I’m going to be honest with you, blog readers. July killed my budget. Brutal murder. Some of it was unexpected, but some of it was completely my fault. Some of the highlights?
- New tires for my car – some of this was budgeted for, but not quite all of it. I decided I really shouldn’t wait.
- Insurance company insisting on payment earlier than normal, meaning that it hit in July rather than August. Again, some budgeted for, but not all of it.
- Running gear all died at once. New shoes, socks, and a shirt. Shoes were necessary, others could have waited. Also, since training has stepped up, I spent money experimenting with hydration and electrolyte products (both homemade and store bought).
- Replaced some clothing basics because things were on sale. Again, these were planned purchases, but not purchases for this month.
- Cat needs dental work. Same work as last year, just a different cat.
So there we have it. Some of it was my fault, some of it was unexpected. Of course, it’s not the end of the world. I just had to hit up the emergency fund. That’s what it’s there for, and I’m going to replenish every penny that I took out over the next few months. But it still doesn’t feel good.
In August, I’m going to try to make smarter purchases. I do have a few things on a list that I need to buy. I need to pick up some additional running gear for winter – at least one more pair of pants (I own one) and my local store is having a sale. I just need to remember to only buy what I need and not go overboard.
August is also going to hurt because I have to go to various training sessions out of the office and will probably be forced to buy my lunch all of those days. My first trip to the site is this week, so I’m going to scope out the situation and see if it’s feasible to bring a sandwich. The downside to that is that I miss out on great personal opportunities by not going to lunch with others. So it’s just a sort of wait and see thing.
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.