Fail to plan, plan to fail

6 Jun
I only ran 6 out of the 9 miles I was supposed to do this weekend. I can come up with the reasons why 9 miles didn’t happen, but they’re just excuses. Weekends are really hard for me to stay on track. We had awesome tickets to the Sox game, and we had plans to meet up before the game at Boston Beer Works. As an aside, I truely hate going there before a Red Sox game. There’s always a long line of people who are out-of-towners. I feel as though the locals choose other places to hit up before the games, but since I was going to the game with out-of-towners, I just went with the flow. But the early meet up time, plus having to drop the pup off at daycare first, meant that my run time was cut short. Or, I could have just woken up earlier, or laced up my sneakers faster… (Seriously, I don’t know why it takes me so long to get ready to go for a run.)
It all comes down to poor planning. Guilty as charged! Because of this realization, I know that I need to get my goals finalized and posted so that I can start to work on them. While I was sitting in traffic this morning, trying to figure out how I could avoid traffic in the future, I started to think about my August 2012 goal of being financial free of any “debts,” so to speak. I am prepared to still be in student loan debt, and some credit card debt, by that date, but I would like to be in a situation where I am able to change careers, or at the very least, change employers. So here’s what I came up with:
Cancel cable, internet, and phone – This will save me $130 a month. I have an iPhone, so really, I don’t need a home phone. I don’t need the internet because I’m not in school anymore, and almost everything I do online, I can do at work, on my iPhone, or at Starbucks where the internet is free! I don’t watch much TV, and although I will miss what I do watch, I have a gym membership with TVs on every cardio machine, and I have a boyfriend who has cable. Less TV never killed anyone, and there was a time when I never watched it. I think I was much happier then, when I wasn’t a zombie in front of What Not to Wear, mindlessly eating a bag of “healthy” Rice Crisps.
Target Date: 15Aug11, when my contract is up.
Buy new car – This sounds counterintuitive, but let me explain. I do not currently have a car payment, exactly… When I was purchasing my condo, my Mom offered to lend me some money towards my downpayment. When talking with my loan provider, it became clear that the better option was to take the money my Mom was going to loan me, and pay off my car loan. This meant a much lower debt to income ratio, while the same amount applied to the purchase price would only have made a difference of about $20 a month in my mortgage payment. I still owe my Mom about half of what borrowed. However, I’m driving a 6-cyl gas guzzler, and I’m filling up twice a week at a minimum. I figure if I can get twice the gas mileage out of a different car, I would still be saving money as long as my car payment is under $180 a month. Obviously I need to look into this more.
Target Date: Starting the search for a fuel efficient bargain now!
Clip coupons – In one of my TV binges, I happened to watch all 4 of the OnDemand episodes of Extreme Couponing. I want so badly to have a grocery store pay me to take items out of their store! I doubt that will happen, since I looked up my store’s coupon policies, and it seems like the best I can do is to get a limited number of items for free at one time. Sounds good to me! And when cable is cancelled, I’ll have plenty of time to peruse the coupon flyers and sales at the grocery stores.
Target Date: This Sunday, 12Jun11, when the coupon flyers come out.
Use ING savings account – I used to do automatic savings on payday right into my ING account. I’m not sure when I stopped, but I’m going to re-establish it! I’ll start small, with $50 a month. I believe it’s in my best interests to apply most of my money to my high interest debts, but I do want to create a small emergency savings. I can’t wait to watch my money grow!
Target Date: Today
Track Spending – This is, by far, going to be the most difficult change for me to make. I absolutely hate tracking things, particularly my spending and my eating. However, because of this, I have been known to just not eat something in order to avoid tracking it (really!), so maybe I will just not spend money, in order to avoid tracking it! I am going to track my spending on a spreadsheet. I’ve tried to use Mint.com before, but it didn’t really work for me because I spent a lot of time recategorizing the expenses. Perhaps I was doing it incorrectly, but I would like to avoid anything that causes me frustration while I’m starting this out. I want to track for at least a month, to get a realistic picture of where my money is going, so I can see where I can make some cuts. I haven’t spent any money yet today, because the boyfriend surprised me by picking me up at the office to take me to lunch!
Target Date: Today – July 6th
This list is by no means conclusive! It’s just a start, and I expect it to be amended and added to frequently in the coming weeks.
Question to readers – What money savings tips do you swear by?
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