Brittany D. McClure
The Valdosta Daily Times
Well my dear budgeteers, the world hasn't ended and we are just mere days away from welcoming in 2013.
I would like to take this moment to congratulate myself. It's been a rough and tumble year, but thanks to me, you are all a little richer. Yes, I have insulted many, helped few (about 150 and counting according to Facebook) and used this column to boost my narcissism (because after all, there is no greater budgeteer than myself), but it was all for a good cause.
Sure, I didn't rise to fame, defeat Suze Orman and become Robin to my Batman (a.k.a. Clark Howard), but I did write some pretty hilarious and also helpful articles that for the most part occupied my sweet and twisted mind while I slaved away in my cubicle writing about dolphins with amputated fins and tractor parades. I know, it's a wonder that I haven't been drafted by the New York Times.
I may have no prospects of fame and may or may not still be considering Ramen Noodles as a hardy meal, but I'm going to go ahead and toot my own horn as I conduct the budgeteer roundup. So, for your reading pleasure, here are some follow ups, the good, the bad and the ugly.
• In March, I wrote about Technology that wastes money. I still have a home phone and satellite television (until Gossip Girl ends, I am outraged at this development) but I have managed to still not have satellite radio. Instead, I am obsessed with Pandora which is completely free.
• In March, I wrote about budget vacations and I told you how to do Disney World on a budget. Me and my husband successfully did this vacation on a budget by just visiting the Magic Kingdom and not staying the night. It was a long day, but we had a blast!
• In May, I told you about how I cut my pet related expenses. I have stuck to every single suggestion. I cut my dog food from $30 a bag to $14 a bag just by switching brands, I only buy my dog toys at TJ Maxx for a fraction of the cost, I groom all three of my pets myself, and I make my vets explain all tests and procedures in detail before hand so I can determine what is truly necessary and what is extra.
• In July, I talked about decorating when you don't even have a dime. I have made so many cheap upgrades to my condo. My kitchen cabinets looked like bathroom cabinets and in fact, are the exact same cabinets in my bathroom! I removed all the doors and now showcase my beautiful dishes. It's so Urban Outfitters looking! I left one cabinet door on and I covered it with contact paper. I then painted chalkboard paint over the paper and now I have a chalk board for grocery lists in my kitchen. I also collected all the cool art and frames in my house and made two large gallery walls after I painted a turquoise and gold accent wall which together cost me like $20.
• In September, I wrote about the magic of spray paint. It's the cheapest way to spruce up any old piece of furniture. I now have a green “mud closet” in my living room which used to be an old, brown pantry. It's a great addition to my hip home! I also took three cork boards that I used to use in college and I spray painted them black. I took wooden tacks and I now display all my beautiful costume jewelry on them.
• In November, I told you all the tricks I learned from my dad: stealing paper pads from hotels, using “100-mile an hour tape” to virtually fix everything and biscuits and gravy as a cheap breakfast. I have been doing all that since I was like born, so why stop now.
• In November, I also wrote about how to go black ops on Black Friday. I would like to tell you that my mission was successful.
• My first column in February was about the envelope system. That lasted a few months before I got completely fed up with it. It's almost 2013, get a debit card already.
• In March, I wrote about ditching brands. I try to stick to this as much as I can, but when it comes to fashion, I just love my designers. Now, I just go to outlets and TJ Maxx to make my fix manageable. I'm not proud of it, but it's the truth.
• In June, I wrote about building your nest egg as opposed to paying down your debt. I have had to find a balance between the two. I have found myself putting more money towards debt and less money towards saving. I feel it is nearly impossible to do one over the other.
• In March, I wrote about making your own cleaning products.
Yeah, that didn't last long.
Long story short, self-made duster out of vegetable oil and lemon juice was like crack for my dogs.
• In May, I wrote about car pooling. Apparently, I'm completely anti-social.
Well my budgeteers, this concludes my first ever budget roundup. I had a lot of amazing columns, but there were a few duds and thankfully for you, I'm man enough to admit to my mistakes.
Don't forget to follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BrittanysBudgetDiary and on Twitter @VDT_Brittany.
Here's to another year!