It's October and around my household that means we are sucking wind, as my mom would say. (Mom, where on earth did that saying even come from? It doesn't make any sense.) Sucking wind, to us, means that all that money I diligently socked away in my savings account during the most recent highly profitable tax season is dwindling faster than stink on you-know-what.
Every year this happens. I float along in the months after tax season spending with wreckless abandon only to come dangerously close to having $9 in my checking account (this recently happened.) Then I'm forced to transfer money so that I can buy unimportant things like Twinkie pans. (I totally made vegan corn dogs with the pan and it was AWESOME.)
I have never been one to budget. I've tried, I swear. I make a list of the essentials like housing and fuel and electricity and I start out with a valiant effort but it always ends in a slow implosion. Strewn papers lie around with my awful penmanship. Numbers crossed out with newer numbers scribble beside it. Paper bits torn and crumbled and generally in a pile of chaos. Some efforts are followed through for a week or maybe two at the most and then I give up, accepting defeat.
Today is a new budget day. I have finally discovered what my problem is. Why I can't manage to stick to a budget. The reason I can't is because I really have no clue how much I spend on things. Sure I know exactly how much my house payment is and my monitored alarm system is the same each month. But, fuel? clothing? food? All variable. I used to give myself a budget of $150 on food a month, which made no sense because I knew I spent at least $300 a month. Now that I have an extra mouth to feed I'm positive that amount has gone up. Let's not even discuss the cost of food.
As a result of my epiphany I'm going to write down every single cent I spend including my $1.18 coffee that I get on the mornings I go to work. It's not much but I bet it adds up to more than I expect when this is all done. My plan is to do this for a month. I'm extremely nervous that I will look at my spending habits and realize that I've been wasting money with little regard to how it's affecting me and my family.
I'm aware that this tracking every expense for a month plan is nothing new. I certainly didn't invent it, nor do I take credit for it. But I do hope to take credit for getting myself in touch with my own financial destiny.
ETA: Just got an e-mail from Macy's. $.99 shipping ends today. GOD GIVE ME STRENGTH.