Don’t Budget For Budgets Sake

         Let the Deprivation Count for Something!

                                                                              – STRONGFRAGILE

As I am sitting here eating dinner, it dawned on me that the reason I have been somewhat ineffective in paying off my student loan debt is because I was not tracking the money I was NOT spending. In other words, I wasn’t budgeting effectively. When I didn’t spend money by skipping dinners and movies with friends, by not clothes shopping or snapping up the latest tech gadgets that money went to other things like FOOD. I am a spend $10, $15 or $20 here and there type of girl and it adds up. I was not maximizing my money in the sense that those small amounts could have been applied directly to the debt and caused some real damage. So I have seen the error of my ways and lo and behold , I’m budgeting smartly! Here are some tactics that I am implementing to reach these daggone financial goals:

FOOD

Oh food! How do I love thee…but you are a money killer. I decided to budget on $30 a week for ALL meals at home but I am a growing girl and I realized it was not enough. What ended up happening was I would food shop on Sunday and by Wednesday I’d run out of everything! And then end up going to get something outside. Which obviously defeats the purpose (face palm). So I kicked it up to $40 a week and that extra $10 made a huge difference! I find that I am covered for the week and I don’t need to eat out if I don’t want to. What I don’t spend on groceries every week, should go towards debt. My remedy for not going overboard food shopping?…..

MEAL PLANNING

This little gem is a money and time saver. I usually make a list of everything I already have at home (to avoid buying duplicates) and then make another list next to it of what I need for the week. I usually have the staples (oil, butter etc) so I can save there. I try to plan on Saturday and shop Sunday . PS I really used to hate food shopping but I don’t mind it now because I have a plan and I know exactly what I want and usually don’t overspend. Of course there is an occasional slip up but I try not to trip about it.  I have discovered an Aldi’s not far from where I live and I love it! I will take you on a trip with me there in a future post.

CLOTHES

I come from a long line of fashionistas and I love clothes. In my 20’s, I wracked up $15,000+ of credit card debt, a lot of that was from clothes shopping. My old boss swore I had storehouses of clothes because I would RARELY repeat an outfit. Well those days are long gone, so foolish because I don’t really know what I spent it on and don’t have much to show for it today. Lesson learned. I’ve discovered thrift shopping and I love it. Just give the items a good wash and it is like new. Some of this stuff is barely worn in case the idea grosses you out, definitely a tactic to implement in your debt war :).

This bears repeating: Take the money you DON’T spend at the end of each month and apply it to your debt. You must track.

After reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki he made a good point about money. That is just a tool. You have to use it in a way that it is working for you, even as you sleep. That is one of my money goals. For so long it has controlled me kept in jobs I hated, apartments I couldn’t afford to leave and so on all because I couldn’t really manage it. Well  I’m getting smart and making sure that if I’m missing out on the small pleasures in life for now that it better be worth it!

 

 

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