Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cutting the Budget in 2011

Our dog has food allergies and we either have to buy him $50 bags of dog food or listen to him flapping his irritated ears day and night. Our kid also has food intolerances and we spend on average $175 a month in formula. Dude. Seriously.

It's time to start trimming some spending in our house. I'm trying oh so hard to be budget conscious in 2011. I'm officially paying off my credit card today (once I get the courage to write out a check for it) and I'm thinking about paying off our NFM account after we file our taxes. We recently cut $30 off our cable bill and in the fall we combined cell phone plans to save another $30 a month. We ended up adding life insurance policies which throws $80 back on. When it's all added up, from September to February we've cut $230 out of our monthly bills. Wow, just enough to cover the formula and dog food! SWEET! So much for trying to get ahead.

I've been taking a real look lately at what I spend my money on and why. I used to spend a lot of money on eating lunches out at work and occasional dinners out with Matt. I've started taking lunch from home and skipping an actual break so I can go home early for baby snuggles. Baby snuggles must be made from crack because I want them at all hours. They're worth skipping lunch for. And because of said baby, Matt and I can no longer eat in public so we cook all meals with the occasional $20 Mangia takeout on the weekends.

There's still one more thing I tend to blow money on… Most of my non-bill spending goes to trying to look cool. I buy a lot of clothes and shoes. Lots. The last twelve months were kind of weird so I'm trying to convince myself that I don't always spend that much money on clothes. I mean, I progressively got bigger and bigger until I got smaller - but not small enough to fit back into my old pants. My options for the last year were to either buy one big giant muumuu and make it work, or buy clothes that fit my crazy ass body. Now that I'm settling back into a weight that resembles my old weight (so what if I have to lay down to zip my pants and then wear spanx to hide the muffin top) I really really want to cut my habit of spending too much on clothes. Because honestly, no matter how much money I spend on clothes that make me look cool, I'm still not cool. I'm 27, let's end this charade. Plus, now all my clothes get barfed on. Who wants to buy something at Anthropologie for $129 and then immediately have it yacked upon. Not me.

Having a baby created this nagging lump in my gut that makes me feel like I'm bankrupting my family's future for meaningless thrills in the present. I want us to have a good future. I want to take nice family vacations. I want to buy a house on an acre so I have outdoor photo space. I want to retire before I'm 75 and slump over dead at my computer one day. I'm not going to get those things unless I learn to start saving for them today.

I've done really well this month so far. I even decided that I don't need a $75 vintage dress for our family photos at the end of the month. Instead, I've decided to buy a new pair of tights to spice up a dress that I already have. $5 instead of $75. Look at me be an adult! Look at me not spend $75 on a one-of-a-kind, never-going-to-see-it-again, only-one-in-existence navy 1960s mini dress! That is some fucking willpower right there.

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