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I thought I was making good progress on my budgeting goals since the last post. Since I’ve been back in Boston, I’ve been taking the T more, resisting shopping urges, getting free food at work. Then I stumbled upon the blog of this MIT freshman, who only spent $757 all last semester. Including food. I had to reread that three times before I could comprehend it. I know I’m not particularly frugal, but compared to that I feel like Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution. I think I’ve already spent her entire semester budget in the past month, if you count a LV wristlet that I caved on and bought my last day in China (duty free!).

Seeing as sorority dues alone are $500 a semester,  it is not very realistic for me to try and adopt her spending plan. But it is amazing how thrifty people can be (my parents would kill me if they found out that people like this exist. and attend the same school as me.). Or am I just way out of touch, and expenses of sub-$1000 per semester are actually the norm? I expected more people to comment on her amazing thriftiness in the comments, but no one brought it up. Gulp. I need to try harder.

I don’t know how it happened, but I think spent over $3000 this semester on random incidentals. This for the most part does not even include tech cash and food (which my parents graciously take care of). There are some big ticket purchases (sorority dues, giant shopping trips), but it’s mostly just random $10-$20 expenses here or there–stuff that I don’t even think about, and in hindsight, can’t even remember.

I’ve never been someone who has tightly kept track of my money. As immature as it sounds, looking through my expenses usually makes me sad, so I just don’t do it. I log into my online bank account maybe once a month (so infrequently that they go through the long authentication process with me every time because they can’t recognize my computer -_-). At this point, everything I buy is stuff that I “want”. I have a fair amount saved up for a college student, a sad little 401K account, and I don’t have any credit card debt. However, I will have to look into taking out loans for grad school soon, because I don’t want my parents to have to pay my tuition after I finish undergrad. Perhaps now is a good time to start thinking more recessionary, and start managing my financial life.

Do you have any good techniques for budgeting? Is there anything I should be doing to be a more financially responsible person?

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musings + meanderings down the infinite.