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  1. #11
    Post-Humorously stalemate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by foolish heart View Post
    In the US, every retailer is required by law to provide you with a paper receipt. You can use this to your advantage for spending awareness by holding onto all of those receipts. Add them up at the end of each day and subtract that from your bank account balance (since it doesn't update in real time) so you know how much you have left.

    From there, it's only a matter of time before you naturally start to take notice of how much money you've been putting out every day, and then only a matter of taking another look at all your receipts to see what you usually spend it all on. When you wanna buy something after that, you'll just kinda know whether you can afford something like that sandwhich that's "only $3" understanding that buying one every day of the month adds up to almost $100 for just one meal of the day. (average cost of a month of groceries for 1 person is $100-150)
    IMO, what you are describing here is a way to notice that you need to do a budget if you want to get control. It isn't going to matter if you know that $3 sandwich is killing your finances when you are standing at the counter hungry, which is why you need some plan in advance for how you are going to pay for your lunch. That plan might involve buying groceries or buying that sandwich and cutting it in half and eating it again the next day. Having a plan like that means knowing how much is acceptable to spend on lunch. Knowing what your limits are... that is basically your budget, even if you aren't tracking every single cent.

    Keeping receipts and looking at everything after the fact doesn't really change anything.

  2. #12
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Never eat out. Buy only "budget" food at the supermarket. No wine, only beer. Exclusively use public transport. Never recharge your cell phone, unless you're required for work reasons.
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

  3. #13
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by foolish heart View Post
    (average cost of a month of groceries for 1 person is $100-150)
    Really? Do you remember the source? I do splurge on food a little, but still I don't buy organic, don't buy meat unless it's ridiculously on sale and even then not often, and don't buy much junk food, and I've never spend that little on food in a month on groceries..usually closer to 200 or even 250. And I'm notoriously cheap among my friends, I won't buy things unless I think the price is reasonable, which usually means the most rock-bottom price I know it ever goes on sale for. I would be surprised if a student like me is so high above the average.

    Is that just eating ramen and pasta all month? Or...is that just saying the average person eats out a lot and doesn't need many groceries? Or maybe it's just a cost-of-living thing... but if so, I'd love to live where the average is 100$/month!
    -end of thread-

  4. #14
    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    in chicago the cost of groceries per person a month is way more than that.in 2008 the average cost of food in chicago per person was 200, i know it has to be more now cuz everything is more expensive then it was in 2008 grocery wise. I

  5. #15
    Post-Humorously stalemate's Avatar
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    If you don't mind sharing, what is your living and financial situation like?

    Like, do you live by yourself or with others? If there are others, what is your role (husband, wife, mom, dad, son, daughter, roommate, etc)
    How much is your rent?
    What other bills do you have?
    Do you have any debts or just month to month living expenses?
    Do you have many unexpected things coming up during the month? If so, what are these?

    What kind of job do you have and how much are your various bills in relation to your income?


    Those answers might give a better picture of what is going on and maybe some specific steps you take. Five hundred extra a month is really quite good if you can save it, but one thing I've found is usually whatever number I used to think I had left over was way too optimistic because there were big holes in what I was counting.

  6. #16
    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    I live with room mates, I go to school full time my rent is 700 (but might be going down to about 550, because i'll be more than likely living with 3 other people instead of just 2 come december) a month my phone is 50 and i pay for the internet which is also 50 netflix is 11 a month my credit card is maxed out so I can't use that, if I wasn't an idiot and maxed it out i'd be golden, so I'm slowly paying that off right now. I think come december we're gonna have family dinner and split the grocery bill 4 ways so whatever the receipt is each person gives the person who went grocery shopping a 4th of that so that should save money. it's more of surviving till december. In september I'm going to only have 200 to live off of cuz I'm going to be short on rent. so september I'm gonna be fucked. My parents give me money already and I'm not allowed to ask for more, I can they'll just lecture me and not give me any. and I'm one of those people that if i do both work and school I'll either quit school or work I can't handle both. I'd rather get a degree and have more job options later than starting work now with out a bachelors. I guess if I had to I could get a job and just work fridays, i wouldn't make a ton but maybe just enough for unexpected expenses

  7. #17
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    I remember those days. Seems like they lasted forever. Oatmeal and apples and noodles and not enough money for the laundromat.

    It's a matter of whether you want to live comfortably for a week or two of the month and be very uncomfortable the other week or two. I know it's not the smart thing, but my option was to live it up a little when I got paid, because I couldn't stand the misery of constantly counting pennies and feeling poor.

  8. #18
    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    part of my problem is I'm impulsive. like the other time I was drunk I bought everyone alcohol even though I didn't ahve the money to do so. Or it's like I need chipotle now!!! and if their's other people and their like I don't have any money for chipotle I'm all like oh here I'll buy your food, don't worry about it.But I'm telling you this charitable nature does pay off, we're getting a free router, a free foam matress topper, and a free couch.

  9. #19
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    First rule is to know your weak spots. You have a tendency to impulse buy. So that's where only spending CASH will help you. Pay your credit card minimums until you have an emergency fund in place, below.

    Second rule is pay yourself first. You need to start banking towards having an emergency fund (as a student, an emergency fund of $1000 would be a very good base), even if you can only put $20 a month to it now (but I bet you can do better.) You NEVER touch this, aside from a true emergency. Set up a new bank account if you have to, something that you could access if needed but where you would have to make an effort to get to so you are not tempted to use it on a whim.

    Third, once the emergency fund is established, you take the money you used to put toward the emergency fund and whack all the extra you can to get rid of your credit card debt. After the card debt is gone, you never touch that card again for regular purchases. You buy one thing a month, less than $50, put it on the card and pay it off every month. This will establish a credit pattern and help you as a young adult when you truly need credit history to obtain a mortgage.

    Next, the card debt is gone, you have an emergency fund tucked safely away, and you have your regular income to spend. Doesn't that sound comforting?

    So, now start saving for something you want. Let's say you would like to take a trip next summer or when you graduate, a frugal back-packing adventure through Europe or something. You make an envelope or new account again at the bank, and you allocate resources every month to go in that account. You can do a base amount monthly to automatically transfer over, and you can put extra towards that when you have it. You can even make a challenge out of it - how much can you save towards this dream? With such a powerful vision of the dream coming true, it will help you stay on track with your savings.

    In any budget, you have to know where you are spending your money NOW. Once you see your expenses clearly it will help you manage and budget for the future. Set up a big dream that you will fulfill once you finish school - it will keep you focussed and motivated.

    There's a start anyway - hope that's helpful.

    EDIT: After the card debt is gone, I would probably allocate more to the emergency fund again, until it's enough to cover 3 to 6 months of expenses. But as a student, perhaps you don't have to be quite that strict.
    "Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
    Eleanor Roosevelt


    "When people see some things as beautiful,
    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad."
    Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

  10. #20
    Post-Humorously stalemate's Avatar
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    PeaceBaby pretty much covered what I would suggest in general. I'm trying to figure out some specific things to apply to your situation to help you so I may have more questions after I mull it over for a bit.

    Do you have anything you can sell? Do you have anything you are good at that you could do in your spare time to get a little cash? I know you don't want to work and do school at the same time and I totally get that, but maybe there is something other than the traditional work. Like, take your helpful nature and put it to work tutoring other students for a few bucks, something like that.

    Anything you can do to accelerate your way through the first 2 steps PeaceBaby posted will get you to the fun stuff faster (saving money and doing the really fun stuff without maxing out your credit card, buying people chipotle without having the bill follow you home, that kind of stuff).

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