Saturday, August 31, 2013

Life :: Spending Diet / August Update

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Welp, here I am folks. I made it. It's the end of my first month of And Then We Saved's Spending Diet. I'm exhausted, but even more than that -- I'm happy, hopeful, and proud. I almost can't believe I made it through, yet I'm still standing.

I coincidentally chose to begin this system of saving at exactly the right time, as August turned out to be my worst month, financially, of 2013 thus far. On top of the low paychecks, a lot of little things happened that attempted to get in the way of my goals: a $300 ticket (that I was able to postpone to November), my phone almost needing to be replaced (but Brandon came to the rescue and fixed it without having to spend a penny), and a flat/shredded tire that nearly left me stranded on my way to work (again, thank God, I had the boyf to call). I really felt that there were invisible forces plotting against me, and at the end of the month -- when I thought things couldn't get any worse -- I had to ask my parents to help pay my rent for September.

You may or may not already know that I'm a fiercely independent person and asking for things is incredibly difficult for me. I absolutely hate requesting favors or accepting help. I'm the type of person who will be sick to the point that I can barely breathe but I'll still drive myself to the hospital (and I've done this several times). I don't know why, but I have always associated 'asking for help' with 'weakness' which totally isn't true. I've also been betrayed, hurt, and beat down by others to the point that I don't really trust anyone, so even when I do want to ask someone for something I already feel that they'll say no, or say yes but not follow through on their word.

I suppose that my biggest lesson for this first month was that I really can't do absolutely everything on my own, as much as I want to, and it's okay to ask for help and the people that love you will be happy to do so, and may even do it without you having to ask at all. I can't even tell you how many free lunches I got from people at work without them even knowing that I was broke as shit and I was also able to take out my employees and get things reimbursed thanks to my awesome company. I have learned that not everyone is perfect, and maybe people aren't good and bad, but there is some good and some bad in everyone and that's okay. Fortunately, I was able to see a lot of good this past month and my belief in people has increased tenfold.

I'm glad that August is over, as it was clearly painful and difficult, but I was also able to have some good times without spending money. I learned that a lot of people are going through the same situation as me -- I mean, let's face it, the economy still sucks and LA is fucking expensive. So, friends almost always welcomed alternatives to activities that had to be paid for. There were house parties and dinner parties and girls' nights and movie nights and I had friends over here too.

Throughout the month, I carried a small notebook with me to record how much I spent on my 'wants' (goal was $100) and how much I paid down my debts. It was so tiny that it fit perfectly inside my daily planner and there was no way I could forget it. I did not spend one dime on clothing, shoes or accessories and at the end of the month I have nothing new for my wardrobe; all 'fun money' went to going out and eating and exploring. That's totally okay by me. I'm sure you're wondering what the results are though, so here you go:

I spent $105.65 on WANTS.
I spent $1,188.61 on DEBTS.

I'd say those are good numbers for my first go at this. And am I continuing it for September? Yes, yes I am. I have a new goal, too, which I'll post about tomorrow. It's completely different, but I hope the two projects will help each other out. After all, I need all the help I can get. And I'm okay with admitting that now.
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