Sometimes life can throw you a rain storm in the midst of a sunny day.
The month of January has been a challenging start to the year in terms of my finances. A curve ball with the amount of money dispersed in my check threw me completely off. By the fifteenth the money was replaced, but many other expenses came up and threw me off my January plan. Three learnings from this month are listed below.
Remember the goal
Despite the circumstances I should have not overspent the original budget, and should have replaced the emergency fund once the amount was given back. During this month I felt defeated and overwhelmed, and frustrated that child support has been nonexistent. An old habit of spending even though I didn’t have it occurred (impulsive spending). Now that I acknowledged I can be an impulsive spender, I decided to wait before I make purchases, other than food, greater than twenty dollars. Anything can wait a day, and if it can’t then it’s not needed. The twenty-four hours help clear my mind, and helps me to determine a want versus a need.
Write out a plan
The old saying if you fail to plan you plan to fail is still alive and well. Luckily my every dollar app helps me to adjust where I need to be. A zero dollar based budget has been difficult but something I have been striving to achieve for the last two months. I’ve streamed line my accounts to one checking, and three savings accounts. One saving account is to help save for Christmas and birthdays. I no longer have a credit card, and will pay cash for all my expenses. The second savings account will help keep me focused. So far my fifty-two week savings challenge will help in ensure this fund is alive and well. My other savings account is for my insurance savings. I decided to pay the entire yearly rate instead of escrowing my bill monthly. Although this keeps my monthly mortgage down I still need to budget so the expense doesn’t sneak up on me. Not sure not having it escrowed was the best decision, but something to consider in the future.
Execute the plan
Once I identified I was off track, I went back to my budget and readjusted and now it was time to execute the plan. This means I needed to hold myself accountable and start saying no to invitations from friends to hang out. In addition, I needed to add a line item that gave me a little spending money because it helps me to not feel guilty when things come up. Nothing outrageous but a little pocket money to keep me motivated.
Grab an umbrella to weather the storms of life (i.e. Margin in the budget), an allow yourself some grace by putting on your rain boots to splash in the puddles of life.