Each month we reflect on our financial lives because it helps us be more intentional with our financial well-being. We hope that by opening up the conversation, we can break down the social stigma around talking about money. Check out the rest of the series here.
May was a rough month financially, so at the end of the month, I resolved to tighten my wallet for June. What do I do at the beginning of June? Buy a $20.41 ticket for a food truck festival. *facepalm*
This month, I am not going to list out my expenses. I have a lot of feels after 3 months of tracking my expenses, and I want to spend this post talking about them. Don’t worry, I will be listing out my expenses once again next month if you’re curious on how I’m spending.
How did I create the $650 budget?
Honestly, I pulled the number out of my butt. It’s not realistic to my lifestyle, so starting next month I am giving myself a budget of $800 (post rent and utilities), even though the data says that I spend closer to $1,000.
Why are you even budgeting?
Some people can do okay with not budgeting because they really don’t spend money outside of the necessities. On the other hand, I feel like I should budget because I can and do spend money more mindlessly, and want to make sure that that doesn’t get out of hand. I have tried many different times and many different ways on how to budget, and I haven’t found a method that has worked for me yet. My hope is that with all this expense tracking data that I can find a budget style that suits me.
I had a list of action items from May 2017 – did I do them?
- Paying off all credit card balances at once: Nope. I did it for 3 out of 5 credit cards, and there’s a reason why. I have other upcoming expenses, and I want to take care of those first before paying off all my credit card balances before it is necessary. NOTE: I do not carry leftover balances (i.e. no credit card debt). DO NOT carry leftover balances or just pay the minimum amount each month – those credit card interest rates will eat you up alive!
- 10% of paycheck in savings and 5% in other accounts: Nope.
What have you learned about money this month?
Money is personal for everyone.
- People should start thinking price tags as value – will you get enough value out of whatever you are buying for that price? I could Uber every weekend and still be financially okay. I don’t do that though because I would feel like a wastrel when there are cheaper alternatives and the only difference is the amount of time spent getting to my destination. I never feel like I’m wasting time on public transportation because I listen to podcasts and learn new things – that’s value to me.
- It is very easy to compare and contrast how you versus others spend money. There is no right or wrong way because how people treat money is dependent on their situation, experiences, and feelings. I have violated this before with one of my best friends. I said to her, “You say you don’t have money, but all I see is you buying stuff from Forever 21!” I shouldn’t have said that because (1) she’s not spending my money, so why does it matter to me, and (2) just because I wouldn’t buy Forever 21 clothes and would rather invest in quality clothing, who gave me the audacity to act all hoity-toity and judge her?
Of course, there are caveats. If someone close to you is spending ridiculous amounts of money that is threatening their livelihood, I think you could say something about it and leave it at that. Like the saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” The only way your loved one will really change is if they feel as though they hit rock bottom and must change.
What have you learned about yourself financially throughout the past 3 months?
- If I go too long without checking the balances in my accounts, my brain flashes an alert warning that reads, “WARNING: BEWARE OF UNNECESSARY SPENDING!” Then I get real iffy if I feel like I’m spending extraneously. I’m glad that I have this defense mechanism though because it does keep my wallet in check.
- I am more respectful of other people and their relationship with money. There was a time when I thought one of my friends was being cheap because she countered my invite to go eat at a restaurant with make dinner at her place. I didn’t think about her and her financial situation at all. I didn’t think about how she makes less than I do and places even more thought than I do into getting value out of what she spends. Nowadays, I get excited whenever we make meals together because I get to hang out with her without any sort of ill feelings related to money, we always make a delicious multiple-course meal, I never go home hungry, and it’s all done without stretching my wallet.
- I put lots of focus on my short-term financial life, and not enough on my long-term financial life. This is going to be my focus for July 2017.
What is in store for July 2017?
- Going to pay for one of my classes in the MicroMasters program I am taking ($350).
- Going to put 10% of paycheck in savings and 5% in other accounts at the first opportunity.
- Finding a new apartment with the criteria to spend less than $800 on monthly base rent.
- Understand what the heck is my savings and IRAs are up to, and my financial goals.
- Figure out how to increase my salary because I am rolling off my rotational program very soon.
Small financial victory of June 2017: Decrease Spotify payments from $5 to $3!
If you need a little motivation to start your own financial cleanse:
- 10 Quick Easy Tips to Save Money – I am totally embodying #1 and #2 right now!
- 20-somethings say the scariest parts of adulthood are financial
- You Can Afford to Travel from Hey Nadine (YouTube) – Nadine is starting a series where she talks about ways to save money to travel. Many of the points she lists are things that I’ve thought about before, but I’m still excited for this series!
- 23 Ways to Save $300 in 3 Months
- Basics of Investing from The Society of Grownups
Let me know in the comments below if you enjoyed this post, what you’re trying to figure out financially, or anything else!
Check out other posts in our Money on Our Mind series!