Sunday, September 4, 2011

You say bitch on a budget like it’s a bad thing

I thought about writing this post last month, but then I decided to save its debut for the start of September. You see, it’s been over a year now that I’ve been successfully budgeting. This week last year was the end of my very first month as a girl living on a budget. Yippee!

Yep, sparkly shoes are the only red this
bitch on a budget will be wearing.
And a full year later, I can track every single one of my expenditures, revenue gains, and investments made in the last 52 weeks. I truly believe that the hardest part is just getting started and while the idea of “budgeting” didn’t appeal to me and sounded like too much work this time last year, I definitely needed it and now, I celebrate it!

Since I picked up my first book on personal finance (The Smart Cookies' Guide To Making More Dough: How Five Young Women Got Smart, Formed A Money Club, And Took Control Of Their Finances) planning & reviewing my personal finances has become a way of life.

In 1 year, here’s what I’ve been able to achieve:

1.      Paid off $6,000 in consumer debt in less than 6 months.
2.      Increased my investment portfolio by 149%. J
3.      Made up for 4 years of loss time by maxing out my RRSPs.
4.      Prepared my taxes on time & knew what to expect as a refund.
5.      Negotiated a pay raise.
6.      Saved up to treat myself and my sister to a fabulous vacation in Las Vegas.
7.      Started an Emergency Fund.
8.      Started a Vacation Fund.
9. Started a Down Payment Fund for my dream home.
10.  Survived last year’s holiday season (and will make it through this year’s) thanks to my Christmas Gift Fund.
11.  Negotiated my cellphone bill down from $120 to $68 a month without compromising on any much-needed features.
12.  Negotiated the terms of my first car purchase with my Eye Candy.
13.  Eliminated my monthly bank fees.
14.  Eliminated my monthly storage locker fees.
15.  Sold $400+ of unneeded merchandise in our condo via Craigslist.
16.  Started living more like a minimalist as I purged the 3 double-closets of my single-girl-days down to 1.5 and hopefully, to 1 by the end of the summer season... but all my favourite dresses will remain.
17.  Used my morning commute to work to read books filled with tips and tricks on investing and personal finance.
18.  Used wisely the option of buying in bulk to save on our weekly grocery bills by opting for a Costco membership.
19.  Started this blog as a way to stay motivated on my finances and to ensure I spent 2+ hours a week reading about money matters.
20.  Enjoyed peace of mind knowing that my money is working for me as I’ve successfully shopped less, and invested more.

For those of you who are thinking about getting started on managing your personal finances, I recommend the Smart Cookies books and of course, Bitches on a Budget by Rosalyn Hoffman. After all, red is a lovely colour for a pair of shoes… just not your bank statement. 

As I celebrate a happy-budget-birthday to me, I'm curious to know... what has been your motivation to be back in the black?



  1. Congratulations!!! Not too long ago we were chatting about crazy VISA bills over vino in Ottawa, and now those are long gone, for good!
    My motivation for watching my budget: I want to emerge from the student life with minimal debt, so I can get on with saving up for a small-but-chic apartment and some sweet sports gear!

  2. That is so true! I think our chat while strolling along the Parliament buildings was the start of realizing I was living out of my means. And think of it, 3 years later - look how far we've both come! I'm so glad to have you as an inspiration to my self-discipline and to push myself.