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Jan 15

Budget

From January to March, I get particularly concerned about my budget. I am concerned about it year-round, but before tax time, I see commercials for tax preparations, and I ask myself, am I on the right track? I’m a big fan of the budgeting software You Need a Budget because it’s simple and the reports tell me what I need to know: which category am I spending the most in, and am I spending more than I take in. The fact is, that because of the holidays and whatnot, I have been spending slightly more than I take it. This is terrifying to me, since I have been fiscally responsible since I first had an allowance at a young age. (Not much of one, I think the $1 a week was pretty cheap as far as those things go.) I also like to save, and putting money into my savings accounts always make me happy. Taking savings out, not so much.

So, the watchword is fiscal responsibility. It probably helps that I’ll be traveling for the next month or so for work. This cuts down on groceries, electricity and being around to buy things. Work is also forcing me to be austere right now, as they switched the payroll system so I only got paid for one week on the last pay cycle instead of two. (I ask so little of an employer: I’ll work my ass of, but don’t fuck with my pay. But they never listen.) This year, I want to do two things with my money: save enough to go on a trip abroad (maybe actually make it to the Caribbean this time, or Singapore!) and pay off a chunk of my student loans in an appreciable way. Both those things require saving a huge chink of change. We’ll see. I have learned that the coasting I got into the habit of when I lived with someone in Pennsylvania doesn’t work when living alone in New York.

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