Budget Help and MIMM!

Blogworld, I need your help!

First off, happy MIMM! I hope you all had a great weekend!

Mine was pretty marvelous- but I won’t bore you since I pretty much covered my weekend in yesterday’s post.Ish is getting real here on Tiny n Fit.  This post is a bit more serious.  It has to do with money.  Money I borrowed and money I now have to pay back. Ugh, I know all other students can feel my pain on this one.

Student loans.

This month marks the start of paying off my grad school student loans.  Even though I graduated in December 2010, I was lucky to get a couple loan repayments from my employer that extended my ‘grace period.’ Until now. (insert whimper here)



I knew for months that this sad, sad day would arrive and I stressed and stressed about how I would be able to afford paying that loan-PLUS my other normal cost of living expenses- rent, food, and fun, plus my new love for crossfit which aint cheap.  I don’t normally make a budget or spending plan- I pay my bills before they’re due and spend reasonably, and I only have one credit card with a small amount on it. I do save a lot, too- I contribute a good amount to TSP (government equivalent to a 401k) as well as some to a separate savings account.

I think living with my bf will definitely cut down on my rent expense, leaving extra money to help for student loans.  But this won’t occur until mid-late summer and I want a good handle on my finances beforehand.  With that, anyone out there have experiences with creating budget plans?  Or have any tips or tricks to staying on a budget?  Here is where I falter:

  • I buy coffee/smoothies/snacks from work several times a week.
  • I buy roughly 5 clothing items a month.  Since I buy so infrequently and always on sale or with coupons, I feel this is ok.
  • I rarely stick to a grocery list.  I never know what I want for lunches during the week and I am a healthy yet picky eater.  Sometimes I’m feeling a good salad, other times I morph into a toddler and eat a chicken hotdog with frozen veggies or sunbutter and jelly sandwich on paleo bread (not cheap, btw at nearly $10 a loaf!).
  • Target.  ‘nuff said.

I want to ensure I have good finances and am able to pay my student loan bill off more than the minimal amount (and hopefully with every paycheck, not just the once-a-month payment that’s due).  I have Googled different ideas but I haven’t found something that is simple and straight forward I can just plug my info in and budget on my terms.  I tried Mint.com, but my account is actually linked to my mom’s so that won’t work for me. I am looking for something sort of web-based, definitely user-friendly, and free/inexpensive.  Any helpful tips would be much appreciated!

Oh, and just for fun 🙂

window lick

Rock on Lovers 🙂

Do you budget?  Do you have tips for paying them off quickly?


11 thoughts on “Budget Help and MIMM!

  1. Check out Dave Ramsey’s videos and books. He is amazing and has great tips! Also I think cutting back on your clothing purchases would help. I don’t think I buy 5 items a month. Maybe 1 or 2 every now and then. If you have tons of clothes already then get a good use out of them. Also maybe only go to Target once a week with only 20-30 bucks in hand! I know it’s hard but you can do it 🙂

    • Hmm maybe 5 was an overestimate. Maybe 1-2, depending on any sales, but I included things like workout clothes or socks. In any event, that’s a good tip with Target- go with Cash so I can only spend what I have! I went yesterday and only got what was on my list, plus the last can of pumpkin on the shelf 🙂

    • That’s an idea- maybe if I wrote down my spending it would help me see where my money goes! I only use my credit card for big, infrequent purchases- usually just a vacation/hotel, but then only if I know I can pay it off with the money I have. Sigh, finances.

  2. I have my limits on the fun stuff. I knocked my coffee drinks back to one/week… I gave myself a dollar limit for clothing, rather than “x items a month” – because that can get SUPER expensive, fast. And I avoid Target. I know… avoiding Target? But it gets easier, I promise.

    I also bought a subscription to eMeals, which sounds counter intuitive because you’re spending money for recipes/grocery lists – but I’ve found that I buy less impulse foods at the grocery store because eMeals tells you exactly what you need and there’s no other reason to buy anything else. It has been super helpful. No more “I don’t know what to eat this week so I’m going to buy everything” moments for me 🙂

    I also do silly things, like the $5 savings club. Every time I have a $5 bill, I put it aside for savings. I plan on using what I’ve saved so far for an upcoming vacation, but you could do something similar for clothes or Target trips, so you don’t feel totally deprived!

    • I like the dollar limit vs items. Avoid Target? Where do you get your essentials- Walmart? I also keep any change that I have collected and small bills, but never $5. I really like that idea! May be a bit tough in the debit card world we live in!

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