From the title of this post I think you can gather how I feel about following a budget. I’m not a big fan of the whole idea, but will consider doing one if it gets me to France.
I grew up watching my mom go to the grocery store with $200 to spend on food for the month. I remember us asking the cashier to subtotal the amount while we kept back the snacks my sister and I so badly craved hoping and praying there would be enough for us to get them. I also watched my parents save for years to get furniture for the den and living room. Years they saved, and I promised myself if I wanted something I’d just buy it. Until now that is.
My friend and I are planning a trip to Europe in early 2013. We are going during the off season to save money and I’ll be able to use frequent flyer miles to get there. That just leaves the costs of food, hotel, excursions and fabulous little trinkets I must have. When I start to do the math I get a bit nervous since my air conditioner is on its last leg and the repair man told me I’d be lucky to make it through the summer. I have 4 more weeks to go, I WILL MAKE IT!
I decided to finally look at what I spend on a monthly basis and was a tad bit shocked at the wastefulness of my choices. The first thing to go was my morning run to the local coffee shop for a scone and hot chocolate, not just any hot chocolate but the best in the whole entire world. It was a hard choice and I am proud to say I’ve only gone back once in two weeks and purchased the kids size instead of the extra large. Side note: my pants now fit a bit better in addition to saving about $40 per week. I’ve also stopped shopping online and decided if I need anything it can wait until the next payday and if I have any money left after bills then I can buy whatever it was. Most of the time, though, I’ve forgotten what it was that I needed to have.
I’ve also decided to take $200 per month and put it into a separate account, my travel fund account. This will allow me to have about $1,200.00 to spend on my trip. I think that is plenty and if it’s not, I’ll find a way to make it work. It’s now about making choices, the right one’s on how I’m living and if I want to be able to take a great trip or buy a large ticket item, then I’ll save for it. Just like my parents did many years ago. Maybe their lesson wasn’t such a bad one, it just took me a while to buy into it.