This is the start of my budgeting… kind of

Jen over at SheBloggs recently wrote a post on the “personal” in “personal finance”. My family has never been one to talk about money around the dinner table, so when I moved out last year, I didn’t really have a plan. I have the pleasure awesomeness of knowing Bridget (hithatsmybike) in person, and she directed me towards Lesley Scorgie’s book Rich by 40 (along with many other insightful novels). Not only is Scorgie from my hometown, but she’s also a good writer. The book is fairly basic but taught me a lot. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even know what an RRSP was prior reading this book. Hey, gotta start somewhere, right? :D

I digress. The book was great and, among other things, helped me see the value in budgeting. Sadly, that didn’t last long. I was spending frivolously and not saving much at all. I had a bit of consumer debt (mostly due to a car) and had a minor shopping problem. I decided to remedy this situation by getting a second job to complement my full-time one. Going back to the service industry allowed me to work weekends, which not only prevented me from going out and spending money, also made me money and helped me save. I’m happy to say that over the course of 5 months, I’ve managed to get out of debt, obtain a positive net worth and contribute regularly to my RRSPs (while still having a decent social life). Hurray! I think I’ll have a post later on specifics, but for now, this is personal enough :)

I’m pretty proud of myself. Two jobs means a good income and a happy me. But, with my cross-continent move coming up shortly, I’m forced to resign from both my jobs. My student visa allows me part-time work every week, but my full-time graduate program recommends I don’t. In a way, I’m torn. Do I take a job and work every Saturday making near-minimum wage (serving in the UK doesn’t make nearly as much money as it does in North America)? This will barely put a dent in the line of credit and loans I’m going to have. Or do I say screw it and allow myself the opportunity for a social life, which will include travelling to nearby countries and visiting friends? I’m leaning towards the latter. I’m not sure if my future financial-self will thank me, but my future life-is-what-you-make-of-it self will.

Having thousands of dollars at my disposal doesn’t mean I’m going to go crazy though. Since I won’t have an income for 12 months (I cringe just thinking about this), I have to budget. But I’m not exactly sure how yet. I have a few goals for my next year that I want to succeed in, yet most cost money.

How do I budget without an income? Do I take a lump sum and divide it into 12 months? What about my emergency fund… am I allowed to have one? I’m not sure how much my rent will cost yet, so how do I factor this in? Can any budgeting even be done prior to my leaving? 

Ugh, so many questions. Any help is appreciated!

0 thoughts on “This is the start of my budgeting… kind of

  1. Since I have a job where 80% of my income shows up during 2-3 months of the year, I have to deal with the same sort of thing. Using a monthly allowance works well but with a larger reserve/unexpected category than you’d use for an ordinary budget. I also try to pre-pay as many things as possible so I don’t have to deal with them during the lean months (but be careful not to fill the ‘space’ in your budget cap with other stuff).

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