What a Girl Needs

March 7, 2010 at 7:51 pm (Uncategorized)

Now that I’ve come off that hardcore roller coaster ride known as Farewell Tour 2010, I had to do something I wasn’t looking forward to.  I had to create a budget.

GROAN.

I did some preliminary number crunching before I made the decision to take the teaching artist gig, but it was just the minimum amount to make sure that I could make that kind of change without becoming impoverished instantly.  This time though, I meant business.

In my situation, I didn’t use a standard budget breakdown with suggested percentages for each category.  My income is too inconsistent for that right now, and I have some fixed expenses that I can’t do anything about at the present.  While I don’t want to disclose the intimate details of my financial situation (Which I assure you, are scintillating…), here’s how I broke things down.

Expenses I Can’t Do Anything About:

  • Rent (My lease lasts through July, and I hope I can afford not to move.)
  • Utilities (Electric, Gas, Internet, Cell Phone)
  • Insurance (This is an expense I have to further investigate. I should be receiving information about COBRA, and will have to decide whether it’s feasible to keep.)
  • Gym/Skating (This is not a necessity, but staying active is a priority to me.  Both of these are through the park district, so the cost is negligible, and as someone who loves fried foods and is prone to high cholesterol, it’s worth the cost.)

Expenses I Can Reduce:

  • Food (I will need to dramatically reduce how often I eat out, and increase the amount of meals I cook at home. My kick-ass well-stocked freezer and pantry will help with this.)
  • Student Loans (Sallie Mae actually is in my corner for once. I’m going to try to throw a little dough her way whenever I can swing it.)
  • Transportation (I’m going to miss my glorious pre-tax transit option, but I’m going to opt out of a monthly pass for a while

Expenses I Will Have to Exercise Incredible Will Power to Eliminate:

  • Clothes (I fortunately have a few gift cards that should tide me over, but my dress addiction will be tough to kick.)
  • Entertainment (Netflix is on hold. Sniffle. Luckily, Hulu is there for me.  I’m fortunate that Chicago is a mecca for loads of free entertainment.)
  • Make Up and Drug Store Goodies (I won’t deny myself any essentials…nor will I steal toilet paper form Starbucks…but I’ve got to steer myself away from fancy stuff and stick to the basics, and only when necessary.  Couponing may come into play here.)
  • Getting My Drank On (Grabbing a beer with a friend is a delightful but costly way to socialize. I’m hoping with my extra time I can make my apartment clean enough for company again, and open up my home to my pals and avoid the cost of going out.)

So that’s how I plan on attacking my money situation.  It’s not a plan that will work for everybody, and frankly, it may not even work for me.  I’m going to have to be flexible and adjust accordingly when something doesn’t work out.  I know that initially I’ll probably make a lot of slip-ups (I totally didn’t need that bag of gummi coke bottles this afternoon.) but hopefully over time budgeting will become second nature.

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2 Comments

  1. Blair said,

    I am on a VERY strict budget as well! (Spent $25 on groceries for the WHOLE week last week 🙂 ) Let’s hang out and do inexpensive stuff!

    • dyan c. flores said,

      We can go to Aldi! And cut out coupons!

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