My budget in conclusion

The dread pirate Roberts (or as we call it, the summer cold) has struck! Just days before I head out on my next adventure so I am spending most of my free time asleep.

Thursday

My only expenditure was re-upping my dogs wellness plan as well as her flea medication prescription oh and I got her some enzyme chew things because I am terrible about brushing her teeth. Total subtracted from checking: $62.44

Friday

Payday!!!!!!!!!!!!

And then it all goes away….Expenditures:

$66.00 on clothes

$10.29 at target for airplane friendly toiletries

$43.63 at REI on a new sports bra (my others are all 2-3+ years old) and energy gels to help me keep going on the long crazy days

$7.99 at Barnes and Noble……because I have a problem with books (but I had just donated 2 boxes worth of books to Good Will so buying one new book balances out right?)

All bills sent out taking down to less than $200 in my account again.

Saturday

$9.05 coffee and a breakfast sandwich

$15.00 transferred to my Starbucks card for all the airport coffee I’ll need during traveling.

$10.85 at panda express

I am too tired from being sick to color code it. But overall I don’t feel to bad about these 3 days. A few things could have definitely been cut though.

 

The budget continues

Tuesday

Starting checking balance: $168.67

Balance on credit card

1: 3 payments from being paid off!!!

2: $200 over limit

3: at limit

-5.00 from checking for trimet to get to work

+100 from check

-24.84 from checking for dog food and human food (necessity)

-66.00 on clothing purchase (impulse but I had been looking for a few more comfortable pieces to take to Europe so)

-19.95 for weight watchers (I need to take some serious consideration on this because I am not using it as faithfully as I should and if I don’t get back on the band wagon this month then I need to get rid of it because I am wasting money)

ending checking balance: $152.88

Balance on credit card

1: Same

2: same

3: same

 

Wednesday

Starting checking balance: $152.88

Balance on credit card

1: 3 payments from being paid off!!!

2: $200 over limit

3: at limit

-5.00 from checking for trimet to get to work (necessity)

-7.00 from checking for taco bell (impulse, I could not eat the same meal for the 5th time this week)

Starting checking balance: $140.88

Balance on credit card

1: Same

2: Same

3: Same

 

These were almost really good days. I like looking at my spending like this because it really forces me to think about what I have been spending and why and where I can make improvements.

Budget check-in

Starting checking balance: $220.17

Balance on credit card

1: close to paying off. 3 more payments

2: $200 over limit

3: at limit

Sunday

-40.00 from checking account for Groupon purchase (impulse buy, I have wanted to try an escape room for awhile now and decided to buy a Groupon for the bf and I now while I still have a few pennies to spare because once the apt happens and when I get back from the trip I have no extra pennies so I impulsively bought it now) IT is good for 120 days so I think it will be good in like 3 months to pull out of my back pocket when we are both sick of not having money to do anything.

Ending checking balance: $180.17

Balance on credit card

1: Same as starting

2: same as starting

3: same as starting

Monday

Starting checking balance: $180.17

Balance on credit card

1: close to paying off. 3 more payments

2: $200 over limit

3: at limit

-5.00 from checking for trimet ticket (this is how I get to work 3 days out of the week)

-6.50 from checking for plastic forks and study candy (I needed the forks because like a total blonde I forgot a fork for my dinner, I do this about once a month so it was probably a good investment to keep in my backpack. No good explanation for the candy)

Ending checking balance: $168.67

Balance on credit card

1: Same as starting

2: same as starting

3: same as starting

 

The Groupon purchase was impulsive, hopefully I wont regret that $40 loss before I get paid again and hopfully we will super enjoy it when the time comes and the $6.50 was unfortunate but at least half necessary.

 

Let’s see where I can pinch some pennies

I have on many occasions talked about being broke and my debt, and I fully acknowledge that I need to save money yet somehow in the moment it feels ok to drive through somewhere or buy things to make a meal because it sounds good or I am craving it or I really want to watch the next episode of a TV show so I purchase it for $2 on amazon…what is $2 right? The problem is that $2 turns into $6 without me even really thinking about it or truly comprehending in the moment that I just basically bought a Frappuccino from Starbucks.

A few months ago I added up all the misc food spending I did and since then I have been doing a lot better about impromptu grocery runs and fast food runs which has totally helped my budget and my waistline hahaha.

I think it is time to take it a step further and break down everything I spend so I really get a feel for my spending. I think I have said that I grew up in a pretty instant gratification household with a dad (who I love and miss everyday and was an amazing dad but like all humans had his flaws) taught his kids through example that if you want something, throw down some plastic and get it. We all have champagne tastes on a beer budget. Even when we make more money we somehow manage to spend more money.

Anyways:

I am going to use this blog to keep me honest as in I am going to be brutally honest about my finances. From Saturday to Saturday I am going to break down every time any money leaves my pocket/checking account/credit card/etc. And see if it is something I really need or an impulse buy or what. Ready?

Saturday:

Starting checking balance: $500.68

Balance on credit cards

1: so close to paying it off!!! 3 more months!

2: $200 over limit (thankfully they don’t charge a fee)

3: (at limit)

-230.00 from checking account for car payment (yay paying a bill!!! and paying $2 more than is actually owed per month to knock 1 entire month’s payment off at the end)

-4.50 from checking for pajamas from Amazon (not needed, pleasure buy)

-6.19 from checking account for lunch from Subway (not needed, I didn’t make extra biscuits yesterday for my lunch today because I was lazy, so money expended because I didn’t prep fully)

-7.99 from checking for Netflix.com (in theory this should be good because I did it so that when my bf and I get an apt we wont be tempted to pay for cable, and we will go out to the movies less, but it is not a necessity and we haven’t moved yet)

-21.53 from checking for groceries from Grocery Outlet (yay for getting everything I can at the cheap place first)

-10.30 from checking for groceries from Wal-Mart (2 impulse buys here, 4 corn for $1 and Carmel M&Ms, I am not ashamed of the corn buy lol)

My 2 grocery shopping trips went well, for about $30 I made 10 meals last night and have 2 ears of corn left to snack on as well as 2/3 of a rotisserie chicken to put in salads this week and much on. I also have 12 top ramen hahahahahaha. So all in all I can probably weasel about 25 meals out of that $30. Not too shabby.

Ending checking balance: $220.17

Balance on credit card

1: Same as starting

2: same as starting

3: same as starting

 

Unnecessary money spent $20.02!!!!!!!!!!! A few small things I didn’t think mattered in the moment turned into me basically throwing away a $20 bill.

I will check back in on Tuesday to see how Sunday and Monday went.

Credit cards shouldn’t be allowed until you are 30

Warning: this is going to be a long, wordy post.

 

Hi!!! I have mentioned on several occasions how broke I am and one of the main reasons for that is…….my stunning credit card debt. I will go into more detail in a minute but here are some staggering things I have been realizing lately……I have not had a zero balance on a credit card since I first got one at 18. That is 11 years!!! I have been in debt for more than a decade!!!!!!!!!! I also pay $500/month in credit card bills!!!!!!!!!!!!! How did I not realize it was that much? If I didn’t have credit card bills I would be rolling in it.

WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????????????????

Don’t get me wrong this whole situation is my fault and I understand that and am not making excuses. But I think there are some things inherently wrong with the way our society handles credit cards and what is ingrained into us at a very young age.

Not only do we have society telling me that we NEED all these different things, I grew up with a dad who bought what he wanted when he wanted and tried to buy some of our affection with things. Don’t get me wrong I love my dad and he was a great dad but no one is perfect and this was one of his faults.

I never knew that you couldn’t just go out and buy whatever you want, my mom was great and didn’t want us kids to worry about things so I never knew we were in debt or lived paycheck to paycheck or that my mom never bought things for herself because my dad was always overspending. I am kind of torn on whether I think that was 100% the correct approach or not, on the one hand I never worried about money and had a carefree childhood as children should but maybe it wouldn’t have taken me over a decade of digging myself a hole if I had been a little more aware of dads spending problems. IDK. Either way my mom is awesome so I lucked out there.

Society tells us from day one we need credit; want to rent an apartment? you need credit. want to buy a car? you need credit. want to buy a house? you need credit. It seems for everything in todays world you need credit, and what is the easiest way to get that, open a credit card the day you turn 18. And that is just about what I did, I turned 18 in April and by September I had my first shiny credit card with a $500 limit.

I kept my spending relatively in check and paid my minimum payment on time and after a little while that credit limit jumped up to $750. Woohoo!!!!! Still I couldn’t get into too much trouble with that amount, even maxed out the minimum monthly payment was $25.

Then the trouble started, my bank sent me a credit card with a $2,500 limit…….that is a little easier to get into trouble. It didn’t take me long to get both cards up near their limits, but I always paid the minimum amount required so all was well in the credit world. Apparently if you continually pay your bills on time they up your credit limit!!! Suddenly I look at my statement and I have a 4,900 credit limit! Sadly all I see is oh I have 2k available to me…….oooh that is a cute top I need that, oh I need Starbucks every day, oh Christmas presents for everyone! I feel like getting a massage and a facial, I am bummed out while living in the dorm and decide to go to 3 movies in a row and buy soda and food for each one to escape for the day. I’m gonna order a pizza and on and on and on it went. Both of those card have hovered within about 5% of their limit since a few months after I got each one.

Even that wasn’t too bad, between the two my minimum monthly payment totaled about $150.

Than about a year and a half ago I got beyond stupid. I had discovered my love for travel and thought I need a card with miles so I can get free airline tickets and use points for anything to do with travel, so I opened a 3rd credit card and the limit they gave me was stupid. And they had the “if you spend 3k in 3 months you get 60,000 bonus miles”, so I spent on anything and everything to hit that 3k and get those miles, and they did come in handy but I just kept spending and suddenly that card is maxed out and the monthly minimum payment is $300!!!!

I am in quite a bit of debt now and it is completely my own doing but I do think that maybe we should make people wait until they are older to get a credit card, until they are more responsible, or maybe limit the number of cards they can have until a certain time and definitely limit the amount of credit.

I also whole-heartedly think we need to teach kids budgeting and real life money management in high school. It has taken me over a decade to realize that I have a problem and need to change my thinking, but I am doing it and one day I will be out of debt.

About 2 months ago I cut up my first credit card!!!!!!!!!!!!! It will be paid off by the end of this year, big smiles!!!!!! Obviously it is that small one but every dollar counts! Cutting up that card felt wonderful and horrible all at the same time, I felt like cutting it up was wrong, like I would get in trouble for doing it. It was weird but I am so glad that I did, because as the balance goes down I cannot recharge on it and that is so important.

I am not perfect and I still have days where I want things I don’t need and days when I buy something I don’t need to or don’t have the money for. I am a work in progress but I am quite happy to say that progress is being made!!! And I am keeping an eagle’s eye watch on my credit score and the credit I have available on that card because seeing the progress helps.

I am so lucky to have a wonderful support system (MOM) who has helped me start taking these steps and start learning that I can still have things but it needs to be responsibly and in moderation.

If you have gotten yourself into the mess I have or feel like you might not have control over your spending, talk to someone. Don’t let it ruin your life.

Debtors Anonymous | Official Website

http://www.spenders.org/about.html

Check out the movie “Confessions of a Shopaholic” they overdramatize it but I can definitely relate to a few things in that movie. Plus it is adorable.

Thanks for reading my crazy long post.

Money and Food

In case I haven’t mentioned it (ya right?) I am a BROKE college student with lots of debt, and in case it hasn’t been made clear I LOVE food.

Because I am broke and in debt I have been making a budget for myself the last year-ish, I have all my bills typed up each month on an excel sheet that is always in plain view and I cross my bills off as I pay them so I don’t forget any. Doing this means I usually budget myself for all my bills, I try and remember gas and food.


Yet somehow even though I do this I seem to always be pinching even smaller pennies than usual by the week of payday and half the time I end of overdrawing on either my checking account or a credit card resulting in fees and overnight bill pay charges eating into my already small funds. I have slowly been getting rid of unnecessary luxuries and paring things down, I do a lot less amazon shopping and am trying to do this 3-day rule thing, if you still want it in 3 days then you can buy it if I can justify it to myself, it has helped a lot. But again somehow I always come up short.

So after I set up my new bill worksheet (I had reached the end of the old one) I decided to look at where my last paycheck went……………………………it went to a school payment and bills and a few cosmetic things, one or two small fun things but it still seemed like I blew through it way to fast…….where did a big chunk go……FOOD!

I try very hard to plan out my meals so that I can save money and not waste food but I have clearly not adjusted too well to my new schedule.

Problem # 1 I have this “you are broke don’t spend more than you absolutely have to at the grocery store”. So I go in and buy as little as possible; which is great I walk out of grocery outlet with a $25-$30 grocery bill I have even allowed 1-2 impulse buys…….but because I went in with that mentality instead of a carefully planned out menu taking all meals and snacks into account, I didn’t get everything I need so I go back to the store later in the week to pick up a few things and walk out $20 later……then I go back a few days later for a few more things and walk out $15 later and my $25-30 grocery bill went up to $60-70 bucks for 10-15 days of eating……say what?!

Problem # 2 My schedule. Saturday and Sunday are great I eat breakfast in the AM, head to work, have a packed lunch and 1-2 snacks then when I get home I have dinner. The week is where it gets messy. Since I haven’t yet figured out how to plan for every meal and snack here is how my week goes:

Monday/Wednesday- have a smoothie for breakfast, go to class, come home and have eggs on toast for a 2nd breakfast/early lunch, pack dinner and work things and then go to 2nd class, go from 2nd class to work but haven’t packed a snack/meal to eat while driving from school to train station to rush to work so I stop and a fast food place….there goes $3-5 (each day). Go to work eat my snacks throughout my shift and eat dinner between 7:30-8:30pm, I get off work at 11:05 and catch the last train back to my car and am set to get home just before midnight….but it has now been 4.5-5.5 hours since I have eaten dinner and I am hungry again. And again instead of having packed a snack I can eat while driving (and I don’t want to make one at home at 12:15 at night, my roommates are asleep in our tiny place) I drive through fast food again, there is another $3-7.

Tuesday is a little better-  I have a smoothie and eggs on toast for breakfast after a run then do some house chores. I have a simple lunch like today was top ramen, sometimes it is grilled cheese or pasta, whatever. Then I pack dinner and work things and head to work around 1:35pm. Go to work eat my snacks throughout my shift and eat dinner between 7:30-8:30pm, and again I get off work at 11:05 and catch the last train back to my car and am set to get home just before midnight….but it’s been 4.5-5.5 hours again since I have eaten dinner and I’m hungry. And again instead of having packed a snack I can eat while driving (and I don’t want to make one at home) I drive through fast food again, there is another $3-7.

Now I don’t actually get food every night, I would say 1 out of 3 nights I work but still. It adds up in the wallet and waste line.

I have potentially added anywhere from an extra $3-25 to my grocery bill in a week. And a few thousand calories to my week because its all fast food.

Figuring this out was eye opening. I know I have been rambling so if you are still with me here is my plan. Come payday I am going to withdraw $20 and put it in my wallet, that is my last minute food money that has to last me until the next paycheck, I can guilt free grab Starbucks or order a pizza or go to a restaurant, but once its gone, its gone. I am also going to better plan my meals and spend the extra $10 at the first trip to the grocery store so I don’t spend and extra $30 later. And I am only letting myself have that one trip, I cannot set foot back in the grocery store until the next weeks meal planning has been done and I am buying groceries for the next week. This should potentially save me about $50/paycheck which is HUGE for me.

Does anybody else ever wonder where their money goes?

 

Update since I wrote this about a week ago: I have started packing PB&J sandwiches for in between school and work and either another sandwich or a mini bag of chips or something for on my way home form work Mon-Wed and I am already doing so much better!!!! Also I have challenged myself to 30 days of no fast food (I don’t count good pizza as fast food, things like dominos, pizza hut and little Caesar’s totally count but not the good stuff). hahahaha.

 

 

 

A Wonderful Discovery 

I had a good weekend with the boyfriend, we saw Hacksaw Ridge which was AMAZING!!! I highly recommend it, though it is pretty gory but an amazing story. 

Then he took me for frozen yogurt, i had only been once many years ago, and holy crap this stuff is amazing !!

All the deliciousness of ice cream with toppings and less calories!!

We also went for a run, well 3/4 run and 1/4 walk

And we went slooow. 

I am still a little sick and weak. 

I went for a run yesterday too and i could run for about 3-4 minutes with my heartrate in its normal range then it would jump up to the 190s and i’d slow down.

 Also i don’t  think I’ve been drinkinh enough water so i need to up that. 

I have been eating simple and inexpensive food

I’ve also been eating less lately, except the weekends when i eat out with the boyfriend several times. 

I’ve been reading more which is awesome but the life of leisure is starting to wear on me, mostly because lack of funds os stressful. But I’m kicking it into gear studying for my personal training certification. 

I’ll keep you posted.

In conclusion, head to a frozen yogurt shop ASAP.