Tag Archives: budget

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!

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Money, that’s what I want.

I’ve been overspending. What? I know! I swear I hadn’t bought anything either. A couple weeks ago, as my credit card balance was teetering at an all-time high, I vowed to quit buying crap!

Luckily my fabulous new Club Monaco dress is far from crap, as is season three of Futurama, or for that matter season four of Home Movies. And while we’re are on the topic, I really did need those Muppet Show DVDs and Madmen… And those two new pairs of jeans. They were on sale. And cheap in the first place. They’re from Bluenotes, come on people. And we ALL KNOW my life would not be complete without my spanking new awesome ROBOT COOKIE CUTTER. Seriously guys. HOW COULD I NOT?

Let’s take a trip down memory lane via my credit card statement:

1)      V-Fest. That was pricey. But totally worth it!

2)      Everything I bought in Montreal… Ooops.

3)      Oooh look there’s my gym membership, I should really use that more.

4)      ALL MY FREAKING BIKE PARTS. Ahem.

5)      Tuition to the (hopefully) fabulous sewing course Emma and I will be taking together!

6)      $13.98 worth of groceries, and only three meals out. I’m not quite sure where or how I’ve been eating.

Throw in a bunch of random items, and bam! Worst is none of my usual big ticket items are on this statement. No train tickets or flights. And I only bought one CD. That’s right, only one new album. Makes no sense to me either.

But still, it all adds up to WHOOPS I spent WAY TOO MUCH money last month.

So my brain thinks, “Ok Maggie, you just need to harvest EXTRA chickens to pay this off. Easy!” But no, Farmville can’t save me. Harvesting chickens on Farmville does not equate to actual golden coins in my pocket. Fool. Then I think “I’ll just pick up extra shifts, like I did at University!” No, silly brain, you have a fancy SALARY job now. You big kid, you. You should have learned to budget by now.

As I am quite keen NOT to break my winning streak of never having to carry a balance on my credit card, I’m gonna dip into the ol’ savings account to pay it off in three weeks when it’s due.

Sigh.

Incidentally at V-Fest, a woman hands me this neon pink flyer, and with a gleam in her eye says “It’s a casting call, for YOU, or uh, maybe someone you know.”

Oooh a casting call you say? (Though I must say my thoughts immediately went to that porn guy, which I’ll no doubt explain later…)

The flyer reads something along these lines:

Are you a FASHIONISTA that needs to become a RECESSIONISTA?

Has your spending become a problem in your work/love/social life?

Has your bank account taken a turn for the worst?

If so you should come on down!

We are holding a casting call for the new reality show PRINCESS!

Our expert host will blah blah blah fix your money woes and teach you to be less of an idiot, and still look so good.

LEARN HOW TO BUDGET, PRINCESS! PRINCESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

P.S. You we might give you up to $5000. (Ooooh $5000 you say?)

Or something.

She spotted me a MILE away. Well, ten feet away. But she freaking spotted me. I may not be a Prada toting kinda gal, but I do all too often indulge in pretty things. They are just so pretty!

Living beyond one’s means is not a wise idea.

So, I’m gonna quit that.

Sigh.

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