Friday, June 13, 2008

My First Real Budgetary Breakdown = Success!

So, I vowed a few days ago to adhere more strictly to my budget with this upcoming paycheck. Like many people in my age bracket, I have a tendency to over-spend, but generally speaking, my indulgences have been on food (read: over-spending at the grocery store, or at restaurants) or cosmetics. Fortunately, my last day at ULTA was yesterday, and my boyfriend was kind enough to stock me up on my favorite line, Benefit, during his most recent visit.

In any case, I received my paycheck from the hotel yesterday, for $402.10, which I knew had to be properly placed and used for my bank accounts, bills and other expenditures from Olathe to Merriam. And thanks to an awesome article hosted on, I even managed to save on my gas during the two and a half hours I was running errands.

My first stop was at Brotherhood Bank, where I keep a savings account. I deposited $52.10, and then received the rest in cash. I allowed myself to skimp on the $100 deposit because my paycheck is a little smaller due to trading shifts with Rachel last week, and because I'll be making an additional deposit this upcoming Friday from my cash-only job delivering fliers.

Oh, yes. I have a job that pays me that I have not calculated into my budget, because the hours are uncertain and inconsistent. Although it pays $12 an hour, it seems unwise to expect a bare minimum output, because I know as soon as I do that, Dixie is going to cut my hours like she did last summer. Anyway, the pay will be around $120, and $50 will be put into my savings account.

My next stop was my checking account at Commerce Bank. I deposited $200 of my cash because due to the ordeal of losing my bank card, I've written three checks over the last few days with the total being somewhere in the $120 range for groceries, debt and other needs. Although when I last checked my account balance a week ago it was over $200, it just seems better safe than sorry. In fact, I have a theory that with all the late fees and everything else that I've had to pay to Commerce in the last two years, they should name a wing of the bank after me. This is, of course, what happens when you fail to read the fine print and discover that your bank requires a minimum balance of $150 not to screw you over.

In any case, that left me with $150. So after I finished up at Commerce, I drove to the gas station to get gas, which I luckily found for $3.82, because it recently hit $4, much to the outrage of the greater Kansas City area. I put $30 in my gas tank, which used to fill it up but now only gives me half a tank, knocking my cash flow to $120.

After I finished pumping gas, I set off to Sprint to pay my bill. Because I downloaded a few ringtones and went over my minutes (slightly) my bill was a little higher than average, but at $40, right within my allotted budget. I even put forth an extra dollar, as a kind of downpayment on next month's bill, because I happened to find it in my wallet and wanted to deal with whole numbers. I left Sprint with $80 in my pocket.

I also needed to pick up Savannah's arthritis medicine, and her vet is located right next door to the Sprint building. For a month's supply, I had to cough up $43. Because her medicine alone exceeded my allocated budget, I recognize I'll have to recalibrate some things, but I was also glad I hadn't deposited $100 into my savings account. I forked over the cash, albeit begrudgingly, and rescheduled Little Bit's wellness exam for June 30.

My next stop was PetSmart, also conveniently located next door, so I didn't even have to drive and saved my car's gas consumption by walking. I picked up the dog food and courtesy of both my PetPerks card and some coupons, I only had to spend $20 on dogfood, instead of the usual $25. I also picked up some dental treats, bringing my grand PetSmart total to $30.

Although I had very few dollars left, I still needed to go to both ULTA (to pick up Barrick's birthday present) and Wal-Mart. Due to the nature of what I purchased at ULTA, I had to write a check and spent $79. At Wal-Mart, I spent $13, which I charged to my card.

The breakdown is as follows:

1. Gas
Total Allowance: $140
Total Used: $30
Total Remaining in Budget: $110

2. Grocery
Total Allowance: $160
Total Used: $13
Total Remaining in Budget: +147

3. Cellphone
Total Allowance: $40
Total Used: $40
Total Remaining in Budget: 0

4. Dogs
Total Allowance: $50
Total Used: $73
Total Remaining in Budget: -23

5. Miscellaneous
Total Allowance: $100
Total Used: $79
Total Remaining in Budget: +21

Dollars remaining for monthly budget: $261
Total debts to be resolved: $136
Total flow within budget: $125

So, it's about $75 short of my ideal $200 balance at the end of each month, but this is also independent of both my ULTA paycheck (which is automatically deposited into my checking account) and the paycheck from the hotel which will arrive on the 27th.

Still, I'm fairly proud of myself. I'm going to go over on my Miscellaneous expenses this month, just because I've spoiled Barrick for his birthday. I purchased him a bottle of
Burberry Brit cologne ($35; discounted courtesy of my employment status at ULTA) which also included a complimentary bath wrap, a Fossil watch ($33; discounted because I grabbed it from eBay), and the accomodations for our hotel stay in Las Vegas next month ($120).

Thankfully, I paid for the watch and the hotel stay prior to committing a budget, so it's really only his cologne that is setting me back, as well as whether or not I decide to engrave the watch ($20) and/or purchase him a copy of "Robot Chicken: Star Wars" ($10). But that would still fall within my allotted "Miscellaneous" allowance, because his cologne, engraved watch and DVD would only be $63.

Whatever the case, I feel so functional, it's almost impossible to believe that not only am I actually spending my money, but I'm doing it in a reasonable fashion. In fact, after this month, I'll have more money left over, because I recently found out that my employment at the hotel makes my gym membership free. Needless to say, I'll be cancelling my exclusive membership and jumping on the hotel's bandwagon.

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