I recently had a lengthy pow-wow with my financial advisor. With so many other aspects of my life on a fast track to exactly where I want them to be, I knew it was high time my finances followed suit. I know that I’m not the only one of my social circle struggling to come to terms with an often crippling student debt load, but I also know that I have the ammo to annihilate it.

Money Glow

Photo: frugg on Flickr

After sitting down with my advisor, we charted out the big picture and proceeded to number crunch. When I got home, I spent two hours mapping out my budget for the next three months on a spreadsheet, something I plan to do every 90 days to keep track of all the ins and outs.

To be honest, budgeting in such a meticulous manner – or any manner – is a new concept to me. No one ever taught me the specifics of the fine art of money management, so it’s something I’ve taken upon myself to gain control of.

The next six-to-eight months will be tight with the next three being especially painful. This means continuing to eat all my meals at home, eating out only once a month, bidding farewell to Starbucks entirely, going to the movies only once a month, kiss shopping for clothes good-bye, switching from Bumble & Bumble to Lush shampoo bars (yes, I know – I can’t believe it either), abstaining from my red wine habit and eating a lot of tofu and noodles.

Sound painful? I’m actually celebrating!

The benefit will be so incredibly worth it. Not only will I be free to travel and open RRSPs, but I’ll be essentially debt-free before turning 30. And even better, by this time next summer I’ll be able to start bankrolling a mortgage down payment.

That said, please don’t be offended if I say “no” to any invites that require more than walking on the seawall over the next year or so. Homemade Christmas presents for everyone this year!

Jordy, Charley and myself are participating in this year’s BC-SPCA Paws For A Cause. Click here to read more about my personal fund-raising effort. If you would like to donate, hop on over to my personal campaign page. Many thanks for your generosity!

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11 Comments on “BUDGET BETTY

  1. Ahhh budgeting. This is Chads passion in life. Every single penny we make and spend is documented on his spreadsheet. Sometimes I get annoyed because I want to buy one more pair of jeans, or I want to go out to dinner one night, but the reality is that the amount of money we are saving is astounding. With out this budget there would be no way we would be able to afford to spend a month in Italy next year, plus a down payment on our next house, plus RRSPs and extra mortage payments. It does cause for a little sacrifice now but it is sooo worth it in the end!

  2. YAY YOU!

    Somone very close to me just paid off 11,000 in 4 month by going on a super strict budget! i was almost crying I was so happy for them!

    There are also some GREAT blogs out there to get inspired from when “living more with less…”

  3. Good for you for taking the first step than many people avoid: facing the reality of your finacial situation and forging an action plan! I escaped from $20k in debt at age 23 by paying down as much as possible each month and then using the proceeds for rent/bills. I also negotiated my interest rates so that I ended up paying less than 3.5%. Budgeting is hard, so “reward” yourself! How? Buy EVERYTHING you can using a no fee “cash” back credit card. Many give you 1% cash back on all purchases. Use the card for daily expenses and pay off the balance each month in full. $1,000.00 per month spent pays you $120.00 per year to use for treats (or to further hammer down your debt). MBNA, PC Presidents Choice, Vancity, Citibank, CIBC all have such cards. Best of luck and congratulations on taking the steps toward financial freedom!

  4. Yay! Good work Keira! There will be times where you are just dying for a good Pinot Noir so make sure that you make a strict budget -with some flexibility. You want to make *realistic* goals for yourself! You can take comfort in the fact that Mike and I are strict budgeteers right alongside you! We are trying to make all of our meals at home, bottle of wine only for special occasions and lots of homemade gifts too! Picture taking makes that a bit easier 😀
    You should do a feature on good ways to get creative with money :) I think I will too!!

    Love love!!

  5. Good for you!! I love budgeting and being debt-free!! We followed Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps, ourselves.

    I second what Duncan said – our financial planner got us to switch to MBNA and PC Financial cards that are free and have rewards points, and we are happy people. The PC one pays for our groceries every few months.

  6. Pingback: BUDGET BETTY | surviveabear.com

  7. Sounds like you’ve been watching Til Debt Do Us Part! It’s my guilty pleasure. You may prefer to work with a cash-only budget at first, as the show’s host always suggests, because you can see where the money is going and you have to plan your purchases. But if you do want to try a rewards card, Citi’s Enrich mastercard is the best in my opinion. They really do give you 1% back at the end of the year, in the form of a cheque, and there’s no funny business (ratcheting dividend rates, exemptions, etc.). They will also allow you to upload a photo of yourself and will put it on your card for free, which is a good security feature.

    Good luck and keep your eye on the goal!

  8. I need to get back on track with my budgeting. I’ve been failing miserably this last while — and when you’re not working that’s the worst time to completely fall off the wagon like I have. Since I can’t do spreadsheets on my home computer perhaps I will take the time to do that on my lunchbreak at work sometime.

    The hardest part is saying no to invites. I still have a major problem just saying ‘hey I’m too broke sorry’ … it’s a total pride thing for me and I have to get myself out of it. It causes for a lot of unnecessary spending.

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