found! not lost blog

“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver

Crunching the numbers: can I stick to a budget?

First, thanks to all of you who read my last post and gave your encouragement either here or on Facebook! But I know what is really of interest is HOW this is going.

So, first, let’s crunch the numbers… Splitting my discretionary funds 50/50 with others means I had to put together a monthly budget. Here’s how I arrived at one:

Net Revenue: Take home pay from my part-time work, which has already taken out the taxes, 401(k), United Way monthly donation, healthcare premiums (I cover the family on my benefits), etc.

Minus Expenses I previously committed to: daycare, car payment (this is painful, as I just bought a new car and hadn’t had a car payment in 7 years!), and monthly college savings for the kids’ 529 funds.

The pie chart below illustrates the allocation of my take home pay now. Nice to see my MBA at work, right? 😉 I’m proud to see the college fund outweighing the daycare expenses finally! All credit goes to the husby on that one, he kept me an honest woman as I’d always said when our kids entered kindergarten I’d start setting aside their daycare funds for college funds instead.

I won’t lie, this is a huge test for me. While 13% is still plenty of money, remember that for the past year I’ve been spending about 65% on myself. Gross, I know. There were so many designer dresses, bags, shoes, so many lattes, manicures, facials, dinners with friends, it really was all too easy to spend. But that means it should be all too easy to cut out. Should.

My first challenge was immediate. August 3, I headed to Chicago with my husband celebrating our anniversary. There are so many great shops to visit that I had to at least see what was there. I bought a silk shirt from Equipment at Nordstrom’s anniversary sale and a very cool Sandro dress for fall.image{love these shirts, and I thought the color would make it a great basic for work}

image{It’s a simple black dress, but had such a flattering yet fashion-forward cut. The quilting of the material is unique – not to mention makes the dress so comfy!}

Also, got some truffles from my favorite spot, Vosges-Haut Chocolat, and a manicure (nails were in rough shape, and it was at a cheap nail shop, but still, a splurge given my new world order). I knew when I bought the dress that I would be returning the silk shirt. Because… if I didn’t, then I would have a grand total of $12 left for the remaining 28 days of August. Ack!! Also, thinking about it for more than a few minutes I did realize the shirt was nice, but not that special. I didn’t need it, and haven’t regretted returning it in the least. So, after returning the shirt I was left with $142 for the rest of the month.

On the last day in Chicago I did stop by some of my favorite shops Barneys, Intermix, and Scoop NYC… I knew at that point that I could get absolutely nothing else, but it was still fun to see what the new fall season had in store. And remembering my purpose for forgoing was so powerful, I felt no temptation to open my wallet.

Then, last week I had two iced coffees at work, so that leaves me with $136. Three weeks to go, and I still have a happy hour, a dinner with some girlfriends, and a movie night left on the calendar this month. Think it will be tight, but doable. So far, so good! But, what has really been interesting are the little changes coming about as happy side effects of this experiment, but let’s save that for another day…



2 comments on “Crunching the numbers: can I stick to a budget?

  1. Kathy Winchell
    August 14, 2012

    I have an idea….always have ideas, it the energy that I sometimes lack!!! We sponsor 3 children through Compassion International. The donation is about $32/month for each child. You write letters back and forth. I have some friends at school that have their children involved in this. They have chosen a child/children who are about the same age as their children. The kids help with the messages and also send photos back and forth. We have tried to encourage our family in Arizona to get involved in this way. It is such a journey of compassionate “global growth” and lots of learning can occur.

  2. found not lost
    August 15, 2012

    Kathy – love this idea also. I actually used to sponsor a child through Children International for many years until she became an adult. I like the thought of using it as a concrete way to educate about global challenges while also making it fun with the “pen pal” aspect. Thanks!

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This entry was posted on August 13, 2012 by in personal and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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