There are so many stigmas around money and after listening to the Goal Digger Podcast with The Budgetnista I was inspired to share my own financial journey and finish off by showing you how I budget.
I got my first real job when I turned 16 working at a Sushi Restaurant. Before that I had a few random “jobs” like watering plants, babysitting… you know the drill. I always loved having my own money and feeling like I was in control of what I could purchase. At first it was just Starbucks for my friends, then it became more important things like car payments and rent. I was fortunate that my parents were able to lease me a car when I was 16 and that they paid for my tuition through college. It wasn’t until last year that I really began taking on my own expenses. Anything I wanted I pretty much purchased for myself (with the exception of a few things I talked my parents into!) but since graduating college financial planning has hit me hard!
The Steady Decline
I work a pretty standard job and make enough money to keep alive (I’m just one year out of college after all). What didn’t change when I started to support myself was my standard of living. I was buying and shopping like I didn’t have $1000+ in bills each month. On top of that I adopted a dog and that brought its own set of expenses. In February, I began to realize I needed to take more time to understand the amount I was spending.
So I downloaded the Mint app. I was so excited that I could set monthly budgets for different categories and track my spending. I told EVERYONE about this app and how much it was “helping” me. In June, I realized that because I didn’t actually have to enter anything into Mint it didn’t really affect my spending habits, it just kept better track of it. So it was then that I decided something needed to change. I didn’t have a crazy amount on my credit card by many people’s standards but I was holding steady at $3k of unpaid credit card debt. This was something I had never experienced before and I became SUPER uncomfy.
The Steady Incline
That’s when I created a budgeting spreadsheet. I broke it down week by week of what I was spending and what was a “weekly” spend versus a “monthly” spend. I started crunching all the numbers and I began to realize what I was considering my “bare minimum expenses” were actually totaling to be almost more than I made a month.
So In July I told myself I wouldn’t allow anymore weekend trips to Target and that anything I purchased I needed to write down. This really made me more considerate of what I was spending because every night I had to log it. During this month I spent far less than I had previously but I was still spending a crazy amount of money; going over my budget by an average of $30/week. Overall, I ended July spending $451 more dollars than I had budgeted for. Not too bad but not great either.
Moving into August I had a way better understanding about where I needed to spend and where I needed to cut back. For instance I was on average spending $14/week on coffee and $125/week on groceries. Obviously there is A LOT of room for improvement just in those two categories.
The entire reason I wanted to write this blog was to share with you my spreadsheet, my pride and joy! Anyone who works in accounting or has been at this for a while… look away. Remember this is a starting place to help you start realizing your spending if you may never have considered it before! This is just the way I have been organizing and it has really helped me.
Would you be interested in a financial update at the end of September? Let me know by sending me a message on Instagram! If you’re interested in more gals that speak openly about money check out Becca Books’ blog where she breaks down her monthly earnings! I think younger people should take more time to discuss finances to encourage others to speak more openly. It’s not that scary!