Summer 2018. ‘Tis the season of long days, chill vibes, and pool parties. Tis also the season of frizz, breakouts, bridesmaid-related credit card debt, and the never-ending national nightmare that is the Tonald Drump administration. The research shows that millennial women are stressed at work, stressed in our relationships or lack thereof, and super stressed about money.
So if you’re feeling like Dorinda from the Real Housewives of New York City today, just inhale deeply into the knowledge that plenty of us are right there with you.
Ahead, we asked 12 women to share their biggest summer money stressors with us. TBH, we expected the “summer money stressor” responses might be more summery, but most of what we heard was evergreen. Summer—it’s a season! It’s a feeling! And…normal life doesn’t auto-pause from June to August. Go figure.
“My biggest money stressor (aside from financing my cross-country move and the realities of owning my first car ever) is and always has been balancing my debt and trying to have a social life with friends. I went to a private university in NYC and, in addition to a tidy six-figure sum in student loan debt, I played a little fast and loose with credit cards trying to keep up with the Joneses.
“I consolidated my debt so I’m “only” paying $850/month towards it, but I still have to get creative with number crunching to have a social life, eat healthy food, and exercise, all of which can be crazy expensive in big cities.”
—Mary, 29, sales director, New York, NY (soon to be Los Angeles, CA)
“My biggest money stressor is my credit card debt. I pay it down to something manageable and then it seems like another crisis comes along. I broke my ankle at the beginning of May and paying off my deductible for my health insurance is going to take a while, on top of the credit card debt I already had. Unfortunately, I respond to stress by spending money so I’m in a never ending cycle of stress and emergencies and ‘treating myself.'”
—April, 28, regional manager for a hospitality company, Sulligent, AL
“The first thing that comes to mind is health insurance. I was doing a contract position and after it ended, I had to move. I paid for health insurance in California through the end of July, but now I live in New York state. I need to take all the logistical steps to deal with that so I don’t continue paying for something I can’t use.”
—Kate, 27, journalist, upstate NY
“My biggest money stressor is financing my side hustle! Spending so much each month on website hosting, social media tools, and more really adds up. Having a side hustle that isn’t immediately generating income can be discouraging, but I know it’ll be worth it.”
—Cathy, 27, influencer talent manager, New York, NY
“It’s mostly that work slows for me in the summer, so I’m looking for work to fill the time. And the agencies I’m talking to may hire now, but they don’t plan on gearing up until September.”
—Lisa, 43, graphic designer and developer, Chicago, IL
“My situation is a little unique because I work in education: I get my last paycheck in June and I don’t get paid until the end of September. My husband and I both work in public service jobs, but we still want to be able to do the things we want to do. For instance, we’re going to Hawaii for 10 days in August and taking our moms. We’re building a back deck and redoing our lawn.
“And we’re trying to save for retirement and for our baby’s future. There’s a struggle between wanting to plan and knowing that life is short. I know we always hear about the grasshopper and the ant, but there has to be an insect that finds a a happy medium.”
—M.E., 32, school counselor, Albany, CA
“Childcare is by far my biggest money stressor. I’m a single mom with two boys, so I shop around for options and try to mix things up while staying under my monthly limit. Since I work from home I’ve been able to throw in a couple of weeks of ‘Camp Mom’ here and there to save money.”
—Christine, 38, lawyer, Lake Placid, FL
“My biggest stressor is the social pressure to spend money—weekends in Vegas, big music festivals, travel, bar-hopping. It is summer and while I love to be adventurous, I’m also working full-time, live on my own, and am paying for grad school, so I can’t afford to do three trips to Vegas this summer or go to every concert.
“It’s kind of awkward and embarrassing to have that conversation: ‘Sorry, I had to get new brakes for my car, so I can’t drop $300 for that festival.’ Also, a lot of people my age still live with their parents so they can afford to save money and go out all the time, which I don’t have the luxury of doing currently. It makes me worried that people aren’t going to think I am fun and it does suck to see all your girlfriends in Vegas without you.”
—Michaela, 23, programming and communications coordinator, Los Angeles, CA
“My biggest money stressor is definitely being in a relationship with someone who has a way higher income than me. I feel guilty that he pays a lot more in groceries, mortgage, and even trips we go on. He loves me so he doesn’t care, but I hate feeling unequal in that way to him. I keep looking for opportunities to get a better paying job, but Austin is highly competitive.”
—Raquel, 29, policy analyst, Austin, TX
“My biggest stressor is the house I am trying to fix up. My boyfriend and I just bought a house earlier this year and wanted to have a housewarming party—but we also want everything to be cleaned and to have the fixes we want done before then. First world problems, I know. We also want to get a renter in the house to have some extra income coming in.
“Gotta have money to make money. We are working toward our goal by saving and consolidating our transportation. We have to drive an hour to work each day, but we work in the same area so he drives to his work and then I drive from his work to mine and back when we can go home for the day. It’s one less car payment and cheaper insurance and less gas money.”
—Jessica, 25, web developer, Orlando, FL
“My biggest money stressor is balancing rent with all my other summer activities. I want to be able to take a little vacation and go out with friends, but the reality of rent here is that even when you have a “good job” in tech, it’s nearly impossible to pay rent, save any money, and have money left over to have fun with. It really makes me wonder why I’m here working and if it’s worth it… am I working to live or living to work? It is starting to feel like the latter.”
—Leah, 30, program manager, Bay Area, CA
“Honestly, the political climate affects my work stress more as time goes on. My job heavily depends on government funding and while we try to work through the mess of 2018 after Trump gutted the ACA, I’m not sure what the future holds for me at my company.
“It stresses me out because a) I’m going back to school with a work incentive. If I don’t work here anymore, I lose my chances of free tuition and b) Am I going to lose my job, after switching careers from fashion/apparel to the healthcare field? It kinda trickles down from there to other aspects of my life, including but not limited to my relationship with family/loved ones and my own mental health.”
—Stephanie, 33, health care administrative professional, Los Angeles, CA