Well friends, yesterday I got the news I didn’t want to hear. My car has been totaled. 😦 Now it’s just a matter of waiting to hear from the insurance company to find out how much it’s worth and then the process of car hunting will begin..

The car situation has definitely been the icing on what feels like my 7-tier cake of financial burdens right now. I knew that moving into a new home would come with its own set of expenses and financial adjustments but I’ve been a little down on my financial luck in a couple other areas and it’s been a bit of a struggle to make ends meet lately as it is – potentially adding a car payment to the scenario is an extra stretch I’m afraid I just don’t have the room for.

Wanting to get my facts straight before I freaked out I decided to sit down and take a look at my budget today. I got about halfway through my *fixed* expenses and almost started to cry – it’s definitely time to make some adjustments.

Here is what I’ve come up with so far:

Pick up a couple extra shifts at work. Those of you who have been reading the blog for awhile may remember when I used to have to work 3 out of 4 Saturdays a month. I recently negotiated one less Saturday per month (thus working every other Saturday) and as a result I’ve been much happier. Unfortunately, Saturdays are going to be the only extra shift I can pick up so it looks like I’ll be working every Saturday for awhile.  It kills me to give up my treasured free time on the weekends when everyone else is off having fun and enjoying time with friends and family but I’m fortunate to have flexibility in my work schedule to be able to make a little extra cash when I need to and I’m going to keep reminding myself that it’s only temporary.

Curb my grocery spending. This has always been a tough area for me. I firmly believe that putting good food into our bodies is worth the price tag and since I pack a lunch for work pretty much every single day I rationalize that I can spend a little more on my weekly groceries. However, I do tend to go a little overboard with my shopping from time to time and weekly visits to Starbucks and Whole Foods for coffee also add up. I’m going to try to stick to just what I need for the week and try to remember to take good inventory of what I already have so I’m not spending needlessly.

I’m also going to try and curb the Starbucks habit at least for a little while, difficult as that may be.

Limit meals out with friends. This one is also going to be tough. I don’t want to cut myself off from hanging out with my friends completely, especially since things like lunches with my girlfriends are what help me get through the hard times. I am going to try and limit myself to no more than one meal outing per week and be mindful of the price of what I’m ordering and try and schedule more get-togethers that revolve around things that don’t require money – hiking, walking the dogs, etc.

Minimize my fitness expenses. I was hoping to sign up for a one month hot yoga membership for the month of February but with my current situation it’s just not going to be feasible. I think I’m going to keep my gym membership since it’s only $21 per month but things like personal training and paying for group classes are going to have to go by the wayside for now. I’m going to focus on things I can do for free such as running outdoors, yoga, zumba or one of the countless Dancing With the Stars Cardio DVDs that I own.

(Um, yeah I have that one…)

Take inventory for things I no longer need and can sell. I listed a Groupon on Craig’s List  that I probably won’t have time to use and expires next month. I’m also thinking of having a garage sale within the next few weeks.

And, lastly..

Possibly look into getting a roommate. I’m keeping this one in my back pocket. I really love the comforts of having my own place but having a roommate would relieve a huge part of my financial burden. We’ll see.

Have you ever had to reign in your budget? I’d love to hear any helpful tips that you have to share!

I hope you’re having a wonderful Tuesday!