We all know it takes time and effort to form new habits and just as much work (or more) to break them. I have been working at debt reduction for 108 days. So far, I really have done well, but sooner or later I was gonna slip up. Well, that time has come.
Where my money went September 20th – October 4th:
- $99.80 Gas
- $226.41 Groceries
- $88.14 Restaurants
- $44.61 Gift
- $99.56 Entertainment
For a total of $558.52 which is $168.92 over budget…. but wait, it gets worse.
Last check-in, I was talkin’ all big about how my new goal was to put $775 (almost half my take home pay) on debt every 2 weeks.
Well, this won’t be happening today because over the month of September, I broke my rule and used my credit card.
Where my money is going October 4th – 18th :
- $778: credit card payment… all to cover new charges (mostly hotel and food costs associated with unplanned travel); not a penny toward existing debt.
- $25: Emergency fund. I know I have reached my $1000 goal, but this makes me feel better. A tiny bit of redemption in the over-spending-Apocalypse that was September 2018.
- other fixed costs
- Emergency fund: $1025.90 ( check that out, an extra $0.58 in interest #winning)
- Debt: –$33, 200 which is the exact same amount as last check-in. Still a total of $2,952 down since my first blog post in June, and over $6,285 paid off (and kept off) since January.
Before I get into my budget for the next two weeks, I think it’s fair to have a look at how things have been going so far…
- My 10-year average spending pattern was $450/week ($900/pay period). In addition to spending over 40% of my income on housing, I was cycling my debt living this way… always making monthly debt payments, but then putting the same amount back onto a credit card.
- After reducing my housing costs last year and almost eliminating my interest fees through balance transfers, I’ve been focused on killing my debt by cutting my spending in half to about $225/week (450/pay), but I have managed to only cut back to about $300/week ($600/pay). At this rate, I will not reach my debt repayment goals by June 2020.
My options are to:
- Work even harder to get my spending in check (UGH)
- I know this is possible, but… I DON’T WANT TO! I like buying gifts for people, and going for lunch, and concerts, and travel and wine. I love wine- I’m sure you’ve figured that out. I don’t think the super frugal lifestyle is for me (except thrift shopping… the no-retail rule is working really well)… I guess you could call me ‘moderately frugal’?
- Allow an increase in my budget to $300/week (which is more in-line with my lifestyle) by adding an extra 6-months to my debt-free target.
- I really don’t want to increase my debt-free target though. I think if I change it now, I will easily change it again in a few months, and then again, and again, and before you know it, I will still be $40,000 in debt when I’m 80. Booo.
- Make more money so I can spend more money, and still hit my targets.
What ever shall I do?
Go half way.
I’m bumping my budget up to $525/2weeks and I WILL sell 1 chair by next check-in to make it possible, AND also finish another chair so it will be ready to sell.
I am very bad at sticking to a detailed budget (even though a few weeks ago, I was convinced that what I needed was a better plan). So, this time around, I’m going with Paula Pant’s anti-budget:
- Decide how much I want to save (for this week, it’s $800 as per above)
- Pull this off the top.
- Relax about the rest (so I will damn well spend my $525 on whatever I want until it’s gone). 😄
See you October 18th!