This may be the one time in my life I really want to get bills. It is difficult to prepare a budget without an accurate estimate of what water and electricity will cost. I'm really eager to jump right in to my spreadsheet program and get going on PearBudget. Without a plan in place and a commitment to track my expenses, my spending may get out of hand. I know this summer I spent quite a bit more than I intended to.
I unexpectedly got a summer internship doing an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates funded by the NSF) which allowed me to get paid to do work I planned on doing for my honors thesis anyway. It was great experience, and my savings got a nice boost as a result. However, between the unexpected income and the interest from a c.d. that matured this summer I felt fairly rich. I splurged on lots of dinners out with friends, movies, nothing that in and of itself cost enough to make much of a dent in my bank balance, but looking back it did add up. To be perfectly candid, I think if I had it to do over again I probably would, but it isn't a life style I could comfortably sustain throughout the year. If I can determine that I have X dollars to play with each month without dipping into the principal of my savings, then I'll both feel less guilty about spending on frivolous things and be more responsible.