Well folks, we’ve hit the month of May, which is the final month of the budget I set out back in January and the month when I get my summer semester student loan and start a new summer budget.
Here’s a re-cap of my budgeting up’s and down’s:
Fall 2008 – I receive my third student loan as a graduate student. I managed alright the previous two semesters, so I don’t really feel the need to set a budget for myself. However, at this time I am also becoming more aware of my personal style and how I want to dress. I also discover the beauty (and pain) of coupons for Ann Taylor Loft, Express and Victoria’s Secret. I buy clothes and other things, including several new pairs of shoes (since at this time I also discovered the value of Borns and Clarks). By December, my loan is shot, and I live paycheck to paycheck for several weeks, only spending money to get groceries and pay bills. Enter my New Year’s Resolution, which was to set a budget and control my shopping.
January 2009 – I consider the value of buying quality items and buying fewer items (still a philosophy I hold to ). I go through a very methodical process of figuring out how much money I have total for the semester, what expenses are certain and necessary, and how much I have for the non-necessities. I create nice pretty spreadsheets, because that’s just the way my brain works. Then I spend $200 buying my beloved Fluevogs, pushing myself way over budget for the month, and back-slide. I vow to be more responsible.
February 2009 – Partially because it is the shortest month of the year, and partially because of birthday cash, I didn’t go over budget this month. I got several new items, many of them thrifted, and enjoyed having new things in my wardrobe.
March 2009 – I went over budget again, mostly because: a) I had to pay taxes b) I had to buy new glasses. I spent some time reflecting, gave myself some shopping challenges, and spent some more time reflecting on lessons learned.
April 2009 – I create some new shopping guidelines for myself to help me control my spending. However, I’ve only really shopped once since then, partially from being busy, but mainly because I have used up the loan (again). I’ve also been learning to love what I already have, and have been embracing the challenge of working with the wardrobe I already have, as well as creating pieces from scratch for it.
So that’s leading up to now. I’m spending some time reflecting and getting ready to prepare my budget for the summer, which will be somewhat different. The summer semester is shorter, but it’s also my last, so I will need to be preparing for interviews, which includes some grooming (hello manicures!) and some work wardrobe shopping. My shopping guidelines will remain in place, but I’m modifying them to allow for buying shoes at the mall and having one (or two) outlet mall trips. Stay tuned!