It amazes me just how quickly a few little things add up to a blown budget.
That’s right, halfway through the month and I’ve blown my budget. Not by much, and after some juggling, only in one category, but it’s still hard to see on the spreadsheet. Since I am working on YNAB and getting to a zero based budget (and having a month’s worth of expenses in reserve), it really won’t cause any problems. Just frustration.
My goal is to have a month’s worth of expenses saved by the end of this month so that next month, I can bank both of my paychecks for use in May. I should get there this month provided my tax return shows up (something happened with the communication between the IRS and my bank, and so I’m getting a check mailed).
I am just kind of surprised how quickly my budget got out of whack this month. I don’t feel like I spent out of control, and yet my spending is pretty much done for the month once all the bills are paid and the money is put into savings for upcoming bills. I’ve quickly realized just how out of control my spending was in the past. Six months ago, a month with expenses like these wouldn’t have made me think twice. Now I’m realizing just how easy it is for money to disappear.
In all honesty, I don’t feel like I overspent this month, even with the budget issues. I had a couple of things come due that I had forgotten about (and somehow, I ended up with a 2 year virus protection renewal rather than just one), and I made a few bulk food purchases that will last me months. I ate out more than normal, but I was also out of town, so that was a given. What I did learn is that I need to continue to put small amounts of money into all my budget categories so if I do have a month where I spend more on, say, household items, it won’t break the budget.
The goal for the rest of the month is to try to keep spending as tight as possible, and continue to cull through my belongings to see what I can sell (and donate). This weekend I placed a few things on eBay, and already one has sold, leaving me with $25 after shipping and paying the fees for all the items I listed. Another item seems to be going through a minor bidding war. My packrat tendencies continue, but I’m going to try to get rid of a few things each weekend to both clean out my closets and pad my budget a bit.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.