Friday, January 14, 2011

It's all about the Benjamins

First of all, thank you readers for your absolutely wonderful advice on my questionable outfit earlier this week. I'm still in DC, but hope to post a follow-up entry integrating your advice some time next week.

Since you all have proven yourselves to be incredibly insightful and helpful, let's talk about another area of my life in which I could use some improvement: budgeting.

Image via PostSecret.com

I didn't make any New Years' resolutions this year, but I did recently decide to be a bit better about money management. It's too easy to get caught up in my cushy pay bracket and forget that, as a law student, I am living on loans and will graduate with a crippling load of student debt. None of the money I have to my name right now is really "mine." My soul belongs to Citibank and my other student loan providers.

With that in mind, my "being a bit better" entails the following:
  1. Set a budget for shopping
  2. Stick to said budget
  3. Resume using Mint.com to keep track of my spending.
As you can see, I'm starting out pretty simple. The main function of #3 is that big red lines scare me in a way that my credit card statement cannot. Witness:


I'm not going to show you my total spending (or my budgets), but I do need to "edit details" of my shopping budget. I set what I think is a reasonable figure, then Mint displayed my spending for the last month and I've spent more than TWICE what I thought was a "reasonable" amount. (In fact, I fear that Mint has only displayed my spending for JANUARY, which, as I've triple-checked, has barely been two weeks long. This is certainly a bit concerning. Concerning enough that I refuse to actually verify it. Baby steps. Let's start with the budgeting.)

I don't think a shopping ban is particularly reasonable for me, but I think it will help to prioritize my spending in this arena. I'm traveling a LOT this semester (Disney in February, Israel/Jordan/Egypt in March, huge European tour in August) and I need to keep the shopping in check so I have money for these other delights.

Incidentally, this seems like the perfect type of entry to mark the debut of the "IntenseDebate" commenting system on the blog. IntenseDebate will hopefully make it easier to leave comments, respond to comments, and stay in touch with the discussion around here! (If you're confused by the new system, check out the links on the right sidebar under the header, "Roxy's Guides to Commenting with IntenseDebate." As usual, Roxy of Effortless Anthropologie provides an extremely helpful resource to the blogging community!)

So, I want to know, readers: Do you have a shopping budget? How do you stick to it? Any words of encouragement or advice here are greatly appreciated.

(Commenting Update: I know a few of you early posters had to wait for your comment to receive approval before it posted. I think I've fixed that issue.)

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