Recently, it became apparent that I could not continue on the way I had been going money wise. (Eek! A money blog, BORING!) It was abundantly clear that something had to change. My mom wanted me to do a budget, which, quite honestly, I balked at doing. It had a lot to do with the fuzz and not wanting to have to deal with the unpleasant things in my life. About a month ago, I sat down and just did it. It took me a few hours and it’s approximate because I don’t always know exactly how much I’m going to get paid. Tech does this thing where they pay us on the 10th and the 25th rather than like… every other Friday like normal businesses. And sometimes we get 80 hours, sometimes 88, sometimes 96 (woo) and sometimes 72 (shudder). And I haven’t quite figured out how they take out taxes, insurance, parking, etc. yet since I just started this fancy budget thing.
Doing a budget filled me with trepidation. I think it must be part of growing up and trying to cling to my carefree collegiate days. I didn’t want to think about all the things I had to spend money on. And I definitely didn’t want to have to cut back on the things I knew I’d inevitably come to realize I didn’t need. But I was determined to not stay in this crappy cycle of panic every month. Viktor Frankl postulates that anxiety can be used as motivation for change. (See Mom! I’m learning lots of stuff!) Well I was anxious about money, and so I had to change. (Also, anxiety is just one of those things that you have to contend with in life. You’ll never escape it.
So what did I have to cut back on. Well cable. I got rid of the fancy HD/DVR/Bazillion channel box. Eating out went next. I don’t do that much at all, not even just a quick bite at Jack in the Box for lunch. (Those will get you quick. You get sucked into a cycle of “Oh it’s just this one time.”) I don’t eat out anymore, unless someone is generous and buys it for me. I have friends who are nice and do that, but it makes me feel bad. Plus, I really need to cook. My skills are going to get rusty if I don’t. Buying books/music/movies went next. That one is harder for me. I loooove new books for my Nook (and I just realized I forgot Free Friday the other day, drat!) and buying music on iTunes is just so easy!! And I have to be super careful about going out and buying Aubree clothes. I can spend $40 or $50 real easy. And it doesn’t sound like much, but that’s definitely a tank of gas.
Then I had to think about the things that I HAD to spend money on every month and prioritize them to make sure they all got paid, ON TIME. So I did a nifty little spreadsheet. Laid out all my bills in it and then determined what I was allowed to spend on groceries each pay period and gas from what was left over. I have pretty much limited myself to $80 for groceries per pay period. (I did go over this last time by about $20, but that’s pretty good for me considering what I USED to be like.) Which brings me to what actually has me writing this blog! I spent around $100 on groceries for this pay period, didn’t go out to eat except MAYBE once that I paid for myself. I had all my meals planned out for a 14 day span, and that included having to eat cereal for 5 of them… I am so proud of myself. I didn’t eat cereal, not once. My menu for this pay period will last me well past next pay day and I won’t have to eat cereal at all and that’s JUST with the stuff I already have made. I have 2 meals I haven’t even made yet. I have 2 Totinos pizzas (which I love, don’t judge me) and 4 days (at least) worth of leftovers. Then I still intend to make French bread pizza and hot dogs. I did forget the buns though, but buns aren’t necessarily required. I could make a box of macaroni, heat up the hot dogs and make a can of green beans and I’ll be all set. It’s a poor person’s dinner, but it sounds delicious.
All of this budgeting has given me a sense of calm. I find myself strangely addicted to it. So far, I’m budgeted up to December 1oth. If I stick to it real close, I’ll be able to buy Aubree some nice Christmas things. (No one else may get anything, but hey… Aubree will have a great day… 😛 ) I had another thought, but I took a bite of my yummy leftovers and it flitted out of my brain. I wish I could get the rest of my life as organized as my budget at the moment. But I guess some things take time…
I’m pretty exhausted. I think I’ll finish my dinner and head to bed! If you made it all the way through this, congratulations and you can call me Supermommy!! 😀