March 11, 2013

money woes

I have a confession to make: I have a shopping problem.

After college I was incredibly responsible with my money. With the luxury of being able to live at home, I paid off $25k+ in student loans in 8 months and then spent the next 6 months saving my emergency fund.

I continued with this extreme saving even after I moved out of my parents house and got my apartment in the city. I can't even tell you how many cans of soup I ate for dinner over the next year or how many times I passed on an activity with friends because it was too expensive. This helped me to grow my savings and investments even more, but I was also missing out on a lot of fun things that I could afford.

A little over a year ago I started dating my current boyfriend. He has encouraged me to let loose a little and not stress as much about eating out or traveling. So I started spending a little more money, which was healthy. Soon after though, my parents told me they were getting a divorce and as the story of their separation started to unfold I began shopping to feel better about what was going on. Then I realized what my problem was, I spend nothing or everything I have - there's no middle ground.

I am proud to say that I am still debt free and that this shopping addition hasn't caused any serious problems for me so far. BUT since the new year I have been constantly stressed about money and living paycheck to paycheck. I have a lot of big expenses coming up this year and at the rate I am going I will have to start using my savings to pay off my credit cards.

I can't live like this anymore so I'm going on a spending diet. I wrote down all of my upcoming events (weddings, bridal showers, birthdays, races, bachelorette parties, etc.) and then calculated all of my monthly living expenses and the amount of money I want to save and invest per month. After all of these expenses I have $400 leftover to use on whatever I want. This will include clothes, eating out, going out with friends, plane tickets for weddings, hotels for weddings, and all birthday presents. It's going to be tough but honestly I need to reel it in. I'm hoping that having this extra $400 to spend on things that I want will help me learn to not be so extreme with my money and instead pick and choose what I do each month.

I'll try to update how everything is going on the blog but I mostly wanted to announce this change for support and feedback. Have you guys ever had a similar situation? Do you have any good tips on keeping your finances in check on a regular basis?


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