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Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be. Shel Silverstein

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Financial Tales of the Shopaholic:

Well, if you are a dedicated reader of my blog (hey mom!), then you know that I will be studying abroad in Angers, France next semester. I am beyond excited, but am definitely overwhelmed with preparing for the trip. Thankfully, I already have a passport from whenever I went to Italy in high school, but my to do list still freaks me out a little.

To do:
1. Pack up my apartment and move back to my parents.
2. Clean my apartment to avoid any extra costs.
3. Cancel my cable and internet services and drive the cable boxes and modem all the way to the Time Warner office (boo!)
4. Somehow survive my two remaining weeks of classes and finals.
5. Get rid of 75% percent of my stuff.
6. Apply for and obtain my student VISA.
7. Purchase airline tickets simultaneously with Ethan and my friend Izzy, who is also going.
8. Figure out a way to transport my essential belongings to Angers.
9. Start and finish my training in Quick Books so I can work more hours.
10. And last but not least, somehow save all the money I will be spending abroad.

Everything is definitely doable, but #10 really freaks me out and has been a huge stressor in my life since my decision to study abroad has been made. I am currently battling my addiction to shopping and at the same time, saving a large sum of money for the first time in my life.

I decided that the amount I will be aiming for is $2500. I came up with that number by averaging the amount a previous Angers student claimed they spent abroad, the amount I would be making if I kept the job I have now in the states, and also the monthly recommendation of money for studying abroad made by the government's student Visa website. Also, the fact that the ratio of euro to dollar does not weigh in my favor.

WOAH, I have never seen that much money in my bank account at one time (mostly because I spend it before I get anywhere close to that amount). But honestly, I think that since I do not have a choice but to save this money, I am being forced into cracking my addiciton while at the same time learning how to budget and save my money (something I am glad to be learning now, instead of later).

Current Budgeting Plan:
1. As soon as I get my weekly paycheck, I put all but $50 into my savings account. That $50 has to last me through the week: all of my meals, shopping, everything. (I am very thankful that Ethan's meal plan still has plenty of money in it and can support both of us during these last few weeks of school. I am also thankful that Ethan has been helping me save money by offering to pay for meals on dates and telling me that I don't need things when I want to buy them (haha). I am also so lucky that my parents cover my apartment and bills, and part of my pay for my work includes my gas. Thank you parents and boyfriend!)
2. If I have something I need to purchase that requires me to spend more than $50 in a week (key word: need), I can transfer it from my savings. The effectiveness of this strategy is that I can only do that six times a month, so I really have to think about it before I transfer it over.
3. So far, in about a month, I have hit the 1/7 of my goal mark!

Summer Plan:
1. Since I will be living with my parents and working more hours, I will have the opportunity to earn more and spend less. My weekly allotment will probably still be $50, but I have a feeling that I might not even spend all of it in any given week.
2. About a month before I leave (August), I will evaluate where how much I have saved and make a trip budget. I will be alloting my money in six basic categories: pre-trip essentials, travel means (train and bus) and expenses (hotels, hostels), food, groceries, entertainment, and weekly pocket money.

Dans le plan de la France:
1. I will have my credit card for emergencies only.
2. I will have my debit card, but mostly I will...
3. Use my budget to plan how much cash I need on a weekly basis and use an ATM to withdraw that money weekly. That way I will only carry small sums of cash and won't risk losing my debit and credit cards. (I would much rather lose a week of funds than have no money and have to go through canceling all my cards while abroad).
4. Potenially scope out a job in a local cafe or something for a few extra euros here and there.

I think that hardest thing about saving currently, is as the money in my savings account slowly grows to amounts of items that I have wanted to purchase but have yet to afford, its just a little weird. I feel broke based on the number in my checking account, but technically I have enough to buy a new IPhone 4, and pretty soon I will have enough for an IPad, and by the end, I will have enough for the new MacBook Pro I have been wanting for a while. But, as weird as it is, the learning process, as well as the experience of studying in a new culture is beyond worth the monetary value. Also, after accomplishing this, I will have learned and experienced the discipline needed to save up for things if I really need them.

I apologize for the boring budget post, but its all that has been on my mind and its nice to organize and type everything out. Also, if anyone has any advice, please send it my way!! Also, another book review should be coming up soon :)

over and out.

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