At the beginning of June I wrote an article about the adjustments new college graduates face as they enter the workforce. In it, I provided tips on how to best manage the sudden change in lifestyle. I must admit that although I’ve had one year to hone in on my personal finances, I still tend to stray from my budget in certain areas.
It’s time for me to practice what I preach! To get back on track, I identified my three biggest budget busters. For the next three months I will challenge myself to break out of my careless spending habits.
August’s Challenge: no coffee
With Starbucks’ mobile ordering system, picking up coffee before work has become effortless. I’m on a first-name basis with one of the baristas. I guess that makes me a regular! The worst part about my coffee habit is that I’m cognizant of what I’m spending and how it negatively affects my wallet. But my love for caffeine and convenience often outweigh my quest for frugality. With that being said, for the entire month of August, I will not spend a dime on take-out coffee - or my guilty pleasure, cake pops!
September’s Challenge: no shopping
Our office is dangerously close to The Fashion Mall. That has proven to be both a blessing and a curse. I’ve spent countless lunch breaks roaming through the stores. While it has upped my step count, my bank account has suffered! Money spent on clothing racks up quickly. For the month of September, I vow not to step foot inside a single clothing store. I’m not a big online shopper but, for the purpose of this challenge, online shopping will also be off limits.
October’s Challenge: envelope budgeting
For those of you who didn’t catch my last article, envelope budgeting is when you pay for certain categories of your budget in cash only. The idea is to control spending. Once you run out of cash, you’re done with that category of your budget until next month. I will be allocating my entire “going out” budget of $200 to cash for the month of October. Since I Uber every time I go out, I will also be tracking these costs closely.
Bring it on!
If there are weak spots in your budget, I challenge you to join me. Perhaps you eat out for lunch rather than pack your lunch. Or maybe you waste your grocery money by allowing all those fruits and vegetables to go bad in the fridge. What are your three biggest budget busters? Once you trim away unnecessary and wasteful spending, you pave the way toward meeting your financial goals. So, how about - are you up to the challenge?
I’ll check back in the November newsletter to recap my experiences and share any lessons learned along the way. Wish me luck!
Contact Kate if you have questions or would like additional information regarding this topic.