Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Budget Update

     A couple of weeks ago I posted about my September budget month. Since I'm about halfway through the month it's obviously time for an update so I can write down the ways these two weeks have changed how I think about and spend money.

      Contrary to what I thought would happen: budgeting didn't suck. The envelope system has worked well so far and I'm sticking with it. If you're not familiar with the envelope system, basically you just have different envelopes for different things and you put cash in the envelopes and that's your spending money. I really wasn't sure how much I'd need, and I ended up giving myself more than was necessary but I'm ok with that. I have four envelopes: food, fun, gas, and "body" (toiletries, basically). I don't keep the envelopes in my purse, which has been helpful. Instead, I'm forcing myself to think ahead of time about what I need/want to buy, and I'll give myself that amount, and that's it. It's helped me to be much more observant of my spending habits and has kept me from "indiscriminate impulse shopping" which is a serious disease that affects a lot of people.

Just kidding. I'm not actually a big shopper.

In my original post I set some rules for myself:

1. Don't pay for coffee or breakfast in the morning; bring my own.
     I didn't have trouble with this one. It turns out that Starbucks and donuts aren't a necessity...who knew? Now I have coffee at work (free!) and bring a piece of fruit from home. Easier on my wallet and my waistline.

No buying sodas.
     This was hard for a while, but I don't miss Diet Coke anymore. It used to be perfectly normal for me to shell out $2.50 for a DC at lunch, and then another $1.08 for a DC at McDonald's later in the afternoon, but not anymore. Now I have my Nalgene water bottle and I try to refill it four times a day. I slice up some cucumbers to add flavor and cover the taste of Brita water (it has a weird taste don't tell me it doesn't), and I only end up spending about $1.50 for a whole organic cucumber that lasts me a week and a half!

Order less than what I think I'll eat.
     I did ok with this. Since I've cut down on my eating out I don't really need this rule to be set in stone. IF I WANT THE FRIES I WILL EAT THE FRIES.

Don't buy things I don't need (I'm looking at you, TARGET).
     My budget started the day after I got back from San Diego with Sami, and genius me left my face wash in the shower at the hotel. Womp womp. This meant that I had to go to Target to buy more. TARGET. ON THE FIRST DAY OF MY BUDGET. I tweeted and took a deep breath and went in with a game plan: I needed face wash, makeup removing pads, and THAT'S IT JULIETTE YOU DON'T NEED ANYTHING ELSE STAY AWAY FROM THE BABY CLOTHES. I though of it as a game: if I made it through Target in fewer than 10 minutes and with only the items on my list, I would win. And guess what happened?

Yep. I won.

     The budget hasn't been nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Having a goal in mind is really helpful, that way it's not like I just have a bunch of money sitting in the bank waiting for a rainy day. And by the way, I don't understand that expression. On rainy days the LAST thing I want to do is shop, especially now that my county has gotten rid of plastic bags and now if you need a bag you'd better hope you brought a reusable one from home or be prepare to shell out 10 cents for each paper bag you think you'll need. And paper bags don't even hold up in the rain. They totally break. So on a rainy day the last thing I want to do is go out and spend money. I'll sit at home in my pajamas without a bra and watch Netflix and browse the internet, thanks a lot. Except then there's online shopping so I guess this whole paragraph is moot but that's not unusual for me and now I'm just typing to see what else comes out what the hell is that bandaid on Walt's nose even doing? It just doesn't seem helpful.


So, what have I learned?

  • I spend just because I can. When I know I have money I really want to spend it, and I'll spend it on things I don't even need, which is why I have 17 journals that only have 5 pages of writing on them.
  • Buying coffee at Starbucks is really unnecessary (for me). I haven't missed my morning Starbucks or donut coffee at all. I'm allowing myself to buy coffee on weekends though, which has been fine.
  • How to say no. I went into Victoria's Secret and they were having a sale...$30 for ANY FLEECE ITEM. I love VS sweat pants, and I have one pair that I've been wearing for about 3 years and my brain was like Juliette, it's such a good deal you should totally buy some new sweat pants! But then I was like Hey brain, if I hadn't walked in here I wouldn't even know about the sweats and I never even though about needing them until I saw them so guess what you're bad for my budget and I'm shutting you out right now. And then I went and got some bubblegum ice cream.

     So, there you go. I'm 17 days into my budget month and it's going way better than I thought it would. It helps that I've been really vocal about my budget so everyone knows that I'm trying to save, and no one has tried to get me to spend more money than I want to. And a bonus, by not drinking as much soda or alcohol or donuts I've been feeling way healthier and my pants are fitting better! SCORE.

     I know budgeting is really easy for a lot of people and it just seems like common sense, but it's a real struggle for me. It's actually a deeper issue that has more to do with self control, and being conscious of my budget has helped me in that area. Last time I wrote about my budget you all were so sweet with your encouragement and words of wisdom, and I just want to say thank you for that! Writing it all down and putting it on the internet made it easier for me to stick to my budget because I knew I'd be writing about my process here and I didn't want to come back and have to write, yeah...I sucked and didn't budget but I don't care because YOLO! So thanks for reading, commenting, and giving me a space to write the longest run on sentences ever.
 photo ScreenShot2013-06-23at112320PM_zps46bb1b5d.png


  1. excellent! so happy that the envelope system worked well for you! congrats, girl

  2. Good for you!! It's hard at first but it sounds like you're getting the hang of it. And you will be VERY thankful when you have savings in case of emergency :) GO GIRL!!

  3. Yay! Go you! I told myself I'd go ahead and try it, insert the wamp wamp waaaamp music. I failed, I suck. Next time lol

  4. Juliette, you're an inspiration to us all! Seriously though, you should be very proud of yourself for managing to escape Target with just the necessities. I tried to declare this month as "No Spendtember" but I totally failed. I think I need to try this magical envelope system!

  5. I'm so proud of you!!! I'm going to have to get on this budget train STAT!

  6. I'm definitely in need of a budget system. This helps!

  7. Alcohol is the downfall of out budget. It's just so easy to stop at the store and grab a bottle of wine (for me) and a 6 pack of beer (for him). I guess it's better than going out to eat/drink all the time.

  8. I've always found that everything is easier to do when you write your goal down or do it with a partner. When you put it out there like that you have people to hold you accountable it makes it a lot easier to stay on track. Glad you're doing well!

  9. We tried a "spending freeze" September at our house, and it didn't work out so well. Here's looking at you, October.

  10. I'm so going to try the envelope thing next month. I put money away every month but I'm constantly throwing away food that has spoiled or looking around thinking why did I buy this. Thanks for the idea.

  11. budgeting is so damn hard. i just can never get it down right. especially since i live with my boyfriend that is awful with budgeting, saving, etc. i'm pretty sure he really thinks money DOES grow on trees and that he can just pick off a branch whenever he wants. except all the branches out there are empty!

    good for you for sticking with it, and as always thank you for your run ons ;)

  12. SO inspiring. I need to stop shopping AKA GOING TO FREAKING TARGET.
    I just can't bring myself to go to Wal-Mart. I feel like the same products are just BETTER at Target.

    XOXO Fal

  13. I'm glad it's working for ya! That leftover money will definitely come in handy

  14. story of my life. I'm the worst budgeter ever.... will you consult me when I move back home and need to start saving?

  15. people don't realize that budgeting, like healthy living, is a learned behaviour and it takes time! i've always been a cheap bitch (got that from my dad and also because it's an innate part of my asianness) so while i spend when i need to, spending on stupid shit isn't my thing.

    and i 100% agree with not buying from starbucks...$5 for coffee? GTFO!

    Vodka and Soda

  16. But envelopes cost money and I could buy makeup with that money... I suck. Which is why my savings account reads $0.00. Oops. LOVEEEE yer blog girlfran.

  17. YAY! So glad you're feeling good about your budget. I just re-committed to mine, and things are going well for me too. I use software on my computer that also links to my phone so I can track every single purchase. (Cash doesn't work well for me) I'm really loving having awareness of where my money is going. That almost feels better than shopping. (I'm also enjoying saving up for necessary shopping like a new winter coat, and boots. Yay financial accountability.)

  18. I am terrible at spending freezes... and budgets... and I'm an accountant! (So I 100% related to the Rebecca Bloomwood ;]). I always save up my gift cards from birthdays or Christmas to use during these times. Little cheats make me feel better!

  19. You're awesome, lady! :) I'm bad at buying soda. Sonic ftw. :)

  20. I NEED TO DO THIS!!! Like bad. So many days (read: every day) I go out to buy lunch cuz I'm LAZY and don't plan beforehand. lotsa lotsa money being spent on crappy fattening food fo sho. And I definitely spend because I can and that's no bueno when it's the end of the month and I'm crossing my fingers I have moneys left and guess what ZERO in my savings which is just sad.

  21. I LOVE the envelope system! I'm a student and using envelopes has been SO helpful with the whole budgeting thing. I never run out of money for the important stuff, and I usually end up with extra money that I can spend on whatever I feel like -guiltlessly! I'm glad it worked out for you, too, and I really hope you stick to it! You go girl!

  22. i do things like buy a bunch of shit, regret the entire purchase, and then immediately return it all. that's how i budget. unless it's food. you can't return that. i mean - i guess you can. like throw it up. but no one is going to return your money to you.

  23. As far as I can tell, you're making good progress here. And I agree with a lot of the things you've posted here. It's always better to bring your own food from home than to eat out. And Starbucks coffee and diet sodas aren't really necessary for anyone's diet. I think the envelope system works because it helps you set a definite amount of money to use so you don't get tempted to splurge.

    Tereo Wealth Strategists