Budgeting Lessons Learned in March



  • Always take a calculator with you when you shop.  It’s amazing how a quick trip to Target can turn into a $90 expenditure.  Adding up prices on your calculator as you add them to your cart helps you reconsider whether you really need the item.
  • If you go over budget, keep writing down what you spend.  The worst thing you can do is decide that sense you’ve already broken your budget, you’re entitled to a spending free-for-all (which is what happened to me in January).
  • Carry a notebook to write down cash purchases or hold onto receipts and tally them at the end of the day.  Small cash purchases can add up very quickly and it’s the easiest area to cheat in.
  • Buy quality items that will get lots of use and fill your needs now.  Yes, I could get a great deal on sweaters and knee-high boots right now, but I wouldn’t get to wear them until October.  At this point, it’s better for me to buy for the season I’m currently in.  When I have a better set of staples and a fuller wardrobe, then it will be time to buy off season.
  • Never punish yourself for buying something that you love.  And don’t beat yourself up if you fail.  Just forgive yourself and start from scratch next month.
  • I’ve found that with this budget, I have a bad tendency to overspend the first few weeks of the month, control myself and barely spend anything the last few weeks, then go crazy again when the new month starts.  I have to work on controlling that.
  • Just because something is on sale or you have a coupon doesn’t mean you have to buy it.  Point in case: LOFT’s Out with the old, save on the new sale.  Yes, I love the idea of it and I think it was a wonderful promotion.  But did I really need to get a new pair of black pants?  Yes, they are lovely, flattering and made of cotton/spandex so they don’t violate my polyester rule.  And yes, I got fifteen dollars off of them.  But, with my limited budget, did I really need them now?  I’m not so sure.
  • Beware of going into a store “just to look around”.
  • Learn to play with the toys you have.  Take advantage of what’s already in your closet.  Challenge yourself to work with what you’ve got.  If you’re crafty, spend your free time sewing or knitting new outfits (with fabric and yarn you already paid for) instead of going out and spending more money you don’t have.
  • Record everything:  your budget will suffer if you cheat.  I didn’t record that $70 I had to pay in taxes.  I didn’t record spending money on new glasses.  Yes, these weren’t typical purchases, but they are still taking money out of the total I have available.  Not recording them is only fooling me into thinking I have more than I do

About Diana

Style maven, knitter, crafter, seamstress, one who does not walk the beaten path.
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2 Responses to Budgeting Lessons Learned in March

  1. ambika says:

    I swear, knowing how to make things has made such a *huge* difference in my spending. Not only because I can tell when something is poorly constructed (ie: ill-fitting lining, uneven seams) regardless of the price, but because when it’s as simple as a shift dress, I really do know I can’t justify the cost.


  2. Pingback: Spring Budget Update « Simple Elegance

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