Budgeting.

Austin and I had to have a really difficult pre-wedding conversation yesterday, about budgeting.

I think it’s really cute and funny to be poor and subsist soley on Ramen and Diet Mountain Dew for college, but I’m out a few years, trying to build a life for me and my husband-to-be, and we would be complete idiots if we didn’t have the very difficult conversation about money.

I think naturally, money is just a really difficult and uncomfortable topic to talk about.  Then, throw in the fact that I don’t make very much of it, and Austin makes more than enough, and it makes for some learning curve and growing pains.

Because I make so little, I’ve gotten comfortable being a little sloppy with my spending.  As long as I can make my sort of “required” bills, I don’t worry about a ton else.  But that can’t work forever.  Things happen.  Transmissions go out.  Sometimes you jam your thumb (side eye).  Sometimes something just unexpected comes up.  And it makes me extremely uncomfortable to not have some sort of cushion or nest egg built up at the point that I thought I would.

So, a few steps I’m taking to take some more charge of my finances?

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  • I’m using Mint to keep track of/analyze my finances.  I almost dread when I open Mint up, but it’s necessary, I think, to keep track of what’s going on.  From Mint, I’ve gathered a few things.
  • I really need to chill out on the coffee.  Like it’s really not even funny, I have to chill out.  As of this month, I’ve spent $40 on Starbucks, and a few more dollars at McDonald’s and Bruegger’s on coffee-related items.  I need to come up with a plan to still get my caffeine, but to forgo a few trips to Starbucks.  Realistically, I’d like to limit my outside coffee budget to about $25/month, which can feasibly be done if I skip the fancier drinks and just go with americanos and flavor them to my linking.
  • I’m awesome with brown-bagging the lunch, but I need to chill on errant trips to the Teeter when I feel inspired to cook something weird.  My food spending is a little higher than it need to be. 
  • Switch to cash for food.  No more swipey swipey for me. 
  • By the end of this week, I need to call the awesome folks down at the student loan place, and figure out how much I’m going to be paying once we get married and combine the incomes.  It’s gonna hurt, but the bigger the monthly payment, the faster I can be free of that debt. 
  • Long term?  I gotsta make more money!  I’m keeping the eyes peeled for job opportunities that will afford me (hee hee) more wiggle room.

I have to admit, I feel like I have no clue what I’m doing, and I feel like a total idiot for not knowing some of this budgeting stuff already, but what are some of your best responsible spending and money saving tips?

Things you do when you’re broke.

My sassy boys over at Class and Trash and me were group texting, and discussing that fact that as it was getting close to the first, and we were waiting on pay day to come save us.

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And here I present to you, the things you do when you’re broke/waiting on payday. 

  1. You pack all your lunches.  There is no eating out.  The only eating out you will do will involve a Starbucks gift card that you dig out of the back of your wallet.
  2. Speaking of Starbucks, your morning coffee?  Not a thing, you will be enjoying the coffee from the break room.
  3. Free stuff starts feeling kinda good.  Go for a run!  Go to Lululemon for a free yoga class!  Sit at the coffee shop and blog – maybe without ordering something.  That sounds fun, right?
  4. Your $16 hot yoga class downtown is not gonna happen for another two weeks.  
  5. And finally, when your friend asks you for drinks, you totally make an excuse to postpone it for another week or two. 

To be perfectly clear, I’m not like broke and decrepit, times just get hard for a day or two after I make my car payment.  How does your spending change close to payday?