Seriously, TAT (Times Are Tough). Use it, tell your friends. I stole it from my sister, but I’m sure she won’t mind if you put it to good use.
I ended 2008 with spending at an all-time-high,an unwelcome departure from my usually frugal economic approach. My whole life I’ve been known as a saver, never quick to make a purchase, but for some reason that all changed after I had the sweet taste of spending on my 46 inch 660 Samsung LCD TV. The TV was followed by the almost irresistable draw of invite-only high-end shopping sites–how could I not fall for exclusivity + online shopping + killer deals? There was ideeli, Hautelook, Rue La La, Gilt, Billion Dollar Babes and of course, The Editor’s Closet.
Yep, it’s a part time job just checking out these sites and the short term sales they offer. Fortunateley, I didn’t fall completely victim to the allure of the “SALE! SALE! SALE!” sign. I mean, come on, even if something is $200 down from $2,000, it’s STILL $200. You can’t just throw that kind of money around. Correction: I can’t throw that kind of money around. (Note: If you’re a glutton for punishment, I’ll gladly send you invites to any of these sites. But, let me reiterate that you’ll be shopping at your own risk. Contact info on my about me page)
The spending fairy dust fizzled as soon as the clock struck midnight on December 31st, 2009 hit, and I got my super-sized credit card statement. Serious wake-up call, and a great reason to make a new year’s resolution: STOP SPENDING!
Enter Mint.com: “The best free way to manage your money.” Cue the orchestral music, angellic lights, and huge lightbulb. This site is A-MA-ZING. If you use Bank Of America’s My Portfolio feature, this takes things to the next level. Not only does it track your savings, checking, retirement accounts, credit cards and investments, it also analyzes your spending trends and makes recommendations on how to help you save and make more money. From suggesting a new savings account with a higher interest rate, to identifying a new credit card with better rewards for your money. Beyond the recommendations, Mint also allows you to analyze your own expenditures, with easy to navigate and clickable pie charts to itemized expense reports. You can even tag items as reimburseable if you get refunds from work for things like cell-phone and gym fees.
My favorite parts of Mint.com are the budgeting tools. You can set suggested spending limits for yourself on things like restaurants, groceries, shopping, entertainment…anything you want really to monitor. When you surpass the budget you outline, Mint.com will email you to let you know. They’ll even text you if you so choose. It’s like having your mother call you every time you’re about to buy something frivolous to say, “Shanee, do you really need that?” *slowly puts the PlayStation 3 down* “No, mom. I don’t need it. But I waaaant it.”
Now’s the time to stick with “needs,” and hold off on “wants,” and Mint.com is a great way to help guide you in the right direction.
Happy saving, and let me know what you think!