I have been a very bad budgeter as of late.
I blame the house.
But really, it’s my own fault.
I’m not in any sort of dire straits or anything. In fact, I’m doing quite well, financially speaking. But my spending feels a bit out of control. I’m blowing budget categories left and right.
A lot of it does have to do with the house. Moving from an apartment to a house has meant a lot of new expenses. Not just the typical things like utilities and standard maintenance costs, but buying all the things that I didn’t own, like a hose and a stepladder and various lawn care tools. And then there is my list of projects. Sure, some of those won’t cost me anything except for some labor, but some of those things are expensive. My problem is that I’m planning for the expensive things. It’s the inexpensive things that are adding up.
For example, this weekend, I went to The Container Store. It’s a dangerous place for me, because I love organization supplies. I love boxes and baskets and fun things to put things in. It’s an obsession. But I was pretty good. The problem is that even though I bought things that I knew I needed (or could use, anyway), it still adds up. What did I buy? A set of stacking shelves for the storage closet (to match a set I already have and love), some storage bags for bedding that is currently piled up on the closet floor, a new file box to keep all of my house-related things (bills and repair records – the super important stuff is in the fire safe) and a few items from their travel sale, since I’m hoping to take a quick trip to Europe next fall if all goes as planned. Okay, so I didn’t need the travel things right now, but they were on sale (a new luggage strap and an electric converter) so I figured it was as good a time as any to purchase.
But I need to get things under control. Start logging all my purchases as I make them. Figure out where things are going off the rails and get them back on track.
I do love my house. I’ve not had one moment of regret. I just have to remember that I can’t be putting all my money into it at once. First things first. Like finish unpacking all of the boxes (of course, it looks like I need another bookshelf if I want to finish all that unpacking, so…).
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.