Wow! June was a whirlwind of activity with traveling and transitioning to summer. July probably won't be any better but the real question - in life is that a surprise? I guess that's a reality - you can't wait to budget or stop spending on a credit card for a "good" time in your life - you have to stop the leak now!
My 2009 financial goals:
1. Spend $100 or less on groceries. For the past two months the majority of my weeks I have spent $100 or less. Maybe twice have I hit my previous $125 marks. This past week I've spent $60 and I'm done for the week. Stockpiling has certainly helped - I just need so much less. So for the rest of the year I want to be stricter about the $100 or less a week so that I can cut out $100 a month on my overall grocery budget. In three months or when school starts again I may revisit to see if I can cut it down even further.
2. Pay $10 or less for dinner. I haven't cooked a lot in the past few months since I was at my parent's house so I'm still not back to my regular cooking schedule. However when I am cooking I am spending around this or less for meals. This week we've been eating at VBS with the kids - the church is serving dinner free to the kids and just $5 for adults so that is clearly in my budget AND I don't have to cook! I could do this every week :) Win-win. But for July I do plan to cook using what I have been stocking up on and really striving to keep my meals as cheap as possible.
3. Pay down debt. I will write more on paying down debt later but every month we are getting out of debt BUT I am not throwing all our extra money at it. This year we are focusing on getting used to a budget and NOT overspending at all on anything. But even if I don't put anything extra towards my debt my budgeted amount IS paying it off (we budget more then minimum payments anyway) and for now that is enough for me.
4. Continue to buy brand name clothes but pay cash. You've seen me do it and I still am. See #5 for the rest of the update...
5. No more credit cards. I did use a credit card once to purchase clothes (I know broke 2 resolutions) BUT I had a reason - I was ordering online and I wanted to see the clothes in person. Since then I have paid off what I ordered, returned a large amount of what I ordered and then re-ordered some items on sale but again to pay it off. For that purpose alone I used my card. I share this to keep myself accountable.
For July we will buckle down again and spend less where possible. My oldest will turn 9 but I will partying and gift buying on a budget and in cash. In years past I haven't been as strict as I should be but this year we will cut corners whereever we can while still making it a fun time.
The year is now half over and I am sticking to my resolutions and it feels good. It does feel tight from time to time and there have been times I'd much rather just quit but I really don't want to undo the progress I have made so far. I certainly think of credit card purchases differently. I don't think "can I make $30 monthly payments for the next 10 years?" I think "will I have have the money to pay this off next month" because the last thing I want to do is add to my debt.
How are you doing? Try to do even better in July! I know I will be.