A Financial Balance

by Holly on October 27, 2010

in balance,dinner,eating out,goals,money

Two weekends ago, I put on my big girl panties and attended a Financial Planning for Women class.

While I think I’ve mastered the basics of budgeting, the mere thought of IRAs (ahem, individual retirement accounts), Roth IRAs, 401(k) plans, mutual funds and worst of all – investing – gives me a full-on financial panic attack. I immediately want to hop in my car, drive to Anthropologie and spend every last penny I have on a gluttonous yet fabulously gorgeous new wardrobe to avoid having any money to actually invest.

But I won’t.

For starters, Daddy Everythingtarian would kill me. If this were a game of Clue, I predict my Everythingtarian life would end with Daddy E in the kitchen with the golf club.

More importantly however, if I’ve learned anything in the last couple rollercoaster years of my 20-something existence, it’s that life is not and should not be all or nothing.

There is no need to forego fun activities to save every last dollar just like there’s no need to frivolously spend your entire checking account on an Anthropologie wardrobe. In foodie terms, it’s like there is no need to swear off all forms of sugar, natural or not, just as there’s no logical or healthy reason to shove your face with 10 Almond Joy candy bars (which you may or may not find me doing this Halloween Sunday).

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: balance, people.

In the last couple years, I’ve found a healthy balance with food + exercise that works for me. Now, I need to woman up and find a healthy financial balance that also works for me and my life.

My goal? I want to successfully navigate the often frustrating world of managing income, savings, spending and investing while still managing to have some fun with my dolla dolla bills.

The first step? Ingraining into my brain the words of Julia, my finance class professor, who said, “Winning at money is 80 percent behavior and 20 percent head knowledge.”

The second step? Track my money, transaction by transaction, for a whole month to see where I am actually spending my hard-earned dough.

So I did.

This past Sunday night, I sat down with a hot cup of apple cider tea and began by calculating my food expenses, starting with what I spend on eating out. One monthly U.S. Bank statement, my iPhone calculator and some quick math later, I saw the total and about threw up all $8.95 worth of my massive veggie calzone.

Let’s just say it was more than $200.

Yes, TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS.

It hurts everytime I have to say it.

Like really, ouch. But I endured the pain of this embarrassing reality and decided to use this to challenge myself to be better.

My third goal? I, Holly the Healthy Everythingtarian, will not eat out for the next 30 days.

There are several exceptions I’ve made to this goal, including the upcoming Foodbuzz Blogger Festival, birthday celebrations and special events. I did this, because I refuse to drive myself crazy adhering to this challenge. Counterintuitive? Perhaps. Conducive to my final goal? Absofrickinlutely.

Because if I can complete this goal, then maybe, just maybe, I can splurge for that Anthropologie dress I’ve been eyeing up as the perfect cocktail number to wear at the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival…


source

Too bad the festival starts in eight days, and I’ve still got 30 more to go…

**************************

The winners of the 3 Sisters Cereal giveaway are comments #15 and #40…

Alex @ I Eat Asphalt: “The honey oaties are lookin good to me. And chocolate oatmeal!? Might have to stalk that down.”

Alli: “I would love to try the Graham Crackerz cereal, never heard of that flavor cereal before…”

Send me your addresses at healthyeverythingtarian@gmail.com, and I’ll get those free cereal coupons out to you along with some extra treats!

{ 25 comments }

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is October 27, 2010 at 6:34 pm

I hate finance. All the more reason that I should learn about it. I’m very ignorant.

Karena October 27, 2010 at 6:36 pm

lady, you are not alone! i sat down and checked out my finances about a month ago and after subtracting fixed expenses, i was like hey! where’d the rest of my money go? sure enough, groceries, eating out and BARS. meh :/

Erica October 27, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Good for you for making the first steps to financial health! I find the balance of finances to be a very interesting process. Josh and I are actually REALLY good for each other in this sense. I am a CRAZY saver and Josh can be a little bit of a spender. We provide each other with good balance. Whatever that ice cream mambo jambo is….I need that, right now :) And that dress is so adorable. So jealous of your foodbuzz trip!

Mama Pea October 27, 2010 at 6:39 pm

I am proud of you! And what in heaven’s name is that milkshake you are eating?!?

You deserve that dress!!!!

Matt October 27, 2010 at 7:19 pm

You don’t want to know how much I spend on food…

Pure2raw twins October 27, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Love the dress!!!

I need to better with my managing my finances too.

crunchy granola gal October 27, 2010 at 8:29 pm

girl, i totally hear you on the money troubles. i spend SO much on food and drinks out, and even silly things like vitamin water and gum and soy crisps add up (those are my three late afternoon vices!)

your new project reminds me of an awesome blog and book called noteatingoutinny.com. cath chronicles her year-long not-eating-out (hardy har?) venture – in nyc, of all places! she also wrote a fabulous book called eating in. it’s certainly financially-focused, but more so she celebrates cooking and eating locally, and it’s a wonderful, inspiring, true-to-life story of another twentysomething. i think you’ll like it! aaaand good luck! we all need anthro dresses at least once a year, and if eating in will get you one, so be it. keep me updated!

Jamie @ Tearaveler October 27, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Your third goal is almost cheating – Thanksgiving is coming up and you’ll have left overs to make turkey terrrrrific sandwiches for a week straight!

chelsey @ clean eating chelsey October 27, 2010 at 9:59 pm

I think one of the main reasons I got married (other than love of course) was so I didn’t have to track my finances. Seriously.

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) October 27, 2010 at 10:07 pm

the first step towards getting out of debt or getting into some savings, is taking a cold hard reality check look into your life…and habits..and not burying head in sand type thing…so far that, you get an A+++++ and soon that Anthro dress will be yours…and i hope you buy it b/c I bought a dress that’s DRESSY and I hope everyone dresses up at FBuzz!!! Can’t wait to see you in it :)

Diana @ frontyardfoodie October 27, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Just think of it this way, some people spend over $200 on one dinner out so you’re doing GREAT! Relatively speaking of course. haha

We’re grabbing our finances by the horns now that I’m a stay at home mom and we’re on one income for three people!

Katie October 27, 2010 at 10:17 pm

My uncle is an accountant. I just hand everything to him and say – make me some money. Oh, wait, I’m a student. I don’t actually have any money. Hm.

Some day…

Danielle October 27, 2010 at 11:33 pm

So, apparently I need a financial tutor. You down? :)

Love that dress.

Eden October 28, 2010 at 1:19 am

I hate money, cant we just all trade and barter like old times? My dad and your dad should hang out together. My dad would be in the basement with baseball bat.
I always wanted to use my eating disorder as an excuse to get free food out of people, “please feed me, look how too thin I look”.

Anica @ Unstoppable China October 28, 2010 at 3:47 am

I’m a huge splurge when I walk into Anthropology…good thing Anthro doesn’t exist in China haha! I should probably take that Finance class when I’m back though…

Lauren October 28, 2010 at 6:03 am

I am so interested in this topic and would love to know what source your workbook came from? I’m always looking for more information or different facts to incorporate into my classes. (I run a Financial Literacy Program at a large financial institution).

Sami October 28, 2010 at 9:11 am

LOVE LOVE LOVE that dress. it’s so you!

what’s in the “sundae” glass? banana softserve with chocolate chips?

i’m terrible about spending money on food. i don’t eat out often, but my justin’s addiction is festering.

Nelly@CrazySexyFit October 28, 2010 at 9:59 am

This is SO not an ad for which I am getting reimbursed (I wish!), but check out mint.com. Free online budgeting software from Quicken (i.e. trustworthy) that tracks every transaction in every account you have and shows you all the results in one place. It is AMAAAAZING. Seriously, it will REALLY help. I check mine nearly every day.

Megan (Braise the Roof) October 28, 2010 at 10:42 am

Good job taking the bull by the horns! Since I started my current job (that was a significant pay cut) I’ve been meticulously monitoring my expenses, too. It’s a pain in the butt sometimes but I feel better at the end of the month when I’m not wondering who hacked into my bank account and took my money!

Alina (Duty Free Foodie) October 28, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Budgeting is tough! Well, not the budgeting part, but the following part. I started thinking in terms of my two-week pay cycle recently (I pay my credit card bills every 2 weeks), so at least I am aware of what I am spending. Which is making me spend less, I think.

K October 28, 2010 at 4:50 pm

So before I moved across the big blue pond I worked in the world of finance. I am meticulous about money and made a simple spreadsheet to manage monthly cash flows. Let me know if you want me to send it to you. “As long as you are moving in the right direction…you’ll get there eventually.” It applies for everything! :)

Virginia @ YtotheUmmy October 28, 2010 at 8:51 pm

that dress is cuuute! :D ugh, i have money spending issues…i don’t even like to think about how i’m supposed to afford college….OYYYY. i love money when they have the most perfect dress on sale at H&M but then pound my fist on the table, get angry and demand that the world go back to old fashioned bartering when the time comes to pay for actual necessities….

Meaghen October 28, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Good for you for taking control of your finances. I really need to do that. I am pretty bad with my money and would love to be able to save and spend some of it without having a heart attack.

that dress is gorgeous!!!!

elise October 29, 2010 at 12:44 am

shoooot, do i need to get a new dress for this foodbuzz thing?!? ok, twist my arm…

Katie October 29, 2010 at 10:13 am

Oh man, does this ring true for me. Ari and I have talked about attending some kind of financial planning class for so long… we need to just do it, because we aren’t getting any younger and I don’t want my dad to take care of everything in that department. Blegh.

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