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:

My Monthly Budget
Rent: $350, electricity, heat, and phone/internet included (my boyfriend=my landlord, though I think any roommate would work out to a similar situation)
Retirement account: $200
Gifts: $200
Groceries: $125
Insurance (car): $100
Dining Out: $100
Entertainment: $80
Gas (car): $75
Personal care (clothes/toiletries): $75
Dog: $50 (did I mention I have a geriatric beagle mix?)
Gym membership: $25 Coffee: $10

Total Money Earned every month: $1,420
Total Money Spent every month: $1,390

This means I have $30 net. Of course, there are areas you can see where I can cut into if I say, have to have $400 of work done on my car to pass inspection (which happened last month).

Making a budget is not so bad. I’ll be honest, I thought it would stink. It doesn’t. Really. I’ve found it really helpful to see where my money goes and when I finish the month in the black, it is a real sense of accomplishment as I have been actively working towards it all month.

Making a good budget requires writing everything down, even a coffee. (Commit to doing this for two months because after awhile, you’ll get into a routine after that point and may no longer need to do it anyway!) Once a week, I go through my receipts and enter them into a spreadsheet to track my expenses.

Do I have time to write a blog and check Myspace everyday? Yes. Do I have time to make a pretty looking spreadsheet? No. But it is more motivating to put information into a good looking and well set up spreadsheet. Microsoft has some good, ready-made budget templates.

If you do end up trying this, let me know how it goes and if it works for you.

Have you done an exploratory call with us to talk about your marketing?