My first job was a paper route when I was 11. Other than the summer I was with Continentals and my freshman year of college, I have always had a job. Always an income. Always a way to survive. Yes, I'm thankful. Yes, I've definitely complained about the frustrations that come with any job. And I've always thought, shouldn't I have been able to save a lot more by this point in my life? Minus 2 points for me. I took a class called Faith and Money my last semester at school, and I finally decided to sit down and figure out my budget. The biggest thing I'm cutting out? EATING OUT. I was actually looking at my bank statement, and I was appalled. Lisa will back me up on this. She was watching some tv show about celebrity fashion faux pas, and I made her hit the pause button so I could tell her how much I spent eating out in one month. It's embarrassing!!!! That's gonna stop. Surprisingly, coffee wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. That's probably because I've been buying my own coffee and making it at home. Add one point for me. Also, no more random grocery store trips. My new mantra? YOU DON'T WANT THE ICE CREAM!!!
I set a savings goal for myself. In 6 months I have a monetary goal. That will work well for what I have planned for my living arrangements next summer (more on that later. Much later).
So what I did was, wrote down my estimated income each month, and then wrote down the necessities (gas, grocery store, rent, bills, coffee). I did allow myself a buffer, and since my income isn't set in stone each month (oh, the joys of hourly vs. salary wages!!), I could save more or less than my goal. I'm ok with that.
BEFORE I budgeted, I splurged at Target. I bought something I've wanted for a little over two years. TWO YEARS, PEOPLE. I bought footie pajamas. They're bright pink and the feet have dogs on them. They're juvenile, silly, and I love them. They're a perfect substitute for a boyfriend on these chilly fall nights. Sadly, it's not quite cold enough for a blanket AND the pajamas, but I'll take what I can get. That's Southern California for you.
In the writing books I purchased the biggest piece of advice (so far) is to carry a little notebook with you at all times so that when ideas come to you, you have a means of documenting them. So I bought a 3-pack of little notebooks. They're slender, sturdy, and a perfect size. My budget is on the first page of the first one, soon to be titled I'm Trying to Write a Book Here! Volume I.