Interview with Selina from Selina Budgets

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This week we have something a bit different! As October comes to a close, so does my month of money. I’ll let you know how I did in a few days, once I total everything up. But, after that, I’ll be taking a break from writing about personal finance and writing about other things.

However, some of you may want to know even more about budgeting, saving money and getting your personal finances in order. Therefore, I’m really happy to introduce you to Selina, from the blog SelinaBudgets. I discovered Selina’s blog and it immediately jumped out to me with it’s clear writing and focus on the foundations of good personal finance.

Therefore, this week, I’m talking to Selina and getting her thoughts on money and millennials 🙂

Can you tell us a little about yourself, and your motivations behind starting your blog SelinaBudgets?

SelinaMy name is Selina, and I’m a 24-year-old gal living in Alberta, Canada. I’m in my last year of my dietetic internship, and I’ve recently moved out to live on my own to complete said internship.

My financial journey was heavily influenced by the preparation for this internship. Knowing that I would have to move out, buy a used car, and find ways to make ends meet was definitely a wakeup call. Thus far in this journey, I have learned so many things and gained SO much knowledge. I needed an outlet to share it with others. I needed a place to share my experience with people. I needed something to document my experiences, my goals, and share the information I have found helpful and transforming. That’s how “SelinaBudgets” was created.

What are your financial goals?

My current financial goal is to stay positive balance while in internship. Once I have completed that and can start working, the next step is to pay off my two student loans as quickly as possible. My goal is one year to sixteen months. That is my only debt, and I plan to make it stay that way!

Once my debt is paid off, it will be to follow the Baby Steps and build my full emergency fund!

What are you doing to make those goals?

To stay positive balance, I budget monthly and update my budget weekly to ensure I am on track. I meal plan my food to try and minimize getting take out (although this is my weakness). I check flyers for deals and use coupons and Checkout51 to maximize savings. The key is to have a PLAN/GOAL for what you want to achieve, and stay focused on it. I try to constantly remind myself that unnecessary purchases will take me farther away from my debt payoff date.

What do you think your biggest challenge to meeting those goals is?

I think currently my biggest challenge is: not having an income, and finding balance in spending and saving. With my internship, it is extremely difficult to find time for a part time job if you don’t want to sacrifice your mental health. As for spending vs. saving, I was doing very well for the first 8 months while on a budget by not buying unnecessary things (ex. stationary, workout clothes, planner accessories). But when stressful times came up, I spent unplanned money. So I think part of this is a problem with a balance too. By finding a balance between budgeting and still allowing yourself to do/buy things you previously enjoyed, those mistakes could have been avoided!

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How are you planning to overcome that challenge?

In a couple months, I plan on looking for a part time job. I’m hoping that as internship starts to wrap up, working odd hours here and there may be an option.

With the holidays coming up, I plan on adding to my budget some holiday fun money so I can choose to spend it on something nice for myself without having to feel guilty about it.

What does a typical week of spending look like for you?

In a typical week, I would be getting groceries on the weekend. Depending on the week, it could range from $40-$80. Throughout the week, there might be the odd week where I need gas (~$50, I try not to drive much to save money on gas), $5 for the occasional coffees during the week (just coffee, nothing fancy), and I would probably buy a lunch/dinner once a week with my weekly spending money ($10-15).

What’s the one piece of financial advice you wish you had known five years ago?

1. You don’t need loans or debt to go to school.

Coming out of high school, I didn’t know better, nor did my parents. Taking out student loans seemed to be the normal. Fortunately, I don’t have a huge loan as the loan process got a little complicated and I got fed up. I decided to stop taking out loans, and worked full time during summer to scrape up tuition. If you find a part time job once you are able to start working, and slowly start saving up over the years, it is definitely do-able!

2. Credit cards may seem cool, but debt isn’t.

Part of me wish I hadn’t signed up for credit cards once I turned 18. It really exacerbated my spending habits. Thankfully, I was always able to pay off the balance in full. But looking back now, being a student with only a part time job, I was walking on egg shells.

What financial challenges do you think millennials face?

I think millennials are being bogged down by debt – student loans, credit card debt, car payments. Without knowing better, we are following the footsteps of our parents and grandparents, but what used to work then may not necessarily work now.

How do you think millennials can overcome these challenges?

In order to overcome this, I believe that we must take charge, be self-directed learners, and learn about doing things differently that will work for us. Understanding why it’s important to have a budget, how to not become a victim of your debt, and making financially wise decisions.

Thanks to Selina for answering my questions! You can check out Selina’s blog at selinabudgets.wordpress.com.

3 comments

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  • This makes me wonder how cheap fees are in Canada! Not having a loan isn’t doable for most kids in the UK. I personally did pay for my first year of uni myself, but it was a tenth of the cost back then, and I had to work full time for a year to afford it!

    • I had a quick look, and it’s about $6,000 a year I think? So not far off what we paid when we went. On the other hand, they seem to have more grants available, rather than loans. So I don’t know how it compares! I’ll see if Selina can chip in here.

    • It varies between the degrees and post secondary institutions, but I would say for your average BSc degree, with books and tuition and all (not including living expenses), it would be about $9-10k Canadian. Once I stopped taking loans out, I had to work full time during the summer to cover my education costs!

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