Good with Money? Or Good at Pretending to be Good at Money?
In the past, I have used the phrase “I’m broke” to mean “I don’t have any money allocated for x” instead of just “I don’t have any money.” A couple years ago some coworkers were going to lunch after our shift and invited me along. I declined saying I was broke and one of them offered to pay for me. It was a really nice offer, but then I had to explain that I actually do have $10 (or however much it was going to be) but that I was saving up for a plane ticket to see my family.
There was a time a time when I said that I was great with money. It was as recent as a few months ago. But, the past couple months have been rough on my bank account and I am questioning how good of financial decisions I’ve been making lately. Part of it is that this is the most expensive time of year for me. I still don’t know whether I owe any taxes or if I will receive a refund. I am planning to owe a lot so that if I don’t it’s a bonus. In the meantime, I need to have that money already set aside so if I do owe it, I’m not scrambling.
So, today when I say “I’m broke” what I mean is “I have only enough money for the things I’ve already budgeted, unless I want to take money out of savings.” This week, Apathy Ends wrote a great post about this-The first question to ask if you are “Broke”. Most people aren’t broke, they just have a spending problem. To keep from being broke, you need to know where your money goes. The sounds simple and yet so many of us (myself included right now) are aware of what we’re doing with our money before it’s all gone.
Last week I posted my weekly spending to keep me accountable. Here’s this week’s spending:
April 7th: $0- My aunt and I went out to lunch, but she treated me! It was a no spend day thanks to the generosity of my family.
April 8th: $45.02 at Walmart. My friend who has been living in England the past 6 years was visiting California the same time I was, and had a big beach party. I paid for some adult beverages, charcoal and miscellaneous snacks.
April 9th: Nothing! Spent the day watching baseball with my family!
April 10: $200-monthly insurance payment. I pay more in the beginning of the year so that I have a couple months at the end of the year with no payment.
My aunt and uncle used my Best Buy credit card to buy a digital camera and a new freezer so that I could get the points and they could get free shipping. They wrote me a check for the money, so I’m not spending anything, but right now it’s on my credit card.
$19.30-Shuttle to LAX
$10- reloaded my Starbucks card before I knew that there was no Starbucks in the terminal I was in.
$2.69 Coffee at LAX
$17.68-Mystery shop at home airport. All of it will be reimbursed. I also used cash from the previous week.
$20-Shuttle from home airport to home city.
Week 2 Total: $357.07
Last week I spent $632.77 so I definitely did better this week. It certainly helped that my family was so generous to me this past week. If you compare last week and this week, you’ll see that my biggest expenses have been on food. This week, Mrs. Picky Pincher wrote about her biggest money challenges this week, and I have to say that spending on food is mine. Luckily we are getting our stove set up this weekend so we will have more cooking options. I hope I can stay strong and not eat out. And by hope I mean have to. Until I know how much I really owe for taxes I literally do not have any extra money to spend!
Next week will include a bunch of regular bill payments. I am hoping to eat out the freezer and do whatever grocery shopping we need to at Aldi since I don’t have any grocery mystery shops lined up. We will be ordering an Instapot, but I have plenty of Amazon gift cards from Christmas and my birthday to pay for that! I am going to continue to question my purchases before buying them, use up gift cards and track my spending better to help keep me on track.
Have you ever realized that you weren’t as in control of your finances as you thought? What did you do to turn things around?