Another source of lunchtime expenses come in the form of retail. I've often heard of people doing their shopping at lunch, but it was a foreign concept for me. Doesn't eating take a lot of time? However, now it's a lot more plausible because a huge shopping complex is just a block away from work. Since I bring my lunch to the outdoor area, which is a nice place to eat, I'd pass through the shops on my way back to work. I found these two things on the clearance racks, which are great for the type of dress code in my office and adds variety to the sea of blue that I've been wearing lately:
Practically everyone knows that wearing all black lends a sophisticated air. It's just not my style, that's all. However, different shades of the same color can be pretty fun to work with. The top is $8, and I love how it's casual with jeans but sharp with black pants. I always go for something that I can wear off the clock, and this fits the bill. That bangle is a new acquisition from the Target clearance section. Houndstooth and bangle don't usually go together, as the former is more work and the latter trendy and casual. The combination is a bit preppy and perfect for the job.
It's nice to bring a bright color into the mix. I wore a black cardigan over it, which helps tone down the brightness, but it's entirely appropriate when worn alone. I love the lace/crochet detailing at the collar.
Have no fear--these lunchtime shopping excursions will be the exception to the norm. I haven't turned into a spendaholic. First of all, meals are already costing me money that I could have otherwise saved or spent on cute goodies from Etsy. Second, this article scared me straight. I can't tell you how lucky and grateful I am for having this job, since I know a lot of people who are having trouble finding one. I need to save up for the impending increase of student loan payments, and in the event I become unemployed again, I need to have some money to live on. Contrary to what the article and some commenters said, I never came into this career expecting 6-figure salaries. I came in knowing that I want to work hard and have a successful career, but I also want to have a life, which necessarily results in a job that pays less. Even if I get that kind of salary (which probably won't be for a while), I'm not going to live it up because I want to get rid of my 6-figure loan ASAP.
It's nice to be able to live comfortably, and with my experiences living on a shoestring budget, it won't be a problem regardless of what salary I'll get. Back in the days of my first career, I didn't make much, but I was still able to pay for rent, food, clothes, and had leftovers for savings. Sure, it's nice to be able to do more now, and I'd be lying if I say I don't have an urge to buy nicer things because I've been deprived of that opportunity for so long, but I simply can't lose sight of the debt. It's dangerous to fall into the mentality that I have money to spend, since that money is already destined to go somewhere.
This post isn't going to end on a depressing note, however. Some of that earmarked money is going into a 401(k). Being fiscally conservative now will allow me to have a wonderful retirement. Yes, I'm just starting my new career, but it's never too early to think ahead.