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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

On Learning To Budget And Growing Up

Confession: I've been really irresponsible over the past year.

I make a pretty good living as an occupational therapist and I kinda took that for granted...
For the first time in my life I really felt like I was earning good money and could think of lots and lots (and lots) of fun things to spend that money on.
Things like a house, furniture, pretty decor, travel and clothing.
I really love me some pretty clothing and I can shop shop and shop some more.
On top of that I love to spoil my family, friends, and Nadav. Buying things for people I love makes me happy.
All that said, I kinda took that "making a good salary" thing a little too seriously this year, and umm...kinda forgot about budgeting.

Well a few months ago I took a look at my bank statement and had one of those"woooooahhhh what have I done?" moments. You know that moment where you feel your stomach drop and the word "SH*T!" comes out in a whisper. It hit me, my spending was kinda out of control.

Seriously, was I really going out to eat every single day?
Did I really go to Anthropologie on Saturday and drop BLANK amount of dollars because I was bored?
Did I really need to get coffee from Panera three times this week? I mean come on....
Was that manicure and pedicure really necessary?
No really? Where had my money gone because it wasn't in my bank account??

  (Ok Mom and Dad: calm down, drop the phone, and stop dialing my number. I am not poor and I will not be sleeping on the street anytime soon. You know Nadav wouldn't let that happen to me.. Really I'm kidding, seriously.. calm down =P)

On that note, I knew that I really needed to make some major life changes
Changes like...
- Bringing lunch to work 3x-4x a week
- Going on a 2 month shopping freeze (my goal is to make it to 3 months)
 - Going grocery shopping each week and buying the things I need to make some delicious meals
- Stop going to Starbucks, Coffee Bean, and Panera Bread. The truth is coffee from home is just as good, if not better.
- Doing my own nails
- Making dinner at least 4x a week
- Making a budget (to be honest I still need to do this)
Slowly I started to save, my bank statements became less painful to view, and that sinking feeling in my stomach started to disappear.

Me looking really pleased with my cappuccino last November
And you know what else? I remembered that I can have fun without spending money. I mean really, I do live up the hill from the beach! What was I doing driving to the mall instead of to the beach?!?!
Oh growing up, it is quite the journey isn't it?
Now my question for you... what steps do you take to save some extra money? 

And a few things before I sign out for the day...
- My parents are going to kill me after they read this. Mom, Dad please remember you love me and sending me to college was a good idea.
- It's the last day to enter to win a cute vintage purse from Montana Snow Vintage. Make sure you enter =)
- Want to come hang out at Madewell on April 28? It will be funnn
- I was featured by Pocket Change in their Best Of The Web series. Cool, eh =) Check out their awesome site.

Have a sweet day


Emily said...

Yeah it's scary to see how all those frivolous purchases add up! The goals that you set sound amazing.

Oz has been good for J & I. We finally started committing to cooking at home. And you know what? I love it so much better than eating out all the time.

You could also create rewards for yourself based on hitting certain targets in your saving account :)

Samantha said...

I am in the same boat, I have been spending so much on items I don't need! (And I don't have a great-paying job, either!) For budgeting, I use a great website called mint.com - It's free and really helps you keep track of your spending. It has you set savings goals and sends you reminders on how close you are to reaching your goal. I find it pretty motivating... It's fun to see my savings fund grow!

Good luck! You can dooooo it!

Amira said...

I've had the same epiphany as you recently! One small change I made was my nails. I was spending $35 every two weeks to get my gel manicure. But I discovered Sally Hansen's Nail Effects and have been using them for a few months! They are $9 and last just as long as the gel polish. NO CHIPS. Super easy to put on. So now I can spend $18 a month instead of $70 :-)

christin said...

Ok, I'm going to say this: being a grown up sucks.

Also, the mani pedi is absolutely necessary. I do it once a month but i do my nails once a week myself. So its a monthly treat!

And I havent shopped in forever which is why my apartment is a JOKE. UGH.

Olivia.Dee said...

small changes is all it takes! sounds like you're on the right track lady!!! :]

Callie @ YouDontEvenKnow said...

I just realized earlier this year that I am now a grown up and need to sort of try and act like one when it comes to finances. I am a BIG avoider. I hate looking at my accounts online and avoid letting my mind wander there. I'm still working on it and this post inspired me to man up and get serious about budgeting, thanks!

Cara-Mia said...

Ugh I know what you mean. When I was an English teacher for two years I was SO excited about how much money I was making and blew it all. I still remember when Brian saw my tax return and asked me how much of my salary I had saved and the answer was none of it. Bleh. Now that we are pretty much just living off my husband's salary, we have to be really careful with money. We go grocery shopping every week and I cook a lot so we can eat lunch and dinner at home. Another thing I've recently done to curb my spending is using The Pioneer Woman's iced coffee method. Whoa I just realized how long this comment is. Yikes! Guess I really liked this post. :)

caitlin said...

K & I had an 'oh shit' moment like that not too long ago {like when I found out I was pregnant 7 days after I quit my job -- whoops!} he's been packing his lunch to work everyday & we try to eat at home at least 4x a week .. it helps so much! I would say I cut back on my shopping, but I have a serious, serious addiction to Target haha

cynthia said...

Oh Tammy, I have been doing the same kind of overspending (Starbucks waaaay too often, Ulta for $200 of new perfume, eating out or take out EVERY night) and trying to curb it lately has been... interesting.
Cooking and eating at home is a big one for us in the savings dept. I've just got to get over my hatred of dishes.
Good luck! :)

Kate @ Daffodils said...

It happens to all of us! We have started setting a strict budget, especially since moving to Monetery and swallowing the higher cost of living. We do automatic withrawls to savings, the boys college funds, our investments and a 'vacation fund' at the beginning of the month so that we dont miss that money. We also use the 'envelope system' for groceries and eating out. That means I take cash out at the beginning of the month and that is what I can spend on food, once that money is gone, we are having buttered noodles until the next month rolls around. It makes us MUCH more conscious of buying that extra bag of chips or eating out several times a week. Good luck with your changes!!

Nicole Marie said...

yup been there... several times.. especially here in europe. the exchange rates SUCKS!
But good for you getting back on track!! it really is the little things that add up to so much. Life coffee and lunches out.

Brittany Campbell said...

Oh I know that feeling. I am currently wanting my bank account dwindle since I am not working while I'm in school. Its painful but worth it! San Diego is a great place to not spend too much money! I alway loved just bringing lunch and a book down to Fanuel park and reading under the trees...obviously the beach is always a good idea...and free.

Amanda k. said...

Budgeting can be so hard! I have been pretty good about it these past few months, but there are definitely times when I go to Target intending to get some cotton balls, and leave with some new shoes, nail polish and a magazine. It adds up! Some things I do to avoid this are leaving my debit card at home (especially to avoid buying a latte...) or taking out a certain amount in cash and telling myself how long I want it to last. When it's gone, I'm done spending until next payday!

Britt said...

I am mildly obsessed with my husbands and my financial situation. I have a huge excel spreadsheet for each month, our income, expenses, savings and spending money. It is really helpful for me to see it. Being a grownup sucks. It is not as glamorous and I once thought it was. Good luck!!!

Ash said...

we stopped eating fast food completely.. which saved TONS of money.. and we also cook mostly at home- its just easier, cheaper, and tastier...

good job girl! but seriously, like you said, YOU LIVE UP THE HILL FROM THE FREAKING BEACH! gah... just go live there, all summer, and spend pennies on snow cones.. (: ill even come keep you company (:

Britt @ The Magnolia Pair said...

Budgeting is one of the hardest things to do. I learned the hard way like you, last december when I freaked out that I spent so much that the bills were going to be late!

You can do it girl ! Make a spreadsheet :)

M. Flynn said...

Oh girl, I have been there. Rob and I are really good about making dinner at home, though. And I always do my own nails. I hate to pay for them when they chip anyway!

Melis said...

In case you didnt get it in the previous post, I'd love to go to the event! melissasonico@gmail.com

Sienna said...

budgeting is really tough...growing up sucks sometimes!!

Sienna said...

budgeting is really tough...growing up sucks sometimes!!

Cara said...

I think we have all been there/are there. I feel like I don't know where my money goes. Budgeting is completely important and sticking to it is half the battle.

I'd say for us, eating out is a big thing. If we go out to dinner one night on the weekends for a month thats about $300/month. Eating lunch out every day (lets say $10/day) is $200 a month. It is just hard to believe how much it adds up.

Great post!

S T E P H A N I E L E A N N said...

These are all great steps and at one time or another I've done some of these exact things! Budgeting can be no fun but I think it's a really good thing. And what feels better than not having to worry once you build up that account, you know?! This might be silly, but I'm very much a visual person, and as part of a fundraising campaign I was given a fake bill. Well, its still in my wallet and is a good reminder to think before I spend!

Katherine Toyoko from Paper Gatti said...

Being a grown up DOES suck sometimes. I'm good about automatically setting aside money to my savings, retirement, student loans, and vacation fund. I'm bad about being frugal with whatever is over and I inevitably am like "I'm broke!!!" a few days before my next paycheck arrives. I've cut out a lot of things and the most recent thing I've been trying to work on is finding social things that aren't food/booze-centric. I'm amazed at how much of my social life is based on a shared meal or drinks!

Melissa said...

This was me not so long ago with credit card debt. It got bad. Out of control, constant panic attack bad.

Then, when I figured out that it would take me about 30 YEARS to pay off that debt with how bad the interest was... well let's just say it was a melt down.

I am so glad that we were able to pay that debt off and a life change had to come with it.

I try to save money by looking for sales at my favorite stores (like Anthro!) and trying to find suitable substitutes for expensive clothing.

When I do buy expensive clothing, I make sure that I will want it for more than one season. Super trendy stuff? Forever 21 all the way.

Eating out has to be scaled down, especially drinking out. I haven't had a pedicure in a year, probably. The biggest thing is realizing that we just don't NEED all that stuff.

But boy, do we still want it sometimes.

Good for you for changing your ways. A 2 month spending freeze is awesome and inspiring!

Jessica said...

Great post! I make my own coffee too. I don't use credit cards anymore; I pay in cash or with my debit card... I have a SB card that I put about $20 on a pay period and that's usually my "spending money at SB's" for the next 2 weeks, if that...I basically use automatic deposit to save to emergency and retirement accounts.... That way I never even see the money, and then when I look at my accounts, I get all happy because I saved a lot of money! =)

Jack and Friends said...

This is such an important and HARD lesson to learn! The hubs and I have been working on a *tight* budget the last six months working hard to pay stuff off...like, everything. It's hard but it's going to be so worth it in the end :) If you're at all interested, we read Dave Ramsey's money makeover and it really helped us to get organized, work together to pay off all our debt (we just finished this week!) and most importantly, to budget down to the last penny. I really haven't missed buying lunch, eating out, or having something new in my closet every week. I'm not saying it is easy but I'm keeping my eye on the big picture and I'm so proud of how we've done.

Oh and I have a copy of the book you can borrow so no need to go buy one ;)

Kristina Gulino said...

I'm so glad you wrote about this. The blog world makes it so difficult to budget - because IT seemingly doesn't have one! Good reminder that we all need to live within our means. We won't "miss out" on life, but see things differently.

Nook & Sea

Tabitha Mahoney said...

I totally see how you can spend money when you're bored. I do the same thing. Why can't we all just be rich again?


Anonymous said...

I feel ya. Being an adult sometimes seems more trouble than it's worth. But, then again, think about all the pros. Here's an easy solution that I use. Figure out how much 'play money' you have per week. At the beginning of the week, take it out in cash and then only pay in cash! Then you won't spend more than you budgeted. Often times, when I do this I end up with money left over by the end of the week and then I put it in savings.
Works alright!


The Difference a Decade Makes said...

It's awesome that you're working out a budget for yourself!

Something that's saved me a lot of cash:

Instead of using my credit card, I've gotten in the habit of giving my library card a workout. Public libraries are (a) seriously cool and (b) a source of entertainment and information. There are lots of magazines that you can sign out not to mention, DVDs, CDs, how-to books, art books,...et cetera.

Kate said...

I definitely need to be better about budgeting! I've been really good about not shopping this year(but I'm kind of in the opposite position in that I know we have no money) but my problem is I go to the grocery store and I'm like "oh, it's food." Okay, but it totally adds up.

Rach said...

I've never been a naturally frugal person or budgeter. I've never balanced a checkbook in my life. But that had to change when like you I looked at my bank account and gasped when I saw how much money I had been spending. I couldn't believe how much eating out only once a week added up when I looked at my bank statement. Now I try to eat out only once every other week. I no longer get my nails done, and try to stop buying makeup or clothes I don't need.

Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to this post! Ever since moving out and living with my boyfriend for the first time, I've been trying to balance my budget...it's definitely not easy! Especially when I spot a cute pair of colored pants haha
Have a great day!


Jordan - Queen of LA! said...

ughhh this post hit home... i am about to do NO SHOPPING MAY for the second year in a row and it cant come at a better time. i just spend spend spend!!! i need to bring my lunch (AT LEAST once a week! what am i doing!?) and commit to cooking more at home during the weekend... also need to stop buying every cute thing any blogger posts online :)

we can support each other! (i'll need it!)


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