Monday, February 28, 2011

March Challenges

It's been a while since I formed my last budget. As a first step I wrote down every penny I spent. I like to do this periodically to get a handle on how things are going financially. So March is gong to be a month of tracking. Every penny I spend is going to get written down and recorded. Then I can see where I can shave off some expenses.

If you've never tried this exercise, I urge you to do so. It really makes you aware of just how much of your money is going into silly purchases. If writing it all down is too much for you might try a free online service like mint which will track your credit card spending automatically for you. They generate some pretty neat looking pie charts to give you an immediate visual of how you are spending your money.

My second challenge for March is going to be cleaning out my apartment and getting organized. I live in a one bedroom, Manhattan sized apartment. Yet I somehow manage to accumulate stuff. I just can't bear to throw things out or to see good items going to the trash. Yesterday I tripped over a stack of shoe boxes and a suitcase. Enough is enough. Things are going to get sold on ebay/, donated to charity or given away on freecycle.

Todays job will be to clean out all the extra magazines I have sitting around. I'm going to pull out the articles and recipes etc. that I want and recycle the rest. I've dug up some unused photo albums to use as a recipe keeper. This works great since the slots easily fit an index card and can be flipped through nicely. The plastic protects the recipe from splatter during cooking. I found a really cute album, like this one from amazon, just lying around my mom's house. Almost everyone I know has empty photo albums sitting around. Use them! There is no need to go out and buy a recipe holder, which usually costs more than your average discount photo album.

Also part of March will be a trip to Zurich. This is for work purposes and my work and my husbands work are picking up most of the tab. However, once work was flying us over there we chose to extend our stay a little bit. My blue sky credit card rewards will be covering a decent portion of the hotel. So you see - bonus points really can get you somehwere!


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