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In this video, Chelsea talks through several things everyone should learn to stop wasting money on after 30, from cheap alcohol to sad desk lunches to cringey fast fashion.

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Wedding guest costs:

Lunch spending:,more%20than%20%249%2C000%20a%20year

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Fast fashion microseasons:

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Hey, guys.

It's Chelsea, from The Financial Diet. And today I am, once again, coming to you from the TFD office, because I am in the process of moving, which is very exciting.

I bought a home, I'll talk all about it in a future video once the experience is totally done, and I'm moved in, and settled. But today I want to talk, rather than about the big things you might be purchasing, about the things that you should stop purchasing, stop spending on, especially past the age of 30. I'm 32 and I've noticed, in the two years since I've been in my 30s, that a lot about my spending has inherently changed.

Now I should be clear here, I have more disposable income now than I did in my 20s. My husband and I also have made the choice not to have kids. So that does also lead to a lot of flexibility, when it comes to allocating my money, compared to others at a similar age.

But I also realize, in looking back, that not only were my spending habits much different than they are now, when I was in my 20s a lot of my priorities were very different. And the way I treated my money, similarly to how, frankly, on some levels I treated my body, was just way less respectful. Now obviously there is no arbitrary deadline by which people have to change their spending habits, or ever, frankly.

But I think 30 is always a good age at which to reflect, and it's always good to be pushing yourself to be a more realized, more thoughtful, and more self-respecting version of yourself. And transitioning into that, as you move from your 20s to your 30s, is just, frankly, a good a time as any to do so. Number one-- and perhaps this one typifies the genre more than any other, is cheap alcohol.

Now the topic of drinking in general is always a bit of a prickly one and, frankly, I am not here to tell anyone whether they should or should not engage in it. We recently published a video, over on our sister show the Test Lab, all about the host Jasmine's journey into being sober curious. But I am someone who does drink alcohol on various occasions, and in her 20s used to drink much alcohol.

So I do feel relatively well positioned to say that, you can still do it, while doing it in a better way. When it comes to purchasing and drinking cheap alcohol in one's 20s, a lot of it follows the same rationale that's present in a lot of these spending decisions in today's video which is, just trying to get the most bang for your buck, without thinking about any other factors or consequences. And for many of us in young adulthood, especially college and immediately post-grad, drinking is, in some ways, synonymous with binge drinking, which is all the easier to do when that alcohol is cheap and plentiful.

And that, in and of itself, is extremely dangerous. "From 1999 to 2017 the number of alcohol related deaths in the US doubled, to more than 70,000 a year, making alcohol one of the leading drivers of the decline in American life expectancy" And, "These numbers are likely to get worse-- During the pandemic. Frequency of drinking rose, as did sales of hard liquor. By this February, nearly a quarter of Americans"-- say that, "--they had drunk more over the past year as a means of coping with stress".

And again, I'm personally of the belief that everything in life is fine in moderation, including moderation. But when it comes to a drug which, let's face it, is as potentially dangerous and overall damaging as alcohol can be, going with the quantity over quality metric I mentioned before is particularly dangerous. But another part of the reason why young adults will tend to opt for the less expensive drinks, whether that's two for one well drinks at happy hour or a bottle of Two Buck Chuck, is because drinking is often the only way that they socialize with their peers.

Again, in that age bracket, it is very normal to just default to consuming alcohol as a way of bonding, or relaxing, or feeling camaraderie. And this, in and of itself, too is a problem. But when the health toll of social disconnection is estimated to be equivalent to the toll of smoking about 15 cigarettes a day, it can be easy to justify constantly throwing back cheap drinks because, well, it's better than being alone.

But opting for more expensive alcohol doesn't just reduce the chance that you'll over consume or have terrible sugar crash hangovers. It also means that it's not something you're going to constantly be defaulting to, whether while at a restaurant, out with friends, or even at home, because it costs a fair amount of money to do it. The overall theme of today's video is a lot about quality over quantity, but when it comes to booze that is especially true, for many reasons.

Trendy makeup items-- here's the thing about trendy makeup. Whatever will look good on a poor, free 19-year-old, who's also using an Instagram filter, is almost certainly not going to look good on you. And much of the time, these social media friendly beauty brands have mastered one thing above all, and that's marketing, such as constant Instagram feed spamming or, here in New York, impeccably designed subway ads for makeup that is, ultimately, pretty subpar in quality.

I'm not going to call any brands out by name here, but there's one particularly egregious millennial pink offender whose name rhymes with mossier. But there is no sadder waste of money than a drawer full of $20 lipsticks that don't really match your skin tone, or eyebrow tools that don't really do anything unless you already have perfect eyebrows, or trendy eye shadows that you saw used in a look video on TikTok but you could never wear to the office. Basically, pointless beauty items are an extreme waste of money.

But many people in their 20s are simply figuring out their personal style and so, like I did in my 20s, will opt for something like a beauty subscription box, in order to try some of these items out without necessarily committing. The problem, though, is that a lot of these boxes can be much more wasteful than we're likely to think. And in terms of budget, can often be much less budget friendly than we're inclined to assume.

Because, for $10 a month, it might seem like five sample sized items and a cute little box is worth the money. But when you actually break down the retail value of the full size items, you're not really getting much bang for your buck. And beyond just being a waste of personal funds, beauty overconsumption is a big environmental problem.

Annually, the beauty industry produces more than 120 billion units of packaging globally. Only 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled, and about 12% incinerated. All the rest, 79%, ended up in landfills, dumps, or the natural environment.

When it comes to beauty packaging, 95% of it is thrown out after just one use, and only 14% of plastic makes it to a recycling center. It makes much more sense to just find your staple products that you can invest in, over and over again, even if it means you're a little bit less adventurous. This advice brought to you by the NARS lip liner that I reapply compulsively 50 times throughout a day and basically exclusively wear, including to special events Weddings-- many of us were raised to believe that, if you were invited to a wedding you basically have to go, damn all of the costs associated.

But with the rise of social media has also come a rise in relationships that seem a lot more close than they are. And therefore, invitations to weddings that you otherwise, without social media, would have never even been invited to. And even on the individual level, social media has also made those weddings much more expensive for the average attendee.

According to The Knot, the average cost of attending a wedding in 2019 was $430, jumping to $600 for guests who drove in from out of state, and to $1,440 for those who had to fly in. And so, if you're invited to three to four weddings a year, as is the case for many of us in our 20s and 30s, that easily means spending $1,200 or more just to attend them. And, yes, you probably can't say no to every wedding that you're invited to, nor would you really want to.

But it's likely that, again, with the rise of social media and constantly staying sort of in contact with people, you're likely to have at least one a year that you probably could decline without really hurting any feelings. And honestly, I've heard anecdotally from basically everyone I know who had a larger wedding, that they send out a lot more invites than they actually expect to get RSVPs to, and often find themselves a little bit shit out of luck when basically everyone says yes, which seemed to happen a lot post-pandemic, because people were like, get me out of this house and into a dress. But even when you do decide to attend a wedding, finding ways to make it less expensive on the day, whether that means splitting an Airbnb with other guests, carpooling on the way down, or reusing outfits rather than having to buy something new for Instagram-- though more on that later, are easy ways to save.

But more importantly, in one's 20s, especially when it comes to social events, nothing is more important than sharpening your no tool. You need to be able to say no to things you simply can't afford. Putting a bachelorette party on a credit card trip-- terrible, don't do it.

Saying, I would love to join, this is a little bit out of my budget, but maybe we could plan a special night for the two of us in our city-- iconic, we love it. We love to see it. Office coffees or lunches-- and, no, this is not a point on how buying avocado toast or lattes is preventing you from ever becoming a homeowner, but there is some nuance here.

When you are in your 20s many of you will be heading into the professional world for the first time, which can be a really exciting and thrilling thing. When I had my first office job, I used to take pictures of every little thing on my desk, and feel so excited that I could go to the coffee shop in the morning, and get my little working girl latte, and working girl muffin, and then sit at my working girl sedentary desk for 10 hours a day, and then go home and sit on my working girl couch for another five hours, and then wonder why my body was falling apart. Anyway, the temptation can be high with both the excitement of a new environment, the stress of wanting to succeed at your job, and suddenly having a paycheck to overspend.

Because let's do some math. Say you spend $15 on a sandwich or salad and a beverage every day at lunch, and you have four weeks of paid vacation which, I know, is already a lot for many people. So you're spending this for 48 weeks out of the year, that means over the course of a year you'll spend $3,600 on workday lunches alone.

And this isn't that far off from what a lot of people's lunch spending actually amounts to. A survey, conducted by Visa, found that Americans spend $2,746 on lunch, every single year on average. Instead you could be using meal prep recipes from a site like Budget Byte$, a TFD favorite, which features meal plans for less than $2 a serving, or $10 a week, on lunch, or $480 total annually, saving you over $3,100 a year, just on food.

Of course you don't have to be that strict about it. But watching how you spend while in the workplace, especially as a response to stress, is something you should not be waiting until you're well into your 30s to start doing. Fast fashion-- and this topic always gets some prickly discourse going in the comments, so let's just put it out here.

If you can only afford to shop at fast fashion, and that's the only option available to you, and the only store that carries it in your sizing, and you don't have any other options, could never shop anywhere as long as you live, you have to buy everything from Forever 21, this point does not apply to you. I'm not shaming anyone for having to shop at fast fashion. I have bought many a fast fashion item in my day.

This is not to say that everyone who buys fast fashion is bad That being said, many people who buy fast fashion do not need to be doing it, and certainly do not need to be doing it for every item they buy. And unfortunately many of you guys out there-- not you guys in the audience because you're all perfect angels who spend thoughtfully, but look around YouTube, this is very pervasive. Many people are shopping in fast fashion specifically to constantly be able to buy new clothes, because they're also cheaply priced which is how fast fashion markets itself.

But let's break it down. Ones 20s are a time where having a wardrobe basically furnished by Forever, Zara, Shein-- is the norm. Everyone's doing it, no one really gives it a second thought.

And fast fashion, usually terribly produced using terrible materials, is almost guaranteed not to last you very long, even if it stayed in style, which it wouldn't-- but more on that in a second, meaning that its cost per use is almost universally in the gutter. I'll link you guys in the description to a video I did on why cost per use is one of the most important money rules you'll ever follow. But few things break it as egregiously as fast fashion.

But fast fashion also has an insanely bad ecological impact, and is quite literally designed to constantly be going out of style, so that you will be incentivized to buy more. Fast fashion "has created a shocking 52 micro-seasons per year", and this creates a dynamic where, "According to Livia Firth, the Creative Director of Eco-Age, the average garment lasts only about five weeks in our closets. Because of how cheaply made and inexpensively sold these fast fashion garments are, people can go out weekly to buy the newest trendiest clothing to fit into that particular micro-season.

But what is happening to all of the clothes that are only used for five weeks? There are 80 billion pieces of clothing produced each year and in turn, 82 pounds of clothing are thrown out per person each year. Which adds up to about 11 million pounds of thrown out garments, in the US alone.

People often justify their careless consumption habits by donating their garments to thrift stores when they're no longer in style. And while, in an ideal world, this would be a fantastic option, it simply isn't cutting it. Due to the massive amounts of donations thrift stores get daily from fast fashion lovers, only 10% of clothes are actually sold in thrift stores".

As I have gotten older and cared not only about the quality of what I'm wearing but, as much as I can impact it, the environmental effects of the clothes I'm wearing, I have started spending money at, yes, more straight up expensive stores. Although I basically never pay full price for an item, you can always get some kind of a coupon or discount. But I've also gotten a lot more into using things like Poshmark, and The RealReal, and various thrift and consignment stores, here in New York City.

But I would say the biggest change that I've made overall, in my 30s, is that I just have way fewer items of clothing. I did an inventory, while doing a big purge for this upcoming move, and realized I have about one third as many total clothing items as I did when I first moved uptown, years ago, when I was smack dab in the middle of my 20s. Almost every single item I own now is something that I would consider A-list.

I like the way it looks, I like the way it fits, it's super high quality, I feel great in it, and so on and so forth. The truth is that, if you want every item to be like that, you just can't afford to buy much more of it. And I also buy duplicates of things that fit the bill, so that further reduces the sheer amount of variety I can be looking at.

Unplugging yourself from the fast fashion matrix of constantly feeling like you need to be accumulating new clothes and never wearing the same thing twice is key to having everything you wear be that much better. Instagram travel destinations-- it shouldn't be news to anyone, but Instagram has profoundly changed the way that we live, and specifically the way that we travel, the way that we view others traveling, and the way that we expect ourselves to be doing it. We recently did a whole video, which I'll link to you in the description, on the many insidious ways that Instagram is changing how we think and how we move through the world.

But few spheres have been as impacted as the inherently visual and, quite frankly, well adapted to showing off phenomenon of travel. Research conducted by Facebook, in 2019, showed that 67% of travelers use Instagram to find travel inspiration before booking a trip. And once the trip is booked, they continue to use the platform to get themselves pumped up for the upcoming adventure.

And Instagram has an interesting position where you are both seeing what your actual friends, relatives, neighbors, and real life connections are doing, and also seeing what all of those parasocial influencer relationships, who are being paid to travel and not disclosing all of their ads and freebies, are doing. It can suddenly seem like everyone is going to a certain place or doing a certain thing, and the FOMO you'll experience from seeing it is very real. Instagram has notoriously created many it destinations essentially out of thin air.

But when you peel back the curtain on some of those destinations, you'll realize that, in many cases, they were very coordinated efforts by local tourism boards to get influencers to make it seem like the place everyone needed to be. Your 20s are a time when you're still figuring yourself out. And you're often incredibly influenced by what your friends are doing, right down to the friends who might be pressuring you into taking one of these trips for a Bachelorette party or just a girls getaway.

It's more important than ever to really separate what you want to do, and would otherwise be spending your hard earned money and vacation time on, versus what Instagram and its algorithm just happen to be shoving down your throat. Parking slash speeding tickets-- now for those of you who don't know, I was once arrested, and it's probably the most unsexy reason anyone's ever been arrested before. Basically I just got a bunch of speeding tickets, and it didn't pay them, and then my license got suspended , and my registration got suspended but I was an irresponsible piece of [BLEEP]..

So I just kept driving anyway, and then someone pulled me over, and was like, oh, girl, you got to go to jail. Also I wasn't wearing shoes, because I had just come back from a party where, literally, a dog ate one of my shoes. So it was a rough day, and I would love to say that that's the day I was like, Chelsea, you gotta to change, your whole life has to change, this can't be how you live.

But unfortunately that moment came several years later. I had a lot of drain left to circle before I really got my [BLEEP] together. But anyway, I got off with a Probation Before Judgment, PBJ, not the sandwich the legal term, and was still able to make something out of my life.

But, yes, I got arrested and all of that is to say, I got arrested because I treated driving like a joke, basically, and also paying tickets. I treated anything to do with money as a complete joke that I didn't-- I was not interested in that narrative. But it all stemmed from me being a terrible driver.

Which, although I was an extreme case, is actually demographically not that unusual. 20-somethings are notoriously not very good drivers. "While teenage drivers have the highest chances of dying in a car crash, they are not the worst drivers. According to a new study from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, young adult drivers report engaging in dangerous driving behavior more than any other age group. They found that about 88% of young adults, age 19 to 24, admitted to speeding, running red lights, or texting while driving, in the last 30 days", alone.

And listen, even if we didn't just see that horrifying statistic, we could all just open up any of our social media feeds and see the extent to which it's become normalized to film full on skits while people are driving down the freeway. I don't understand how this has gotten so normalized. But I feel like the fact that it's become normal for us to see people creating hashtag content, while driving in active traffic, just really goes to show the extent to which young adults not taking driving seriously is socially acceptable.

But I have to say, speaking from experience, there is no money in your 20s more shamefully wasted than the money on a speeding ticket, because you couldn't get up early enough to actually get to work on time, or a parking ticket, because you were too lazy to circle and look for a spot or go feed the meter. You deserve better. Your wallet deserves better.

Stop letting your driving get you into all kinds of debt. Drunk food-- now listen, I don't want to be judgmental here, because we all sometimes love a drunk food moment. Even I, perfect, incredible, accomplished, Type A, unbelievably put together Chelsea Fagan, recently had a great drunk food experience.

And not to be pretentious, but it was in Italy. I got a kebab at 3:00 AM and it was, honest to god, one of the best food experiences I've had in a long time. Because it was just the perfect nexus of, like, I was starving, I hadn't eaten in so long, I was pretty buzzed obviously, I was in a-- was having a great conversation with strangers.

It was just like-- I don't-- it was just a great vibe. I was enjoying my kebab, sipping my Coca-Cola. Wow. 10 out of 10.

Mwah. I will never forget that kebab. But I have to say, at my big old age, I really don't do that very much.

First of all, because I'm almost never out that late anymore. But also because I have learned to prepare and learn how much, although it feels good in the moment, it generally is not worth it, long term, to be getting that drunk food. But in one's '20s, when going out as a verb is pretty much the only default activity people have, staying out super late, getting way too drunk, and all that comes with it is super normalized as a default activity.

Stopping for one of those jumbo slices-- I don't know if other cities have them, but in DC it was a big thing to get this jumbo slice, which is literally a piece of pizza the size of a human torso, was the way to end a night. And it is expensive, and it is bad for you physically, and it kind of makes your stomach ache worse, and it makes your hangover where-- it's all bad, it's all bad. But also, sometimes you do need to eat something.

Why not treat yourself like a grownup and plan ahead? And let's be clear, this isn't a calories thing. You should be able to eat what you want, and I'm not trying to sit here and tell you to count calories.

But it should be a, your body is a temple and so is your wallet, TBH, kind of a thing, because they are. And so one thing I have to recommend that you start doing as soon as possible even, yes, you 20-somethings, is to get in the habit of creating yourself a future me kit for evenings that you might be going a little hard. You're going to a wedding, a birthday, some kind of a celebration, you may be staying out up into the single digit hours of the morning.

Plan ahead, that means what? Obviously you want to, maybe, get an ibuprofen going near your bed. You want to get in your fridge, you want a beverage for when you come home.

That means an ice cold water, but then something when you wake up, maybe an iced coffee, maybe just an ice cold Coca-Cola, whatever it is you might need, a matcha. I don't know what you're drinking, but prepare the beverages. But then also prepare something that you can eat when you get home, if you're hungry, that is at least reasonably nutritious and not liable to make you feel terrible.

Also doesn't cost you $30 on the way home. This is a extremely leveled up if you're defrosting something that you have batch cooked in the past, in order to have it for yourself, but that is a pretty high level of prep we're demanding here. But I don't know, make yourself a decent sandwich.

Like, I don't know, like have some healthy-ish snacks in your cupboard. Just prepare ahead so that you will have something to look forward to when you come home, rather than convincing yourself you need to stop for that 20-something drunk food on the way home. It isn't worth it, and when you don't do it very much the special occasions, like that aforementioned kebab, they stay with you because they're so special.

And always, I have to say, the best thing about being an adult is those moments where you feel like you were your own fairy godmother from the past. Be that person. Last is impulsive Target purchases.

Now I should say, as someone who literally just bought a home, I have been doing a fair amount of Home Goods and Marshalls raiding. Although I committed to myself and, actually the person filming here can vouch for this, up until the move, which is not for another week, I will not bring anything home. I go to Home Goods, I soak it all in.

It's like someone brings a pizza by me and I just smell it and then pass it. I don't actually buy any of those candles. I will be making a trip, I will get some of those candles, but not yet.

But I have been making the trips just to, sort of, fantasize window shop. I have my journal. I've been mood boarding basically 24/7.

I'll also show that in my home buying video. Suffice to say, though, I get the thrill and the allure of going to one of these relatively affordable, I have a little bit of everything, stores and just going hog wild. And at Target in particular, which we now have several of here in Manhattan, I understand how it can be easy to go in there with no list, just vibes, and come out with $120 worth of unnecessary groceries, and lounge pants, and cleaning products, and holiday throw pillow covers, and under-eye patches you saw on TikTok, and all other kinds of Target goodies.

But, honey, that's how people get into credit card debt. And I hate to break it to everyone but credit card debt, post-pandemic, has actually gotten, survey says-- worse. And by the way, this is why it is so galling to me how much it's become normalized, on all those stupid, girls memes Instagram, it'll just be, like that feeling when you just, like, put another $500 at Target on your credit card, and it's, like, ha ha.

Why is that-- why are we normalizing this? Anyway back to the consumer debt that's ballooning post-pandemic, "Consumer debt hit a quarterly record of over $4.32 trillion in the second quarter of 2021. In August 2021, US consumer debt preliminary numbers showed an increase of 4% annually to more than $4.35 trillion.

Revolving debt, mainly credit card debt, set a record of about $1.1 trillion in February of 2020. That was higher than the previous record of $1 trillion set in December of 2007". If you are someone who has a tendency to do this and, honestly, no judgment, I get it, find a way to actually plan and preempt yourself.

Create a line in your budget that is just for the store of your choice, when you know you're going to want to go in and have yourself a grand old time. And actually, here's a life hack that I think is really fun. I can't remember where I initially found it, I don't think I saw it on the internet, I think someone I know in my real life did this and I was like, this is an amazing idea.

So I actually did this with Home Goods, and I'm so excited for my moment. But set aside the amount in your budget that you feel comfortable with, and get yourself a gift card to that store with that money. And then when you go to that store, don't bring your other cards and wallet just go, no, hey, I get to spend whatever is on this however I want to, it's been accounted for, I can't spend it anywhere else, so I don't have to guilt myself and say, oh, I should do this with it.

You have planned it, you can have your Supermarket Sweep moment, and you can feel good about it. I don't know exactly how much it's going to be for you. But maybe doing it a little bit less frequently, like once per quarter, rather than once per month, so that you could have more money to spend at that store, will feel more fulfilling.

But either way, understand yourself. Don't go into total deprivation mode and say, I can never go into a Target again. That's how people binge, and overspend, and feel like they've been deprived, et cetera.

Budget for it, plan for it and, maybe even get your future self a little gift card to go have fun with it. But do it within reason, ye 20-something. And as always, guys, thank you for watching and don't forget to hit the Subscribe button and to come back every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday for new and awesome videos.