Week 1 Recap

So, most of my bills are the same every month.  The one thing I’m really focused on controlling is food and beverages.  Here’s the breakdown of what I spent in Week 1:

Drinks and a burger at Bar Bar – $25

Grocery purchase – $20.51 (bananas, creamer, toilet paper, eggs, turkey)

Then, I returned a pair of jeans I bought last month – $49.99

So, one week in, and I made $4.48!  I am so good at this!

April – Budgeting

So, I’ve already said I’m trying to buy a house.  I’m pre-approved and seriously shopping.  It’s probably a good idea to figure out how much money I’m spending each month on what and how I can be better at saving.  It’s also starting to get nice outside so there are more options for cheap and free activities.  My goal is to save enough money this month to buy and iPad Mini and get some plans in place to monitor food costs.  I’m pretty sure I spend a ton of money on food.

Minty Fresh Finances

A friend recommends Mint.  It’s an app you can tie to all your accounts to track your finances.  Money coming in, money going out, savings, blah blah blah.  He says he has been using it for about a year and it took him that long to really get in the habit of using it everyday and not feeling guilty or bad about it.

I download it and link it to all my accounts immediately.  It’s super easy to set up and only takes seconds before it lists your cash, credit debt, budgets, cash flow, investments, and advice.  Suckers be using Quicken, yo!  I can quick add cash payments so everything I spend gets documented.  Best of all, it was FREE!  Sweet, sweet responsibility.

Extreme Cheapskates

While looking at my finances even closer, I noticed a show on TLC called Extreme Cheapskates.  It follows people who suffer the namesake affliction.  I watched in hopes of learning some tips.  Remember this is from a network called The Learning Channel.

Good news, it’s a marathon!!  I watch a girl in New York who lives in a tiny condo and finds all her furniture in the garbage.  Hmm… I could handle this.  Goodwill really is one step up from the garbage.  Then, the camera followed her into the bathroom where she described the way she cleans herself without using toilet paper.  I’m out.  You lost me at no toilet paper.

Next was a millionaire who wants to live off her money forever so she budgets down to the penny.  She dumpster dives, forages for herbs and mushrooms, and has her own garden.  Okay.  Seems reasonable.  Then, she explains how she pees in a jar to put in the garden to save money on flushing toilets.  Then, she turned the hot water heater off when she thought her boyfriend was in the shower too long.  WTF!  No hot showers?  Peeing in jars?  Why don’t you just not flush the toilet??  That solution seems much easier.  Every time she explained something she did, she calculated how much money it was saving her.  Collecting her urine and not flushing it saved her $10 a year.  That is $10 I would be more than happy to fork over MONTHLY for the convenience of modern plumbing!!

Take a Closer Look

Okay, so first thing is first.  What do I usually spend?  What did I spend last month?  What’s a good target?  Good thing I use my debit card everywhere and can track how much I usually spend on everyday things.  Time to sit down and figure this stuff out.

Holy shitballs! I went to concerts, got lunch out at work, got coffee a couple times a week, shopped very promiscuously at Whole Foods, enjoyed happy hour a several times a week, and spent a total of $942.63 on food, drinks and entertainment last month.  WHAT!?! This is going to be a good place to start Budgeting Month.  I am going to put myself on a goal of $200 for the whole month of April for groceries and going out.  It will be a lot easier because my fridge and pantry are already filled with tons of crap I haven’t even looked at since I bought it.