Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Taming The Spending Beast

My budget has gotten pretty tight recently, now that I've resumed paying back my student loans. At this moment, I cannot say with confidence that getting my MBA will be beneficial to my salary-earning potential as most jobs out there require something called "experience", whatever that is.

To be able to pay all the bills and still save money, I've had to cut back considerably on frivolous purchases. Instead of just making a temporary adjustment, I'm viewing this required change as an opportunity to examine my spending behaviors to find out why I buy the things I do and if those purchases can be curbed. For example, growing up I was a huge music fan, and I got into the habit of purchasing a new CD or record almost every week. Nowadays, I don't really care about the "next big thing", and I find myself listening to the same five or six artists 90% of the time with the other 10% filled in with a mixture of other stuff that I have. Now, I only venture into a record store when I know exactly what I want instead of aimlessly walking around the shop looking for something to buy.

1 comment:

PointSpecial said...


For some reason I wasn't getting your posts... then I just got like 10 of them today on my Google reader... weird!

It's so hard to decide about grad school... in some respects, it seems like the "thing to do" to give yourself the head up on the competition for jobs... but to get it, you've gotta fork over lots of money (or take out more loans), so you're set back that much... and you're not guaranteed to actually GET that job once you're done.

But having that MBA will allow you to seriously go after positions that you'd only have a chance for with experience. It's a tough give and take!

One thing I'd suggest would be to get "in" with some of your profs or the other people at your school who may have some connections. That might get your foot in the door and get you an extra interview or two.

I know what you mean about budgeting right now, too... my twins are now 3 months old and my wife hasn't been working for about 4 months. So instead of two incomes supporting two people, we've got one supporting 4. Ouch!

One thing that we did right when we got married and something we've gotten back to is called a zero based budget. That means that you give all of your money a "place" so that it doesn't just disappear. Now, those places will be for rent/mortgage, and gas, and food, but make sure you budget for a "blow" fund... that you can use on whatever you need. That gives you some latitude to buy what you want to buy... but it limits the amount you can actually spend so you don't over spend.

When we did it, I realized that I was spending over $300 per month on fast food alone. Amazing once I started packing my lunch how much extra money I had to work with!

Good luck with the budget stuff... it takes discipline, but it is actually freeing when you don't have to worry as much about where all the money went.

A good resource that we used is