Last check-in, I decided on a few things: 1) the super-frugal lifestyle is not for me (so I increased my spending limit); and 2) a detailed budget sucks (so I decided to go with the ‘anti-budget’ a la Paula Pant). How did I make out?
Where my money went October 4th – 18th:
- $36.01 Coffee. A lot of coffee. Usually I would bring my own coffee to work. It’s almost like my brain said ‘I have an anti-budget so I’m gonna buy coffee that I normally wouldn’t buy, and I will have lots of money left for everything else that I normally wouldn’t buy’… groan.
- $185.41: Groceries
- $56.32: Restaurants. 3 lunches out to be exact.
- $74.52: Hair
- $67.41: Makeup
- $124.88: Entertainment
- $68.24: Gas
For a total of $612.79 which is $87.79 over budget. Except, I didn’t really have this ‘budget’ to begin with. My plan was to spend $525 on whatever I wanted, but to do this, I had to kick up the side hustle. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen.
So, I used my credit card. Again.
Have I learned anything? Maybe? First, the anti-budget requires you to have money to spend (duh). Second, I already know that bad habits are hard to kick. I spent money on a bunch of things I didn’t need: coffee, hair and make-up was $178 of my spending (!?!?!). I could have cut back on restaurants, groceries and entertainment too.
But, I didn’t. (I also put ‘struggle’ in my blog title for a reason.)
Where my money is going October 18th – November 1st:
- $305 to my credit card to cover last week’s overspending.
- $460: CC payment which includes an annual fee. Yes, I have a card with an annual fee (cause the points were gonna be worth it! 🤦). You may judge me harshly.
- Other fixed costs
- Emergency fund: $1,025.90 which is no change.
- Debt: –$32, 947 which is $3,205 down since my first blog post in June, and $6,539 paid off (and kept off) since January.
Plan for the next 2-weeks.
I was listening to Afford Anything’s recent podcast on building incredible habits. It got me thinking that my biggest problem is that I’m focused on outcomes (spending less, saving more, paying off my debt) instead of the habits I need to accomplish these things. And every two-weeks (after I’ve failed) I come up with new fan-dangled ways that I’m gonna reach my goals, and then I beat myself up when I don’t stick to the new plan. Cause ya know, change is easy.
If you haven’t listened to that episode, you should. James Clear gives great examples like ‘no one cares about a guy who ate chicken and salad for lunch, but they love a headline that says he lost 100lbs’ (or something like this). The only way I’m going to become a ‘saver’ is to do what savers do. I need to act like the person who has no debt. These people probably do not spend $178 on coffee, hair and makeup. If I’m going to make money through a side-hustle, I need to do what side-hustlers do, which probably includes carving out time to work on the side hustle (rocket science, I know).
In my defense, I have already started to build good habits, like tracking my spending and not retail or online shopping. I have also started to break bad habits, like using credit to pay for purchases (yes, I have slipped, but still doing much better!). So, my homework for the next two weeks is to:
- cut myself some slack (cause really, I HAVE paid off $6,500 in debt this year… something I have not been able to do my entire adult life);
- keep up the habits I’ve already started (or stopped);
- do some research into the habits of savers and side-hustlers and identify some habits that I can add to my routine; and
- remember that I wont’ reach FI over night, but if I stick to it, I will get there!