Lifestyle

Ballin’ on a Budget: September 2018

This is my final update about my 2 month challenge to get my sh*t together. To be completely honest, I failed miserably. I did not even come close to reaching my goals and in fact, I think I’m worse off now than I was 2 months ago. It’s sad and it doesn’t feel great, but now I know that that didn’t work for me.

I think the main issue is that I didn’t have a big enough goal to work on. I had a few landmarks I wanted to reach but the overall goal just wasn’t really there. Thinking back to my last two posts, I don’t even know why I decided to do the things I said I would do in the first place. I didn’t decide what I wanted or what was most important to me. I just said that I wanted to work on a few small things like beefing up my savings and balancing my credit card. They weren’t small steps to a larger goal. I want to be completely honest, but those aren’t strong enough goals. I think I finally realized that I need to put some work in and get my sh*t together and do something that will actually put me in a better position.

So to keep my Ballin’ on a Budget series going, I’ve picked a new goal. I’m giving myself 15 months to accomplish it, by January 2020. It’s a significantly bigger goal and it takes much more commitment, planning and patience to get there. By January 2020, I will be moving out of my current house and moving into an apartment of my own. I always knew it was important to have goals and be working toward something, but I didn’t really understand what that meant until I knew what I could be missing if I wasn’t constantly working toward something more important.

The first few steps of getting to save up enough money to feel comfortable moving into a new apartment on my own is going to be seeing where my finances are right now, putting together a monthly budget, and allowing myself enough flexibility to not feel restricted. In the last 2 months of my previous challenge, I felt so restricted trying to save and work on my credit that I ended up making it worse. I realize that I need to be realistic. It wouldn’t make any sense for me to make a budget that doesn’t leave room for some new clothes, wine and a night out with friends. Those are things that make me happy and keep me wanting to move forward. They are things I can look forward to so my next goal is going to allow for those things that make me feel good, but in moderation.

I’ll also need to figure out how much it would cost for me to live on my own and pay for rent, utilities, food, insurance, etc. I need an actual numerical goal to work toward otherwise, I’ll find a reason not to reach it. Once I figure that out for one month, I think it would be a good start to save for 6 months worth of rent and utilities. Depending on how long that takes me, then I can continue to save more or get started at actually finding housing that fits within my budget. I think this goal is realistic because I’m giving myself plenty of time to fulfill it.

I’m coming to a point where I realize that you can’t just float by if you want people to take you seriously. You have to have goals and be willing to work toward something, otherwise you’re just wasting everyone’s time. At this point, I would be silly to not figure this out and work on it. I would be missing out on so much more by not setting a goal and working on it.

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Lifestyle

Ballin’ on a Budget: August 2018

It’s been one month (approximately) since I started my Ballin’ on a Budget series and I wanted to share my very first update about my progress. If you remember back in July in my first Ballin’ on a Budget post, I discussed some of my thoughts about budgeting and the effects it can have on your life. I also mentioned a few savings and spending goals I wanted to reach. I gave myself until September 30, 2018 so I still have one month left to get where I want to be.

So far, I am not anywhere near where I wanted to be (yikes!) and that is because I went on vacation in August to Miami, FL. If any of you have ever been to Miami, you’ll know that it is not cheap to stay there for a week. I knew this trip was coming up, but I didn’t plan very well for it. This is not necessarily a good reason or excuse for deterring reaching my goals, but that is exactly what happened. Needless to say, this trip set me back quite a bit.

So now, to readjust my goals for the coming month, I know how to be a little bit more realistic about it. I know when I’m traveling next month, special occasions that are coming up, and I have an idea of all the other crazy things that might come up in between. I tend to be impulsive about my spending so I never REALLY know what’s going to come up, but I do know things that I was thinking of purchasing that might turn into impulse buys. What I need to really adjust for this coming month is my self-control, but I also understand that it takes time to change bad habits and I should be patient with myself. So here are my adjusted/realistic goals to reach for September 30, 2018:

  1. Pay off entire August credit card bill in full before due date.
  2. Keep credit card balance under 15% of my credit maximum as of September 30, 2018.
  3. Add $300 to my savings and emergency funds.
  4. Put an extra $10 weekly into my retirement fund.

These goals are much more attainable for me and I believe that I’ll be able to reach them. I think goal setting is always important for the future, but what’s more important is making sure to adjust and reset when you need to. If you aren’t reaching your goals, it’s easy to be frustrated. If you take the time to evaluate why you didn’t reach your goals and adjust your plan to fix that, then you have a much better chance of actually reaching them later on.

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Lifestyle

Ballin’ on a Budget: July 2018

Now I’m no financial guru or anything, but I have come to realize just how important keeping track of your finances can be. In my first year post grad, I’ve taken on responsibility for most of my financial obligations (excluding groceries and housing, thank goodness for loving parents). However, in this last year, I’ve also seen myself creating poor financial habits. Trust me when I tell you, it’s beneficial to build up good credit, but the credit card companies are NOT your friend! I’m not an expert and I will definitely not try and give you advice on a topic that I’m not fully educated on, but I do want to share my story and my goals as I journey to change my bad financial habits into healthy habits.

I know first-hand how poor financial habits can put a strain on your personal/social relationships, your self-esteem, and ultimately your future. It’s probably hard to save up for a new car or house when you have $5,000 in credit card debt with 15% APR looming over your head, right? Obviously, writing a fashion blog requires you to be on trend and up to date as far as fashion goes (duh), but it also takes good financial habits and a lot of self-control so that it doesn’t interfere with the rest of your life.

This new Ballin’ on a Budget series is a way for me to be accountable to myself and anyone who reads my blog. It’s a way to track my progress, share my goals and hopefully give you some inspiration to get yourself on track with whatever goals you have. What’s that old saying? Old habits die hard? I don’t think that’s right, but it’s going to be right because that’s what I’m using in this post. This process will take me a lot of time and patience because these things can’t change overnight even if I wanted them to (because I get paid bi-weekly lol). However, I think that by working on them consistently and reminding myself of my end goal every day I can make a lot more progress than if I didn’t.

So, I’m going to share my first set of goals and tactics with you so I can have some progress information to share with you next month!

Goals:

  1. Pay off credit card balance in full by September 13, 2018 (July & August Statements)
  2. Reduce credit card balance to less than $300 by September 30, 2018.
  3. Have $500 in savings account by September 30, 2018
  4. Have $500 in emergency account by September 30, 2018

Plan:

  1. Use credit card only for gas and vitamin subscription (because it’s an automatic subscription and as long as I pay it, it’s beneficial to my credit!!)
  2. Transition to paying with cash only if possible (only use debit card if cash is not a payment option)
  3. All bills (Student Loans, Credit Card & Phone Bill) must be accounted for before paying for anything else (money should be in the proper bank account or payment must be submitted prior to paying for food/clothes/recreation/etc.)
  4. Moving money to Expense account, Savings Account & Emergency Accounts is the priority and will be done on pay-day.

I want to get past my mindset of overspending just because I have a credit card. I hope that this can be helpful to someone out there and I am looking forward to checking back in on my progress next month. I have a lot at stake, but I truly believe that I can make this happen!

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