I’ve been pretty open about the fact that my budgeting has gone off the rails. I’m overspending. There’s no question about that. And it’s easy to blame it on the big things, like the triathlon bike I just purchased and all the accoutrements that go along with it.
But that wasn’t the problem. I had the money set aside in my savings for that bike. The problem is in all of the other categories.
I’m making it a goal in August to not eat out as much. I’ve been doing it socially, not just being lazy and grabbing lunch out instead of packing it. But I have been meeting up for friends for meals more often than normal. And it doesn’t help when (surprise!) the restaurant a friend picks ends up being super expensive and I suddenly end up spending over $200 for a night involving dinner and the theater.
Of course, I don’t want this to mess up my time with friends, so if we do eat out, I’m going to try to make less expensive choices and try to suggest less pricey places.
I also need to be careful about online shopping. It’s so easy to just drop a chunk of change online. So I’m making it a goal to not shop online as much as possible this month. So far, I’ve failed twice. Not a great record, since it’s only the 10th. But well, I saw a great deal on the fancy pants cat litter my cats are most likely to use, and the other day of shopping… yeah, it was a $20 impulse purchase. Shouldn’t have done it.
So while my budget still won’t look great in September as I continue to dig myself out of this hole, I hope YNAB is a little less angry looking next month. Thankfully, since I follow the rule of spending last month’s income, I’ve not put myself into any new debt with these expenses, but if I’m not careful, I’m going to have to start digging into savings to pay the bills, and that is not the point of a savings account.
It’s all about accountability, so I’m putting it out here for everyone to see. I’ve been saying it for a while, but now it’s time to stick to it.
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.