Rule # 1: Set A Strict Budget and Stick To It

Four words: Easier. Said. Than. Done. However, I can and I will do this. And for the record, I’m almost a week into this challenge and I’ve managed to stick 100% to budget so far (thanks for picking up the tab for the sangria the other night Dan, that most definitely would have put me in the red).

So, how did I come up with this budget? Well, first I had to figure out what all of my expenses are; those annoying monthly bills and expenditures that suck all the fun out of payday time and time again. They’re outlined as follows:

Danne’s Current Expenses

  • Rent
  • Utilities (Gas, Electric, and Cable + Internet)
  • Student Loans (I’ve got 3 of ’em)
  • Cell Phone Bill
  • Car Insurance
  • Credit Card Payment (luckily there’s only 1 of these)
  • Fast Lane & Gas (I work way out in the ‘burbs)
  • Web Hosting for 2 sites
  • Food & Drink
  • Princess Fatty Fanne’s Needs: Food (prescription diabetic cat food), Litter, Insulin & Needles, Pet Insurance

After writing all of this out, I added up how much money I typically take in on the average month, subtracted all of my expenses, and was left with a (smaller than desired) number. From this, I concluded that a reasonable weekly budget for me during this miserly-minded month is about $100 a week. Gulp.

It’s tight—especially because food, gas, and any form of fun/entertainment comes out of that little number (thank God the Olympics has been on, talk about my all-time favorite form of entertainment), but it’s doable, so…I will do it.

Next step? Freezing my credit card, literally.

4 thoughts on “Rule # 1: Set A Strict Budget and Stick To It

  1. I've teetered back and forth about ditching the credit card. We get (and use) reward points when we use it, and we pay off the balance every month, so I feel like it's under control. But I also feel like I'd probably spend less if I were paying cash for everything. I use the credit card for gas, groceries and internet purchases, and mostly pay cash for everything else.It's easier for me to not spend a lot of money because I live in the Middle of Nowhere. Shopping opportunities are very limited, and I have plenty of supplies on hand for my interests and hobbies (reading, knitting, crafting, photography).I'm really interested in how not using a credit card works for you. (I love the convenience of paying at the pump, for instance.) Looking forward to the next post!

  2. Debbi, sounds like you're using your card the right way, especially if you're paying off the balance each month. I however, do things like impulse buy sweaters at lululemon and put them on my card. Once I pay off the balance I'd love to be more smart and intentional with how I use it. And Ashley, um $40 a week? I think we need to have a miserly living date so you can share your secrets with me.

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