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Do I Want to Hit My Goal This Badly?

Do I Want to Hit My Goal This Badly?

So, I’ve said for a while now that I wanted to reach my interim goal of spending $2000 or less per month. (I eventually want to get down to $1500 or less.) But as I’ve come to realize, every month really IS an “unusual” month. So I decided to see if I could make it work this month DESPITE me knowing from the outset that it’s going to be yet another unusual month. Here are the expenses (the unusual ones have an asterisk) I’m forecasting this month:

$733 – my share of some new windows*
$60 – gas
$182.65 – principal on house (minimum payment)
$234.34 – interest on house (minimum payment)
$100 – groceries
$40 – garage door repair*
$14 – DSL
$11.12 – phone
$43.50 – electricity
$19.62 – water
$9 – yard cleanup
$7.56 – Netflix
$70 – cell phone
$75 – product testing*
$125 – cut & color (this is a regular expense, but it’s not every month!)
$16.70 – life insurance
$150 – matching funds for son*
$30 – allowance for son
$200 – doctor visits*

That puts me at $2121.49, but that’s without me going out to eat. At all! I’m not ready for that. (Wow, I nearly added a “yet” to that sentence — that’s surprising.) Anyway, in order to get my spending under $2000 and still eat out, I’d have to put off my haircut for another few weeks, reduce grocery spending, cut the yard cleanup expenses in half, and maybe walk to work so I don’t use so much gas. That would give me a tiny bit of wiggle room so that I could still eat out a few times. (I eat at inexpensive places. Oh and I have a gift card I could use.)

Part of me is afraid to try this. What if I make these cuts (eating out less, having kind of raggedy hair with grey roots, etc.) and…something still comes up and puts me over? I’m kind of afraid that if that happens, I’ll just figure oh well, I’ve blown it and give up for the month.

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Part of me thinks this might be fun.

Of course, my REAL goal is to do this while still sending extra to the mortgage, so I’m kind of cheating here anyway. But at least this has served to get my imagination going. Writing this out caused me to question every single expenditure in advance, and to really consider the value I got from each one, while brainstorming other options. It also showed me that my actual goal is totally doable, once I commit. Maybe that’ll be this month after all. I have a couple of weeks still to decide on the haircut.

View Comments (8)
  • Do you want to consider starting to save a portion of the haircut type expenses (expected but intermittent) and home improvement type expenses at a set amount each month so you wouldn’t have to necessarily come up with it all at once like this? Or is the point to not spend more than $2k no matter where the funds come from?

  • You just have to ask yourself whether your priority is having perfect hair or going out to eat. I would put off the hair for an extra week (do it every 5 wks instead of 4 or whatever) and by the time you get to the end of the year, you’ll have only done it 9 times instead of 12. (a net savings of $375!). I bet you won’t notice it much and that will give you $125 wiggle room. We are on an extreme budget in my house, since my husband’s last day of work for a few years is tomorrow! Good luck finding your wiggle room!

  • Have you considered coloring your hair at home? I do this, and it is alot less expensive than coloring at a salon. I like the way it comes out…Nice n Easy…

  • Brooke, I get my hair done every 9-10 weeks now. Maybe I could go to 12.

    MSMomsmoney, yeah, I have considered it but I’m awfully chicken. What if I color my face instead? Do they have home kits that use vegetable dyes?

  • Something always seems to come up and keep me from hitting my monthly max goals. Last month it was unexpected medical bills from both kids getting sick. Hopefully I can get back on track in January. My goal is to live on less than half my income, as all remaining money goes towards debt repayment.

  • The principal portion of your mortgage shouldn’t be counted as an expense. It’s an expenditure, but more akin to an expenditure of putting money money in a savings account. It takes money from one pocket and puts it in another pocket of yours.

    If you made an extra (principal only) payment of $1000 to pay down your mortgage, would you count that as an expense?

  • Not an accountant – I see what you’re saying, but this is a spending goal. It’s just a challenge for myself, basically to see what I can do with spending.

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