(photo by me)
I had a very unpleasant realization about money yesterday: I have lost my ability to control how I spend. I started off this semester with a $4000 student loan and a bi-weekly paycheck from my graduate assistantship. As of today, I have only about $100 in my bank account. Total. And about $10 left on my credit card. How did I let this happen? I have discovered a weakness I have: when there is more money in my account, I spend more than I normally would. Some things that I buy I may really need, like a nice pair of shoes for work. And yet, I really didn’t need so many clothes and whatever that I used up my entire loan.
I had tried to create a spending and crafting plan to save money for a pair of Fluevogs last month. According to that plan, I have hypothetically saved $300 towards my Fluevogs. And yet, when they went on sale last week for $200, I didn’t have that much money in my account. So, while the plan sounded like a good idea, it needs some tweaking. Because even though the idea was to knit, sew and alter stuff so that I wouldn’t shop as much, I still went shopping every time I had a paycheck. Even this week, when I realized how tight my money was, I couldn’t resist utilizing some coupons for Express and some extra money I had received for some photography work. Couple that with the fact that I wasn’t paying attention to what payments had gone through on my account, and I overdrafted. My bank account has overdraft protection, so I wasn’t penalized, but still.
My realization is that I have to learn to manage my money again. I will be posting more about my plan around New Year’s, since my resolution is to learn how to control my spending. I’m going to set up a budget so that I can make it through the semester and I’m going to tweak my spending/crafting plan so that I can actually save money for essential wardrobe items. I’m going to learn to think through my purchases more carefully instead of rushing to the mall every time I get a ten dollar off coupon. I’ve developed an addiction to buying clothes, and I have to learn to control that before I go completely broke.