Restraint

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I already told you how DH and I follow a budget.

For the first year or so, I was very careful and kept within my budget. Occassionally, I would run a deficit, but it was usually a small amount and I would pay myself back the next week. Then, in the fall of 2008, Mindy and I went to Syracuse to do some cross-border shopping. I was a little in debt when we went. I spent at least 7 weeks' budget when I was there. Then I went on a scrapbooking retreat and spent about 3 weeks' budget. Then I got my gym membership and it was about 4 weeks' budget. All in the span of three months. Before I knew it, I was well over a thousand dollars in debt! My budget went from being a limit on my spending to a way of recording my spending and it seemed I had no hope of every paying it all back.

For most of 2009, I was spending more than my budget and contributing to my debt weekly. I still recorded and calculated my purchases, but I wasn't doing much to control spending. At the end of 2009, I had spent double what I was allowed for a year. I spent a lot of my money on clothes and all the other little things added up.

So, for my new year's resolution for 2010, I decided to get rid of my debt by the end of the year. This is the hardest resolution I have ever made. Much harder than 2009 when I tried saying 'yes' to more things. Harder than the year I gave up buying magazines. (I have a serious magazine addiction which I inherited from my mom).

To reach my goal of getting my debt to zero, I have to reduce my spending to half of my weekly budget. Since I spent double what I was allocated last year, my 2010 budget is only a quarter or what it was last year. Let me tell you, it is not easy to spend only 25% of what you are used to spending. I have to question everything I buy, adjust my plans to avoid costly meals out, window shop rather than go in the store, and save up for big purchases like the gym membership and scrapbooking retreat.

Here's an example of what I spent one virtuous week in January
Valentine's card $6.72 (DH has since thrown this in the garbage leading me to conclude that he will not be getting a valentine's card next year)
Tea $1.15
Beer after hockey $8
Designer Digitals scrapbook supplies $2.41
Grand Total $28.28

Here's what I spent one not so virtuous week in February
Lunch out $22.25
Hair dye $19.37
Guitar picks $2.71
Makeup $42.94
CD $17.09
Case of beer $29.90
Blazer $63.55 (on sale)
Snacks $4.51
Grand Total $200.82.

Fourteen weeks into my new fiscal restraint, I'm $290 shy of where I wanted to be but I've reduced my debt by $700! So I guess I get a mark of 70% so far.

I'd like to reward myself when I reach my goal. Even though it is a bit contradictory, I have been thinking it would be nice to buy myself something at the end of the year if when I reach my goal. What should I buy?

Edited to add: The $8 for beer after hockey was for ONE beer. That's how much they cost nowadays Dad! The $29.90 for a case of beer was for the basement fridge, to be consumed at my leisure.

2 comments:

Glenn R April 14, 2010 at 6:00 AM  

$8 for beer after hockey. I certainly hope this was not all in one night.

Rora Seonsaengnim April 17, 2010 at 7:48 AM  

I suck at budgeting. I am always going over. This month was particularly bad because of the trip I took. (It doesn't help that I get paid in two different currencies that are always fluctuating against the CAD.) Maybe I should take a page out of your book and really crack down on myself!

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