I am supposed to refinance my house in 11 months. ELEVEN months. I need to come up with more than a handful of pretty pennies in order to do this. Therefore, I am going to go on A SPENDING DIET
It's pretty easy - you pretty much put yourself on a super budget and then hold yourself accountable to that budget.
I have been using mint.com as a way to simple budget for about 6 months now. I have a serious love/hate relationship with that pesky pie chart I get weekly that shows me where all my money went to that week. (DAMN YOU HOUSE AND UTILITIES. AND FOOD.) The thing I love about the pie chart is it shows me where I can cut back spending. The thing I hate about the pie chart is that it colors the largest slice in the angriest red color and it just blares "YOU SPENT TOO MUCH MONEY HERE!"
Here's what I know:
1. I went on two vacations this spring/summer. Texas, a place I have never been, and down to my dad's in Alabama, where I go often. I probably should have spaced out these vacations for the sake of my bank account. Now I know!
2. My student loans were adjusted "based on my income." They are $120 less/month than they were before. Hopefully this doesn't bite me in the ass. I will try to put more towards them once I refinance mi casa.
3. I spend a LOT of money eating at restaurants. A couple years ago, I stopped eating at fast food joints. I saved a lot of money and probably a handful of pounds too.
4. I also spend a lot of money on my pets. They are spoiled. I need to remember that they are dogs and a cat. Celebrating their birthdays doesn't mean a damn thing to them. Cool it, Rachel.
Here's what I need to do:
1. Stop buying clothing. I don't need it. I don't need clothes for work. I don't need clothes for play. No more clothing. More clothes means more laundry and I HATE doing laundry.
2. Stop spending money on the animals. Start putting aside money every week for annual vet bills so when next summer rolls around, I'm not yanking hundreds of dollars out of my checking account.
3. NO MORE BOOKS! I have such a problem, guys. I love buying books. I like the way they look in my bookcase. I like the smell of a bookstore. I like buying a fancy coffee drink (see Number 4 below) and perusing a bookstore (I think bookstores make coffee smell better). I enjoy being able to crack the spine of a book I own without feeling guilty. BUT DANG IT, RACHEL, YOU CAN'T RIGHT NOW. Dropping cash on books right now is financially irresponsible. You don't need them. The spending diet is about needs, not wants. Plus, I just renewed my library card and I like the library so so so much.
4. COOL IT WITH THE FANCY COFFEE DRINKS. Iced white mochas from Starbucks are the bomb. I like them so much. But they are expensive. Like, $5.00 a drink expensive. That's crazy. I used to just get them on Sundays before work. Treat myself to a Starbucks drink after working 36-hours in a weekend. Yum. Then it became a Saturday/Sunday thing. Then it became a Friday/Saturday/Sunday thing. Now it's Friday/Saturday/Sunday and sometimes a day (or two) during the week. That's $25 a week in bullshit coffee! OMG! I just did the math - that's $1,300 annually.
5. Part of the spending diet is figuring out where money can be reduced from "Needs". This part sucks guys - I can't really pare down my "needs". House Payment - in the process of refinancing and I already have three roommates. Utilities - I only have internet (I consider that a "need") w/ Netflix. I put my Huluplus account on hold. My roommates and I share the electricity bill and water bill. My trash bill is the only pain in the butt, but I don't think switching services will be any cheaper. Cell phone - True, I do not need an iphone. BUT, I already have it. It doesn't make sense to get rid of it. AND I'm a single gal. I'd like to have it for when I'm driving around late and night and get lost. Eeek! I've already lowered my student loans.
6. Internet shopping should be more difficult. If I had to enter my 16-digit credit card number every time I wanted a dang tote bag, I would never buy tote bags. INSTEAD, there is this cute little paypal button. Click of the mouse and poof! Transaction completed. I end up with tote bags. and washi tape (dang it). and earrings. and whatever else I am thinking about buying. STOP IT. Thankfully, there are internet wish-lists (I'm looking at you, modcloth) so when I have the money, everything I have day-dreamed about is right there waiting for me.
7. SAVE MORE SCRILLA. I started doing the 52-week money challenge for the "things I need around the house." My goal is to have the 52nd week done for when I close on the refinancing of my house. Then I can go out and buy a couple fun things for my house. New artwork for my living room, maybe. I'm also putting money aside weekly for the annual vet bills (see Number 2 above), annual vacation, Christmas gifts, etc. I guess I need to open another savings account or something.
8. Spend less on food! Gotta get groceries and use them - stop saying I'll eat all that broccoli or whatever and not actually do it. Just throwing money away. Gotta eat leftovers! Gotta stop going out to eat! I need to clean out my pantry and freezer before I buy more food. I do this thing when I go on food kicks. I have a bunch of oatmeal from when I was on an oatmeal kick. A bunch of noodles when I was on a pasta kick. A bunch of hot chocolate when I was on a hot chocolate kick. Either way, here's the thing: I need to eat a lot of oatmeal, noodles and hot chocolate. Bummer, it's summer. Not only does this save me a bunch of money, but it makes me clean out my freezer and pantry, which means I'm not wasting food, and usually when I make things at home, I eat healthier. Win Win.