Looking over the lists I wrote the other day made me realize something: I'm going to need a lot of money. If I get lucky and win big in Vegas for my 30th birthday party, then I'll be fine. But I can't count on that (as much as I want to) - not to mention, I'm going to need to save up some money so I can actually GET to Vegas for my birthday.
I was emailing a friend today about pets. I want a pet. Anything furry will do, really. But There's practicality involved. And I realized, as I was planning my future hamster's "Tube City" mansion in my mind, that there's no way I can afford something as simple as a hamster, let alone a cat or a dog. Also, I can barely keep a plant alive - what makes me think I can actually care for an animal?
So, pets are out for the time being. I would still like to have a cat someday, but not for a while.
I've decided to tackle the money situation the best way I know how: making a list. The following is a list of things I will no longer be spending money on:
1. Non-essential clothes (meaning no more Woot shirts, no new packs of socks and underwear because I don't feel like doing a load of laundry, no skirts because I never actually wear them, no pants that I won't wear more than once: the only acceptable clothes are work-appropriate attire and other clothing to replace old/damaged/stained articles of clothing that I cannot function without).
2. Froofy coffee drinks from Caribou (or Starbucks or Dunn Bros or Cafe Patteen, etc). I can buy flavored creamer at the grocery store to use in office-provided coffee.
3. Food delivered to my house unless it's related to a party or gathering or roommate bonding session.
4. Other restaurant food must be limited, but not eliminated. Perhaps I will allow myself to eat lunch out once a week, and dinner out at JJ's and a certain number of times per month (maybe five? Still need to figure this out).
5. DVDs, Video Games, and Other entertainment expenses: if a really awesome movie is on the $5 DVD rack, I can pick it up. But it has to be awesome. As for TV on DVD: I can buy the most recent season of Bones and Lost only if they're on sale for at least 40% off. Netflix can stay. Gamefly is on the fence. No new video games unless I specifically set aside money for it and/or I trade in old games.
That's just a start. There are other things I will limit - and just use my best judgement. I don't need any more kitchen gadgets, no matter how cheap they are on Woot.com.
Perhaps I'll try this for a while: in addition to limiting my spending, I'll look at my checking account the day before I get paid. Then, after I get my paycheck, I'll transfer my account balance from the previous day to my savings account. This way, any money from my paycheck that remains unspent by the time the next paycheck comes will be moved to savings. However much that is will give me an indication on how well I'm doing with my spending every two weeks.
I can do this. If I want everything on that list, I have to do this. A raise would help too.