Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Budget? What's a budget?

I am trying to think of things that I need to accomplish before I begin living in the city. One of those things is create a budget. The thing is I really have no idea how to start one. Being in the Gulf can really skew your perception on cost. For one thing, the only thing you pay for is food. My car, housing, utilities and travel have been paid for over the past 2 years.

It's not uncommon for me to spend $7 on a box of Cheerios or $5 for a small tub of Country Crock. While I realize that sounds completely ridiculous, look at it this way. You're living in the country that is completely different from most of what you have ever experienced in your life. You're working in a new job, with new people in a place where creature comforts can really be something that keeps people in the country longer. When you come home from a crazy day dealing with things you don't understand because you weren't brought up in this culture and things seem totally out of wack, what do you want to eat? Do you want to eat some immitation plastic tasting cheese or some yummy craft? Do you want Oreos or Moreos? I have gone for the name brand.

Food aside, I have been very frugal in my time here. Well not when it comes to travel, but if you're going to splurge that's where you have to do it. Other than clothes Liam has forced me to buy, I haven't bought an article of clothing in 10 months. I don't buy shoes, purses, belts, jewlery or anything like that. I almost never put anything on my credit card. I don't really know how much more I can cut out. I figure I'll probably eat out for lunch 2xwk, go out for drinks 2xmonth, and go to the movies 1xwk (it's my indulgence). I plan to spend maybe $50/wk. I saw this idea in a post somewhere, but now I can't find it again. You just buy 10 items when you go to the store. I think that would be really good for me. Keep it simple, fresh and cheap.

I think the really big bills are going to be tv and cell phone. I'm getting a Blackberry!! I have just decided. I'm getting a Blackberry Tour to be exact.
Isn't it pretty. So that's going to run me about $150 a month with the data plan and unlimited everything. After the first month away from Liam I'll see if I actually need all that unlimited, but I would rather pay one month of $150, than get a bill for $1000 because I went over texting or something.

I think my tv and internet will only be about $70, which is great. We'll also be Slingboxing it, so Liam and I can watch TV together. Since I'll be in school/work most of the time I'm sure that I won't be watching too much, which is why it's so much more important to have DVR. Now I don't have to fret about not keep up with my shows. I can also watching things off the Slingbox on my Blackberry, how sweet is that. With all the work/school work/traveling I'll be doing I think it will be imperative. I also means I can use Google Voice/Skype to speak to Liam anytime I want. We can text or talk at any point and that is certainly worth $150.

Oh yeah this was supposed to be a post about a budget. See my dilemma. Well maybe you don't, but I do. I'm not someone who just runs around spending money on anything and everything, I spend on very little, so how do I budget what little I spend? I think I might invest in gift cards. This way I can put all the money I want to spend on the movies on a movie gift card. Not going to be able to spend that anywhere else because I can't. Someone mentioned the envelope system to me and I think that could be helpful as well. You put the amount of money you want to spend on a certain item in an envelope when you get paid and then you can only take money out of that envelope for that item. Any left money over at the end of the month can be put in a slush fund envelope for something really cool like a vacation or car. I think it could be helpful.

I'm going to give it a try and I hope my lackadaisical attitude about money over the past 2 year doesn't bite me in the ASS!


  1. Ooooo, let me know how the Tour works out for you!!!

  2. I think the envelope system is a great idea, I used to watch Til Debt Do Us Part (a great show about budgeting!!) and they used the jar system. Same principle, different container. Good luck with keeping the costs in check and enjoy your new phone!

  3. Thanks, I can't wait to finally get my hands on all of these things! Good to hear the envelope system works.