grown up goals: march

It's March. Can we just revel in that for a sec? It feels like just a couple of days ago I was making New Years' Resolutions and waving goodbye to 2012. March. Mmmm. M could stand for something delicious like muffins, mimosas, or marshmallows, but this month it stands for money. I am perpetually bad with money. I don't ever make giant purchases because I'm kind of cheap and never have any money anyway. But when I do have a little "extra" cash, I will definitely spend it. I love to go out to eat. Lord knows I love to shop. I love to buy things for the people I love when I see something that reminds me of them. I'm great at spending money.

What I'm not great at is having money. I can't even get started on saving it because I am constantly barely living within my means. I feel like if I don't use my money on this yummy cupcake that I can see and hold and consume, then it'll have to be spent on a bill for something less tangible like electricity. Carrie Bradshaw said it best when she said "I like my money right where I can see it: hanging in my closet." I love to be able to say "I bought this for six dollars--isn't it just perfect!?" But that requires having six dollars to spend.

So this month, since I'm Brokey McBrokenburg, I started what I think is called a budget. I know, I'm almost 23 and I don't really know how a budget works. I grew up knowing that I never had money to spend, so the idea of a budget just seemed silly because I didn't have the funds to allot to things I wanted anyway. Except that, instead, I re-prioritize my late bills so I can go on thrifting adventures.

Alright, so I'm getting real. I made a Google spreadsheet with all of my expenses for the month, minus food, gas, etc., just to see where I stood. Let's say that number wasn't pretty and was a little over twice my rent. Ouch. But now I know! I know what that number actually is, so when I'm trying to decide if splurging on a $10 pair of shoes or ordering a drink with dinner is worth it, I can know what an impact those few dollars make on my ability to live within my means.

Y'all, I know it sucks. I guess I'm mostly talking to my younger readers because I know all my fellow twenty-somethings have already figured this out. Even if you don't have enough money to set aside for something pretty, know how much money you owe to the rest of the world. Eat some cookies while you do the math and take a nap after, because if you're like me, you'll need it. Money is the one thing that can single-handedly send me spiraling into a puddle of depression. Numbers make my stomach hurt and looking at my bank account gives me full on panic attacks. But things are so much worse for me when I don't know where I stand.

So maybe I can't afford to pull a Kiera and give myself a $100 shopping limit every month or even Danielle's $20 rule, but literally knowing how much money I owe to the world is going to help me be a better spender. I'm not saying that I'm going to stop eating out completely--let's face it, I'm never at home to cook anything--or that I'll be able to not buy a single wearable things--let's face it, shopping is my vice--but I'm going to be a lot more conscious of where my money is going and of the value of the dollars I might have left over.


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9 comments

  1. Before i got married, I really never set a budget for myself. I basically just kept a running tab of which bills were due in my head, and let myself spend until I got back down to $0. At least, that's how I lived when I lived at home with my parents, where my only bills were gas, my car insurance and my phone. When I lived "on my own" (in a house with three other women) in Austin, I definitely got a little tighter with my money, but I still didn't really budget until the last few months I was in Austin. I just basically went months without shopping or spending any money, period. And occasionally I'd find something cheap enough to splurge on, but then I'd just feel guilty,knowing I had bills to pay and wasn't putting anything in savings.

    Now that I'm married, my husband is a strict budgeter and we live by it, period. It's actually SUPER relieving knowing that I can spend $x every month on whatever my heart desires, and know that my bills will all be paid and something is going into savings, etc. It's definitely harder as a single lady (and depending on what your job is), but a budget will definitely be something that will make you feel relieved and safe over time, I swear!

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  2. I use mint.com. It's really made a difference. It emails me when I exceed a budget, rolls over budgets, etc. And shows you everything at a glance. I have the app and I don't use it as heavily as I used to but I look at it at least once a month to make sure I'm not living beyond my means. I'm really trying to only buy one thing per month. With February sales it has been not so successful, but March just started right?

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  3. Oh man, oh man. Good one girl! I'm 24 and I still don't have a budget down that I've followed for only like 3 months. This was a good reminder to me to stay on budget. I'm going to try again.

    patternedlove.blogspot.com

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  4. I have a loose budget and by that I mean I have a general understanding of where I sit, where I need to be, and what that allows me to spend. Writing it down and seeing it in front of you seems so much more real though... and I think that would make me spend my money in a more efficient way.

    PS-why do I not live in Texas?!

    Jenn
    With Luck

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  5. Ugh. Budgeting. Grumble grumble grumble, but also -- I feel so much better knowing how much money is in my account, and being purposeful about how I spend it. It's one of those things that I always feel good about *after* the fact, but to actually sit down and put together a budget? Kinda like pulling teeth. Good luck, though! I'm sure you'll do an awesome job.
    --Lily
    www.fifthfreedomfashion.blogspot.com

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  6. Okay, I'm definitely the same way -- as in, money makes me have weird panic attacks and I absolutely hate looking at my bank account, and believe me.. wedding planning does not make it any better. At all. Luckily for me, I've got Curtis and my dad to keep me level headed when it comes to money. Curtis and I are about to sit down and do a budget for ourselves for the next year, I'm not excited..but I know it's necessary. I'm glad you posted this, I needed the reminder for when I find those little things I just "can't live without" aren't really all that necessary.

    Bleh, I wish I could go to Austin this weekend :(

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  7. "I know all my fellow twenty-somethings have already figured this out."
    Meh. Fellow twenty-something here, thanking you for the reminder that
    I need to spend less and save more haha

    -Chelsea
    chelsandthecity.blogspot.com

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  8. The free version of Mint is super awesome! It sends me alerts when I go over my budget limits.

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  9. Wow, I'm glad to know i'm not the only one who looks at my checkbook and has anxiety! I love spending on other people and also treating myself, but when I go back and look at the numbers I tend to think twice about my spending... it's a tricky thing and I think it comes with age. I'm 20 and still don't have a savings, something I've needed to do for months. I think your budgeting will make a big difference, even if you don't see it. The mere fact that you'll be conscious of it will help a ton. Good luck!

    -anjelica
    adventureswithanjelica.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

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