Having been out of school for a few months and into my new job for a little I've decided that an appropriate resolution for July is to start making more of an effort to stick to my budget. It takes a little while to adjust to life after school and it was hard for me to see where exactly my money was going. I downloaded Mint, a free app for budgeting, and it has helped a lot. It categorizes all of your purchases on your cards, allows you to make budets by category, and tracks your spending for you. Since I've graduated I have been looking at my spending patterns and trying to decide an appropriate budget for each month. It is also helpful to see where the problem areas are and where money can be saved
Things I've learned about budgeting:
1. The word budget immediately makes me think: not spending any money, not having any fun, and not shopping or going out to eat... but it doesn't have to be that way. If you allocate enough money to the important things then you can have room for the fun things too.
2. Going out to eat is expensive. It is SO cheap to cook at home. Going out to eat is a social thing for me and is the main time when I see my friends, making this especially hard for me. I bring my lunch to work each day and try to only go out to dinner a few nights a week. I make sure to ask what the drink specials are and try to order smart from the menu. It is even better when I can bring some food home and have it for lunch the next day.
3. Self control is hard. When my friends ask me to go to the beach, dinner, or to shop it is so hard to turn down the offer. I have to take a step back and see how much money I have already spent and see if it is worth it. I want to see my friends and do all the fun things they want to do, but sometimes it is easier to offer up alernative ideas to spend time with them. It doesn't cost any money to go on a walk and it is fun and affordable to cook dinner together. It's hard to get creative but if it will help you stay within what you can afford then it really is worth it.
Hopefully now that I have been working for a while I can finally stick to the budget I have made for myself. It's a puzzle figuring out what you need but I'm confident that this month it will come together.
1. January - spend less time on my phone
2. February - take Denny to the park twice a week
3. March - avoid chips
4. April - dress like an adult
5. May - read 3 books for fun
6. June - try foods I normally wouldn't
7. July - budget