I've been trying all January to get my budget under control.
Actually, my budget is quite impressive. It's got categories, subcategories and all sorts of columns that balance out at the bottom. (I didn't graduate with an accounting diploma for nothing.)
It's the spending that's the problem.
For the first few weeks, I mentally tallied what I was spending and wasn't very successful. $10 here, $15 there... $8 lunches most weekdays... the money was slipping away.
So, two weeks ago I bit the bullet and removed the MasterCard from my wallet. I decided to take $200 out of the bank each Sunday. The aim is to stay within $200/week. This includes everything except for mortgage, taxes, utilities or insurance. So, food, pet, cat, fun... everything else needs to fit within that budget. When the $200 for the week is gone, the spending has to stop. For me, this method works. I see the money in my wallet. I see the amount going down and I think twice before I spend more.
Is that cute pair of shoes really worth eating Rice Crispies for dinner every night this week? Questions like this will (hopefully) help me stay on track.
The first week in, I had $17 left. After the second week, I had $78 left over. This is good, because I then screwed up at the bank.
This week, I paid my bills, set aside enough for $200/week until the next pay day, and used the balance to pay down the house fund. Except, I was looking at January's calendar, not February. I missed counting a whole week - including a mortgage payment - before my next payday. I emptied the account without setting anything aside for that week.
I could borrow the money from another account, but I decided to see how far I can stretch a dollar. So, for the next couple of weeks, I've got $78.
And at lunch hour today, I went out and spent $42 on cat food.
Methinks this is going to be a tough couple of weeks.
Rice Crispies anyone?