Now as I mentioned, I'd already implemented a lot of her suggestions. I pay my auto insurance on a monthly, rather than bi-annual basis simply because I haven't built up a system to do the latter yet which requires a lot more capital than I presently have. I've automated most of my bills, which come out of my checking account at about the same time each month and I've already sat down and listed out what date each bill is due and calculated my total spending on bills. In addition, because I am a visual person, I sit down at least once each day and log into my online banking to check the balance in my account and remind myself exactly how much money I have relative to my upcoming bills.
Another area in which I had plans for saving but had not done so yet is for my car. I need to keep it in tip top shape in order to continue making regular deliveries, however I've mostly been focused on paying down my Firestone Credit Card, which I had maxed out last year on car repairs and maintenance that I had not budgeted for. Increasingly, I've been paying for my car maintenance in cash rather than with the account card, but sometimes it is just so darn convenient.
Finally, JoAnneh, being a woman no doubt, specifies that money should be set aside for clothes, toiletries, and household goods. This is an area that I have EXTREMELY low spending in personally as I tend to go through very little. However, I do wear out my work shoes every three to four months and my work pants wear out a couple times a year, so I have determined that the clothing area is definitely a must and I will contribute to the other areas a small portion as well.
Then of course my fun money. I had no set amounts for fun money. Pretty much once or twice a month I might end up splurging and buying something that interested me but wouldn't put out my bank account. Fortunately I don't require that much fun money these days. I've trained myself to get by on less. As I am focused on paying down my loans and credit cards, I've naturally put off buying a nice gaming computer (I don't have time for computer gaming anyway at the moment), I don't go out to eat very often (though I do grab value menu items once or twice a week when I am on the go and need a fast meal), and my social life essentially costs me $3.50 for an Americano (tip included) to hang out, chat, use the wi-fi all day and eat free chocolate cake if I am lucky. I consider that a pretty cheap price to use the coffee shop as my office/living room. Less costly than most of the "rent an office" buildings that are becoming popular with start ups these days.
In any case, here is a list of my spending plan:
Additionally, I recently secured a credit card with an interesting perk that reduces the total balance owed on it by 2% with each payment. It also enjoys a 0% APR rate until November. Given my high interest rates, by transferring the debt from my chase card (approximately $1,020) and from my Emergency Line of Credit (approximately $750) I can eliminate about $150 in interest payments and simultaneously reduce the amount I pay on each of these debts by another $35 with the nifty 2% reductions, for a total savings of approximately $180. Given how tight things are financially, every dollar counts! :)
Technically speaking, I am actually paying almost twice the minimum amount required by half of my credit accounts. So if I really needed to, I suppose I could cut back on my payments and still meet the minimums just fine and dandy...but I don't want to be saddled with this debt for longer than I absolutely have to be! Hence my drive to pay more and more back to my creditors until it is squeezing me to earn even more money to cover my finances.
In any case, thanks for checking in for this month's financial update. Big things happening and I am excited to keep you folks updated. :) I may have to revise this budget as I go along, but in general, this is what I'll be using as my spending guidelines. It should be fun!