Hey there dilettantes! I feel like it’s been longer than a week since I last posted, but I don’t know why..maybe because I’ve had a busy week, who knows. This is totally off topic.
OK. So I’ve been working at my full-time co-op job for just over a month now, and it’s been so great so far. I’ve been gaining invaluable experience, meeting some amazing people, and I mean let’s be honest, the full-time work is giving me a great opportunity to start saving a solid amount of money.
Confession time: When I was in high school, I wasn’t very money smart. Money in the bank meant money to spend on late night food and new clothes. Now that I’ve matured a bit and understand that money doesn’t grow on trees, I’ve become a lot more money conscious and less impulsive (for the most part).
So with new money coming in, I knew I wanted to be smart with it and begin really saving it up for the future. All this is to say that I decided the best way to do all this was to make myself a budget and lay it out in writing so I would stick to it. And I’ve been so happy with that decision that I wanted to share with you what I did and encourage you all to do the same.
My budget breaks down my costs per week and allocates set amounts that I transfer to a couple different savings accounts. I figured out an amount that I wanted to have in my savings by the time my co-op ends and just distributed that accordingly throughout the weeks.
Breaking down my weekly costs was also a huge eye-opener. Between gas and insurance and cellphones and such, I was amazed at how much I need to put aside every week to cover all those things. No wonder my money was disappearing so fast before…
After all that’s said and done, I’m left with a fairly consistent amount of spending money. I split the spending money into five categories: food, entertainment, beauty/cosmetics, clothing, and miscellaneous. I then keep track of everything I spend during that week and I’m left with a balance by the end of the week that hopefully isn’t in the red. Haha.
Tracking my spending has done wonders for me, because it makes me conscious of what I buy and I can always see where my balance is at.
Perhaps I should have said this earlier, but I did all this in Microsoft Excel, which is great because you can put in formulas so all of your totals and balances self-adjust as you add in values (for me it’s all of the green areas). For those who might be turned off because you don’t know how to use Excel to its full potential, never fear, there are tutorials that make it so painless and easy.
Anyway, all this is to say that a budget has been such a good and useful tool for me, and it’s also been very empowering because now I feel like I am taking control of and planning for my future. If you haven’t thought about making a real and concrete budget for yourself, you should! I promise you won’t regret it, and it’s a great practice to get into really.
Do any of you have any useful tips or tricks on how to budget better? I’d love to hear them!!
Otherwise, happy dilettanting all. =)