Budget #1

As some people may or may not know, I have recently made a goal to be out of credit card debt by August 6th, 2011.  I will be turning 27 and fully accepting my place in my "late twenties."  It is definitely not going to be easy - I've been casually paying down the (gulp..) $10K I carelessly racked-up in the last ten years.  From college to weddings to car problems to a lay-off to moving, I knew that I would pay for it later... I just didn't know it would be this painful.

As I've mentioned on facebook statuses, I get really tired of listening to podcasts and reading blogs where people complain about having to "cut back" from eating out all the time to just a couple times a week.  I also get sick of hearing people talk about having to use sales on groceries, cutting out their premier movie channels, looking for flight deals because last-minute prices are too expensive.

Okay... enough complaining and dramatizing my so-called-life.  The truth is : I have priorities, and the older I get the more clearly I see them.  Point blank - I LOVE to travel.  I realized slowly that I can't think of much I would give up for the sake of travel.  I also realized that I can't, in good conscience, continue to do the fun things that cost money without paying-off the fun I've already had.  Its time to be able to explore and see things knowing that I've already earned it, not that I will someday earn it.  The theme of 2010 (and now 2011) is self-reliance.  I am taking one year off of my life as I would like to live it in order to break-even.  After that I will have student loans - both private and federal - and a car to pay-off, but it is my belief that if I can get used to living like this for now, I will (hopefully) make more money by then and be settled-in to a budgeted lifestyle.

So, after that supreme amount of text for a visually-driven blog, please note that I am adding a tag to my blog - "Budget."  I will periodically blog about my findings and any tips that might help anyone else out there who is in their 20s, making just enough to get by, and trying not to let the rest of their life go down the drain with their credit card debt.

I'll talk more about food on a budget in the future, but for now I will leave you with this : if your office has leftover bagels that they set out for everyone, and you happen to see 3 of those bagels still sitting there at the very end of the day, waiting for the trash can, take them.  Then cut them up into 1/8" slices, put them in a zip-loc with 2 tablespoons melted butter, some secret spice from my dad, and bake them at 325 for 20 minutes.  Voila, you have bagel chips - free of charge, courtesy of your company :)