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budgeting

march goals / february recap

Posted in Living by

I had set myself up for a pretty busy February, especially for being such a short month. Maybe it was the unseasonable warmth we had, but I felt pretty unstoppable and successfully completed the majority of my goals. Here’s how the month checked out on my end:

  • Work out three times a week I did start working out again, but it was very inconsistent. I started doing DDP Yoga, though, so hopefully having a plan to stick to will help!
  • Blog twice a week Between this blog and a new secret project, I was on track for two posts per week!
  • Join a blogger community Sort of success? I know what I want to join, just didn’t have the time to devote to it this month, so I never pulled the trigger. I was active in several Facebook groups, so I’ll count that as a win here.
  • Pick up a freelance gig
  • Call Chase to lower my credit card interest rate This was laziness. I had no excuse not to do this.
  • Write one guest post/submit an article to the Billfold I did pitch (haaay) but it was turned down. I think I could have framed it a bit differently. I have a few other ideas I’m bouncing around as well to pitch again, and try to get published there before the end of the year. The Billfold has been one of my favorite blogs for a really long time, so this is a long-term goal for me.
  • Read two books I read SmashedHyperbole and a Half, and All the Bright Places. Highly, highly, highly recommend All the Bright Places.
  • Renew car insurance Apparently I’d had this on autopay. Good job, past Desi!
  • Find a therapist I actually found more than one, and made several appointments. My first appointment went really well, so I ended up canceling the rest, which was a nice relief. Therapist shopping can be overwhelming and hard.
  • Sort out a budget that sees my credit cards paid off by June
  • Buy a desk
  • Give blood
  • Passion Planner roadmaps
  • Sort out insurance stuff I did get this taken care of, but a new issue popped up that I’ll need to stay up to date with next month.

All in all, not a bad month! Even outside my goals, I felt like I had a really productive month. I started working on a secret new blog, started strategizing ways to monetize, and made a trip home to see my family. (And ate a lot of pizza.) I’m expecting to keep the momentum going into March, and hope that the change in seasons will help encourage that productivity! Read more…

March 1, 2017
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M.O.N.E.Y / April is Financial Literacy Month

Posted in Money by

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pril has been Financial Literacy Month, which is great timing as I’ve been focusing this month on “spring cleaning” my finances and getting my money back in order (and spending under control.) I’ve definitely been guilty of lifestyle inflation lately and it’s a habit I want to get out of. Especially since I’m traveling so much this year, I’d much rather save up cash to be able to have great experiences rather than impulse shopping because I’m bored at home alone.

Obviously, the most important thing is to budget your money and track your spending so you know where it’s going. Every dollar has a job, and you are your own CFO – it’s on you to make sure those “jobs” are getting done. I won’t pretend to have the best budgeting spreadsheet or system, but I really like the tools on Learnvest and Mint. They connect with all your financial accounts and do the hard work for you, so you can log in to one place to see all your money matters.

This year, I have worked hard to get comfortable being uncomfortable. When I moved, my living expenses more than doubled, so I’ve had to cut out and cut back some of my favorite treats like daily Starbucks or weekly mall trips. Things that were by no means necessary, but little things that I enjoyed that made me happy. Cutting these and making coffee at home and having clothing swaps with friends have taken the place now, and while it’s a little out of my comfort zone, it’s definitely been worth it.

Another good way to keep an eye on your money is to track your income. For people who have just one salaried job where the paycheck doesn’t change each week, this is probably not imperative or even helpful – in my old job, I was salaried, and didn’t have any side hustles, so I always knew every month precisely what I was going to take home. Now that I have multiple income streams, my income varies. I always budget based on the bare minimum I know I’ll be making from my full time job, and track everything that is extra in order to see what I have left to play with (aka save for travel or pay down student loans.)

trim the fat – Going along with spring cleaning, this is a good time to look through your credit card or bank statements and see what you can cut back on or eliminate totally. If there’s a recurring subscription you haven’t used in months, get it out of there. If there’s a credit card with a low outstanding balance you can comfortably knock out, do it. It might also be a good yearly reminder to get on the phone to your cell phone and internet providers to remind them what a great customer you are and see if there might be a reduction they can offer you or a new discount you can take advantage of.

SAVE YOUR MONEY. Do whatever it takes, set up your budget in whatever way you’re most likely to a) stick to it and b) save money and spend purposely. I have to trick myself into pretending it’s a game. (Because I’m an adult.) I track the number of no-spend days I have in a row and celebrate if I break a streak. Things like that really help me want to be mindful of my money and concentrate on the ins and outs of it.

The most important thing in my financial journey has been reading personal finance bloggers. Some of my favorites are Budgets are Sexy, According to Athena, Money After Graduation, brokegirlrichVanessa’s Money, and Blonde on a Budget. The Billfold is one of my favorite reads as well. They all have fantastic resources and advice, whether you’re a finance all-star or just starting your budget for the first time, and sometimes it’s just nice to read through other people’s successes and failures as well.

How do you “do” money? Do you keep to a strict budget and track your spending, or do you just hope to break even at the end of the month?

April 27, 2015
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