Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Extreme Budgeting Redux: April 2010 Edition

My first check from my side-hustle kicks in this coming Friday and while I wish I could splurge on a new pair of shoes or load up on some new iTunes downloads, the reality is that I'm playing catch up until mid-May.  After getting sick in February (paid nearly $100 in co-pays and medications) and giving my mom money to travel back East for my grandpa's funeral in early March, things will be tight around here for a bit longer.  Heck, after the financial year I've had, a month and a half is really not that long.  Nevertheless, I have to have a plan to get through this month and a half without getting myself into deeper financial doo-doo.  I've decided to review and revise my budget for April to see how much I could save without going absolutely crazy:

1. My normal monthly hair budget (I do my own relaxers, color, maintenance and "dusting" of my ends) will be zeroed out in April.  I am currently in the midst of a 3-month relaxer stretch and I have a bottle of semi-permanent cellophane that I can use to cover my gray until my next relaxer is due in June. Estimated savings: $40 for the month

2. While I'd normally go to Weight Watchers each week and pay $12, for April, I'm going to go only twice (during the first and third week of the month).  If you miss more than 2 meetings, you have to pay for the missed week but by attending every other week, I can keep my membership current and still save $24 for the month.  This does mean I'll need to be extra diligent about tracking my points and exercising though...but I'm up for the challenge.

3. Reduce my advising hours on campus to twice a month.  I have a 70 mile (total commute) to and from work and that extra day on campus generally means I'll use a half a tank of gas.  I estimate that by reducing my advising hours on campus (and being available for student questions online), I can save about $30 extra bucks for the month.

4. Since I've given fast food the boot, I can't wait to see how much I save now that I'm focused on preparing my own meals.  Estimated savings: $180-$200 per month (and countless inches off my waist)

April (Planned) Reduction in Spending: $94 without fast food savings ($274-$304 includes fast food savings)

Now my husband and I have a joint checking out that we use primarily to pay out joint bills: mortgage, utilities, groceries.  This budget plan doesn't impact any of those bills or that account.  My plan is strictly for my personal checking account.  

Instead of trying to live on a microscopic budget like I attempted in February, for April, I'm cutting out the frills and trying to see how much money I can actually save.  My goal is to have enough money left over in April to be able to use that money to "splurge" on something nice for myself.  There's alot of things about becoming an adult I dislike but budgeting, saving and managing your money has by far been one of the most difficult.  Pray for me.

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