I have to admit it. My budget has gotten away from me.
It’s entirely my own fault. I’m used to having more discretionary funds than I do now. Where did those funds go? Well, I bought a house and my roommate moved out. These are both things that I can afford, but it means cutting back in other areas.
I thought I was being reasonable with my purchases, and for the most part, I have. I’ve been buying things for the house, things like furniture to replace the patio furniture previously in my living room and storage things to help with the closets. But I’m not going to lie, I’ve also bought a few ridiculous things that I didn’t need to spend money on.
So now I’m trying to tighten the purse strings a bit. December is going to be a month of not spending. I’m still going to buy groceries and such, but I’m really pulling things in so that I can start the new year fresh.
One thing that helps is just keeping a constant eye on my spending. This is a lesson we all know, but something we can always stand to be reminded of. Make a budget and follow it. It can be the envelope system, an online system, a spreadsheet on your computer, or a little notebook you carry around. Just figure out what you have, what you can spend, and where you will spend it. Easy, right?
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.