Twenty-Something Confessions: To Save or Not to Save?

Being a twenty something isn’t a bad gig. We’re in the fruit of our youth, fresh from college, and ready to make our mark on the world. Unfortunately, along with these jewels come the stone cold troubles of being an active member in the “real world.”

Depending on how spoiled you were in college, the real world can bring taxes, student loans, health insurance, cell phone bills and finding a job in a down economy to pay for it all. Oh, being young.

Those that are lucky enough to have jobs are presented with another crisis. I call this dilemma the Save vs. Swank Dilemma.We’re told to live at home and save, save, save, but when we are able to afford or barely afford to live on our own, we move out of the nest and can’t wait to gain back the freedom we cherished in college. Pizza for breakfast, yes! Plus the ability to decorate your own place and start your official life as an adult. (My parents say when I’m out of the house, I’m out for good- monetarily).

I’ve been facing this crisis for some time now. I’m currently still living at home and doing a pretty decent job of saving, but I’m looking forward to moving out and embracing my freedom. I have a bunch of friends that are opted for “swank” over “save” and love their decision as well. That’s another good thing about being young. You can roll with the punches.

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Nonetheless, here are a few tips that I’ve picked up to help spend smart and save whether you endorse the “save” or “swank” option:

– Avoid ATM Fees. If you have to walk the extra mile to go to your bank, do it.

– Put a set amount of money into your savings account and stick to it. 20% of your income is a good principal if you can float it.

– Take advantage of deal sites! A smarter way to indulge on things you enjoy like eating out and beauty services.

*Chicagoans- I suggest checking out Daily Deal Chicago, launching August 11, 2010. The site is going to offer one “amazing” deal (more that 50% savings) each day from Chicagoland restaurants, bars, spas, comedy clubs, sporting events, theaters, classes and other businesses.

Unlike other deal sites, there is no minimum voucher purchase in order to get the savings. The deals are real from the minute they are listed, and they are there for the taking.They’re currently running a $100 Apple gift card giveaway so check it out and subscribe to their daily emails!

– Brown Bag it. Lunches out add up. You spend money on groceries so eat your groceries!

– If you opt for “swank” find an equally “swanky” roommate to cut rent in half.

To clarify, living at home doesn’t mean shackles for everyone. I love my family so it’s a win-win, but everyone has a different opinion on the “save” experience.

It is important to do what is best for you and your situation. If you have a job and a place to call home, then it is safe to consider yourself pretty lucky.Some people don’t have either.

I think twenty somethings intrinsically feel like losers for moving back home right after college. I’ve heard way to many complain, “I got to do something. I can’t stand living at home any longer.” Returning to the nest definitely has negative connotations. I also hear stories from twenty somethings who regret burning years of income on rent.

You never really know if you’re making the best long-term decisions, but I argue that’s half the fun of being young.

What do you do to save money? Also, are you facing the “save” vs. “swank” dilemma? If so, how are you dealing?

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I state in my “About Me” section that this blog is ever evolving. It is titled the Public Relations Hybrid and I try to stick with that theme. Part of being a hybrid is being open to discuss new topics and provoke conversation. This is part of my “twenty-something confessions” post series. Stay tuned!

Full disclosure: I was given at $25 gift card for mentioning Chicago Daily Deals

Adversity

Most people, besides Chuck Norris, face adversity at some point in their lives. I have been thinking a lot about this in recent months. Along with not writing lately, I figured I would jot down a few thoughts. This post is not a spectacular take on something in the marketing world, but I hope you can relate. I started this blog with an open mind and find that posts come at me during the strangest moments!

Adversity may come in the form of a weight loss challenge, unemployment, or a difficult task at work. Whatever it may be, how you overcome adversity matters more than any form it can take on. I strongly believe that you are given tests to see what you can handle.Everything happens for a reason. God doesn’t give you anything you can’t overcome.

In the workplace, stay true to yourself and work hard. Overcome adversity through confidence in your abilities and believe in yourself.

If you’re struggling outside of the office, surround yourself with the people who love and support you. For me, it is the people in and out of the office that help me keep truckin’.
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(Me with 2 of my best friends)

Above all, find strength within yourself. When things get tough, don’t give up on yourself. Stay strong and fight. Be your best self and show others your best self. This is more important than ever in times like these.
Hurricanes Oil Spills Corruption.

I hope you find this inspiring in your time of need. Unless you’re Chuck Norris of course. He doesn’t take advice. He just gives it.

Get at me! @teganzimmerman

Social Network Ownership: Do You Have Insurance?

I recently had the pleasure of attending Think Tank Live (see previous post) and I learned a lot from the experience. One of the things that stuck with me is the concept of social network ownership and connecting with others online.

It can be a little abstract. Allow me to explain.

As we all know, social media and conversations about the importance of establishing an online presence have exploded over the last decade.  We set up Twitter pages and link to our pretty, new blogs in hopes to brand ourselves and our businesses online. Almost everyone has his or her own Facebook or Twitter handle.

The keyword here is own.

We consider our Twitter and Facebook handles “ours” when in reality they don’t necessarily belong to us at all. Yes, they may be in our name and we may claim ownership of them as they represent a part of ourselves online, but take a step back.

We do not own these spaces. We are simply renting them and personalizing our allotted share of their network.

Our pages and handles are property of the social network we sign up for and can be pulled out from underneath us like a rug at any time.

Taking this into consideration, what would you do if your Twitter account just stopped working?

You couldn’t log on and your account was somehow suspended. Twitter support wasn’t much help and the only solution to your problem is to start over and sign up for new account.

What would you be left with? What about all of those 1,000+ followers? Would they even notice that you had left the Twitterverse?

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We strive to create meaningful connections online but how many of us actually go beyond a basic online connection? I encourage you to take your online connections offline (tweetups, networking events).

Not only offline, create deeper connections online as well (LinkedIn, email conversation, guest blogging). Shout out- I recently had the joy of creating a deeper online connection with Philip Nowak and Bryan Brown. You guys rock.

As someone who was forced to ask myself these questions (my Twitter has been acting up), I’m striving to deepen my connections online and take a few offline by attending more tweet ups and networking events in the future.  

Social media insurance, enhance your online connections.

What will you do to insure your online relationships?

 (Speaking of, connect with me further on LinkedIn and Twitter!)