When You Have To Pat Yourself On The Back

What I wanted to do tonight: Order out some Chinese dumplings for dinner and buy a new glossy magazine to flip through. Total theoretical cost: $10

What I did do: Ate leftovers and downloaded a free TV show on iTunes. (This feed let’s you know what free downloads are available from iTunes. Very handy.) Total actual cost: $3

Once a month, in an effort to save funds, I like to not go to the grocery store for a week and really clean out the fridge and pantry. The results are usually bizarre and can result in small portions of random dishes. I find though that I waste less food this way as I find, for example, some corn that has migrated its way to the back of the fridge or a can of beans I forgot I had.

I Heart/Hate My Budget

I moved to my current location a few months ago and accepted a job that pays $7,000 less a year than my last job. While it may sound crazy to some, I think most would agree with the statement “Money isn’t everything”. Because it isn’t. I love my current job. When I am there, I’m happy. I like the people I work with, I find my actual work interesting, and I feel needed and appreciated. I leave it at the end of the day and never think about it after I drive out of the parking lot. But did I mention I barely make above minimum wage and have bare bones health insurance with a $5,000 deductible?

So I have decided to use the last two months to figure out my budget, which I need to stick to pretty closely. Here is what I’ve figured out so far:

An Introduction

Money is boring. I think many people think it is. It seems elusive to some and in too much abundance to others. But money effects us all in profound ways. It affects the way we see the world, who we interact with and how we interact with them, what we do and don’t do with …