Austerity Measures: Month 1

The first month of austerity measures, which officially ends tomorrow evening, appears to have been a complete success!

The compliments... You have no idea.

The compliments… You have no idea.

My fiscal month basically follows the schedule of my Disney visa card. Mickey’s a tough creditor, just try getting him to raise your limit! I don’t do debt, that’s just not how I roll. Every month, I pay the card off completely because there’s no better way to save money than by not spending it on things like interest, late penalties, and fees.

The Wine and Dine and Tower of Terror trips are essentially on lay away right now. I know when I owe the full payment on them, so I’ve divided it up over the course of the next few months and they will be paid in full before the deadline and before I arrive in Disney World. Nothing kills the check-in buzz like a $400 bill, people. Discretionary spending, including spending for food, was down to $169, $249 if I include cable/internet/phone (which I kinda do).

So how did I save money? Well, there are a few steps you can follow:

  1. Don’t go into stores that you don’t want to spend money at, can’t afford to spend money in, and know you don’t really need anything. If you never go through the door, you can’t possibly spend money there and thus it will remain blissfully with you. If you want to window shop in Georgetown for the afternoon, go into a place like Jonathan Adler, where you’ll fall in love with a chair but there’s no way in hell you’d just randomly fork over $1300 on a whim.

    Yeah, I’m looking at you.

  2. Put your extra money in a 401k/Thrift plan before you pay taxes on it if your employer will let you. Not only does it decrease my taxable income (yay! Even though I don’t get paid enough to really be too excited about this) but it also comes directly out of my paycheck. Before I have a chance to spend it. You’re welcome.
  3. Stop. Think. No, seriously, just stop and think. The longer you pause over an item, I firmly believe the less likely you are to buy it. I go to stores (Marshalls, Target) fill up the shopping cart, then stop and think about whether or not I really want a particular time. 4 times out of 10 I don’t get anything and the other times I leave with 1 or 2 items, tops. Thinking: it’s a great deterrent to spending. In fact, it’s a great deterrent to a lot of behavior but if you want to do a marathon I don’t suggest it.

    From here.

In other, semi-related news, this page might be getting an update. I’m in the thinking stages about whether or not I want to get something that isn’t quite so ugly boring. I’ve put holds on library books and started assessing my options in terms of how much it would cost, what my investment would be, and how good my html skills are. I had my own website before, dedicated to Japanese pop music back in 8th grade that I wrote out the html code all by myself for, but now things are much flashier than just a paragraph of text and links to images. And do you know how much designers are charging?!

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