Sixth Experiment: A Month of Money

Have you seen the film The Queen of Versailles? It's pretty good. It's about this billionaire couple who end up going through financial hardship during the 2008 economic crisis while they are attempting to build the largest home in America. The house is supposed to be a trashy replica of Versailles and they never end up finishing the project because they run out of money. I was so judgy watching that film. I thought, these people are so ignorant! They have all the money in the world yet they will never be satisfied. 

Meanwhile, it was halfway through 2016 so I decided to take a closer look at my spending for the year and realized that even though I made a pretty decent income, I had no money to show for it. I saved zilch, nada, nothing so far this year! Wait....what?

Once upon a time not too long ago, I fancied myself a savvy spender. I learned everything about personal finance and managed to claw myself out of 30k in grad school debt in just 2 years. I was proud of myself. I learned how to be smart with money and debt free before 30. YAAAY!!! 

With my new debt free life, I quickly began to loosen up on my finances. I started to spend carelessly on whatever I wanted. I decided that it was time to be a "grown up" whatever the hell that means and I signed a lease to an entire little house to myself in East Austin. A few months later, my old car broke down and it was time to upgrade my ride. Then a new phone, new camera equipment, oh yeah and those stupid medical bills that weren't covered by health insurance and guess what, in a span of just one year I dug myself right back in the hole. I'm the queen of Chicon Street?  

The Experiment: For the month of July, I am going to reset my bad money habits and get my financial life back on track. 

The Rules: With the help of my personal finance trainer Carla, I am going to stick to a strict budget (ugh) and limit my excessive spending (boo). I'm also going to try and get more work! Make more + spend less = $$$$ Right? 

My goal is to get the maximum amount of saving as possible in one month. Currently it's zero so it can only go up from here! 

The Reason: I hear people say things like "you can't take it with you so just have fun" or "why not enjoy it while you can?"  I see their point. But I also know that I don't really enjoy feeling burdened by stuff owning me. I want to feel free, and freedom to me is financial independence. I don't want everything I earn to fly right back out of my account and disappear into the ether. I'm also self-employed which means I have to fund my own retirement and that sounds like a total buzzkill but I gotta think about future Sarah sooner than later! I also feel like I live in such a wealthy country and it's so easy to get caught up in societal norms thinking that we need all these luxuries to be happy and it's just not true. Not to mention that even if I lived on my version of a strict budget, I'd be living much better off than most people in the world. Instead of a mindset of not having enough which is the default mode for most people in debt, I want to feel satisfied with what I already have. You're talking to the Queen of Chicon Street so I'm clearly not there yet but that's the challenge!

Ugh the rational part of me is so excited for this challenge while the free spirit in me wishes I could go back and dance :(.