Usually if I haven’t posted to my blog in a while it’s because I’m thinking big about something and am figuring out how to post about it. This post has had a lot of titles in my mind – Being a grown-up sucks, Taking off the Blinders, Budgeting isn’t for sissies, The Next Obsession…. Ya, so I’m not good at naming stuff, but also, this post is about a lot of things.
This post is about budgeting. I know, I know, the topic du jour. I was thinking about the going back to school thing and the main reason I can’t see it happening is because of money, and I can’t help thinking that if we had less debt or better control of our finances or something we could figure out a way to make it work. And I’ve been wanting a good budget for a while now (years…) but didn’t know how to actually do it. We made several full-hearted attempts and were pretty good at figuring out just where all that money went but didn’t have the tools to stop it from happening again the next month. I even used spreadsheets. I had graphs showing how quickly the money went out and how slowly it came in. So, I was telling a friend at work about my silly becoming-a-midwife dream and she showed me how to do it – budget that is. I started with the spreadsheet from this site and went from there (I know, it’s totally corny – I haven’t even really watched the show, but you have to start somewhere.). The key to this spreadsheet is the number at the very bottom. You fill in your fixed expenses and income and the difference has to pay for everything else. Kid’s classes, house and car repairs, gifts, clothes, food, coffees, gum, everything. And you take it out in Cash (I know, does anyone even use that anymore? (see here)) and when it’s gone it’s gone (i.e. you stop spending. I guess that’s the important part.).
And now this is the part where I thank my friend for all that bad budgeting advice because now I have a budget and I have to stick to it and being a grown-up sucks! It’s a very tight budget because we have debts and a nanny to pay for but I can’t ignore it because it’s reality. I don’t have more money than I have. It’s like when you’re decluttering and you can only keep as many books as you have bookshelves for. Physically. And now that we know what the number is we can’t go back to blindly, naively, innocently spending away.
So, I’m having weird internal debates like how many times are we planning on going swimming this summer because I REALLY need a new bathing suit (ahem to avoid unfortunate pool incidents…) but is it really worth spending money on it?
Now, I feel like a total dweeb even talking about this because everyone budgets, right? How have I not figured this out before now? Honestly, I have no idea.
OH, by the way, here are a couple of helpful websites I found in my mad driven web search:
and finally, what to eat when you figure out you have no money:
rice and beans, please
and what to do with all the time you'll save not shopping for things you don't need:
And because I feel I need to lighten this post up a little, here's a couple of places to look when you start to get depressed and to take your mind off things:
I wish I was this creative