Thursday, May 29, 2008

Time to Grow Up

Given the recent car fiasco and well, the not-so-likelihood that I will continue private practice, I have been faced with tackling the icky task of…wait for it…budgeting my money.

GASP!

Deep breaths, deep breaths……..

At 31 years old, I have never balanced a checkbook. Granted, this factor attributed to some issues in my early 20s when I was, let’s say, less-then-accurate when it came to bill paying and account balances.

Yeah, overdrafts may have been a slight problem.

But then the invention of on-line bank accounts helped correct that, not because it helped me balance, per say, but rather I was able to easily access account information so I knew when I was close to overdrawing, rather then find out about it a month later when my statement arrived in the mail.

But now, I have had accept the fact that, with all the bills, student loans, car emergencies and an Ironman deficit I am still trying to climb out of, I have had to really look at my expenses.

This is long overdue, I admit. I attribute my late-coming to the fact that I am single, have no kids, and really haven’t had a ton of obligations. So I didn’t think all that much of using my disposable income on things now considered frivolous.

And this shift has not come by way of my own determination. Let’s just say that my financial drill sergeant of a boyfriend, whose biggest thrill in life is reading money management books and looking at his bank accounts every morning, played a role. It’s quite a contrast to my previous boyfriend, who thought nothing of eating out three nights a week, and spending $5000 on a bike frame and outfitting it with $200 water cages “because look- they’re carbon!”

So today I started by setting up a separate bank account called “Car Fund,” into which I am making a monthly car payment to myself, to help me better prepare for future emergencies, and the possibility of buying a new car. That way, I am actively setting aside money for such a time so that I may be able to eventually buy the car outright, instead of throwing that extra money at nonsense every month.

I also cancelled one of my two gym memberships today. I know, I know – who needs two? And frankly, I could justify that to you, but really, there is no justification that makes sense.

My twice-weekly sushi habit? Now it’s more like a twice-weekly canned tuna habit. Eww.

No more going to the grocery store on a whim – it’s planning ahead with a list and a once-weekly trip.

No more just signing up for a race when I feel like - that extra $30-40 could probably be put towards my electric bill (of course, Racine being the exception - that was early birthday present to myself).

I even walked past the shoe store today AND DIDN'T EVEN LOOK IN THE WINDOW!

With the recent subtraction of a coach and all IM fees that really added up over the months, I should technically have more money. And I do, but I am trying to put it to better use, like my new savings account, and doubling up on my student loan payments to get it over with faster.

Sigh.

Adulthood sucks.

7 comments:

Alili said...

Yuck. But I can totally relate. Small changes add up, no need to make 17 drastic changes all at once--at least for me that was when I freaked out and went on a buying binge. Baby steps, you'll make it work.

Prin said...

Totally. I'm still working on not buying myself all the things I've missed out on my entire life. And not buying plane tickets on a whim too.

I think you'll win. :D

jessica said...

Whew, I hear ya on this one. We're already pared down as much as we thought possible in order to get by with one income, but now it's time to decide whether we can really keep our last semblances of normal life: satellite/DVR, cell phones, and [gasp] name brand groceries.

Finances are no fun, no fun at all.

Duane said...

Welcome to my world! LOL

The Clyde said...

Have to agree with Cheese on this one...

Saving sucks at first...but the more you get into it and that total starts to climb, the more fun it can become.

I mean really, if you invest money right, you are making money by doing ABSOLUTELY nothing...there's nothing wrong with that in my book.

Erin said...

Oh my goodness...are you sure you don't have a twin that you were separated at birth from? Because I think it's me.

Wipaddler said...

As the other Erin said...twins? Triplets maybe? I'm exactly the same way. I still haven't balanced my check book though...it will come in time I guess