’s bills.

But know this: it’s not impossible to start saving now. Sometimes, all you need is a little mental motivation.

Think about it this way: if you’re living paycheck to paycheck right now, relying on the hope/idea that at some point you’ll snag that job or promotion that will elevate you to a spending status where you can afford to buy a new car or house, you might never get there. But if you start being savvy with your money now, you might not need to snag that pay bump to afford the things you dream of.

Why?

Because saving is a mindset.

Here’s another point to ponder: if you’re living paycheck to paycheck right now, and its not because rent takes up 75% of your income and the other 25% goes to groceries and debt, it means that you’re spending any leftover money you have every month on things that aren’t a necessity. Often, even in a 75/25 situation involving debt payments, there are still ways you can cut your costs. So if you haven’t already gotten out of the habit of spending every dime you own, what makes you think that having a fatter paycheck will remedy your excessive expenditures? Take a lesson from Kanye and realize that having millions (or billions!) doesn’t necessarily guarantee your financial security.

Instead, get into the saving mindset: always strive to live one step below your means.

Simply put, this means that if you live on an income where you can afford to go out twice a week, live with the mindset that you can only afford to go out once a week, pocketing the cash you save not spending an extra night out each week. If you want to save more money faster, you can get more drastic. Currently, I tell everyone I’m too poor to pay for valet parking, go out more than once every two weeks, and spend full price on a movie ticket more than once or twice a year. I’m not going to tell you how much I could afford, because honestly, I don’t even want to know. As long as I live in this mindset, I’m saving money. The second I “let” myself afford more, I don’t.

So if you’re not already in this line of thinking, start training your brain to think this way now. Why? Because you’d be amazed how much you can save up by saying no to a $5 coffee here, and a $20 movie there. You might discover that in a few years’ time, you have enough to pay for a new (or new to you) car, cash up front! Or, if you’re a big dreamer like me, a down payment on a house. 🙂

So get savvy, savers!

-tlc

 

Making Personal Growth

I was speaking with my cousin today – a totally awesome dreamer and creative who is my same age and yet has accomplished so much more than I probably ever will – and we were discussing the pros and cons of work that is creatively satisfying (if not quite what you want to be doing) vs. work that is mundane yet stable. The conversation brought up a lot of insight as to what is most important: your immediate happiness, or your ability to satisfy your personal creative and financial needs while working towards eventually meeting your career goals.

The answer: It’s a toss-up, really. Both hold merits, and it likely just comes down to individual needs and specific job opportunities. But what the conversation really reinforced for me was the idea of personal growth.

No matter what you’re doing, make sure you’re doing it for you.

The obvious consensus here is that you should always be taking into account what you want to be doing with your life. Meaning, not just creative and career goals, but things you want to achieve for yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally. Hence, your personal growth. Any job you have or decide to take should lend itself in someway to helping you reach these goals, whether that’s through immediate exposure (i.e. being an assistant to someone who is doing what you want to do and who will mentor you), or through stable flexibility (i.e. a job that isn’t really what you want to do, but that allows you the flexibility to work on what you want to do in your downtime OR gives you enough of your week that you can focus on your passion as a sort-of side job).

And herein lies the dilemma and heartache, because which do you choose? There are risks to both; the first, which might be more creatively satisfying in the moment, may have you spending much of your creative energies focusing on that which does not directly help your own goals. The second will allow you to spend your creative energies how you wish, but without the guarantee that you will find a direct way toward meeting your career goals. Both provide risks and benefits. Perhaps the decision will not be up to you; perhaps you will only come across the opportunity for one or the other.

You will have the opportunity to choose one thing: to pursue your own work, always. Meaning that while there are plenty of stable jobs out there that you could pursue, you have the ability to choose one that lends you the flexibility or opportunities you need to create the career you want. This might not be easy to find, but it’s worth the work and search.

Just some thoughts. Good luck on whatever your career endeavor may be.

-tlc

Why I’m Boycotting The Oscars This Year

In front of the screen, Hollywood seems progressive, with its sexy TV shows and growing number of strong female leads. But if you truly dissect what your eyes are consuming, you’d find that things are a bit more problematic. Hollywood is years behind cultural standards in terms of social progression. And it’s even worse behind the screen, with many of the leadership roles, both on set and off, still predominantly filled by white men.

I’m not normally one to take a public stance on these issues. I usually don’t speak my mind in this way because I feel that I often don’t have the right perspective to do so – I do not face the same discriminations that others do, and therefore don’t feel that it’s right that I assert my own opinions about struggles I know nothing about.

But now I feel I must say – and do – something. Even something as minuscule as not bothering to watch The Oscars this weekend. Why, when I’m not some Hollywood celebrity, when my viewership pretty much holds no weight? Because I do not wish to support a system that is, at its core, broken and refuses to acknowledge that it is so.

This extends beyond issues of racism, and my investment in the issue extends beyond that of the outspoken bystander. Though women get their fair half of Academy Award categories, sexism is rampant in Hollywood, and the issue of race in The Oscars points to an even more problematic Hollywood: one that still lives in social standards dripping with old school world views. While my single viewership might not count for anything, I do not wish to support a system that turns a blind eye to the fact that, in the year 2016, our stories of the world around us still abide by false depictions of white-washed life, of trope-filled minorities and female characters whose personalities are more determined by curves and surrounding men than by legitimate challenges and relatable struggles.

I’ve been lucky. My personal experience working in this industry has only brought me within solar rotation of some of the horribly sexist and/or racist people making their marks in Hollywood. I’ve worked for the good eggs, the rare nice guys you sometimes hear about in faint outlier stories. But I’ve heard horrific things, shocking things from friends – women who couldn’t get hired as set PAs because they weren’t “strong enough,” whose bosses made increasingly sexual remarks about their actions, or clothing, until finally, passes were made, etc. And these stories don’t even scrape the tip of the ice berg when you open the discussion to issues of race, sexuality, diversity, and inclusion behind the screen. Even when a show is led by a promisingly diverse cast, the writer’s room and production crew may not be so.

So my boycotting The Oscars is only a small step in raising my voice against a predominantly straight-white-male institution. Hollywood is first and foremost a financial pursuit and business endeavor, a creative machine second. I’m not sure if it will ever treat issues of race and minority as more than trendy subject matters unless more people – those with power, and consumers, like myself – step up and demand change. We need to get to a point where the Reys and the Finns are not some novel Disney dream, but a natural result of good writing and enthusiastic casting. We need to get to a point where the Academy hires Chris Rock to host The Oscars because he’s an awesome, funny guy, and not questionably because The Oscars would otherwise be “Too White”. We need to get to a point where LGBTQ creatives are equally represented in all fields. We need to get to a place where it’s natural and easy to staff a writers room with more than one or two people of color and/or women.

The change won’t come while we continue to quietly consume – and subsequently support – a broken Hollywood. We need to speak out. We need to demand change. We need to put actions to our words to make it happen.

Check out this awesome NYTimes article about really cool people discussing their own experiences with broken Hollywood.

-tlc