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.

6 Thoughts on “Mama on a Budget

  1. . when I pushed the “like” button, it’s not that I like the situation you are describing, it is I can relate. We have for the most part been a one income family living on a blue collar income. i had a couple of ideas but don’t want you to think I’m lapsing into the “fix it” mode.

  2. Good luck!! Budgeting is not an easy task especially for single moms 🙁 I can completely relate especially to the one where you live the life with everyone else. I can’t resist an invitation to go out to eat with friends even when I know I shouldn’t!

  3. I am in the same boat. Budgeting is hard. I keep telling myself Kevin and I will stick to a budget once the wedding is over….um shouldn’t we have had one the entire engagement. Idiots! Good luck!!!

  4. Haha – I can relate. My credit card has been banished to my office desk drawer, under lock and key and wrapped in masking tape. That way, I REALLY have to think hard about using it.

  5. Pingback: My Budget Fail « singlemamalife

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