Thursday, May 10, 2012

In the beginning ...

Let's be real, I've never really ever had money. I grew up poor. I went to college. I learned how to live on a budget. Now, at 24, I'm spending more than I should.

Guys, I'm tired of always being broke.

I work full-time as a pre-school teacher, but it's certainly not making me rich. As my co-workers like to say, "it's a job of the heart." I cringe every time I have to pay my bills. I die a little bit inside every time I dream about traveling.

One day as I religiously searched Craigslist for better paying jobs (that I'm actually qualified for), I realized that I do like my job in all reality. My kids are rockstars, I don't work weekends and I get paid holidays.

So, I was stuck in between a rock and hard place: quit my job and make a living, or do what I love. I realized something had to change, but it wasn't necessarily my career path.

What needed to change were my spending habits.

I'm a creature of pleasure. I have a hard time saying no to fun. I don't like worrying about money. However, it's time for me to suck it up and start living within my means.

After calculating my monthly expenses and my income, I realized I should be saving more money than I am. Where was all my extra money going? Answer: stupid shit like booze and restaurants.

Epiphany! If I stopped spending money on a whim, I'd have more to save for things like traveling and special occasions.

So, I set a goal. I will try to live on ten dollars a day. (This is with bills like rent, insurance, credit card and cell phone aside. I had already factored these costs into my income.)

Honestly, it's not something I'm super excited about. On the other hand, I figured if I made it public, it would be more like a game. If I put it out there, I would have to be more accountable than only answering to myself. (I'm really good at talking myself out of sticking to goals.)

So, here's the plan ...

I'm keeping a notepad in my purse at all times to keep track of how much money I spend each day. In one week, I've allowed myself to spend $70 on superficial shit. I will try to spend ten dollars or less a day, but the ultimate goal is that I'm not spending more than $70 a week.

This is a total experiment, so bare with me. I'm hoping that even though I may absolutely hate it at first, it will just become a part of everyday life.

Here's my week so far:

1. Mon 5/7/12: $6.06 at Fred Meyer for snacks to pull me through an all-day teacher training. (+$3.94)
2. Tues 5/8/12: $6.35 miscellaneous convenient store junk. (+$3.65)
3. Wed 5/9/12: $4.78 for art project supplies at Goodwill and two sodas for movie night with a girlfriend. (+$5.12)
4. Thurs 5/10/12: $7.94 for lunch and much needed Red Bulls for my co-teacher and I. (+$2.06)

Maybe it's the new excitement of my project, or maybe I can really do this, but so far I'm not in the red. We'll see what weekend debauchery brings.

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