Update: March 2012 Budget & Goals

Update: March 2012 Budget & Goals

My original goal for this month was to put 45% of my take-home income on debt. I’m pleased to say I actually put 46% of my income on my three debts and still somehow came under my total monthly budget by $3.60. (Should’ve picked up an extra coffee!)

What you’re not seeing here is that I actually put $1,550 on my credit card debt this month. The other $500 came from the CRA, when they paid me back from a 2010 tax return reassessment. Now all I need is my 2011 tax return to come and that balance will be in the $700 range!

As for my other goals this month, well, I think they were a little crazy. In fact, one of the things I’m realizing more and more is that I don’t want to deprive myself of anything in life. Everything can be had in moderation. But here’s how I did.

March 2012 Goals:

  • No alcoholFAIL! I drank alcohol 4x this month.
  • No take-out coffeeFAIL! I got coffee 7x this month.
  • No take-out foodFAIL! I ate out 5x this month.
  • Try at least 3 new vegan recipes – DONE! I made muffins, tried a new chili recipe and whipped up a few different salad dressings.
  • Save + shop for a new pair of running shoesFAIL! I spent most of that budget on my gym expenses, while trying to find the right gym for me.
  • Workout 3x per weekDONE! I worked out 4-5x every week this month!
  • Finish reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsDONE!
  • See The Hunger Games movie – DONE! I got to go to the premiere last week!
  • Then start reading Catching Fire by Suzanne CollinsDONE! Finished. And I started Mockingjay!

How was your month?

  • 46% Way to go!! You are not giving those debts a chance and that’s so awesome.

    I haven’t looked at my March spending yet and I’m afraid to, but I will have to just man up and face the consequences as I know it won’t be pretty.

    • Maybe your post can explain why everyone is saying the same thing about March being a bad month, haha.

  • I am super impressed with how you only drank alcohol four times. I need to cut back, a lot. Would help my waistline and my wallet!

  • Wow, I thought I was being aggressive by paying 25% of my take-home income towards debt! Well done, 46% is really impressive!

    I’ve also had trouble balancing debt payoff with not depriving myself. I think it’s easy to set unrealistic goals in the name of debt (no takeout…EVER), but that just means setting ourselves up to fail. I had takeout once this month, and although I did feel a bit guilty it was still much better than previous months, and I was sick and exhausted so cooking was just not happening that night. The key is strict but realistic goals, instead of “oh I’m going to only drink water and eat broth until my debt is paid off” – because that’s never going to happen.

    • hahaha… I literally can’t stop laughing at your water and broth comment. But you’re right about setting realistic goals. I actually felt like mine were realistic but then just realized I didn’t want to do those things! So I didn’t. Posting about it on Wednesday!

  • Was The Hunger Games everything you hoped it would be??!! I finished the book last week and have been pouting to my husband ever since so he’ll 1.) hurry up and read the book, and 2.) take me to the movie!!
    Great job on the aggressive debt repayment! You will be debt-free in no time :)


    • Like you, I had also finished the book right before the movie came out. Because of that, I think you’ll notice the things that are missing from the movie… but I still think it was fantastic! Very well done. And thanks for your comment :)

  • I like how you set up monthly goals for yourself. I really need to start doing that instead of saying “I should really get around to doing that eventually…”, Do you use spreadsheets to do your budgeting?

  • Awesome progress! I had a great March as well in terms of debt repayment and net worth increases.

    Also, congrats on working out so much! Have you started to notice any significant differences in your energy levels or food preferences? I’ve been finding lately that I had more energy and super sugary or salty food just isn’t as appealing any more.

    • YEA YOU DID! I read your net worth update! We kicked March’s butt.

      And I do notice differences in both categories. If I workout in the morning, it totally jumpstarts my day. But not only that, I also feel like saying ‘yes’ to a lot more things I used to say ‘no’ to. Like walks or hikes, or new gym classes, etc.

      And I still get cravings for certain foods… but I also find that I crave fruits and veggies, on days when I haven’t had enough.

  • Great job, C! I love that you have monthly goals. You seem so organized. I need to set monthly goals for myself – currently we only have our big goal of saving $20K in 2012 for a house. This month was bad because I really didn’t track what we spent until the end of the month (ugh). We went $57 in the red. Luckily I always keep a $500 cushion in our checking account so that money will come out of that cushion. Which I’ll need to replenish this month.

    On the plus side, the automatic savings withdrawals are keeping us on our goal of $1650/month in the house fund. We’re up to $6700 so far, so we’re ahead of our goal.

    • You guys are making major progress on that house fund! I can’t wait until you start looking and eventually buy and move (and send me pics, haha)… and then you can look back on your cute little progress chart and remember how much it was worth it. :D

  • You’re making awesome progress on your debt! How was Catching Fire? People tell me the second two books aren’t nearly as good as the first but I have a feeling I’ll end up reading them anyway. Just because I’m way too invested in Katniss and Peeta now lol.

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  • You and Frugal City Girl have inspired me to get serious about my financial goals. I think you’re very brave putting your finances out there for the world to see, but it’s important for twenty-somethings to realize that if you start out in debt, it doesn’t go away for a very long time!

    I am forty-something (yikes) and am just now getting serious about my financial future. I guess the 90’s were a little crazy for a lot of people my age ;) In the past three years my husband and I have worked very hard to get our debt down. We now just have a mortgage (tax-deductible debt) and under $2000 in credit cards (I won’t even tell you how high that balance used to be). It is hard, that’s for sure, but so worth it. Our cars are 8 years old, and we need to keep them for at least 2 more years. We don’t go out for dinner with friends or go away on vacation, but we feel those are sacrifices worth making.

    You will find your balance – what you are willing to spend money on and what you can give up. We started home-brewing (to keep my husband happy), and I cook at home. We don’t go walking in the mall anymore (lead us not into temptation), and we do our own yard work.

    Every piece is part of the financial puzzle. Looks like you will have yours “solved” in no time. Good luck!

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