Sometimes I think that I have a decent handle on this whole "being a grown up" thing, and then the hand of God comes down and bitch slaps me.
We've been going through our finances lately because we're having a professional do our taxes this year. Since I'm finally making more than $200 per year freelancing, my taxes have gotten a little more complicated. We want to make sure that we're paying out as little as possible, so we're basically paying someone to tell the IRS how much i spend on toilet paper each year. (Really, you can deduct a certain percent of your toilet paper if you work from home).
My husband started going through a year's worth of our bank statements online. Because, you know, when they come in the mail we just throw them out without looking at them. Turns out we are complete F-ing idiots. Guess how much we spent in the year of 2010? Well I guess that wouldn't be appropriate to say here, but lets just say there were six digits in the number. SIX. When Frank told me, I thought that HAS to be wrong. I was thinking of the big ticket items that we bought this year: down payment on a car, our roadtrip to CA, my MacBook, new flooring. UM NOT WORTH SIX DIGITS. Luckily we remembered that some of it was explainable, like the fact that we paid off a lot of school loans, some of the $ accounted for funds that we switched back and forth between checking and savings. But still. OUT OF CONTROL. Sorry for all these caps but they are necessary. You know what's really sad, also? We live in a city with a very low cost of living.
We spend an average of $500 a month on groceries. For two people. And we hardly ever cook. Eating out was the biggest shocker of all. We should own 40% of the Starbucks company. It's not like I'm going out buying expensive clothes and stuff. I wear clearance rack Target and Forever 21 most of the time. Don't even get me started on Target. It was disgusting. We decided we needed to have an intervention with ourselves and SERIOUSLY get a hold of our finances and start budgeting.
But. It gets worse. As Frank was going through the lines on the account statements, we realized that we had a lot of unexplained charges in our account. It turns out that we are being scammed by two separate companies to the tune of $30 per month! Yep, apparently when I bought my grandma a bouquet of flowers from ProFlower.com, I checked a box for free shipping, which signed me up for some club that charges you $15 per month for a membership fee. When I Googled the vague description of the charge, millions of search result including the word "scam" came up. The sad part is, I think I bought those flowers like two years ago, so they ended up costing me hundreds of dollars. When you go to the website, of COURSE there is no phone number. But we will be calling the back tomorrow to cancel any payments from these companies. The other company that's charging us is doing the same thing.
Let me leave you with this little gem: $50/month on pizza. No wonder I gained like 20 pounds.
Anyone have any budgetting tips or know of any good websites/books that will help us get our act together?