Sunday, February 6, 2011

Be Accountable

Hello Friends! Can you believe we are already a week into February? Where is time going?!

I wanted to give you a little update on the progress of some of my goals so far.
The first being budgeting. Last month I mentioned one of my major goals for the year was to learn to manage my money better. Lucky for me, my company offers 'financial solutions' courses to teach us a little more about all areas of money management, from basic budgeting, to managing debt, investments, leaning about insurance, how to plan for retirement, and more. Before Christmas I had taken the introductory course which touches briefly on all of the topics. It made me realize that I should have a proper budget in place so I can maximize my savings and maybe allow for a bit more spending money. I also want to try and establish an emergency fund in case, which are really important to have in place.

Last month I sat down and determined all of my living expenses for a month. This includes my rent, utility bills, cell phone, internet, gas & groceries. From there I divided up the remaining money from my monthly salary into savings accounts. I set up automatic transfers for funds to go into two different savings accounts, one for travelling, and the other as my general savings, which includes my emergency fund. I'm not putting away ALOT more into savings than I ever did before.

What was left over from that I divided into a weekly allowance. I was kind of blown away by the amount I had to spend each week as it seemed like alot after paying all the necessities and putting so much into savings. I was second guessing myself thinking I had calculated everything wrong, but after giving it a second look everything seemed to add up so I went with it.

It's now been about a month of following this budget and so far I haven't ran into a single issue. Everything that needs to be paid has, and on time. All the alloted money has made it into the savings account it belongs in. I have managed to live with my weekly allowance and have even taken myself on a couple decent shopping trips. Anything that is leftover at the end of the week I stick in an envelope in case I need to make a larger purchase down the road. This has worked out great as I recently ordered my bridesmaid dress for my best friends' wedding and was able to pay for it fully instead of putting a deposit down! I'm so amazed that I've been able to do so much on this budget and never had to worry about being short money before pay day. Mind you I haven't made it through a full month quite yet, since I started the budget midway through January. So far though, it's been great and I definitely recommend taking an evening to go through your expenses and set yourself up with a budget. It has helped me realize I had no idea where my money had been going. I was always so broke, I didn't put very much into savings but I rarely bought myself things. I really truly did not know where my money was going!

Be accountable for your spending and you might be able to see better financial success, guaranteed.

The other area I'm becoming more accountable is my diet. Mid January I talked about having a really bad week getting into some chocolate (damn that Costco sized bag of chocolate chips). I put that chocolate away to make it a bit harder for me to get into but after a couple weeks I found I was back into it again. I had been following my meal plans perfectly but sneaking this damn chocolate here or there, or the occasional goodie left around work. There is temptation EVERYWHERE! I decided the best thing to do was remove the temptation from my house. If it's not in my home, I can't eat it! Last weekend I threw away the entire bag of Costco chocolate chips. I know it's a waste and I could have used them again, but realistically I only bake once or twice a year and it's not worth eating that entire bag for. I can always go to the bulk section next time I have the baking bug and buy the exact amount of chocolate chips I need. That way there will be no leftovers!

Then this past weekend I went through and reorganized my entire kitchen cupboards. I got rid of any other dirty foods that might tempt me. Looking through my fridge and cupboards you would think I don't eat anything. I do eat and I eat alot but the only things in my house are the things I need. You can't eat bad if bad food isn't in your house. Become accountable for your diet and get rid of anything you shouldn't be eating. If you don't want to throw it away, donate it to a friend who can eat it or even the food bank if it's non-perishable and unopened!

With the temptation out of my house, I just need to work on staying away from the little things when I'm at work or out and about. All in all, I've been doing pretty good. I bring my own snacks to the theatre or a friends house and I make healthier choices at restaurants. The 'extras' have meant getting back to my 'pre-Hawaii' look is slower, but slow progress is better than going off the rocker and getting no progress.

So again, look at the goals you have made for yourself. If you are not getting there, figure out what you can do to fix it. Be accountable for yourself and you will get to where you want to be. Only you can do it though!

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