Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2012 and a Third

That's right, we're one third of the way through 2012. I decided May 1 was as good a day as any to update my progress on my resolution.

Last time I checked in, two months ago, I was behind schedule by about $20. Now, I'm ahead of schedule! That's right! I should be at 33% of it paid off now, and I'm at 47%! My tax refund helped, as did adjustments to my spending habits.

I'm determined to stay on this financial plan for more than just the duration of paying off some debt. I.e. once I get it paid, I won't just go crazy spending and booking trips. I'll stick to a budget! There is no reason that I can't start planning financially for future events (i.e. that trip to Paris I'd like to take in 2014)!

With the news lately of lay offs and positions being done away with, it also hits close to home that it is very important to have a good cushion to land on if needed. I have friends who now have to compete for their jobs with their colleagues, and one never knows when they may be in the same situation. So, I may also shift more focus into that emergency fund.

It has been quite easy to shift my spending to a saving mode instead of spending. Things I've started to do that have made a difference are:

  • Put $$ on a Starbucks card - when it runs out, I wait until I can refill the card
  • Pre-plan expenses - now I've been putting aside money left over each pay for expenses I know are coming up, like new running shoes and a new jacket - that way, I don't have to put it on Visa or adjust my budget
  • Take cash out each pay - I have a general idea of how much "entertainment" money I have, and I like to have it in cash. Then when I am getting low, I can see that I am getting low and choose what I want to do more... Sometimes that means choosing between a bottle or wine or going to the movies.
  • If there is any money left in my account between pays, I transfer it to savings or to my debt. That $5-10 adds up!
  • Library visits - when I run out of $$ before pay day, a trip to the library is a free way to get some movies or magazines to look at
  • Pay attention to what I'm spending and on what...

Hopefully when I check in again in July, I'll still be ahead of schedule!

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