One Month of Budgeting + How to Make a Budget

It's August 1st. That means I have officially been following my new "budget" for one month. If you read my first Spilling the Tea post, I talked about how I had created an Excel spreadsheet to help keep me on track. But first, let me let you in on a secret... I am an Accounting major, but that's not because I'm good at managing my money LOL. My friends know me as the person that gets 5 Nordstrom packages delivered in one day and can't walk into a grocery store without buying $50 worth of things that I "read about online". I'm working on it, I promise.
In June, I did a horrible job saving. Like really bad. I saved some, but like I said, I'm kind of a shopaholic. So July was all about getting it together. Here are my tips and how I actually did at following said advice:

1 // Save eating out for special occasions.
Try to avoid swinging through the Starbucks drive thru in the morning and putting in your mobile Chipotle order on your way home from work. I know you do it because I do it too. I saved so much money making my coffee at home and saving my food budget for when I wanted to get together with friends over pancakes or Mexican food. 

Final Grade: B- 
(I went over my Food budget by $11. One-third of my Food expenses was spent at Starbucks... We can do better.)

2 // For the love of God, STOP online shopping.
This was harder than I care to admit. Do you follow fashion bloggers on Instagram that post 15 swipe up links a day? I do. My guilty pleasure is moms that shop at Loft...I know it's weird... (@purejoyhome and @mrscocowyse if you were wondering) At the end of the day, my success (I did not receive a SINGLE package) was due to me getting a grip and getting off Instagram. I missed the entire Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, but I'm still breathing. I think that being on social media 24/7 gives us a feeling like we need to be like everybody else and sometimes I channel that negative feeling into buying clothes that other people have that I don't need? Someone tell me I'm not alone?!

Final Grade: A+++

3 // Pay attention to what you're spending.
I'm trying not to be cliche with my advice here, but let's be honest, you're probably (like me) spending way too much money without even realizing it. If you have a bank account, your bank probably has an app. If they do, download it. If they don't or you spend a lot of cash, you can always keep receipts. Every week (or day if you're especially OCD like I am) go through what you earned and what you spent. At the end of the week or month, you can go through and evaluate where you can improve. 

4 // Keep a spending log.
This is probably one of the more intense ways to get organized, but I will say, it works. It's also a lot less stressful than you might think. Like I said, all you have to do is sit down at the end of every week and go through what you're spending. I've gotten some experience using Excel at my internship this summer, so I made a spreadsheet with formulas, but honestly, you can keep a spending log with a notepad and the calculator on your phone. No matter which way you do it, just make sure you're keeping track. Living at home this summer I'm lucky that I don't have a ton of expenses, but you can adjust your budget accordingly. Basically you need to make sure you're outlining:
- what you're starting with and what your end goal is 
- your estimated income and expenses
- what's actually coming in
- what's actually going out
I have separate tabs in my spreadsheet to keep track of income and expenses. Here's what it looks like (yes I know it's a tad extra):

I tried to keep this post as simple as possible because I believe in starting small, where you are. We don't have to get complicated right off the bat. I'm all about baby steps. I know I like to stick to wellness topics on the blog, but financial wellness is a real thing. Even if you don't have specific financial goals right now as a high school or college student, it never hurts to keep your bank account in the green. Life happens and you never know when you're going to need those emergency funds. 

Thanks for reading xx.

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