Marathon, not a sprint (my extra monthly spending)

April 21, 2009 at 8:22 am (spending habits) ()

I have bought things  in the past few months that I haven’t budgetted for. Really, it’s not surprising. Prior to starting my debt payoff journey in October, I had spent most of last year denying myself things and saying I couldn’t possibly afford to buy things. So I didn’t!

Since December, however, along with thinking carefully about my spending habits, and being so focused on spending and saving, I realized that even though I was trying to save, there were things I really did need to purchase. So I spent lots of time researching how to extend my buying power, which is something I never used to do.

Almost every month I’ve spent an extra $200-600. In December I finally replaced my 5+ year old clunky half-broken computer ($615). In February I bought a used road bike ($200). Last month I signed up for an art class to help push my photography in new directions (tuition cost: $0 – I am doing work trade for the $630 cost). The class materials will be very high, so I expect to spend $250-300 by the time the class is over.

Mixed in with that, my art show spending has been significant. Framing costs for a show in March ($200), postcards ($50), and an upcoming show, $330 (I overspent this month due to an unexpected 15% coupon for custom framing – I’m buying everything I expected to buy during the summer now to maximize my savings) for matting for some frames I’ll be using this year. I expect this will continue to be a high expense and I have recently upped my budget to $100/month for photo spending. I should probably make it $200.

Yesterday I finally bit the bullet and ordered Photoshop CS3 for my new computer. I have a really old version, but I can’t load it on my new computer, since the OS is too fancy. I had been avoiding the purchase, since a new copy costs about $650, but now that CS4 is out, there are deals to be had. I bought a copy for $146! This is on my credit card, since I purchased it on the internet and I refuse to use a debit card there. That expense will hit the May budget.

As for future spending, the only thing I can foresee is a trip to Alaska ($300-400 max), but I’m trying not to do that to save the money (I’d like to go, but it’s more my bf’s family obligation).

Is my spending out of control? I don’t think so. I guess I look at this debt payoff journey as a long, maintainable system, rather than a sacrifice everything and live on the minimal edge to pay off debt as quickly as possible. You know, a marathon, not a sprint. I am still paying $400 extra a month on debt, beyond the minimum payments. I am going to try and bump it up to $500 this month and going forward. I still think I will beat my deadline of May 2014, but I won’t sweat it if I do it slowly.

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