Autumn, Money and the Rest of My Life.
I can hardly believe it’s already October. Where has this year gone?? It’s certainly been a busy year for me. New boyfriend, new apartment, lots of traveling. I can only imagine what’s going to pop up in the next three months before this decade officially comes to a close and we enter the teen years of the 21st century.
Although it’s a little late in the year to call this a New Year’s Resolution, it’s never too late to make a commitment to do something good for yourself. In my case, I have become a steadfast tracker of my finances. It’s really important to do this, obviously, but like anything else (especially a certain other kind of logging…), doing something you don’t want to do is tricky. I spent weeks downloading Excel spreadsheet budget tracker thingermajigs, opening accounts on profiles and reading personal finance blogs to figure out what my approach should be. And I started, on September 1st, to actually track every. single. thing. I spent. Which, unsurprisingly, is a lot.
I started tracking my income and expenses in an Excel spreadsheet for the entire month of September. This is what happened?
Savings Transfer $245.00
Birthday Money $50.00
Travel Reimbursement $60.00
Total Income: $3308
Cell phone $79.00
Monthly Credit Card Payment $140.00
Gym $15.00 (this is actually what I pay to have my account on hold for a couple of months while I get my finances figured out).
The $60 Weekend Experiment $30.00
Dining Out $324.00
Household Items $21.00
Pay back Erik $74.00
Misc. Credit Card Payment $573.00
Children’s International $22.00
Total Expense: $3425
So you’re probably thinking, “Allison, you spent more than you earned this month. THAT’S BAD.” To which I would say, yes, it is. But I made a flaw in my calculations at the beginning of the month which affected the rest of the month. You see, I only put in the income from this month, September 15 and September 30, plus all my other little sources of income. But the September 30 money doesn’t actually show up until the END of the month, thus, it’s more of October’s money than anything else.
#1: I eat out too often. Social activities for New Yorkers (well, for anyone, actually) usually revolves around food. “Let’s go out for drinks!” “Let’s grab dinner!” “Let’s do brunch!” Seriously, it’s like eating is the only thing you’re allowed to do with other people. I have always spent too much money on eating out. I hate to cook. Eating out is fun. You have other people making food you love that you would otherwise burn, melt or destroy in the process. It always comes out just right and it’s delicious. What’s not to love?
#2: I don’t account for clothes. I like to shop. I don’t do it a lot, but I like to do it. I never have a shopping budget, and when I do go shopping, it’s usually after months of pent-up lusting after shoes, bags and blouses and I go NUTS! And end up spending close to $300. Whoops…
#3: I don’t save enough or pay off much on my credit card: The way I have it laid out, my credit card won’t be paid off until somewhere around 2012. I’ll be almost 27 years old by then. That’s just no good. So I’ve upped the amount I’m paying each month to $400. I have no idea how I’ll be able to afford it, but the truth is, I really can’t afford anything else because I’m in so much debt. I WANT IT GONE.
October is shaping up to be a pretty slim month, financially. Hopefully I’ll be able to see my way through the month and into October, where hopefully I’ll be more accustomed to being frugal. Don’t most changes take two weeks before they become habit?
Somebody better come check on me around the 15th…