Ahh, new budget day. The day when all of my budget categories are empty and all the money is just sitting there, waiting to be put to use. It’s a beautiful day.
Okay, so maybe it’s not that beautiful.
All these years later, I’m still using the YNAB method of budgeting. Give every dollar a job and only spend last month’s income. It’s a great way to budget and always ensures that I have the money in my accounts when bills come due. Do I still overspend? Sure, but I’m not spending myself into the red. An overage in May just means that I have that much less to spend in June.
Of course, it’s not always easy and it’s not always pretty.
May was a month of overspending for me. I’m not proud of it, but there it is. Where did the money go? Lots of places, but it looks like one area where things went awry was restaurant expenses. I ate out a lot this month. Most of it was with friends who I don’t see often enough, so I have few regrets there. Well, there was one restaurant meal where I think I got food poisoning. I do regret that meal. I also went overboard on things for the house. Now that the weather is nice, I find myself wanting to spend more time outside, but I had no furniture in my backyard. So I picked up a few inexpensive items. Of course, those numbers add up.
All in all, nothing totally terrible, but I was over budget by a few hundred dollars. Not what I should be doing at all. So for June, I’m going to be tightening the purse strings once again. I seem to go in phases. I make a plan to not spend and I stick to it and do well for a few months. Then, because I’ve been doing so well, I stop paying close attention to my budget, and then things fall apart. Clearly, the lesson here is that I’m not a natural budgeter. I have to record where the money is going and I have to pay attention. Thankfully, I do check out my budget at least once a week, so it’s not as if I’ve spent myself into a hole and will have to spend a long time getting back out. I just have to get back to watching my money.
So Happy New Budget Day. Here’s hoping the end of the month feels as good as today.
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.