budget, budgeting tools, and thoughts


I have had fun reading blogs on budgeting, checking websites recommended, checking government and bank websites for budget tips and free budgeting tools.

I did not prefer to log into websites to use a budgeting tool, or use the tools with restricting terms of use. So, even though it took me sometime, I designed my own Excel document to keep track of my “variable” expenses; these are my weekly allowance, grocery shopping, eating out (breakfast at the weekends mostly), other non-regular expenses (such as gifts) in addition to the house maintenance costs.

Each week, I plan to keep track of my expenses in each of these categories and see whether I can keep up with my weekly (or annual in case of house repairs) budget.

I will also note my extra savings. These are the expenses that I am tempted to make, but decide not to; for example, if I want to eat out but talk myself into not, then I will add ~$20 as savings.  Each week I do not buy books, I will add $15. When I am tempted to buy a new pair of shoes or clothes but decide to use the already existing ones, I will put this amount into the savings. Whenever I walk from home or take the bus (instead of taking the cab), I will put the difference into the savings.

I am aware that this is actually silly, as some of these expenses (e.g. books) are covered by my weekly allowance (i.e. by not spending money on these, I am saving from my weekly allowance anyhow).

So, why do I do that?

Simple: To reward myself psychologically. To see that I can save. Weird? Very much. I noticed long time ago that beating myself for the expenses I do does not work for me – I work very hard to provide myself with a living and I deserve to feel good about my life. Plus, I already have a modest life-style. So I am not interested in penalizing myself for my expenses; au contraire, it feels awesome to reward myself for savings.

I will also note other types of extra savings: whenever I do a house improvement (such as caulking, painting, or staining) or mown my own lawn, I will pay myself $40/hour. Why? because instead of paying someone, I take my time and energy to do these; I very much deserve it.

In addition, whenever I find a second use for anything I already have, I will congratulate myself.

I was good at all of these once. I know I can do this again.

I also find “spending freeze” idea pretty cool; for short period of times, I can decide not to spend money on certain items. For example, books. Seems to be working for now, knowing that it is not for ever.

I want to keep my money for better use. But along this journey, not even once I will ignore to pamper myself; whether it is a nice meal or something else, I will not forget to have treats. There is one more hazard in spending less; to strain myself to a degree that I return back to spending like before.

So, wish me luck with this plan and be patient with me as I rant, write, get excited or frustrated about conscious spending! 🙂

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