You guessed it. I’m over budget for the month of March. Not just a few dollars over, but I’ve increased my budget this month by between one and two hundred dollars, I’m guessing (wow, that is sad that I don’t even know the number). Of course, I’m lucky (if you call it that), since I don’t have to check in with anyone to increase my budget. I simply just spend the money and then log into Mint.com later and increase my budget after the money’s spent. I realize this is a terrible way to manage my finances and I should stop.
What Happened To Make My Budget So Off?
I don’t manage a budget like your typical personal finance geek. I don’t have sinking funds for expenses that I know I’ll have eventually but don’t have every month, but rather, when they come up, I just spend the money and record it afterword. I seem to get away with this since I have the money and technically don’t have to save for these types of expenses. Not having those sinking funds means that when Kohl’s has clothes that I like and they are on sale, I eat it up. That is an excusable expense, but spending too much out having drinks with friends or on stock photo images for my blog when I could have used my own images, is not so excusable (notice that I took my own image tonight). The reality is, I have been loosening up my belt and spending a little more freely than I have been for the past couple of years. Is this a good or bad thing? Well, on the bright side, I’m living a little again but on the not so bright side, my savings numbers are falling. This month I passed below the 50% savings rate mark (haha).
How I’m Holding Onto My Money This Week
Since I’m over budget to the tune of $100-200, it’s time I put an end to spending this month. Here’s how I’m doing it this week to finish March with a bang:
1. Eating some tasty treats I bought at the grocery store last weekend! – Two boxes of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream to be exact. That’s going to hold me from the temptation of going to Dairy Queen for a treat. It provides me with 10 minutes of heaven each night, and it’s paid for. I got them at 2 for $5!
2. Blogging like a mad man! – Okay, I just have to tell you this and brag a little. I wrote a post last night on personal accountability, referencing my favorite book on the topic and then wouldn’t you know it, the author stopped by to pay this blog a visit, comment a couple times and tweet out my post to his followers, thanking me by name. If that isn’t enough to motivate a person to keep on blogging and that people are actually reading this, I don’t know what is. I’m blogging this week like crazy and I’ve started making a habit of making coffee at 8:30 – 9:00 PM so I can knock out these posts. Is that crazy/unhealthy of me? I just get so tired by then after a hard day at work. Anyway, blogging keeps me busy and stops me from spending money (except for the stock photos that I mentioned above).
3. Staying at the office late, hanging out with my co-workers! – I’m going on two days of staying at the office until 6:30 PM talking to my co-worker/good friends. Work has been crazy lately and it’s incredibly challenging, probably the most challenging it’s been in the 5 years I’ve been there. There is a ton to talk about. How do we do this? How do we accomplish that? What does my boss mean by this? Of course, it’s not all work. We also talk about our side hobbies. Of course I bragged about my blog all day long! Anyway, chilling out and talking after all the work and stress is over for the day is always a fun time. It’s cheap too.
4. Working hard during the day (and bringing a lunch of course)! – Like I said above, I’ve been busting it. Working hard while your at work not only keeps you making money, but it also keeps you from thinking about all the things you want to buy. I know a lot of people who get bored at work go on Pinterest or online shopping sites and can get tempted to buy things. That can’t be good for the wallet , especially if you’re already over budget like I am.
5. Being content with what I have! – This is more of a mindset that it is an activity, but either way, very important. I try to stay content with what I have and not yearn for bigger and better things. I did get tempted to look at houses online the other day….. That wasn’t so good. I’m calming back down though and am convincing myself to be happy with this apartment for a while longer. I just keep reminding myself of how stressful a mortgage would be on me right now as opposed to how OUTSTANDING it would feel like in 2 or 3 years to write a check for my own house, if I decide to, at that time. That train of thought keeps me plugging away. It reminds me how worth it all of this hard work is. I can do this. I can do this.
There you have it. I’m spending my week being cheap, eating in, working hard and blogging like crazy. It’s not the most exciting week, but it’s a piece of a much larger puzzle called my future.