Part One: Spending
This weekend, my friends and I were talking about spending and saving. They were talking about getting allowances, and how they would save up and buy things, but also sort of hoard money. I started thinking about how I deal with money, especially when I have a windfall of sorts. It always disappears faster than I had planned, and I never really understand why. Remember when I got my tax return and all of a sudden went over my grocery budget even though I hadn't had a problem like that in months? Well, this is what happens when I have extra money.
So then I realized, I don't know how to spend money. Sure, I spend money, but I have no idea how to spend it properly. When I get money, I either pay bills with it (something I'm comfortable with) or spend it on who knows what, but what I don't do is take my extra money and actually make the most of it. So what ends up happening is I feel like I have wasted my money, or I overspend, or both, and I don't really end up getting what I need the most.
I think that when you're used to impulse shopping, you don't learn how to plan to spend. I plan to pay bills each week, and I do that well. I'm comfortable with the pattern of it, I understand how much I have and how much I need, and I know when to do it- they give me a deadline! But with spending on things, there's no minimum payment, there's no goal, and there's no deadline. It's confusing. And confusion leads to mistakes, as anyone without a budget knows. You'll always forget about something, and that something will usually screw you.
I'm going to be thinking this over for the next few days, and trying to apply my decent bill-paying skills to my spending skills. I'll post a spending plan when I have a good one set up.