Budgets – the ongoing saga

So last month was a horrible budget month. Totally blown. To many shiny things to tempt me.  

So this month I’m going to focus on contentment. Many of the things I buy are because I’m sure I NEED this thing to look better, to feel better, to do something better. And yet I get the thing and I don’t feel different. I now must remember to use it. I must find a place to store it. 

Right now, I need nothing. I have food. I have shelter. I have clothing (more than enough). I have a car. What I need is to be content with these things. To take stock of what I have. And appreciate those things and myself for what we are. 

Instead of buying I’m beginning a decluttering plan. I’ll link this later if I like it. I will start with the things I can change. Not the things I cannot. And if I need to buy something to make decluttering work better – I’m going to try to wait a day or two to make sure I really need it. 

I’m going to try to post a few times this week with my progress. 

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What I can’t do….

I love dancing. I love to watch good dancers. I love to watch a crowd dance at a wedding. I’d even join in. But I can’t dance.

I wish I could dance. Just to be able to hold a beat. To swivel and slide on the floor. But alas, there isn’t a rhythmic bone in my body. Oh people say i look fine. But I don’t believe it. I know they are wrong. I just don’t feel right when I dance. I feel… clunky, slow, off beat.

I imagine that when good dancers are dancing, they feel it, they feel good, they feel right. Maybe I’m wrong. But that doesn’t mean I should dance.

Budget (Update #1)

I just re-read my first blog post and remembered my first decision was to live by a budget.  I haven’t given up on this yet.  The first couple of month’s I didn’t drastically change anything. I listed how much I spend on everything and then gave myself some reasonable limits.  These limits didn’t stop me from spending, however.

I tried bringing my lunch to work – I stopped after a a week.  I kept meaning to but I didn’t do it.  Turns out living by a budget doesn’t just happen.  It takes thoughtfulness.

I’ve noticed this to be a recurring theme in my life. I tend to just float by in life. Whatever happens, happens.  Whatever doesn’t, doesn’t.  I feel that I don’t have a lot of control over what goes on in my life.

I’m wrong of course.  We control most things in our lives.

If I want to save money on lunch by bringing it, I need to think ahead and plan how.  I don’t need to buy a lot of special things for lunch. Whatever we have in the house will probably do just fine. We always have can’s of soup, lunch meat, salad stuff, left overs, etc. The task I had to commit myself to was to actually make it each night.  This week, and last week I finally succeeded in doing this for the most part.

The second thing I needed to do was start thoughtful purchasing.  I’ll discuss this in a further post.

Auctions

My sister is a computer programmer with a shopping addiction. So she decided to start channeling that addiction into a business. She buys and sells antique and vintage items. And sometimes, plain, old crap.

I’m of two minds on this business. There is nothing more exciting than hearing her phone go off with bids on Sunday night. (Ebay app for Iphone). I’m part of the shipping department.

I’ve never discussed my anxiety issues with too many outside my family. But when we have to start packing I get the biggest anxiety attack and I get mean. So I don’t do the actual packing. I do the postage and labeling. I’m also the packaging materials acquisition expert.

Another problem I have is I’m an aspiring minimalist. This business and minimalism do not go together.

I guess you could call me a minimalist hoarder.

Today I’ve decided…

I’ve decided – I have opinions and I’m going to share them.

So – Number 1 – I am going to start living by a budget.  Actually I decided this last month.  And then 6 months before that. But this month (September 2012) I actually started living it.

I don’t know if this is a universal feeling, but its mine, I have always felt that if I had to think about money and about how much an item was, that was low class. Here is an example: if I go to the repair shop and have them fix a hole in my tire – I wouldn’t ask how much that service was going to cost.  I just let them tell me at the end. Then if it was more than I thought it should be, I was angry. Not at them necessarily but at myself for not asking first. Feeling like I let them get one over on me, take advantage of me in some way.  So this month I finally asked. How much is this going to cost? Are there any other costs I should worry about?  I felt empowered by this simple question. And by getting an easy answer.  Any place I do business – restaurant, car repair, shops – any place, I shouldn’t feel embarrassed to ask. All of these places want my money, my business and in some cases want my return business. There is nothing stopping me from asking. Except by own feelings of embarressment.

So here is how my budget works out. I’ll update at the end of September with how well I did.

Gas and Car Repair – $200.00

Restaurants = $180.00

Grocery = $150.00

Extras (Clothes, books, etc) = $100.00

These are all the variable items in my life.  I’m not counting incidentals that are required. Like doctors bills, hospital bills.  Also I’m not the primary grocery buyer in my household so I don’t have to budget much for that.

I just did a check up for the month and some categories I’m waaaaay over. Some I’m at about 50%. So overall I’m pretty happy. Especially considering there were months previously that I spent nearly $1000 on Restaurants and Extras!

My big reason for doing all this is I turned 30. Suddenly I’m not a kid anymore. My health scares me. And should anything happen I don’t want to be in debt. I don’t have any big bills except by orthodontics and my credit card bill.  My ortho is something that I know when that will end. I have a pay off plan with my Dentist. So that I’m not really counting. However my credit card bill is me – all me.

This blog isn’t going to be just about finances however. I also plan on discussing my braces (including pictures), food/restaurant reviews, computer stuff I find interesting, and other miscellany.