Somehow, my finances have spiraled out of control.
Back in 2009, I was a budget champ. Actually, it was more-so that I was cheap as all hell. Same thing in my book.
I was working a full time job and waitress-ing one night a week (for my spending cash). When I found out I was pregnant, I started waitress-ing three nights a week. I knew I needed to save as much as possible.
I was able to pay off all my debts and put a large amount into savings. I worked both jobs until I was 36 weeks pregnant, and then left the restaurant. At 38 weeks, I was laid off from my full time job. I was lucky that my severance pay and maternity leave (yes, I was still paid maternity leave since I had HJ during the severance payout…oh thank God!) gave me 12 weeks of paid time off while I job hunted.
You know what’s easy? Job hunting while 9 months pregnant. And phone interviews with a newborn.
During my pregnancy and maternity leave, I never spent an extra cent. I was so nervous about where the next pay check was coming from, I was afraid to do anything with money.
Somehow, in the past 2 years, that sense of cheap-ness has worn off. I realized I spend money like I am making 5 times my salary.
My new years resolution was to start a budget. I decided the first month, I would track all my spending to see where I was f-ing up at. I downloaded a (free) budget app that allowed me to enter stuff in and categorize it.
The app worked great until my checking account dwindled and I decided I didn’t want to see the numbers turn red (showing a negative balance), so I stopped inputting my purchases. Because if I can’t see it, it didn’t happen, right? Not so much.
The next step I figured was to get my tax money back and pay off all my debts. You know the ones I worked so hard to pay off when I was prego? Whoops. Actually, it wasn’t awful…I had a card that I had purchased my appliances for the new house on, and then my new couches…BUT THEY WERE INTEREST FREE…so that makes it almost free, right?
By the time I had paid that debt off, I was 3 months into the year, and still no budget in place. Then, I had a few unexpected purchases come up and suddenly, I have 2 credit cards with fairly large balances. I don’t even have an answer for how it happened. But the balances total close to $2,400. ermygawd. I have no explanation for that.
The thing is…I don’t feel like I splurge. I couldn’t tell you the last time I spent a lot of money for myself. I think my problem is I live like everyone I am with. My friends want to go out to dinner? Heck yes we will go! Kids signing up for some class? Heck yes we should do it! That, and I have GREAT taste…you know champagne taste on a beer budget. Yeah, I can try and tell myself the Michael Kors handbag is an investment…
Which, seriously , it is my favorite handbag ever!
Now that I have rambled off over 500 words on my ridiculous habits, I can hear you asking what the frick my point is. I have one.
July 1, the new SingleMama and HJ household is taking over. Since my first 3 attempts at following a budget did not work, I figured I would let you all know. Make myself accountable.
You know in the book Confessions of a Shopaholic, how the main character goes and buys things for her new “cheap” lifestyle? That is how I normally work. Seriously, 2 months ago, I fixed up my bike to reduce my costs of having a gym membership…I spent $75 on my bike $100 on a trailer for HJ…and I never even had a gym membership…oy vey!
I went through my payslip (after 2 years of working here, I figured it was time to check it out), and looked at all my “set” expenses…including credit card bills, phone, insurance, etc. and figured out how much I have per week to spend. That weekly amount includes groceries and gas. I figured to make this work, the first few weeks I am going to the ATM and taking that amount out. Then heading to the grocery store. After the shopping trip, I should have a good idea on how much I have for the rest of the week. If any is left over after the week, that can go into a “rainy day fund”. I can use that however…a fun purchase of sorts.
I will keep you all updated on my progress. At the bottom of my posts I will let you know how much “under” or “over” I am on the current week. This way if I am failing miserably, hopefully someone can give me motivation. or a winning lotto ticket.