I usually update my budget on my YNAB spreadsheet every few days, but it’s been close to 10 days since I entered receipts and I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed. I didn’t know how I was doing on my budget! I was being mindful of my spending, of course, and I generally know how much money I have available to spend, but not having spent any quality time with my spreadsheet was really starting to make me nervous. I was sure that I was overbudget somewhere or had forgotten something.
After plugging in all of the numbers, it turned out that I was doing just fine. I’m going to have to juggle some money around, as a friend is going to be in town for work tonight and I only found out yesterday, so my restaurant budget for the month isn’t going to cover it, but that’s not going to be a problem at all. I also forgot that this month is kickball signups, and again, not a problem. There’s room in the budget for all of these things.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that I’m ready to give up the budgeting. In fact, I know that I need to spend at least a little time with the spreadsheet every week, just to be sure I’m on track and to ease my concerns. But I’m continually amazed at how ingraned this budgeting thing becomes. Last year at this time, I was blowing the budget all over the place and not comprehending how it was happening. I definitely feel like I have a much better handle on my finances now.
Megan is a 40-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.