Money, money, money…or lack thereof

8 Jan

Confession: I have never been good about staying on a budget in my personal life.

That’s kinda huge, considering 1) I work with numbers and 2) my father is the most anal person ever. But budgeting is not a skill we were taught as kids, so I never really learned how to do it. When I was married, we earned a pretty good household income and didn’t worry about it as much as we should have. We did have some credit card debt but not a ton.

Now that I’ve been on my own for a few years, I’m realizing that staying on a budget is going to be vital for me. I’ve spent the last year really trying to work on that skill. By staying with my parents, I’m able to save money, which gives me a pool of money that I can tap into in the months I don’t do as well. But I’m trying very hard to not touch that money, and I haven’t used a credit card in almost a year. I’ve been totally on a cash flow basis.

My parents are going to sell their house this year, probably list it in June, and so it will be time for me to be on my own again. My work here will be done. And I started to think about staying on a budget. I really need to have this skill down before I move, because I won’t have the savings each month and therefore won’t have any room for errors.

I make a decent salary. In fact, it’s probably better than some of my friends. But I have a very expensive hobby in dance. VERY EXPENSIVE. But in some ways, I can’t put a price on the happiness it gives me, the sanity it gives me, the confidence it gives me, or the social life it gives me. It just means I have to make choices. Dance instead of travel. Dance instead of eating dinner out more. Dance instead of a subscription to the Economist (which is a magazine I love and really miss reading).

And I’m fine with these choices. Dance is that important to me. It’s forced me to learn how to be on a budget and stay on it. Well, I’m learning. Some months are better than others.

I’ve tried to find ways to do things cheaper. (I’m taking ideas, by the way.) The biggest challenge in that is when I get together with friends. So often it’s been over drinks or dinner, both of which are expensive. When I have my own place, I can have friends over for those things. But here at my parents, I can’t do that. So I have to go out. Like next Saturday, I’m getting together with friend NA. She asked what I wanted to do, and I really didn’t have any ideas for cheap outings except the cheap movie theaters. I think we’re going to just hang out and watch movies at her place, but it’d be nice for future outings to have some ideas. Any thoughts?

Wish me luck in my learning to stay on a budget! I really hope I can get this skill down so that when I move out this summer, it’ll be second nature to me. Then I won’t have to constantly think about it like I do now.

3 Responses to “Money, money, money…or lack thereof”

  1. theycallthewind January 8, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    Read the Economist at the library!
    And, get onto — it is the most incredible budgeting tool I have ever used. Good luck!


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