Corona Diaries #2 Where, Oh Where, Has All My Money Gone? Oh Where, Oh Where Could It Be?
We are continuing our series on tips, tricks, hacks and whatever we want that makes our lives a bit bearable during Corona Virus. As we continue in the abyss of the unknown, we need all the help we can get from each other. If you have any tips, drop us a line or comment below.
So, you’re bored in the house and you realize your money is slowly syphoning from some mysterious source, which, in my case, was, not is, Amazon and Instacart. Hello, $33 flour. What do you do? Watch 553 YouTube videos of old men yelling at you to make a budget and stop spending. I tuned them out and reached out to a friend who works with numbers. She helped me figure out a stupid simple budget format that works for me. It really doesn’t have to be complicated. But be warned, it will be shocking. Suck it up. You’ll be grateful and proud of yourself in the end.
STEP 1 – Write. It. ALL. Down. Repeat.
Making the first step is hard, and you will be shocked, mortified, angry and shocked all over. Do it. It can be in Excel (if you’re snazzy like that), Word, in a cute notebook, on a piece of paper, etc. You need to do this grueling part. Use whatever style of budget you feel most comfortable with. But remember keep it simple. It took me three days to complete this step. I closed the computer in frustration because I couldn’t believe all the stupid stuff I bought. Again, $33 for flour?!
TIP: Go through your iTunes subscriptions because you will almost always find something you didn’t know you subscribed to. Also, go through your credit card/debit card statements. Capital One Venture has a yearly summary of expenses function that gives you a helpful overview of your spending.
STEP 2 – You Can’t Always Get What You Want Categories
Go through the mess and put things into categories: MUSTS and WANTS. That’s harder than it seems. Do you really need both Spotify and iTunes? This step helps you evaluate your priorities. Priorities will change. This does not have to be set in stone. The point of this step is to clean house – your financial and mental house.
NOTE: Keep track of what you get rid of and the costs. More on this in another post.
STEP 3 – CONTROL, MODIFY, DELETE
This part feels surprisingly good. You’ve got things prioritized in categories and now you modify how much you spend or you delete the item completely. I got rid of both Spotify and iTunes and suffer through Spotify ads and have fallen in love again with my iTunes library. In a few months you may want to add iTunes back to your budget if it brings value to your life.
STEP 4 – HABIT and TRACK
The simple budget is constantly in flux. You need to look at it monthly and make it a habit. You’ve also got to look at it so you can plan. Is it Mother’s Day, your best friend’s birthday, you have to register for classes, or your car registration is due? Put it in the month’s budget.
Download MINT. There are other helpful apps but this one I had already sitting in my phone collecting dust. (I secretly love it) You upload your budget and it tracks your spending. “Hello, you’ve gone over your Instacart budget.” It’s a passive aggressive way to reign in your splurges and a way to reevaluate your budget. You may need to add more to your books budget or more to your wine budget. Or you may be like, “Yeah, I’m going to use my library card instead so I can continue buying my favorite Syrah.” Whatever is right for you.
Just make a budget. Know where your money is going. Don’t worry. It’ll all be great.
What are some of your Corona Virus take aways? Do you have any tips you’d like to share that have made your time in quarantine a bit more manageable? Let us know!
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