Tuesday night, J. Felby Felb and I went to a budget seminar that our credit union was having. I went into it feeling okay about where we were as adults in the money world, but came out realizing that we still have a long way to go.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m much better now with money than I was even three years ago. We’re both tracking things better with an online spreadsheet, and we’re putting some money into savings. We’ve been working on the credit thing, moreso on my end, and so I’ve been good about paying bills and communicating with the payees if something’s going to be late.
We both really like our gadgets and our travel though, and we don’t always make the right choice when it comes to saying “no” to something we want. On top of that, our default setting is “lazy.” Sure, we go to the gym and Jon walks to school and work, but when it comes to meals, we eat out way too much and rarely pack lunches.
Though I know all this stuff eats into extra money we could be saving, I don’t normally sweat it because I’m still fresh off the days when I couldn’t always make rent, and if rent is made and bills are paid, I’m feeling good. But this seminar was very much a reminder that even though times are good and we’re doing okay on a paycheck to paycheck basis, we’re not prepared for any sort of emergency.
I know with some work and commitment we could save more money. We’ve actually been doing better with making meals at home, and we’ve been shopping more at Aldi because our grocery bill is way cheaper than when we shop elsewhere (though we go with Hy-Vee fruit because I love my fresh fruit).
I’m the one with the spending issues because I see shinies and I want them. That can come to a stop. We may also need to limit our travel, and I think I need to really do some research into whether or not I need to keep my AFLAC insurance and some other monthly amenities, like Gamefly and renter’s insurance*.
When we move to our new apartment we’ll be paying utilities for the first time in three years, so it’ll be shorter showers and lights out to keep costs to a minimum. Eating in and packing lunches will be more important**. We’re also going to have to pack our breakfasts, because our gym memberships are things we want to keep (it’s the only way I’ll get any exercise). I can see myself wanting to fall back on fast food and protein shakes more often than I should.
While I’ll try to find ways to save and I’ll put money into savings as regularly as I can, I’m not entirely sure I’m going to sit down with the pen and paper and work out a budget. I know myself and I know that sticking to something like that has never been my forte***.
Like other things in my life, I have to avoid the all or nothing mentality and stick to the small changes and moderation attitude. That doesn’t mean I can’t get ideas from other places, so if anyone has any cool money saving tips, please shoot them my way.
*It’s not a requirement in the new place, and I was going to drop it, but lately, all those “what if” thoughts have been nagging me.
**Seriously, packing a lunch isn’t that hard, but for some reason it feels like a huge thing to do.
***It’s why I had to give up on dieting and hardcore exercise routines. I get bored easy and then just give up.
PS: I realized after this was written that I may have sounded kind of entitled and douchey. That’s not my intent at all. I know that we have it easier than some and harder than others. My point was really that I should probably get my own personal adulthood in order.
2 thoughts on “Budgeting 102”
Thanks for the article. Budgeting is something I am struggling with. I started using an Excel spreadsheet and that was alright. Then I found out about Mint.com. I love it. It makes budgeting and setting goals fun.
Thanks for the comment! Our institution doesn’t utilize Mint.com, but they are getting ready to roll out a budgeting and tracking tool for the customers, so I’m pretty excited about that.