Budgeting can be both the best and worst.
I rely on my budget every month so that way I do not go into debt. I have to frequently update my budget because my income is always going up and down. I work three paid jobs that all give me hours that can easily be taken away. For instance, with therapy I can lose hours when my client is sick and the session is cancelled. This becomes problematic since I count on that money to make ends meet at the end of the month. I would love to have a full time job that would put me on salary pay, but unfortunately, I cannot take this on at this time. So I’ve had to learn to make it work.
Looking at my budget, I need to be able to decide what expenses are important to me and then be able to cut back in areas where they are not as important. I love coffee, but if I were to go to Starbucks Monday through Friday, it would cost me $55 a month. I don’t want to spend my money this way, because there are other things I would rather spend my money on. Unless you have completely unlimited income (in which case, I’m jealous), having one thing means having less of the other. I know that there are days where I have zero time or interest in making food, so on those days, I’ll pick up food, but I’ll make up for this by eating at home on another day.
I document all of my purchases. Because of this, when I make my grocery list, I know exactly how much I am going to spend (unless prices went up of course) at Trader Joe’s. I also have a yearly savings plan, where each month the weekly deposit goes up $5. This is for emergencies (i.e. when I had to replace my tire last month), so that way I’m not tempted to go on a shopping spree. I set a daily limit of how much I’m allowed to spend and because I work in retail, I chose a specific day I am allowed to buy clothes and what I can and cannot buy (because I really do not need another navy cardigan). If I have cash, I honestly will spend it all, so I use my credit card for almost all of my purchases. I love doing this because it keeps me accountable. If I’m scared to log on to my account, I know that I should not have spent all that money at Target. I even have my account set up to text me when I’ve spent a certain amount!
Budgeting is what keeps me on track and from spending my entire paycheck on things I do not need (looking at you, Hello Kitty UNO). Just because I can buy it doesn’t mean I should!
“But this is America! I want it now!” -Tom Haverford