Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January Budget Summary (and Happy 1 Month!)

Wow, today marks one month of blogging! It's been a great month. The blog helps keep personal finance on my mind constantly, which is awesome because there’s still so much more I need/want to learn! Not only that, I learned a lot about blogging and social networking, too.

Remember that I mentioned setting a non-discretionary spending budget of $100 a month earlier? Well, the results are in: drum roll, please...I spent $116.11. Not a total success, but not a complete fail, either. I felt so guilty for spending more than a quarter of my budget less than a week after setting it that I returned something I bought in December.

I think January is an especially hard month because of all of the temptations involved. I cannot begin to count the number of stores that had items marked off at more than 50% off. I gave in a bought a pair of black jeans ($21.62 at Banana Republic) and a month of group fitness training + nutrition advise for $37. They’re both very good deals, I must admit, but going out of my way to seek discounts due the small budget can be dangerous. Sometimes, I end up wanting to buy more simply because it’s a good deal.

Needless to say, it’s been a hard adjustment. I think setting my budget so low made me ultra-aware of what I do with each dime. It’s a good thing. I had never tracked my spending so closely before. When I first set my goal, I found an app on Android called “Droid Wallet.” It allows me to set a budget and log every penny. I can also make note of the spending category and make charts to analyze that data (nerdy, I know!). Here’s the breakdown: 49.51% went to food, including $15.55 on coffee. 31.87% went to the one month fitness training deal, and 18.62% of it paid for the black jeans.

Looking at this, I already know that I should be careful with group buying sites and not purchase anything unless something I NEED and would have bought for full price. Otherwise, more than 30% of my budget can disappear in one click. The $100 budget will stay the same, but this month, I’m also going to work on pacing myself. I’ll try not to shell out too much $$ in the beginning of the month, so I’ll have more left at the end. I’m hoping to fare better in February. As always, I’ll keep you posted. Wish me luck!


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