30-Day Money Challenge… tracking cash *fear hits*

money... why don't i ever have enough???

Payday.

* screams *

And it’s the beginning of the month.

* screams turn to sobs *

Internal monologue begins: Ok, let’s see. I have mortgage, babysitter, insurance, lot fees, small Visa payment, line of credit payment and… I have $130 left over for the next two weeks. Ok, so that’s not bad… but, oh oh, wait… I need gas that’s $80 – $100… and my tires need to be changed .. that can wait for next pay in 15 days, along with the oil change that’s over due… so doable, but, wait, food. Food. OMG I FORGOT FOOD.  I have $30 left for food for two weeks. That’s about half of one week’s food budget. OMG.

* panic hits *

This is it. How it always is. Try as I might I find myself in this situation every month. Nothing in saving, no extra stash, nothing at all except the bare minimum to be covered and I end up needing to take money from credit to cover expenses.

There has to be some way to control this. Attempts at meal planning to cut my grocery budget sort of helped. For a minute. Then I went back to buying what I felt like, although the whole experiment did bring my food wastage and over all spending down. Maybe only  $20 – $30 a month but still small steps are good steps.But, alas, it’s not enough.

scared... yup. i'm scared.

If I don’t find a way to get ahead the stress of never having money is going to do the better of me and I might have to run away to a cottage in the middle of the woods and live off the land. Sell my shoe collection. Give up my purses. Live somewhere creditors can’t find me. I’m sure Princess D would love that. * eye roll *

So I’ve decided it’s time to take matters into my own hands (again), with feet planted firmly on the ground and head fully in the game. I am giving myself a 30-Day Money Challenge. And it scares the crap out of me. Scares me because I don’t want to be that single parent household that is “without.” I’m terrified of not having good, fresh food in the house, petrified of running out of toilet paper (I’ve been there in my 20’s, it’s not fun.) But as frightening as it is, I’m determined and will accept this challenge I’ve made to myself. First, I must…

Keep track of all spending for the month.

Financial advisors everywhere say the first thing you need to do is get a grip on how much your actually spending and what on. Quit hiding, Nicole, pay attention and get your head out of the sand (or perhaps the housework.) For one month I’m going to keep track of every penny I save, even if it kills ever spontaneous nerve in my body. I have this fabulous thing called a Smart phone and I’m going to use the calendar to track all money spent – immediately after I spend said money I’m put it in that darn old calendar. At the end of the month, I’ll tally it all up and see what my spending was vs. my income and I’ll assess areas I can cut… although my theory is there’s not many areas that can be cut since I’m also vowing to….

Spend only money I physically have.

What I mean by this is money that is mine, in the bank or in my hand. No cash advances, no Visa, no line of credit withdrawals. This is going to be exceptionally hard especially the next two week since I’m a couple hundred short of scraping by. But if I can birth a baby naturally I can do anything! Yes, I can do this. * repeats in head 20 times *

Watch my progress, see my strength… or listen to me cry like a little baby.

Whatever happens I will learn something. Or give up all worldly goods and become one with nature.

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8 thoughts on “30-Day Money Challenge… tracking cash *fear hits*

    • grocery prices are the pain of my existence right now because i buy pretty healthy, whole foods, which unfortunately are more expensive than a pack of hot dogs or boxes of kraft dinner… tried using coupons but they rarely are for things like lettuce or spinach so they don’t help me much. *sigh* the challenges of budgeting.

  1. Do it! Its going to surprise you! You won’t believe where a few dollars here and there seem to evaporate..and how quickly they add up. Its scary, but a useful scary. Good luck!! 🙂

    • i’ve been doing this thing where i dedicate days to not spending money, and tracking a little on a calender, which totally helps. this is going to be a little bit more especially with the not using anything but money money for the month… i always seem to have a week where i don’t have the babysitter’s money and need to take it from somewhere else… i will never not pay the babysitter, so this is going to be a challenge in budgeting for sure.

  2. So Nikki, your out go is more than your income, ‘eh. That’s typical for an increasing number of people in today’s economy (I could get into a rant about that subject, but maybe another day).

    Since I really don’t know anything about you except that you are a single mother of a little girl named Davis, you work at a local radio station and you write this blog  whenever you get the urge. I also believe you to be an articulate, intelligent, somewhat opinionated, frustrated woman who is searching for something or someone to help make you feel complete.

    May I ask the following questions, the answers are none of my business and are posed only for your self ponderance. I will also make a few suggestions.

    Do you drink or smoke? If you do and can cut back or cut out completely it will mean instant cash in your purse.

    Do you grab a coffee each morning on your way to work? One medium coffee from Tim’s each day adds up to about $50.00/month.

    Do you pay monthly bills for such things as cable or satellite TV, Internet, cell phone and land line, Netflix or any other social media gadgets? If you do, pick two which you deem necessary and get rid of the rest ( A small sacrifice considering you are ready to move to a cabin in the woods and live off the land…lol)

    Do you pack a lunch for work or grab a burger or a slice of pizza at a take out? Packing your own is cheaper and probably a more healthy alternative.

    Do you go out for supper or go to the bar on a weekly basis? That is an easy way to spend 50 or 100 bucks, depending on the number of drinks. Consider getting together with some friends, family, workmates, acquaintances or whomever and take turns hosting dinners either weekly or monthly even yearly. BBQ season is here so for the time being this could be a fun, inexpensive evening for everyone.

    Can you carpool? If not, you can increase your gas mileage by 15 – 20% just by keeping you car tuned up, tires properly inflated and running your RPM’s at less than 2500 if possible, also you can get good used tires on kijiji if you need them.

    Do you use energy efficient lightbulbs? Does your water heater have a thermal blanket around it? Do you make sure lights and appliances not in use are turned off?

    Does your employer know about your financial stress? When was the last time you’ve had a raise? Do you work full time? Would you consider a career change, if it led to a better paying job?

    Finally, have you spoken with your bank? The one thing banks fear even more than being robbed is bankruptcy. Be quite frank with them about your situation. They may extend the terms of your loans, drop the interest rate and even write off some smaller loans if they think it’ll help you pay off the bigger ones, and it will have no effect on your credit rating. 

    Nikki, I’ve been in your position and it is no fun, difficult decisions need to be made every month. Please let me know if any of the suggestions above are practical in your situation…Good luck and remember, I truly believe that good things happen to good people .

    • these are awesome questions Ted, and i’m going to address them all in tomorrow’s blog. i think they are valid questions for anyone who is struggling financially. thanks for the inspiration… and for your kind words of support. i too believe that good things happen to good people, and while it might be a financial struggle right now, i have the power in my hands to make it better (we all do) and i wouldn’t change it for anything… for i have my sweet little angel, davis grace sophia, with me every day… and for that i would do anything.

      • Two more things I forgot to ask : 1) Does your little girl’s father contribute anything to help with her upbringing (maybe it’s not worth the effort). 2) Do you have an extra room you could let out (don’t worry, I’m not looking for a place to crash). Maybe you could take in a student to help you get through the winter months and then kick their butt out when the school year ends…just a thought.

  3. Pingback: 30 Day Money Challenge… tracking cash, day 3 | seriouslysingleabsolutelyattached

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