I was doing pretty well with the one-paycheck challenge until the phone/internet bill arrived today and I discovered AT&T has finally gotten around to charging us for the modem they sent us a month and a half ago. Under my current accounting system, the money Roommate pays me for her half of the September bills will be October income so I'm currently out the entire extra $67.66. Throw in the $28 I spent on toys, oh wait, lab supplies, this weekend, and my financial picture is looking decidedly less rosy.
I have $107.78 left to get by until October 3rd. That doesn't sound bad at all until you consider that I need to set aside roughly $60 in personal escrow for auto and renters' insurance and there's the pesky matter of an upcoming water bill. It looks like I may fail this first month, unless I'm willing to alter my accounting system and start treating interest income from my savings as spendable rather than trying to "hide" it from myself. I'd had high hopes of getting started on saving for upcoming birthday and Christmas gifts as well, but that's clearly out right now.
I'll need to be much, much more careful in October. My parents will be coming to visit that first weekend, but I'd like to plan a trip home later in the month so I can see my brother, grandparents, friends, and dogs as well. Who knows what gasoline will cost then? Registering for yet another Praxis II test will eat a sizable sum, but if I passed the Biology Content Knowledge test I took this month, I'll be able to get that fee reimbursed by TFA so that should work out to be a wash. I'd been hoping to add a paper subscription to the newspaper and a gym membership as well, but that will be difficult to fit into the budget.
I'm not sure what I can cut that will make enough of a difference. I know that I can shave a few dollars a week from my grocery budget through more cost conscious meal planning and that I can eliminate fast food and school lunches, but I'm not wildly extravagant right now so there's only so much I can reduce those areas. I'll try to be more mindful of my driving and walk to the store more often. I suppose the key will be to avoid being seduced by random temptations like this month's new socks ($6.60), bicycle helmet ($9.46), and legal software ($19.95).