The good thing about getting paid once a month is that you get all of the financial planning out of the way in one fell swoop. The bad thing is about getting paid once a month is that requires you to be part psychic.
Between unexpected expenses and the ever-present chance that the next month’s check could arrive late, you can never be completely sure how much money you’ll need. Thus you must inevitably pad the amount you think you’ll need.
But that’s not all bad. Sometimes the padding leads to a surplus at the end of the month. Not only is it awesome to have “extra” money, but you also get a warm fuzzy feeling from the proof that you kept spending down — or at least within the expected parameters. Either way, it’s a pretty good feeling.
Normally, we have $100 to $200 extra at the end of each month. In good months, we have $300 left. This month there was more than $500.
The success was from a mix of things. Mainly, we had fewer unexpected expenses hit. I’ve also concentrated on small trims to our food spending. This means that the weekly spending money actually tended to last the full seven days. (Crazy notion, I know.)
Thanks to that mix of diligence and luck, we can put $600 into savings this month, bringing the savings account balance to just under $1,100.
Granted, we’re still a long ways away from my feeling safe financially (if that’s even possible); but being back up over $1,000 is making me breathe a little easier. Now we just have to hope that it stays put — and that I get a bonus again this year.
Beyond that, there’s not a lot to report on the financial front. As I mentioned, we’re trying to trim our food budget. Costs had ballooned out of control, even by my generous standards.
I’m trying to start with changes that aren’t too radical. For example, if we need to order pizza — or wings, in Tim’s case — I’m trying to make sure one of us actually goes and gets the food ourselves. Between the delivery fee and tip, that saves us about $6 each time.
To try to save even more I bought some Tyson frozen wings. Unfortunately, Tim didn’t like them, so we gave them to his parents. If anyone knows a good brand of frozen boneless wings.of a good frozen wing brand (they must be boneless), please let me know.
Meanwhile, I have been trying to stick to my diet more. While it’s not as cheap as cooking, my diet food is significantly less than fast food. It also means that I eat very little junk food, which saves a fair chunk of money over time.
Tim’s change is a decrease in energy drink consumption. He’s not loving the new policy, but I’m sticking to my guns because it means significant savings. Also because that many energy drinks can’t possibly be good for you.
To help keep me on the straight and narrow, I’ve attached extra costs to junk food. Specifically, any time I buy candy (other than the small amount allowed on my diet), Tim gets extra energy drinks. This means I can’t rationalize a bag of dollar store cookies as being cheap because it comes with $2.50 worth of Mountain Dew Black Label.
Granted, this isn’t always enough to keep me from snacking — especially while I’m struggling with SAD. But I’m hoping things will get easier once I start using the SAD light, which arrives on Friday. While I didn’t like spending the $60ish on the light, it could quickly pay for itself in savings on junk food.
For the sake of our budget and my waistline, I hope it works! Now I’m off to revel in having a four-figure savings account again.
How are your finances doing? Who else is struggling not to gobble up junk food?