(L40) Budgeting & Saving

What would I have to give up in order to save 10% of my income?

In order to be able to save 10% of my income, I would probably have to give up eating outside of the house. I often find myself grabbing a coffee or a bite to eat while running errands; however I never stop to think about how much it all adds up. I do save a good amount of my income, but to save 10%, food would be the greatest expense I could sacrifice. There is nothing wrong with grocery shopping to have meals at home everyday, and I have mastered coupons and thrift – even when it comes to the grocery store.

My current challenge is not only to cut this spending, but also to track it when (and if) I do slip up and get a delicious pumpkin frappe. I challenge you to do the same; pinpoint your biggest category of unnecessary spending, track it, and then desert it. Best of luck to you, (and to me)!

(L25) Budgeting

How does making a budget reduce impulse shopping?

Making a budget reduces impulse shopping and impulse buys by allowing you to exercise self-restraint in advance. Having a plan with your money causes you to be as thrifty as possible in the moment, and price compare before purchasing an item. Planning ahead also allows time to look both online and in multiple stores; this decision is a trade off between time and money that each person must make for themselves depending on how they value each commodity. Another reason budgeting is helpful for a healthy wallet is that it makes it very difficult to spend money that you do not have, which is something that many people struggle with. It is easy to swipe now, and think about what the price is later; however this can lead to serious debt and lifetime troubles.

My Monthly Budget (L35)

As I have been taught well about internet and financial privacy, I do not feel comfortable including my actual spreadsheet for this month. Although the month is obviously not over, I have been using an excel spreadsheet (through Google Docs) to track my finances for the past week. So far what I have found is that although I have no debt, I also, unfortunately, have no savings. This is going to set me back in the future, and to try and counteract this I have been offering my services to neighbors and friends as well as turning in job applications around my town. I discovered that I personally tend to budget “safely” so that there is a rare chance I will end up with debt or not be able to purchase everything I need. I like to have a big enough cash cushion in my budget to catch any small slip-up. This is a good habit, but sometimes leaves me with unaccounted for money that then ends up being wasted on petty items.

My Slightly-Shameful Finance Habits (L30)

This week in the Personal Finance course of the Ron Paul Curriculum, we covered income / expenses and how to budget / save money. Lesson 28 Specifically covered expenses, and it really shed some light on all of the times I completely screwed myself over financially.
Although I am not working right now, I have always been able to pick up side jobs here and there. Just carrying out little tasks from time to time for friends and neighbors was usually enough to keep my wallet afloat. I have never had much money to spend until in the past year or two, and so I am not quite the best at holding onto cash for long periods of time. I have no income at the moment, but that’s not to say I am lacking anything. Between shopping and outings with my grandmother and with my boyfriend, (and going through all my girlfriends clothes), there isn’t a thing in the world I need to buy!
In an attempt to start generating my own income (aside from what seemed like a hundred job applications that I filled out), I actually started up my own business less than a month ago; Love-On-Four-Legs Pet Sitting & Dog Walking. I hung up posters with pull off tabs all around the neighborhood with my email and phone call. I have no customers as of now, but I am expecting some clients as we get closer and closer to winter. People (especially older people) usually don’t so much enjoy walking their dogs in a foot or two of snow, and it will also be a chance for me to get a higher pay per dog.
In the times when I end up with 5$ 10$ in my pocket, I tend to catch myself throwing it away on small expenses, like coffee or a snack. I do realize how quickly these things add up, as well as the good it would do me to save that money, but usually I just spend it anyways. I am trying to break myself of the habit and lately I have been doing a bit better. Since last Halloween, I would say that I probably have received somewhere around 750$-850$. This is almost entirely from my birthday, holidays, and other gifts. My grandmother also gives me cash to go to the mall with my friends or to go see movies and stuff so that amounts to quite a bit. When I go see my dad sometimes he will send me home with 20$ in my pocket, (he calls it “walkin’ money” which I like, it makes me laugh. It does however have a bad tinge in the name, implying that whatever you want while you’re walking along, you should buy. In reality, what my dad really means is that he wants me to use it as a rare treat to myself, which I do not think is wrong.) Of that some odd 750$-850$ a year, I am ashamed to say I have not saved one penny. Should I either get a job (which I plan on doing within the next 6 months), or have some dogs to walk through blizzards, I plan to open a savings account and save 25% of each paycheck / payment. I will most likely put this money towards a car one day when I have my licence, or maybe towards college.
My goal right now is that I will be able to update this post in less than 6 months time with a financial improvement to share! Once I have a steady income I honestly believe that I will be able to turn my bad habits around for good.