Update on last 3 months

October 22, 2009 at 2:42 pm (spending habits)

I have gotten off-track the last 2 months, not having paid anything extra towards debt in August or September. But I’m making up this month with a relative vengeance. Oh, and my current debt totals are up to date on the side-bar.

August I bought a semi-expensive digital camera for $600 and went on a mini-vacation/photo trip to Montana. Spent about $1200 total including film (much of it left over), food, motels, and of course, gas! I used part of my (previously paid-off) Personal Line of Credit to pay for this, partially to keep the account active so they wouldn’t cancel it or reduce the limit.

September saw me buying some clothes. I *finally* found a winter coat I liked; I’ve been looking for 3 years. Grand total, $311. I didn’t quite have that money in my mini-funds, so most of it is being paid off by me not paying towards my debt.

October didn’t start so well. My boyfriend had a big birthday. A friend made plans to go to a nearby city and have a big weekend (plans made and agreed upon between them, before I even got involved). I couldn’t not go, and truth be told I wanted to, but staying in an expensive hotel, going out to eat/drink all throughout the weekend, and the gas, completely didn’t help. Since it was the beginning of October, it falls into my September budget (which goes through Oct. 5, the day I get my first Oct. paycheck). So the crashing and burning only went for 2 months, and didn’t get extended into October! Small mercies, right?

Which brings us to this month. I lost a full paycheck day to being sick (my sick leave is now kaput) with a nasty 5-day flu. There are some short 10-day paycheck periods coming up, and I am trying to hoard my vacation time (it’s now about 36 hours). I have been trying to keep from going food-shopping all the time. That has been a downfall in the past. You know, the quick trip to pick up one item that turns into like 5-10, and that $5 purchase balloons into $30. A few extra of these every week and Whoa! Nelly! What a huge ding on your food budget. Well, at least that’s how it works at my house.

So I’ve been sticking with the food I have purchased. I tend to get bored with the same food over and over, but it’s a habit I’m trying to deal with. I ran out of goat cheese. Rather than go to Costco to buy more (it goes great on salads), I’ve been doing without. I’ve been making a little bag of baby cukes go into 4 side dishes rather than go buy something new. I’ve been foraging out of our p-patch garden for things. If I’m out of fresh bread, I use crackers as a snack instead. So far this month it’s been working really well. It’s something I definitely need to keep on top of regularly however.

I’ve also been curtailing the restaurant spending at night and cooking at home. I haven’t gone out for lunch in quite some time. I did buy a bunch of cheap frozen meals < $3.50, which I supplement with a piece of fruit, oatmeal as a mid-morning breakfast, nuts, that kind of thing. I still get a hot chocolate or other coffee beverage, but that’s really gotten cut down. I do this maybe 2-3 times max per week. I wish I could cut this more, but I’m at least going out less to coffee shops on the weekend. Coffee at home has definitely been the savior.

So I’m getting back on track. I avoided tracking money since I was doing so badly at saving the last 2 months, but I’ve at least gotten everything put into my excel spreadsheet. I’m doing really good this month! I’m proud of myself. Now, if I can only keep on track. Where are my blinders?

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