You can give them to the birds and bees…

I have just entered month four on my new, much tighter budget, and against everything I imagined, it is going extraordinarily well. I’ve actually- shock horror -managed to save $900.00, which is insane. And counter-intuitive.

 

I was lucky with timing as July was a bountiful month in terms of cash flow. I structured my budget based on two pay cheques a month, but July happened to be one of those moths where I am paid thrice! So that started me off in very good financial standing. I also received my income tax refund and a couple other government rebate cheques. That is where all of my savings has come from. I am currently looking at my savings strictly as “in case of emergency” money, though as it’s my birthday I might treat myself to a little something something.

Also, to fully disclose, I have been helped out every so often by my wonderful boyfriend, who picks up the tab for meals out and the occasional grocery trip. I like to think that I pay him back by feeding him doughnuts.

But the most important part in any kind of financial planning is to not spend more than you earn. And I am most certainly keeping within those bounds, and Mint has been a crucial part in managing all my money. It allows me to account for every single penny I earn and then subsequently spend.

Now that I count every single penny I spend, I spend my pennies much more wisely than I used to. Here is a fabulous pie chart showing the break-down of my monthly spending for September:

The most conspicuous changes in my spending are that I haven’t bought a single article of clothing since April (except for two bras which were not only VERY necessary but also VERY on sale!), I bring lunch in to work pretty much every day (added bonus being I am cooking a lot more, which makes me happy), and my restaurant and alcohol expenditure has been cut significantly. I still budget in dinners and nights out, just not nearly as much as I used to. Now, I actually look at the price of the products I buy. I am fortunate enough, however, that my tighter budget allows me to continue making meaningful choices. For example, I allocate enough money to groceries that I can continue to buy organic, free-range meat and eggs, as these things are important to me.

There are some things in my budget that surprisingly were a surprise. My dog, for example, is the thing I spend the most money on after rent and groceries. Because I’m a sucker, or responsible, – you decide –  she gets fancy brand dog food that costs $60 a month, pet insurance for another $60, and a bag of treats for $7 or so each month. I could cut those costs by more than half by chucking the insurance and getting crappier food, but as I’m 100% in charge of her life and welfare it’s just not something I’m inclined to do. While I feel no remorse for living off ramen myself, I don’t want to purposefully inflict a crap diet on something that has no other choice, so Sprinkles dines on wild boar and sweet potato. I do fine too, as I noted above, with my affinity for local, happy livestock. Though, man, do I love a bowl of ramen.

Thus far, I’m doing really well. I’m pretty proud at my self-restraint and my abilities to manage money, as I have been known to be a little out of control. I’ve also learned what things are important to me that I am more unwilling to bend on: Coffee still gets a budget, while H&M has lost some business.

 

Let’s hope I can stay the course!

3 Comments

Filed under Musings

3 responses to “You can give them to the birds and bees…

  1. awesome. this is totally how i’ve been living for the past year! just recently it lightened up a little (as i’ve now gotten a loan for my ridiculous credit card debt instead of paying the crazy credit card interest rate), which is nice, since our anniversary (FOUR FREAKING YEARS omg), his bday, my bday, my brother’s bday, AND xmas are all coming up, and dear lord do i ever need to save some money to not go broke again on that this year! it’s scary how much of my money goes to debt (and to the ttc)! i hope to look back on this time in my life as “the time i will never return to”, because dear lord do i ever miss going shopping. heh.

    • kissmycupcake

      eeeeeeeee four years! that crraaaazy, d’ awww! darn these december babies! yeah, i miss the days of shopping. my coworker went to winners and bought three things, and i thought to myself, “sigh, my days of buying three things are on hold at the moment”.

  2. ahaha, yep. though i DID win/get a giftcard to winners for $100 recently (from work, which almost negates its awesomeness). i bought shoes with it, lost the receipt, returned them, and managed to get the full $100 back again. (<3 winners!) this may or may not prove my theory of me now being unable to shop again, ever, period.

    if you ever want to get all crazy with the free-fun, i can promise i have a high tolerance for tie-dying/-bleaching clothes i already own, potato stamping newspaper to make gift wrap, and making ridiculous meals from whatever's in the fridge that isn't mouldy. heh. :)

    also! four years is a verylongtime, apparently. both c and i got yelled at for not having the wedding all planned out yet, this past thanksgiving. be glad you+your c aren't there yet! haha.

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