Budgeting for a Better 2008

December 18, 2007

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I used to, until I realized I usually blew it within the first 2-3 weeks. I hate making promises I cannot keep, even if the vows are only to me.

However, I definitely need to do something, if I want to budget for a better 2008. A self-employed divorced mom of two, I am not exactly rolling in dough, and I have a daughter going to college in the next couple of years. Since I went back to college after the divorce, I still haven’t paid off my student loans!

Just this week, I talked to my mom on the phone about her impending retirement. Commiserating with each other, we discuss how to budget for a better 2008. The answer was simple in thought, but it will definitely require a lifestyle change.

Simple: Needs vs. wants

For example, do you stick to the grocery lists, when you are actually in the store? You forgot this, or you want that. According to the plan, if it falls into the want category, or something you can do without, walk away. Even to the last candy bar, if you don’t need it, you can leave it on the shelf.

Now, that is not to say you can never have any treat. But, how much money do you spend on items you can actually live without, and still be happy? I know I would be shocked, if I could total all of my “want” purchases in the last year.

I did not say the plan is easy, but it is a simple and logical idea. Buy what you need, and walk away from what you want.

Another example is a 2nd for half price sale. You need a new pair of shoes. When you go to the shoe store, they are advertising a half price sale. Great! NO!!! Resist the temptation! Get what you NEED and walk away. Even though the second pair is only half price, the price you pay for the 2nd pair is not a need; it is a want. The money could be saved for bills or a rainy day. Walk away!

Today, it may be hard to say “no”; tomorrow, when some of the bills are paid down, or you have some Christmas money in savings, you can justifiably be very proud of yourself. How do you plan on budgeting for a better 2008?



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5 Responses to Budgeting for a Better 2008

  • Peter Bielagus

    Don’t forget insurance. One of the easiest things to overlook in a budget is the need for insurance. Most people have health insurance or at least know they need to get it. But what about some of the more overlooked policies like disability insurance and renters insurance?

    Tina, as a single mom you’ll definately want to make sure you have a decent disability policy (which protects you if you are unable to work.) Sometimes people call it income insurance. Usually your employer is the best place to start shopping for disability policies (they either offer one or offer ways to add onto their health policy or at least they can point you in the right direction.)

    Also if you do rent, renter’s insurance is a must. Speaking of Xmas, my friend actually had his Xmas presents stolen out of his car. Ouch. He (like most people) skipped on renters insurance and lost about $1000 in gifts. Ouch again. Most people don’t realize this but renters will protect your stuff even if it is outside your apartment. With renters policies running $15-25 there is little reason not to get one. youcovered.com is a cool site to start your shopping because you can get a quote without putting in any of your own information. Happy Holidays!

  • Fiscal Musings

    Trying to spend as little as possible at the grocery store or wherever has become almost a game of sorts. Once the savings start to grow, it’s nice to walk by things and think to myself, “I could pay cash for that, but I won’t”.

  • sp

    I am usually pretty good at the grocery store, always stick to my list.

    It is funny that you mentioned shoes. I always buy an extra pair if they are shoes that I like and that are available in my size. I hate shopping so much that I am happy to put away extras for later, because it will eliminate a shopping trip later.

    But I do look back on other things and wonder why I purchased them. I am much more aware now when I shop: first I ask “Do I really need it?” and second I ask “Where I am going to put it?”

  • Tina


    I never thought of the piece of mind issue, but you are so right!

    I still give myself a hard time for purchases I have made in the past. Even if I love them, I hardly ever use them, and I certainly don’t need them.

    Then, I start thinking about what I could have done with that money, if I hadn’t used it unwisely.

    Great comment!

  • Susan

    Walking away from “deals” is probably the hardest lesson to learn when it comes to buying only what you really need. But I have learned that it is possible if you train yourself to think like that. As with any new habit, you have to be consistent with your actions–not easy at first but so liberating once you get the hang of it. And it is absolutely wonderful to walk away after purchasing only what you need and not experiencing that regret, which is full of question marks as you leave the store. My peace of mind is worth a lot these days and this really helps.