What The Budget

I’ve always been a shopaholic, and as my income increased, so did my shopping habit. I knew I had a problem and had to fix it, but then there was a sale at Nordstrom, or Gap, or H&M, etc, and I’d pull out my little plastic card, further increasing my credit card debt.

I didn’t think it was that bad though. I’d always pay my full balances on time, and I used everything I bought, so it was worth it, or so I thought. While my cards were mostly paid off, my savings account was depleting by the minute, and then I was overdrafting my checking account, as well as my savings account, and that’s when I realized that I really did have a major problem. So I did the only thing I knew would help me. I hired a financial advisor through learnvest.com, and got to work.

And boy was it work. First, she helped me create a budget based upon my income and fixed expenses, which left me with some weekly spending money, but it was a lot less than what I was used to, so that scared me a bit. I didn’t think I’d be able to stick that amount, but I knew I had to try. Next, I had to freeze my 7 credit cards. Yup, that’s right, I had 7 credit cards, and I had to freeze them, a-la Isla Fisher in Confessions of a Shopaholic. That was the hardest part, packing them into a plastic bag of water, and sticking them in the back of my freezer. I had a major headache after that.

This was back in July. Now, three months later, I’m doing my darnest to stick to my budget. All but one of my credit cards are paid off, the credit cards are still in the freezer, and I’m putting money into three (three!) savings accounts each month. I’ve also started saving up for my trip to Europe in the Spring, my graduation gift to myself, and I am so happy with how far I’ve come.

I still have a lot to work on. I’ve managed to kick my shopping habit to the curb for the most part, but there are still times when I struggle real bad. It is not easy, but seeing the number goes down on my credit card debt, and go up in my savings is so satisfying. Shopping was my hobby, my safe place. It was what I knew, and it brought me comfort, and maybe it always will, but this is my time to improve myself, for no one but me. It is a great feeling.

Also, for anyone looking to get a handle on their own budget, I highly recommend learnvest.com. It has literally changed my life. While I pay for the financial advisor’s services, they have a free option where you can link up your accounts and set up your own budget. It’s super convenient. Do it. You won’t regret it.

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