One Month Challenge: Learn to Budget, Week 1

Most of the time, I’d like to think I am a pretty diligent person. I know how to take control of a situation, to figure out the problem and fix it. And I know how to do all that in a neat, orderly, color coded and filed sort of way. I don’t ignore things and I don’t have other people handle my problems for me. I take control and I get things done…with one notable exception.
My finances.
Maybe it’s because I’m the daughter of an investment banker. Maybe it’s because I had a job that paid well throughout my college career. Maybe it’s because I’m more of a words person than a numbers person. Or maybe it’s because I just can’t resist the urge to splurge on a new pair of boots, but financial matters have never been my thing.
Now, I’m not in any crazy sort of debt (unless you count looming post-grad school loans). And it’s not that I spend my money that¬†irresponsibility. I just spend without thinking. And I spend without needing. So I don’t always know where my money goes. I know I have it, and then I don’t, and I have a rough idea of where and when it disappeared, but I’d like to change that. I’d like to keep track of my money and my spending habits and also take control of them. I want to figure out which ones are good, and which ones are…not so good, which ones I should keep, and which ones I should cut out. And I’d like to do so before I move onto a job that doesn’t pay by the hour.
So I’m starting now. Right this moment. I made my last overpriced purchase a few days ago. I made my post-Christmas returns at the mall this morning. I’ve double-checked my online banking statement. I’ve downloaded the Mint app. I know exactly what money I have and where I have it. And I intend to keep it that way, keeping track of how much money I am spending each week, and what I’m spending it on.
This month I am taking control of my finances.
And if you’re up for it, I want you to join me. Because whether you’re in a position that requires you to keep track of your finances or not, it won’t hurt to know how and why you’re spending your money. Who knows? You might even learn a little bit about yourself in the process.
I’m going to start by balancing my checkbook.
Wish me luck.
Jenn is a communications grad student and social media fanatic who spends her free time reading, writing, watching too much tv, and shopping for shoes she can’t afford. You can follow her on twitter @jenninzetta.¬†

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