Urban Adaptation

Sustainable urban living, rural dreams, and daily change for a homemade life.

New year, new budget

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With a new year, I’ve refigured my budget just a bit.  With the current financial uncertainties, being on the job market, and just trying to better manage my resources, I’ve made a few adjustments here and there while also trying to simplify things a bit more.

First, since I’ve joined The Great American Apparel Diet (TGAAD), I’ve eliminated the clothing category.  Only $10 a month, but that still $120 a year.  If I do wind up getting a suit (I’m on the job market, and trying to make sure I have appropriate clothing, so it’s my TGAAD exception), it’ll come out of my education amount for the month.

Second, I’ve raised my automatic savings amount from $125 to $150 a month.  Because it’s buried in the budget, I tend to forget it’s there, and it makes a nice addition to the money that I try to save out of my other categories.  Adding in an extra $25 makes it an even nicer surprise to remember.

Finally, I’ve started recording my spending by rounding up to the nearest dollar.  This way, the amounts I track are slightly higher than what I actually spent, leaving a bit extra at the end of the month – $0.23 here, or $0.71 there.  It’s not a lot, since I don’t spend all that often, and it’s $0.99 at most each time, but even an extra $0.50 on 10 purchases is $5 a month.

And just a note on budgets in general. A few people have asked me if I find my budget very restrictive.  The short answer is no.  The long answer, though, is that although it works well for me, I get that this won’t work for everyone.  Not everyone likes to track in this much detail, or have such strict limits on spending.  For me, though, it works.  It’s interesting, and I see keeping my budget and especally staying within it as a challenge.  This makes it more fun and interesting and less like some restrictive drudgery.  Furthermore, it’s very much a choice.  I don’t have to live like this, but I want to, and choosing versus being forced to do something are two very different things.  In general, I like saving a lot more than I like spending, which certainly helps as well, but setting out the numbers and finding ways to stay where I’m supposed to be feels rewarding to me, and not like a chore, and therefore works quite well.

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Written by Jenn

January 11, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Posted in Money matters

Tagged with , , ,

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