Now, my credit card bill has never gotten too out of control, but it was more than I felt comfortable owing and it was not letting me save any money. So I figured I would take this Links Day to share the back story on my financial woes and the ways I am trying to fix them. Who knows, maybe it will even help some others that aren't great with their money either!?
In the months leading up to my move to Portland last September I did not plan well. I was living at home and not paying rent (thanks Mom and Dad!) but not being wise with my saving habits. So when I got up here and realized I needed to make big purchases on things like furniture, a new bed, rent, etc. I got myself into a little hole. Which, ok not a big deal...other than the fact that I didn't change any of my spending habits after I made those large purchases and am not making enough money to do both.
I finally had a little wake up call when I had to break down and call my parents for help with gas and food money at the end of a month not long after I moved up. Let me tell you, that is not a good feeling, when you're trying to show people that you are finally a grown up.
I realized that I needed to get my life figured out and balance my budget. I started by making a spreadsheet of all my expenses and using the personal finance website mint.com. It helps you link up all your accounts so you can keep track of your spending habits and try and set goals for yourself (it's legit). I also tried to follow easy steps like these to help cut back in little ways that add up. Slowly, I was able to put money towards my credit card each month and finally paid it off today!
These days, I am by no means an Extreme Cheapskate, but I am making a conscious effort to be content with what I already have and ask myself, if I really need the item that I am holding in my hand, whether it is the holiday soap at the grocery store (this debate with Brad really did happen the other day and for the record, I didn't get the soap), the Starbucks drink, or the Hunter Boots I am dying to have. I also have to admit that Brad has been a big help in all of this and keeps me in check when I really want to make an unnecessary impulse purchase - because let's be honest those are the best purchases and still happen on occasion.
I still have a long way to go when it comes to my finances, seeings how I currently have $3.00 in my savings account, but at the moment I am breaking even and that is the first time I can say that in over a year. (if you don't count my thousands and thousands of dollars in student loans and car payment. small details)
My goal for the future is to slowly start saving, because the thought of actually having enough money to do grown up things like own a home or be able to invest seems so far off, but in all actuality I should have started on those things a long time ago. I know the next month will be extra tough, with the Holidays and buying gifts, etc. but my goal is to not put anything on the card that I cannot pay off at the end of the month. Wish me luck!
Cheers to learning the hard way,