Oh, how I hate the “b” word…. and no, not that “b” word, but what I consider the worst “b” word of all – budget.
With this summer in full swing, the large expenses I have coming up are already looming above my head – a Taylor Swift concert in July, a hotel room for the weekend down the shore with my best friend, a possible cruise next summer, first semester books, sorority dues, and something left over for spending money. I managed to get a little too debit card happy my first year at college spending so much on Alpha Delta Pi t-shirts, late night Dominoes, and feeding into my Alex and Ani obsession. Everything adds up super fast – and now I’m spending at least 30 hours a week at CVS as a photo technician trying to save up some money for everything ahead. Yet before I go out for another manicure, froyo run, and aimless drive with the sunroof down and music up wasting gas money, I decided I need to be making smarter monetary choices. This is why, the time has come, that I, Sami, put myself on…..a budget.
There are 3 set rules I have for putting myself on a budget, as well as an extra tip to save some money.
My budget rules are:
1. Set a limit on eating out! For me, a huge part of my unnecessary spending in the summer goes to eating out! One of my favorite things to do with my best friend is to go out to eat. If we ever can’t decide what to do, we always just decide to go out to get something to eat – whether it be just a quick froyo run or eating a three course meal at a restaurant. Then, when we do decide to go to a restaurant, we always want to try to go somewhere different and end up wasting so much gas money. I have decided that I will only go out to eat once a week (and that includes a froyo run). Also, when I am out, I am only going to limit what I get – a small milk shake can save me a few bucks verses a medium. By reducing the amount that you eat out, your wallet -and waist line! – will thank you.
2. Set aside a certain amount of week for gas! Another way that I waste my money is in my gas tank. It only takes about $40 or so to fill my gas tank. However, there are weeks that I put in that into my tank, or even double it. Summertime means adventures, but that doesn’t necessarily mean every other day! I am setting aside only $40 a week for gas. If I know I am going to be traveling far within that week, such as a day trip down the shore, then I will adjust my weekly gas budget. By giving myself a limit, I will not be as likely to just drive around with the sunroof open, blasting music with my best friend. Of course, we still will, but it won’t be occurring for hours on end.
3. Split half of the paycheck! At CVS, I get paid biweekly. Every other Thursday evening, I log onto my TD Bank app to see how much was directly deposited into my checking account. The next day, I go to the bank and remove at least half (sometimes I try to remove $50 more than half) of my paycheck and deposit it right into my savings account. Then, I pretend the money never existed. I continue on the next two weeks with the money that is in my checking account. From there, I will budget what I will be spending in the next two weeks – taking out the money for gas, taking out any upcoming expenses I know will be occurring, and then planning what else I want to spend my money on. While I have my summer spending money, I still have money in my savings account for all of my many upcoming purchases.
And the extra tip for saving: save up any spare change! I can tell you right now, I will falter at times on my budget. However, having a little extra emergency cash will be a saving grace. That is why I am working on saving up any spare change. I try to use cash as much as possible to stay aware of how much money I actually have. However, when I do then up using cash, I get back a bunch of coins. Instead of just letting them sit in the bottom of my Betsey Johnson purse, I put them in a digital coin jar (this is the one that I use!) that calculates how much money I have in the jar. Just from putting my change in the jar over this past month, I have almost $30 saved up!
Good luck on your budget because I know I sure am going to need it!