Every weekend, I sit down and update my budget. I input some things on the fly, but much of it is done by importing the data from my credit cards on Sundays.
It is Sunday afternoon as I write this post and I’m actively avoiding updating my budget. If YNAB could look unhappy, it definitely would, the way this month has been going.
I’ve gotten better about my spending in general. Then in the span of a week, I bought two sets of plane tickets and a new bike. Talk about a hit to my budget!
All of these purchases were planned, though not necessarily for this date. The two sets of plane tickets were for trips I already had planned, scheduled for January and February. When Southwest opened up their flight calendars for those dates, I knew it was time to check it out. The prices were reasonable, so I went for it.
The bike was something I’ve wanted to do for a while. A few years back, I bought my current road bike. I race triathlons, and once I started increasing my distance, my bike got less comfortable. I went in for a good bike fit and the fitter told me my bike was significantly too large for me. This didn’t make sense, since I had bought it from a reputable bike shop. Well, it turns out, they saw me coming. They knew that I was looking for a bike and didn’t know any better, so they sold me a bike from on the floor. Easy way to get it out of the store. My bike is fine, but it’s never going to be exactly right for me. I’m currently considering training for a half-iron distance race, which will mean lots of hours on the bike. If I’m going to do that, I should get a new bike.
I’ve been eyeballing a specific bike, but I’m short, so it’s been hard to come by. I went into a store I liked and asked them if they could get me the bike. They did a bit of research and found me exactly what I was looking for in my size. The new bikes in this line for 2016 are coming out soon, and many people are waiting. But those new bikes will also be a few hundred dollars more expensive and the small sizes get snatched up quickly by shops, so I decided to go for it now. Definitely a worthwhile investment, but definitely a big hit to the bank account.
So the plan to keep cutting back remains in effect. I need to continue to watch my spending and get my budget back to where it needs to be. Besides, now that I have a new bike, I should be spending time on it training, not spending my time shopping!
Have you ever had big purchases all hit at once? How did you deal with the dent it made in your budget?
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.