I gotta say, I’m getting much better at this Budgeting thing. It definitely gets easier as you go along. My spending is getting more specific and I’m able to say no to a lot more, which allows me to say yes to other things! I’m actually pretty proud of myself this month because its getting closer to the holidays and its the time of year where you tend to spend more, rather than less.
Difference: $11 left!
I really made an effort to cut back on my grocery shopping. Mostly the little trips to Walgreens that I always make when I’m craving something sweet or salty. Since I’m really enjoying the writing and photographing the recipe posts here on The O Guide, I’m finding it easier to meal plan a little because I’m planning out posts as well. I’ve got a few more ideas brewing and you may see more than one recipe a week coming in the future.
Gas & Transportation:
I went to Michigan this month to help my sister pick out her wedding dress. So I spent more on gas than I normally do.
*This includes both clothing and home goods, eventually I will separate it but for now this works.
I decided to leave my budget at $300 for now. Its getting easier to not shop, so eventually I’ll lower it when I’m confident I can achieve it.
I’m super proud of myself in this area! Only over by $21 which is my biggest success so far! I really have knocked off a few things from my wish list, so next month there really isn’t much I need to buy for myself.
Budget: $100 but flexible
I’m getting better in this area. I’d actually be under this month if when I went home to Michigan I didn’t go a little crazy on drinks when I went out with my sister and her fiance.
**I rarely get my hair and nails done so this budget will be as needed.
I’ve been spending more on the blog, my light box collapsed so I decided to buy a table instead and I’m trying to vary my backgrounds on photos. I’m hoping to be able to use the natural light from the window now more than just my lamps!
Total Budget: $900
I am SO freaking proud of myself. I cannot believe that I’m actually UNDER my budget! by $18! Its not a lot, but its a move in the right direction. I think I may take the money I’m under each month and put it towards my credit card or my savings account as a reward! Ideally I’d like to have my budgeted expenses down to around $650, which would be saving me about $250 extra a month!
Why has budgeting become so important to me all of a sudden?
Budgeting is HARD work, but the rewards are so worth it. I talked briefly about why I decided to sit down and look at my finances here back in September.
Now the reality of my future is coming to fruition. Next fall I am moving to London, for a variety of reasons. Mostly because that’s where my boyfriend is but also because I’ll be going to graduate school and because I’ve always wanted to live in London and Europe, its where my heart has always wanted to be.
When I started this blog, I was just starting graduate school here in the States through an online program. My desire to go into therapy was somewhat skewed, it was an easy route to the career and experience that I wanted and needed. Not really what I wanted to do. The graduate program I was enrolled in was going to take me 6 years (taking one class a term) and going to cost me nearly $100,000. I already have $85,000 in student loans that I haven’t even started paying on yet so in the end I’d be at $185,000 in student loans, no thanks. When I looked at graduate schools in London….I’d be in class for one year, and spend about $19,000 on school. School was one of the easiest ways for me to also get a visa. Finding a job in England, with sponsorship for someone just starting out in a new career is nearly impossible, especially in marketing.
So now I’ve accepted my position at the University of Greenwich in London in a Strategic Marketing program. The school is beautiful (and has been in so many movies, way cool!) and is going to give me lots of opportunities to connect to potential jobs, make friends and have my own life separate from my boyfriend. (Cuz a girl’s gotta have girlfriends ya?)
Part of getting a student Visa in England is having sufficent funds for living expenses. London is crazy expensive. In order for me to get a visa, I have to have £9000 (give or take) which is equivelant to about $11,000-12,000. Its a lot of money. More than I have and have ever had in my life. Part of my desire to get on a budget and make strides towards building my savings was to get closer to that $11,000 mark. Unless I’m depositing about $2000 a month into my savings account, I won’t have it. I’ll get really close. Luckily I’ve got an alternative plan, which will be just fine for me to get the visa.
Regardless of my plan, I’ll still need adequate funds to fly myself and my dogs plus all my luggage, getting myself and my dogs to London will likely cost me around $4000. I’m obviously going to be deal hunting for flights and have pretty much arranged the flights for the dogs through a pet relocation firm, which will cost me around $1800 (which was cheap by the way! Other places quoted me $5000!) And obviously I’ll want a little cash on hand until I find a part time job, I can only work 20 hours a week on a student visa. Having as much money as possible before I leave is crucial! On top of all that money I need to fly, and have for the visa, I also want to visit between now and then. So there is a lot of money needed between now and August.
My budget is essential and getting it down to a smaller amount will only help more. I’m hoping that by my birthday in June, I will have my goal amount saved, which I’m confident that I can do it, especially when I sell my car, do my taxes, and continue to contribute to my savings.
Creating a budget and sticking to it has been challenging! But I know in the long run I’m going to benefit from it. I’ll be able to pay off my debt, put aside money for retirement, put money away for my kid’s higher education, and still have money to enjoy travel, and fancy dinners and the occasional splurge.
But its taught me a ton. I’m super aware of frivolous and irresponsible spending, not only by me, but my friends and family. And I’m in no way judging them, but I also have no sympathy for those who complain about not having money yet go out and spend $100+ on a pair of boots that they don’t need.
This blog has really kept me accountable and I’m super grateful for mint.com because it really allows me to see where my money goes. I’ve always made a considerable effort to be aware of how much money I have but never where it goes. Now I’m much more responsible. I have real financial goals, and have a real desperate need to save money and limit my spending. I can only imagine if I was planning a wedding right now! I’d never be able to afford it!
Now that I’m on a really trajectory to being even more financially responsible, and to make sure I meet my monthly budgets. My monthly money goals are easier and easier!
Do you budget each month? What do you do to keep yourself in check?