Friday, December 17, 2010

i got the budget blues

I feel like I've probably addressed this before on this blog, but I am addressing it again - more so for myself than anyone else. So if you don't want to read about my monetary woes and the new budget I am strictly enforcing for myself, then you'd better just leave right now. Go on, scram.

Okay, all the budget haters gone? Good. Let's proceed.

I recently got a raise at work, which was really exciting because obviously this meant I'd have more money. Then I got to thinking about what I wanted to do with that money. I know that, more than anything else, I want to buy a house. I don't like renting - the idea of giving my money away and not owning anything in return bothers me. Especially when it comes to something as personal as your home. However, I am nowhere near being able to afford a house, and definitely not on my own. Boyfriend and I would be buying a house together, but even then we'd both have to save for quite some time in order to even afford a down payment on something decent. Sadly, we live in a part of the country where your money just doesn't go very far when it comes to buying a house. I know whatever we buy will have to be a fixer-upper, but even then we can barely afford a run down old shack! I know we'll find something perfect for us when the time comes to begin looking...but we'll never be able to start looking without some money in the bank first!

So I am imposing a  budget on myself. Obviously there's nothing I can do about bills that have to be paid, so after factoring those out of my income, this is the budget I am allowing myself [*Note! I live at home currently, so that is why I have so much money kicking around]:

Shopping: $200/month
(clothes, accessories, etc.)
Entertainment: $100/month
(movies, food, etc.)
Emergency Fund: $50/month
(as in, extra pocket money, this is not for medical emergencies or any kind of real crisis)

This may seem insanely generous. I know there are people out there way better than me when it comes to spending and saving, but I am just not very good. I am decent with saving money - as in, I have a savings account and I contribute to it as often as I can - but I also feel no remorse about dipping into it to buy a new pair of shoes or something. Also, the AmEx bill has got to go. To be honest, I probably spend a lot more than $200 a month on clothes and stuff. And I don't need clothes! I have plenty! I am going to embrace the art of the remix. I am also going to try to spend my clothing allowance on better quality things. I will not be blowing it all at Forever 21. I think I may even have a specific store or brand I will spend the $200 each month. Heck, some months I may decide not to buy anything at all!

I'm going to have a spreadsheet at home where I keep track of every penny I spent on anything that isn't a bill. As soon as I hit that $200 mark, I'm finished.

The $100 entertainment fund will be spent on going out to dinner, grabbing drinks, the movies...anything like that. That's plenty, I think. Because you know what's fun and free? Hanging out at home playing board games and watching movies with your best friend.

The $50 emergency fund is money that I will keep in cash, in an envelope, at my house. If an impromptu diner comes up and I've spent my entertainment fund - I'll have that to dip into. If there's an article of clothing THAT I WILL DIE WITHOUT - I'll dip into the envelope. I figure I won't need to do this every month, so the money in the envelope will eventually add up. Then I can use it on weekends away or something.

Fingers crossed, this will allow me to save a big hunk of cash every month! This all sounds so lovely and logical written out, doesn't it? now let's just see if I can manage to put my words into action...wish me luck!

Now it's your turn. Are you on a budget? How's it working out for you? Do you have a shopping addiction like me? How do you keep yourself from going all Becky Bloomwood every time you step into a store? Leave a comment or shoot me an email.


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