Well, I've got to hand it to myself: I sure can spend money! This comes as no surprise, but is definitely increasingly frustrating to me, so I suppose that, at least, is a step in the right direction.
My week looks like this:
Sunday - NO spending! Hurrah!
Monday - $9.00, Tim Horton's (3 teas & 2 choccy danish)
Tuesday - $480.08 car insurance for the year
Wednesday - $550.00 camera flash & extra battery for camera
Thursday - $119.00 exam fee & study guides
Friday - $56.35 prescription, toilet paper, milk & snacks
At first glance, I'm really quite horrified (I use this word a lot to describe my spends, don't I?), however, if I dissect it a little more carefully, it breaks down much better (as long as I conveniently ignore - for the moment - the Timmy expenses).
Car insurance is a necessity if you drive, as everyone knows. Paying off the full year in advance is quite a coup, as I normally pay monthly, which adds interest so is actually not a very fiscally responsible way to pay. This way, I've freed up $51.92 each month, which I can divert into my car account and/or onto my debt. Plus it was $16 cheaper than my statement indicated.
The camera flash and extra battery. That does, technically, fall into that awkward gray area, but I've been nominated to take the official "Pets with Santa" photos for the Humane Society at the end of the month! It's a fundraiser we do each year and it's hugely popular. We had a great photographer last year, but as he was the husband of one of our departed board members, we'd prefer to leave that particular option lie. Buying a flash was on my list of "eventuals" for the camera, and it's been moved up to accommodate my first ever photoshoot. I am both terrified and very excited about this fundraiser. I hope I'm up to snuff!
Yesterday's spend was a bit impetuous, I admit, however, I need this particular exam to get accepted into the local college. If I am going to reach one of my 5-year goals - teaching English as a Second Language - I need to start my classes NOW. The exam is called the LPI - Language Proficiency Index - and I can use it in lieu of transcripts to apply for a class. As I don't know what program I want at this point (Communications? Linguistics?), it makes more sense to work towards realistic classes (English, Psychology, that sort of thing), earn the credits and apply them to a program once I make a decision. The exam is being written December 6 and I've also ordered the study guides, so that I can make a real, concerted effort to PASS this. No one except me will profit from passing this, and I can't afford to waste any more time putting it off. I could register for a correspondence course from a bigger university, but it would cost three times as much. Each class at the local college is $150, a bargain by any stretch.
And today's spend, well...necessities all. Toilet paper, my prescription, milk.
Frugal Dreamer did some research into budget tracking options over on her blog. It appears the majority of us use Excel, but I'm going to experiment with a couple of others and see how it works out for me. I'm not that disciplined, so having a program that does a little more of the work for me would be nice.