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Budgeting/Spending Review: First Quarter 2011
Thursday, 31 March 2011 / 15:43

Select purchases from this quarter: H&M hat, Uniqlo skirt and tee, American Eagle sweater, Miss Selfridge shoes, Forever 21 bows. If you use Polyvore, saving items you already own (or are considering) can be a fun way of figuring out how you might wear them.

Here's the follow-up on my budgeting post. This was the first time I've really got serious about budgeting and recording my purchases, and whilst I haven't done things 100% perfectly, it was a learning experience and I aim to improve. :)

Thoughts on the last three months

- I've been shopping more, and thus spending more. I haven't got into financial trouble or neglected more pressing needs in favour of buying clothes, but I have been spending at an unsustainably high rate and I need to dial it down. (FYI, I don't use credit cards, which makes things simpler - if I can't afford to pay for something upfront, I can't afford it. That means I don't have to worry about interest, monthly payments and so on, and I don't have any debt to pay off. I don't have a moral objection to credit cards or anything, I've just chosen not to use them for now.)

- That said, I haven't been shopping recklessly. I put a lot of thought (sometimes too much thought) into every purchase I make, and try to focus my spending on things that will be genuinely useful. I've recorded all my purchases in a spreadsheet, used wishlists to keep myself on track, and generally indulged my obsessive overanalytical tendencies taken a more organised approach to shopping. So that's good.

- For the first time, I've earned cashback on some of my online purchases. I'm not sure whether to think of this as money saved or money earned, since the cashback doesn't actually become payable until a couple of months after the event. Regardless, it doesn't hurt.

- I've saved money by taking advantage of discounts and free shipping offers whenever I can. Whilst a discounted item isn't necessarily more affordable than a full-price one, after doing the sums I've definitely stretched my budget by finding opportunities to save and waiting for things to go on sale.

- I treated January, February and March as one continuous block of time, but for some odd reason, nearly all my shopping was concentrated in the last week of each month. Looking at my spreadsheet, I've recorded purchases on January 7th, 17th, 28th, 29th and 31st; February 9th, 21st and 22nd; and March 17th, 21st, 24th, 27th and 31st. Weird.

Aims for the next quarter

- Spend at a more sustainable rate. My budget covers the whole quarter, but what I feel like buying on the first day of April probably won't be what I feel like buying on the last day of June.
- Continue saving (discount codes, cashback) wherever possible.
- Continue using the spreadsheet.
- Consolidate all my wishlists, wardrobe building lists and other assorted notes on shopping and clothing, to avoid information overload. 
- Stop obsessing and second-guessing myself over every purchase... :P Seriously, this may not be directly related to budgeting, but it has an indirect effect. I think I'd be "better" at budgeting and spending and so on if I was a little more relaxed about it, and not so scared of making mistakes.

I'll come back to this post at the end of June and evaluate my progress. 

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Blogger Rachel said on 31 March 2011 at 16:23  

It sounds like you are doing really well on your budget! Those shoes are such a great purchase for spring.

Blogger Lady Cardigan said on 9 April 2011 at 02:31  

Budgeting is difficult! I am (was) naturally frugal so I never had to worry much about a budget till I started getting interested in clothes. Now how much I'm spending is a constant concern, blah. But I find once you build up your wardrobe a little bit, it is easier to resist some purchases because you can say to yourself, "I already have a red short-sleeved shirt similar to this one" or whatever.

And those shoes are really cute.

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