I logged into my mint.com account for the first time in a few weeks. Knowing that my finances need overhauling, I decided to take a look at the last two months to see where my money has gone. In contrast to other months, I only had 5 days in August and 4 days in September that I didn’t spend any money. That means that on most days, I was swiping the credit card and dispensing cash without any regard. I have noticed that the more days I don’t spend, the less money I spend overall (duh!) While October is going to be challenging with all the things I have committed to, I am determined to start reining in our spending. I love the flexibility “no spending days” gives me, but that it also forces me to track my spending in a fun way.
So here are my financial goals for October:
- Survive the month with a zero balance on my credit card – with quite a number of irregular expenses, this will be extremely hard.
- 10 no spending days! (we can do it! Even with vacation travel and my daughter’s birthday party)
- Meal plan and stay within our food budget! Groceries, eating out and food continue to be the most expensive category for us. Is that normal? While I am working with my son that has a vegan, gluten free diet due to allergies, I still think we are spending way too much on this category.
Looking forward to a great October!
I realize that I have stopped doing the things I know help me to be successful financially. There are major holes in my budget and identifying them was pretty easy. I have been overspending on food, eating out and social activities. Since going part-time, I find myself running from the kids’ schools to activities with little time. I have managed to pack their schedules. This in itself is not a problem. However, I am not doing the proper planning that lends itself to healthy budget conscious behaviors. The temptation to pick up dinner on the way home or treat the kids and their friends to snack is hard to resist when you are not focused.
To get myself back into better habits, I am banning my use of the credit card until October 1st. And since our checking account is needs some serious help right now, this means I will be completing a low/no spending challenge for the next few days. In light of this goal, I brought one banana for $.37 today. I don’t recall if I ever brought a single banana in my life before (other than if I was traveling). But I really was craving a smoothie and decided I could easily make one for a fraction of the cost than buying one! I used some loose coins in my car to purchase it!
When I first took to blogging, I was searching to become a minimalist. Each month I would document my successes and failures to declutter my life. Next, I took on debt and spent an entire year paying off my second mortgage. This blog has taken many different focus points. It is interesting that I find myself still struggling with both. While I have made significant changes in my life, I feel the need to get back to the basics: budgeting and minimizing!
As you know, I am now enjoying working part time. Even though I assumed that it would be the answer to all my woes, it has proven to have brought more challenges. I am constantly struggling with having more time verse having more money. My desire to live solely off of my husband’s income and use my checks for savings have not come to fruition. In the few months we have been at this, I am very grateful to have my paycheck to cover bills and household expenses. We were managing for the most part.
Of course Murphy’s law kicked in. I came home the other day to a surprisingly hot house. I turned up the AC and didn’t think much of it. A few hours later and our home is only getting hotter. Since we live in the desert of Arizona, it soon became unbearable and very obvious that our AC unit was dying or died. We suffered through the night and I woke up with a migraine due to dehydration. We called for a company to check it out and were told that there was no hope for our 25 year old unit. We would have to purchase a new one. The cheapest price: $7,000! On top of that, they couldn’t repair it that day so we had to spend the night in a hotel. Since we don’t have 7K floating around, we financed it through a 3rd party company. We have one year interest free. To add to that, we received news that a close family member passed away and my husband wanted to fly home for the funeral adding another unexpected expense of $500. And did I mention we have a 10 year anniversary trip to the Caribbean planned in 2 weeks that we booked before all of this happened? Luckily the trip is already paid for, but we still have to buy food while we are there!
I have my work cut out for me! I need to:
- Revamp the budget to include paying off the $7K in a year.
- Stick to the budget create!
- Get organized to save money (and accomplish the other ongoing fitness, health and family goals I have)
- Find ways to maximize my work hours but still have personal time for myself.
I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed, but I can do it! Actually, I don’t have much of a choice! I have to!