So I have no idea if anyone will even read this site. For me its an outlet to think about my finances and future goals. I’ve seen a lot of blogs out there about finance and money. A lot of help can be found to get out of debt or geared towards adults in the middle of their careers. I hope that here I can share ideas and lessons learned from someone who is just starting out. Have any websites to recommend my way?
In the last year and a half I have become very good at watching where my money goes. I’ve always done the easy things like pack your lunch and use the Entertainment books or Reach Magazine for dinner dates. (Well I don’t pay for dinner dates too often, but I try to make my boyfriend use coupons to our favorite places.) I made a budget when I started my first job just over a year ago. It was hard. I didn’t know how much I should allow myself to spend. I am in the science field and work in the mid west. My salary is in the mid 50s. I started out with the essentials and tracking things like groceries, gas, cell phone, prescriptions, utilities, etc that I knew I had to pay every month. I then played around with some other categories like “Shopping” and “Entertainment.” In the end I try to not spend over $600 in a month. I then calculated how much I needed for rent, car insurance, a future car fund, monthly donations and a fun slush fund that has been used to buy a lot of wedding gifts and dresses for the two weddings I was in this summer. From that I figured out how much I took home in a month and (take home) – (monthly expenses) = amount put into savings. In the end I was saving about $1400-1600 a month.
I have recently had to decrease that amount due to my change in apartments and not having any roommates. But I am okay with that, I am a young professional and think living on my own is a good experience for me. (I don’t plan on buying a house because my significant other already has a home, and he stated a house would not be a good short term investment, so hopefully I won’t be renting for over ~two more years.)
I am anal retentive about keeping track of my finances. I keep every receipt and log it in an excel file. It’s a good visual though, if I see how much I just spent at the mall I tend to be more careful with my money the rest of the month. And if I go over my monthly goal (which has happened twice in the last year by less than $100, I try to just spend less the next month.) I get a weird high when I spend less than $600 a month, I feel proud and end up putting even more into my savings.