Thursday, March 13, 2008

Living on $1000 a month

Halfway through the month and still on track. My all-time lows budget may be the first really challenging (and therefore the first really fun) budget I’ve ever had. Even when I made $6.50 an hour, I never strategized like this. My spending philosophy in those days was “spend the money reasonably frugally until it runs out and then spend nothing else until payday.” Having a firm amount designated for each category is forcing me to plan out my spending, and as a result makes me feel much more confident about the decisions I’m making. So far, I don’t think I’ve passed on anything I’ve really wanted because of the budget.

This strict budget is having a minor effect on my social life. I’m dodging an invite to have drinks that I would have normally accepted. But I don’t necessarily want to go out with the inviter, so I guess I’m saving time as well as money.

I’m also debating whether to go to an alumni event for my college next week. It’s a dinner event that would cost me $8-10 plus tax and tip (which always seem to inflate a bit when you’re splitting a check amongst a group).

What I've spent, 3/6 to 3/13:



- Bought about $13.00 worth of luxury food—chocolate and ice cream.

- On Tuesday, I accidentally dropped my lunch into the trash can. How’d that happen? Well, the microwave is directly above the trash can, I pulled out my hot lunch with a little too much gusto, and… I bought a salad for lunch.

- Ate out with a friend for lunch on Wednesday. I had potstickers and a cup of soup. I bought the soup so she wouldn’t think I was cheap for only ordering an appetizer, only to find that she had also ordered potstickers, only with no soup. Note to self: don’t spend to impress other people/based on what other people think. They don’t care!

Remaining in food budget: $18.64
Still a little bit of a margin, although I’m uncomfortably aware that we’re running low on cheese. R. and I live on cheese.

Entertainment: $15.11, Netflix
Remaining in entertainment budget: $1.84

With my new addiction to lonelygirl15, the Internet is all the entertainment I need!

$30 Prescriptions
My copay just went up, so I’ll be $20 over in this category once I refill my other prescription. When I go to the doctor next week, I’m going to get 90-day prescriptions so I can start getting my prescriptions by mail, which will put this category back down to $40 a month and also eliminate the need to go to the pharmacy.

$79 eyebrow and leg waxing
In budget and on budget

Here’s the (approximately) thousand-dollar budget I’m challenging myself to meet in March.
Rent $625
Food $ 97.41
Wardrobe $ 75
Books $0, or $17.43 if I finish all my to-be-read books
Entertainment $21.45
Leg and Eyebrow Waxing $80
Prescriptions $40
Miscellaneous $100

Total: $1038.86


Anonymous said...

Leg and eyebrow waxing is included in your budget? Why not wax youself at home? Or just do things the "old fashioned" way to save even more money ;-)

Scarlett said...

@anonymous: I haven't had much luck waxing at home. I am experimenting with threading, though--so far I can do about half a leg before my fingers get too sore.

By "old-fashioned" do you mean au naturel? :) I've tried shaving for a good fifteen years now and no matter what I do, my legs don't like it.

Anonymous said...

What about transportation costs?

Scarlett said...

@anonymous: I'm never really sure how to count transportation costs. My train pass costs $86, but the money is taken out of my paycheck pretax, put into a "transportation account," and then reimbursed. It probably costs me around $65 post-tax. Dunno if I was counting that in "Misc." in this $1000 budget (it was $75 back then, so maybe $60 post-tax) or just ignoring.

Anonymous said...

No utilities or insurance?

Lexi Elizabeth said...

What about savings, insurance (health, car, etc), or retirement? My biggest problem is budgeting those things into my 1,000.