Yes, I don’t know your budget so I can’t really be 100% sure that it stinks, but I do think there is always room for improvement. I was all high and mighty about my smart spending and awesome budget until I started tracking my spending.

I swear to you four days into Marina’s Grand Spending experiment I thought the world was ending. New York was experiencing earthquakes, hurricane threats and other crazy happenings in my personal life.

I set out to show that 20-year-olds could be responsible with their spending, as I had been, but so many unplanned events happened in a short period of time that I not only went over budget, I just plain blew that baby out of the water.

There were so many times I wanted to abandon this column, but the show must go on. Now to painfully relive my spending in a week:

Tracking a 20-somethings Spending: Timeline

Friday, August 19: Well, this experiment started out with a bang after I spent nearly $500 in one day. My best friend got back to me about which bridesmaid dress I needed to buy ending up costing me $438.59. I also made a gift purchase for another close friends wedding which was $109.65. I will say, my best friends parents offered $200 to help out with the dress so at least I’ll be getting that soon. Total Spending: $338.58

Saturday, August 20: My parents transferred $150 to my account so I could buy plane tickets out to see them — for some reason they missed me. The same day I got a $177.24 phone bill for going over my minutes. This is THE FIRST time I have EVER had a phone bill this high, needless to say I was shocked and appalled. Next week if I go over minutes I am putting my phone in the fridge for the rest of the month.

I met with a friend who got back in town from vacation and ended up spending $32.60 on dinner and drinks. I didn’t feel too bad about this because I have budgeted $60 of weekend spending so technically I did ok. Total Spending: $207.85

Sunday, August 21: This was my errands day, I went grocery shopping and also bought some household items totaling $68.43 and did laundry, $6.00. Total Spending: $74.43

Monday, August 22: Nada. Total Spending: $0

Tuesday, August 23: I was asked to preform at a comedy show in Manhattan, so as a reward I bought myself a drink and cab ride home. Total Spending: $18

Wednesday, August 24: My friend’s band was in town and on tour so I went to their show with a friend. Unfortunately I totally got peer pressured to take cabs there and back. Total Spending: $57.61

Thursday, August 25: Since my friends were still in town, we ended up going out for dinner and their show again. Total Spending: $45.16

Friday, August 26: With threats of Hurricane Irene quickly enclosing New York, I am not going to lie — I was terrified. This is no surprise because basically everything stresses me out, and one unhealthy way to deal with stress is shopping. I will say that my manifestation of stress came through buying reserves to weather the storm so at least the shopping was relevant. Total Spending: $97.29

Total in One Week: $838.92

Seeing the total written out is devastating considering this doesn’t include my credit card payment, my rent, utilities and other budgeted payments for the month.

I agree that I didn’t have to go out those two nights the band was here, and no one made me be a bridesmaid or attend the other wedding I bought a gift for, but in all those cases I consider those friends to be very close to me. When you have very little responsibilities as a 20 year old it’s difficult to chose a night at home when all your friends are going to shows, weddings, dinner and such.

Set a ‘Justifiable Spending’ Category in Your Budget

I realized that things like weddings, visitors and natural disasters can be considered, “Justifiable Spending” reasons.

The place where my budget went off kilter was in these categories. So know that I am reworking it, I am going to project how many “must attend” weddings I have, how many more friends may ask me to be a bridesmaid (I am at two so far) and calculate a visitor every month or so. I will also set up a “gift” budget for weddings, birthdays and holidays.

By over budgeting and over saving, you can be prepared for weeks of hurricanes, earthquakes, concerts and visitors.

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