Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Austerity Measures Are Working!

Since instituting my Austerity Measures at the beginning of the month, I've actually been really successful!  It surprises me a little, but I've managed to slip into that zen place where instead of thinking I can buy clothes, my Amex is almost paid off, I think instead, I can pay off my Amex and then save!  I love it when this happens, but it's elusive and unreliable.  It's unfortunate that it takes job uncertainty to make me stop being a money dumbass, but whatever works, I'm not going to knock it.

Let's re-visit the rules I set for myself and see how I'm doing:

  1. No more races. Haven't registered for any more, and have no plans to!
  2. No more clothes. Success!  I even have a $30 Old Navy voucher that I haven't spent yet, and I'm enjoying shopping my closet.
  3. No more overpaying on student loans. Stupid Direct Loans somehow screwed up my request for income-based repayment, and were telling me that I would owe them $900+ a month.  Ummm, no, that's half my income.  So I called them, and a bored-sounding guy said that I'll have to resubmit my income statement and wait (again), so my loans are back in forebearance.  This jacks up my interest rate and makes me angry, but there's really nothing I can do about it.
  4. Reign in grocery spending. Doing good with this one too!  We did one big shop for about $230, and I made one more small trip where I spent about $15.  Considering that our grocery bills have topped $350 lately, this is a great improvement.  Plus, I've had all my farmshare veg to keep me filled up.
  5. No restaurants unless we have a Gift Certificate or Groupon.  Haven't really gone out to eat at all, but I'm fine with that.
  6. No more thinking--I need that!  I've been avoiding stores, and other temptations so this is going ok too.
  7. Cut Back on Booze.  I'm doing ok here--not cutting it out, but certainly cutting down ;)
  8. No more Gym Membership.  I mailed in my 'I want to quit the gym' letter June 7, and I know they received it last week because I got notification, now I'm just waiting for Bally to quit dragging their heels and give me my damn money!  I've been doing CrossFit with that groupon that I bought and I love it!  Just what I need, another expensive hobby.  However, it's a really small, independently-owned place, and I plan to just say, "hey, I want to do this once a week, but I'm poor." Then I'll see what they say. A friend of mine worked out a deal with the yoga place we go to where she gets unlimited free yoga in exchange for doing light cleaning work.  I may even suggest something like that to the CrossFit guys--we'll see.
One thing that I noticed when I was looking over my budget the other day is even with my austerity measures in place--and actually sticking to them-- I've still spent $300 more this month than I've made.  Sure, I get paid tomorrow, but that's kind of scary.  When I do the math, I should be making more than my expenses, but in practice, I may be cutting it closer than I thought, which would explain why putting money in savings has been such a challenge.

So that's a negative, but I have an awesome positive.  I needed to buy gas the other day, and realized that I had not bought gas for the entire month of June!  BF filled the tank halfway a few weeks ago, but my total gas bill for June is $39!