Month 2 Made it Through...


I am so discouraged!

Month 2 was a total fail.  I feel like the fact that I forgot to factor in Tuition and other school expenses into this month's projected budget set me up for disaster.  When I planned my August budget with tuition and books factored in I wasn't expecting to "save" any money at all.  To make ends meat, I cut everything out of my budget this month except for my necessary bills and retirement savings (yep, even groceries were gone, and I've been eating a lot of pantry goods and frozen meals).

I wasn't sure if I was going to qualify for financial aid from my school because as of last year, I had exceeded the allowed number of credits for any student.  Basically they said I have been in school too long, and they're not helping me pay anymore.  Although I appealed it, and was given back my financial aid, every semester since then has been a game of Russian Roulette, and I'm usually on the loosing end.  Last year I didn't find out my financial aid didn't go through until classes had started.  Imagine my excitement when I received a letter telling me that I had one week to come up with $3,000 or else I would be purged from my classes.  That's why I had to take out that ridiculous Signature Loan. 

While I originally saved quite a lot after the first pay period this month.  ($516.00), I was feeling so discouraged by the 2nd half of the month that I went into crazy.bad.habit mode and overspent most of my potential savings/tuition!  What I had left ($100.00) was not enough to make a dent in tuition, so I put it towards the Signature loan.  I'm hoping my financial aid comes through.  I feel so disappointed and anxious and stressed out, and I'm kicking myself as I review where I went over budget:
  • Food ($197):  Cutting out groceries was a huge mistake, because there are only so many Cup'o Noodles I can eat in a month before I go crazy.  I ended up eating out this month more than I ever have in my life!  Normally I budget $100 a month for groceries, and $0 for eating out.  Of the amount I went over budget in the food category, $156.00 was from eating out!  Seriously? It would have been so much better if I had just budgeted even $50 for groceries.  Since I don't eat fast food, eating out cost me a fortune because I had to get food from "nicer, healthier" places.  Thomas' birthday was also this month, so I decided to take him out.  We didn't do anything super expensive, but I paid for dinner and dessert.   
  • Taxes ($23):  Taxes get me every month!  I never know how much to budget, and my estimations are always wrong.  Maybe next month I'll just highball the figure!
  • Entertainment ($127):  While I try to do as many free activities as possible, sometimes spending money is inevitable.  It's times like this that I wish I had purchased a $100 emergency gift card.  I know a girl who is new in town and doesn't have many friends.  She asked me to go to the movies, and while I had told her about my Spending Fast, she wasn't really getting that "movies isn't something I consider a necessity."  So I ponied up, and went... twice.  I also purchased a portable DVD player for an upcoming road trip (I justified it because I had a gift card, and bought it refurbished so it was like half off).  I also bought a few songs on iTunes and two books.
  • Personal Care ($123):  I own two pairs of jeans, which I wear literally every day.  One of them ripped, and while I tried to sew them (make do & mend), the only way to save them was to turn them into Capri pants or shorts...  I needed jeans.  I bought two pairs at Forever 21 for just about $11, and bought some shoes too.  I'm still trying to force myself to return them.  I also purchased a gift for Thomas' birthday, as well as some fabric.  Since I started going back to church I realize I don't own any skirts or dresses.  Trying to be thrifty, I decided that making these items is much less expensive than buying them, and I'm right.  Fabric for a pencil skirt costs $12, an actual pencil skirt costs at least $20.  Bargain right?  Sure, just as long as you don't run out of fabric and have to spend $50 to "Special Order" more!  D'oh!
  • School expenses ($119):  I had to purchase textbooks and pay for a campus parking pass.  Most of my leftover money went for this this month.  Ugh, if my financial aid doesn't work out I'm going to have to pay my tuition out of pocket.  That means no money towards my house down payment for the next four months!
So there you have it, I went over budget $589.00!!  Wait what?!  Where did that money even come from?!  I feel nauseous.

Luckily, I did have some extra income this month.  We had a problem at work a few months ago, and because of it, everyone is required to work 4-8 hours of overtime every week until further notice (probably through the end of the year).  I have been maxing out my hours, and I'm so glad because without them, I probably wouldn't have finished this month with my head above water. 

Everything I made on overtime pay went directly to my MMA account, either for my house, or in case I end up needing it to pay tuition, and all of my regular leftover Spending Fast Savings went towards my Signature Loan.  I know it sounds counter productive, but I'm trying to pay off the Signature Loan I used for tuition last year, so that if my financial aid doesn't go through, I can take out another one.  I am willing to empty my current Spending Fast savings, but I still have only saved about ⅓ of what I need.

My total savings for the month of August is $1158.00!  I am so excited by this number, especially considering I wasn't planning on saving anything.  I am kicking myself for going over budget as much as I did (A monthly tuition payment!)!  To think, I could have saved a whopping $1747.00!  I'm also a little nervous that my online bank statement, and my excel money tracker aren't matching up...  My tracker says I should have about $150 more leftover than I actually do.  Where is the missing money?!

On the bright side, this month I was able to reach 6% of my total savings goal of $20,000; so despite everything else, that was at least exciting!  This, my friends is totally depressing!  I am sick to my stomach at how easy it was to fall into old habits.  I've decided I'm going to stick with it though.  I said one year, and I'm going to do one year, and maybe more. 

Next month my goals are to get better about creating a more realistic budget, planning ahead (for things like school) and I am also instituting the Envelope budget.  As much as I love how easy it is to track my spending with my debit card, clearly I am not responsible enough to be doing that yet.  I need cash.  That way, when I'm out, I'm out!
Where Did the Savings Go:
$546 to Money Market Savings Account
$294 to my Roth 401K
$0 to Emergency Savings Account (This all went towards my Signature Loan)
$318 to Signature Loan (Student Loan for last year's tuition)


Emily said... [Reply to comment]

Sounds like the month was pretty disappointing, but keep going! I've learned that the bigger purpose of a spending fast is to be cognizant of your habits and the reasons behind them in order to set yourself up for a better financial future. It's hard (believe me, I know!), but it gets easier and more enlightening over time. And remember - stuff happens. Life happens and sometimes you just have to roll with the punches :)

Miss Priss Morgan said... [Reply to comment]

@Emily Thanks so much for your encouragement Emily. I was feeling pretty defeated, but you're right, life happens. I always have next month!

nikki said... [Reply to comment]

im with emily - the major benefit to doing the spending fast to learn your habits and reasons behind them. every month isnt going to be golden. but think of all the things you learned this month! like - that you shop when you feel down! i eat out when i feel down. thats where my $$ goes. anyway. i just wanted to say, i think you are doing great. and i think that you can keep it up for the next 10 months (is that right? or is it only 9?). and i wanted to say thanks - we werent perfect this month. but doing a month spending fast was awesome. (who says that??) ok, done with the longest comment ever. good job morgan! you got this!!!

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