This past weekend, I saw this book in the library and almost glazed right over it.
Michelle McKinney-Hammond is a Christian writer who normally writes relationship books, but this book is about personal finance. I’m not broke (and would never speak that over my life), but I don’t EVER want to be broke either so this book intrigued me. So much so, that right there in the library I sat down and read the first six chapters! Turns out Michelle was inspired to write this book because, despite the fact that she has written tons of books, she spent more than she earned and ended up upside down financially.
I was reading this book and she was talking about her spend-thrift habits. I thought to myself, “Wow this woman sounds just like me!” I love to shop. I hate doing laundry and would much rather buy new clothes. I like to go out to eat at nice restaurants. I like pretty jewelry. I like trendy shoes. I like to buy fresh new books from the bookstore. I love to go to movies and chomp on my favorite candy and sip on a huge Icee from the concession stand. I even like to drive around aimlessly in my car (Who does that???). Pretty much I like to buy, buy, buy. But, I’m also not Oprah Winfrey and will end up being Ted Williams if I let my eyes get bigger than my wallet! I always feel like if I spend a little bit of money here and there, that’s okay. The problem is $10 bucks here, $20 bucks there, $5 bucks there, $40 bucks there, $20 bucks there, $5 bucks there adds up to $100!…And I spent it where???? It’s definitely time to reign in spending.
So, I decided that I am going to consciously try to save money this month. I use Mint.com and that keeps track of my spending. (Sidenote: Mint.com is nothing short of awesome, but it’s also depressing.) Ya’ll would not buh-leeeeeve how much moolah I spend on shopping. Coincidentally, I never have anything to wear! I’m done with that for a month. I have more than I could ever need and I am putting myself on a real budget this month.
(I’m sure I’ve said that before, but that is no reason not to try again.)
1) I have no business in a clothing store of any kind. I could clothe a third-world country at this point.
2) I will eat all of the food in my kitchen so I’m not taking unnecessary trips to the grocery store. If I run out of cereal, I will eat oatmeal, if I run out of oatmeal, I will eat poptarts, if I run out of poptarts, I will eat toast, if I run out of toast I will eat eggs, etc.
3) I will decide once and for all if I truly need internet in my apt or if it will be cheaper for me to get a mifi device that is portable for home and on-the-go. I have no patience for slow internet though so the mifi device has to be a good one.
4) I will decide if I truly need cable. I watch the news, Food Network, random sitcoms and of course “The Game” every Tuesday night, but do I NEED cable? I dunno.
5) I will only watch movies from Redbox and Netflix when I’m alone. Movie theaters are for dates with my bf not for boring Tuesday afternoons by myself. Lol.
6) If I do eat out, I will not go to restaurants by myself. I will go on dates with my bf (of course) or with friends and I will not order the most expensive thing on the menu. I will eat cheap for the fellowship and will eat for real when I get home.
7) I will never live in an expensive apartment again. Especially not one that isn’t all-electric! I will never have a roommate again. (This is hindsight, but definitely a life lesson).
8 ) I will get books from the library. No perusing Barnes & Nobles and spending $50 on books I’ll never finish.
9) I will not drive all over town. I will plan out my trips and do what I have to do when I am on that side of town. For instance, I go to North side of town every Saturday. I have no reason to drive across town on Friday when I KNOW I’m driving up there on Saturday.
10) I will not buy any smoothies. I drink smoothies like people drink Starbucks coffee. I can make that stuff at home.
That’s only 10 ways, but I think that’s a good start for me. Like I said, I don’t ever want to be broke and I think it is important to use money wisely. February is the shortest month of the year, so I think this is a good month to start putting my excessive spending habits behind me!