So budgeting wise, I kind of screwed up in the month of May. I don’t regret it, but I learned a lot about how I spend. Part of what pushed me over was buying my new Fiorenzas, which I don’t regret. But a lot of other aspects fueled my overspending as well.
One: Restraining myself for too long leads to massive over-spending. I started the month with hardly any money, just enough for groceries and bills really. Then I got my summer student loan, and suddenly the floodgates opened, and all I wanted to do was spend money. There were also lots of things I had been putting off, like dry cleaning, alterations, hair cut, new clothes, etc, and they added up.
Two: Stress makes me spend more money. I had my comprehensive exams and my teacher certification exam in the middle of May, right when I got my loan. During the exams, I was buying lots of vanilla lattes at book stores while I studied, and did a bit of stress relieving shopping. After I was done with them, I still felt somewhat stressed out so I shopped some more.
Three: Being out of the house makes me spend money. While my exams were going on, we were also having a dying tree removed from our yard, which meant lots of loud machinery, not exactly a study environment. Being out of the house so much, I couldn’t always bring my lunch, and thus I spent more.
So yeah, I went over, but at least I learned something and I’m not in a desperate money situation (yet). May ended my first budget season, so now I’m making one for June, July and August. I’m hoping that I will have a job as a media specialist beginning in August, but since that isn’t a guarantee, I’ve worked my budget so that my loan should last me through that month. I took out a little extra for this semester, so that I would have some money to buy clothes for interviews. I’ve set a separate, $1000 budget for this and other interview related expenses, like getting a hair cut, buying some new makeup (as I’m almost out), etc.
For my regular budget, I’m keeping it similar to how I had it before, with some slight tweaks. I’m up-ing the amount that I’m allowed to spend on groceries, because I find great joy in cooking, and trying new recipes is good for my health and well-being. Also, I want to start participating in a local organic vegetable delivery program, which will cost a bit more than buying at the grocery store, but will be much better quality and support a small, local business.
Because this budget period is a bit shorter than the last one, I’m also raising the amount I’m allowed to spend on non-necessities from $400 to $500 a month. I think this will help me feel less deprived, which will keep me from rebelling and over-spending.
I’m creating loose guidelines for my non-necessities, non-interview prep budget:
Guidelines for non-necessities budget:
- Shop at thrift, consignment, outlet stores and online primarily
- Items that can be bought elsewhere: shoes, undies, hosiery, gym clothes, hair accessories
- Focus on professional and summer wardrobe
- Work on filling wardrobe gaps
I’m not completely outlawing shopping at malls or non-thrift stores, but I’d like to focus on re-discovering my love of thrifting. I think that full-on outlawing buying anything new would not be good for me right now, as I would start feeling deprived, and then over-spend anyhow. Also, with my recent discovery of stores that have items that really resonate with me, like Anthropologie, J. Crew and Ann Taylor LOFT, I’d rather not have a complete ban at this time.
So we’ll see how it goes!