Friday, December 05, 2008

Tightening the Financial Belt

I have been completely avoiding looking at my Vanguard account because I knew that my stocks must be down. I invest mainly in index funds, so I've been positive they would be down, down, down... I finally logged in to check on them and sure enough, they're so low that it's almost enough to make my stomach turn! I haven't stopped my regular contributions though. I'm gonna struggle through the emotional side and just keep plugging away at it. It did really help me resolve to buckle down on cutting my spending.

Which brings me to the next big thing that I've put off and off... trying to make a budget! Or I should say: MAKING a budget. I guess the even tougher part will be STICKING to it.

That is one of my goals this weekend. To figure out how much I am spending on the essentials and then how much I want to spend. I'm dedicated to eating food out of my pantry and freezer though, so that should get me through a lot of December. I have a lot of food in there!

I am pretty certain that my biggest expenditures are traveling (one of the downfalls of having a long-distance boyfriend) and eating out (foodie friends will kill you in that department!). So, I'm going to institute the Envelope System for the eating out and maybe groceries. I have no idea how much I actually spend on going out to eat each month, but should I be spending more than $200? I think not, so I'm gonna stick $200 in an envelope and every time I eat out, I'll take it out of the envelope. If I run out of money, I won't go out to eat. Luckily, so far, I only have two times this month that I KNOW I'm going out. I may adjust this amount if I come up with some data while making the budget that makes sense.

How much to budget for groceries? I'm a single woman who entertains often... $150 a month? Hmmm... that's a toughie. Maybe research is required on that one. I guess I could try $150 a month and see how it goes. December has the danger of being more expensive with New Year's and Christmas dinner thrown in there. Meat's expensive!

As far as traveling goes, most of my traveling can be broken down into: going to see Greg and gaming conventions. Gulf Games is coming up in February and I really don't want to miss it. I have a roommate lined up and maybe I could use a free ticket I got from United for being bumped on my white water rafting trip. That would make it more affordable for sure! *sigh*

OK - I can do this. Deep breaths...


Chris said...

Me and my wife were going to try the Envelope system. But when I wrote "Liquor" on one of the envelopes she decided maybe we needed to start somewhere else.

I was just thinking ahead. It was almost football season...

ikiru said...

Glad you could make BGG Con before tightening the belt! It was nice to meet you and your video work was much appreciated for those who could not make it Im sure.

Stephanie said...

I'm glad I got to BGG.CON before the belt tightening too!!

The video stuff was time consuming, so I think I might skip it next year. My goal is to play more games!!