Big City Gal on a Small Town Budget

…I just wanted a title that sounded like a fashion magazine article, because that’s pretty much what I find when I try to research budgeting tips.

Side note: there are no new tips. Coupons. Bring your lunch. Don’t take cabs. Stuff I already know but don’t want to do.

This week, I put myself on a move-out-of-my-dad’s-house budget. Specifically, $20 a day or $140 a week for all “non-bill” expenses. Like food, clothing, etc. For some people, like my husband, this sounds incredibly easy. For me, it’s tricky.

Let’s see how it’s been going…


I need a new dress for Sarah Jean’s wedding (same day). I set my goal to find something for $20 at Marshall’s. I find a SUPER adorable dress that’s perfect for the occasion, for $30. I also find a cute party dress, which might be slightly too slutty for the occasion, for $20. I’m torn. What to do? So I buy both. I always need going-out clothes. $50 plus tax gone on day one.

Oh yeah and the cash-money wedding gift. That just doesn’t count out of my budget. It just doesn’t, ok?

third from the left ^ now you see

third from the left ^  now you see why I had to get it   ……….


I eat half a leftover sandwich for lunch and manage not to spend any money. Success!

Oh, wait. I forgot I have to book that limo for the girls’ wine tour I’m going on in a couple weeks. $525 on my credit card. But that really doesn’t count because I’m getting paid back for all but $131.25 of it. And as for that part? That’s Future-Jill’s problem.


End up getting lunch with a coworker for $9.25 BUT I save half my sandwich for the next day so it’s really a bargain. Go to a happy hour after work but just get a club soda for $3 and the bar has free popcorn! (Hello? Maybe there are new tips in saving money!)

I’m in the city until late so I end up getting dinner at Penn Station but it turns out you can get that Subway $4 lunch special at night so that was a pretty good deal. I feel really lame right now. Anyway…

I stop for groceries for Tom but I put that on the debit card because that should come out of his weekly budget. By my calculations, including $16 of groceries, he’s spent about $16 this week.

The rest of the week

I’m paying $20 (ouch) to see a friend’s play tonight and my other friend wants to meet up for drinks/dinner first. I already warned him that I’m going to find something cheap for us to do because of my broke-itude (thanks Jules!) but I’m afraid that he (and soon all my friends) are going to try to pay for me for things and that’s not my intention.

Tomorrow I have improv practice. $9 bargain.

Friday, I have a friend’s birthday party and I have to get her a present so… hmm…

Saturday, nothing I hope.

So, as you can see, I’m doing medium ok. I’m doing really well if you overlook my cheating. I really don’t know if I’m going to make it, but at least it’s forcing me to think before I spend? Yup, let’s go with that.

What are your hot new budget tips?


  1. SarahJean says:

    that was a super cute dress! totally worth it.

  2. Umm if you add the 7.99 I spent on my pre-ordered Jimmy Eat World album, which was released yesterday, I’m up to 23.99….if that helps?

  3. Justine Reilly says:

    love reading your blogs you are so funny and engaging! love hearing about your week. miss u xoxo

  4. THRIFT SHOPS FOR ALL OF YOUR CLOTHES. I just bought two lightweight jackets for 16 bucks total today!
    Kevin recently posted…Kevlog 1 (Kind Of): I’m Obsessed With The Olympics/I’m LazyMy Profile

  5. Oh man, I loved this. I so do the same thing (you HAD to get both dresses… the one pictured is fabulous).

    Future Jill is screwed. No wait. It’s all gonna work out. Present Jules thinks so, anyway.
    Go Jules Go recently posted…“I Do”-WopMy Profile

  6. Your dress was totally worth it!! Adorable!

    The hubs and I actually use the envelope system for “weekly expenses,” i.e. groceries, entertainment, etc. When the cash is gone, so is the fun and I die a little inside. But the next pay day, it’s replenished as is my soul.
    Stephanie recently posted…Oversharing: My Pee TestsMy Profile

  7. Heck, spend it now to look hot and worry about it later. You will be rich from your future sitcom anyway!
    Phil recently posted…The Money Shot of Hot Dogs – Crif Dogs NYC!My Profile


  1. [...] forward to today: I’m six weeks-ish into my penny pinching budget and I had another occasion for forced shopping. Guess what? It’s not fun [...]

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