Pete the Planner says: First let me reassure you about your math. It doesn’t suck.
However, I think you are missing a major issue that exists in your financial life. You have $3500 worth of pointless credit card debt. We need to improve your monthly spending habits, in order to pay off this stupid debt. In terms of your spending though, we have a two-fold problem. The first part is that you are the poster child for The New Necessities. The second part of your problem is that you forgot about life. Let me explain.
First things first, you could be in a training video about wasting money on mundane crap. Not a single aspect of your weekly spending will provide you anything tangible. In a nutshell, you eat, drink, socialize, and workout. Sounds like a pretty good life, except you are spending $355 per week to kick it with your boys. I’m not saying you need to stay at home and read (or just look at the pictures like I do), but dude, start making choices. When faced with the economical options that all young people are faced with, you tend to just nod yes, and whip out your wallet. Start making real choices. Restraint and moderation are admirable qualities.
Your other major issue: you forgot about life. You forgot about vacations, gifts, transportation costs, trips to Ikea, medical costs, and other periodical expenses. What about the tickets to see the Cubs? What about that ticket to Taste of Chicago? What about the numerous umbrellas that you blow through? I’m not hatin’ on your expenses, but I’m just sayin’ you need think ahead. There is no way that you are even close to living within your means. Can you imagine if your credit debt was paid off, how much more money you would have to operate on? But the reality is that your credit card balance probably hasn’t moved in months. You have a solid income, but you are living too large.
Here is what I suggest:
- Develop an entertainment budget. Group together dining out, coffee, lunch, beers, concerts, and music. Start looking at your buying decisions as either/or decisions, not both/and.
- Save your money systematically before it disappears. You should have least $75/week go into savings before you even have a chance to spend it. This savings account will prevent you from going back into debt, in case you were to overspend one month.
- Realize your life spending. Go through your last two months bank statements and write down all the unexpected expenditures. You will be surprised how many there are. These expenditures will explain the rest of the story. You need to cut down on entertaining expenditures in order to account for these unexpected expenditures.
- Make sure that all your extra money goes toward paying off that debt. You will be freeing up $280/month if you get rid of that card.