Monday, March 08, 2010

Monthly Progress Report…

Below is where I am compared to my budget. It’s close. I don’t know if I am going to make it but I am going to try really hard. The chart does not include the $149 I paid at the Dentist last week because that I reimbursable. I expect to receive a check by the end of the month.

The extra $136 in credit card payment is a holdover from when I was using my credit cards. I use one credit card where AT&T charges my phone, cell phone, cable and internet and my home security gets charged on the card as well. I pay the card off in full each month as part of my utility payment. So there is no extra balance on that card now.

I am finding that my transportation costs are a lot higher these days with gas prices, the additional networking which requires parking downtown, taxi rides, etc. My boyfriend also lives in the City so if I stay with him on any given night, I have to drive in to work the next day which means I also have to use one of my $18 parking passes. I try not to do that more than once or twice a month.

I am over on gifts as well and my best friend’s birthday is on March 25th.


Aaren said...

Comments: 1) It looks like you need to increase your food amount. Between food/dining and groceries, you're already at 57% of your budgeted amount, and we're only 8 days in. February wasn't any better for you. BTW, I know you've gone out and all, but that's a pretty high amount for 8 days--$21.50/day.

2) If you don't shop, maybe you can use that $50 allotment for your best friends' birthday.

3) Your budget doesn't have to be the same every month. You know your mom and best friend have birthdays in March (not to mention your assistant); why would you limit your budget to only $50 KNOWING you were going to go over it? My boyfriend's birthday is in August, so my debt repayment goes down in June and July so I can pay cash for whatever we do in August. Budgets need to be flexible, because life doesn't remain the same every month. This isn't to excuse purchasing whatever you want, but most of my birthdays are at the end of the year. I have a really strict budget for the first six months, and then I loosen the purse strings A LITTLE for the second half. Try to find that balance for yourself, so you don't feel that the budgets not working for you.

Chitown said...

Hi Aaren,

I understand where you're coming from but there is a finite amount each month and my committed expenses are 89% of my gross monthly income. That leaves about $600 leftover. It should really be just $400/month because I reduced my 5% 401k contribution to 1%. I divide that $600 as follows:

Food & Dining: $200
Grocery/Household: $100
Personal Care: $100
Miscellaneous/Irregular: $50
Entertainment: $50
Clothing/Dry Cleaning: $50
Gifts: $50

I cut back on my weekly hair appointments and learned how to do my own hair. That went from $200/month to $50/month. I still go every 4 weeks to get my ends clipped and my hair conditioned. This is something I cannot do on my own and my hair is well past my shoulders.

I spent an extra $50 last week because I bought the pizza to celebrate my Mom's birthday for the entire family. My sister and I were supposed to split it but I ended up paying for the entire amount. I didn't really say anything to her about it because she and my brother in law paid for my dinner a few weeks ago and often pick up the bill when I eat out with them. My Mom usually cooks even on her birthday but this year she decided she didn't want to do anything. She shouldn't have to cook on her birthday if she doesn't want to. Since it fell on a weekday, cooking was out of the question so we went for pizza. I don't get home until 6:30 most nights from work.

There is no doubt that I need additional income and that my committed expenses are too high. I should probably change my witholdings since I get a sizable tax return each year. I would do that only if I put the additional money towards my 401k contribution to get it back to 5%. My company matches 100% up 5% so I am giving away free money and I feel bad about that for sure.

I simply have to rely on savings to pick up the slack each month. This is the first year I will get the chance to use savings instead of debt.

I am hoping for an increase next month and I am actively looking for a higher paying position. In the meantime, I just try to do what I can.

My monthly debt payments account for 21% of my total committed expenses each month of 89%. I am very ashamed of my financial state but I am trying to get my house in order. My budget is just a framework. I do try to come under in categories when I can hoping that it will make up for spending more in other areas.


Aaren said...

What the hell are you ashamed about? Would you like me to tell you about Citibank suing me when I was 20 and me going into CCCS, paying them off early, running cards back up to the tune of $11,000 (do you have any idea how much shower gel and lotion I had), my parents bailing me out, then running them BACK up to the tune of almost $15,000, which I'm trying to pay off now? That's my credit card life in a nutshell, lol. And you've got more guts than me, cuz I'll be a monkey's uncle if I blog about it!!

All I'm saying is that if you know expenses need to be a little higher in one month, like March, then maybe you cut out the clothes for the month to compensate. Your income is finite, and your expenses have to match it. That's true now, it was true when you were making $54k, and it'll be true when you're making more. Be a little more flexible with yourself, and give yourself a break already! Acknowledging our past misdeeds is the first step to moving beyond--at least, that's what I tell myself :D.

Chitown said...

Thanks Aaren for that verbal slap...I think I needed it and LOL at "monkey's uncle." You had me cracking up literally.

I am going to try to be more positive. I don't buy clothes these days. The budget is just for dry cleaning so I am going to try holding off on anything unecessary this month.

lol...that was too funny.

Anonymous said...

can I ask why you are putting bills on credit card, can you set it up so that all payments come out of the account your salary gets paid into.

Also, you cant afford 50 bucks on pizza or 20 bucks on a present, im not saying that you should ignore people's birthdays, but scale it back. A bottle of wine or a bunch of flowers, its the thought you know. You need to go into boot camp for a while. Remember that convenience and obligation will drain your purse.

Re the cutting of hair 50 bucks is a lot for a trim, have you thought of getting your boyfriend to whack the ends of with a hairdressing scissors, or are there any local hairdressings schools near by where you could get hair cut for free?

Like I said its bootcamp.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to add that the small amounts do really add up.

Chitown said...

Okay...I am not letting my boyfriend within an inch of my hair with scissors. LOL

I will however scale back my presents. That is something I have already talked with my family about and they are on board. We're all kind of struggling with now so there is understanding.

I didn't plan to spend $50 on pizza at all. Trust me.

Thinking of this as boot camp is a great idea. I am officially enrolling. =)