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Budgeting too Strictly

As I mentioned, this month, my budget is out of whack because of some unexpected pet expenses. The cat’s surgery is next Tuesday, but I’m already planning how to pay for it. While the money is there thanks to YNAB, I am doing my best to tighten the budget so that I don’t go over budget too much.

One thing that I did was review my budget and pull all budgeted money for “fun” things and put that into the Pet Care category. This means that I no longer had any budgeted money for books or movies or music, for example. Not that I ever budget very much in those categories, but usually have $10-$20 to spend. Not being able to buy any books this month shouldn’t be a problem as I’ve put myself on a buying freeze until I get through the huge stack (read: box) of unread books taking up space in my apartment.

I figure this wouldn’t be a problem. Then I heard a song on a tv show that I really wanted to download from iTunes. But that was going to cost me 99 cents. My music budget had no money in it. So technically I couldn’t afford it. I actually went back and forth for a solid ten minutes on whether or not I should still buy the song.

Then I realized that I was being ridiculous. I bought the song. I have enjoyed it more than I expected. And I learned a lesson. While it is important to keep your budget as tight as possible, there has to be some room for fun in the budget. Now, how much money that equates to varies from person to person, and for me, even varies from month to month.

In moments like this, I begin to wonder if I’m focusing too much on my finances. I shouldn’t let a 99 cent expense stress me out so much. Of course, if we’re talking 99 cents every day, that will add up. But one 99 cent song purchased this month is clearly not going to break the bank.

Some days, I just need to remember to put things into perspective.

3 comments to Budgeting too Strictly

  • This is a great post! We tried for a while to not have any Fun Money when we first started budgeting and, well, it was disasterous :)

    You’ve got to have some breathing room or you won’t last too long. (Same goes with dieting, you’ve got to give yourself some allowances!)

    Glad YNAB helped you have the money for the surgery. Very glad!

  • Good for you! I think it’s very important to remember to indulge yourself every once in a while. It’s like dieting, if you are too strict with yourself, that’s usually when you binge. Glad you are enjoying the song, it sounds like it was totally worth the splurge. :)

  • Tight budgets are great when nothing out of the ordinary happens, but when they do? Watch out! I’m glad you were able to treat yourself to the song, and I hope your cat is OK.