Confessions Of A Busted Budget
I must confess that for the past month our budget has flown out the window. I have not even done the math to see the damage yet. I’m avoiding it because I know it will be ugly.
The stress of everything surrounding the move got to us and we lost ground with many of the positive changes we had made in the year leading up to getting the new home. We saw some of the bad habits creeping back into our lives but we seemed to have a lot of excuses (stress, lack of time, too tired, etc) to justify the behavior at the time. I guess things like that are bound to happen. The real test will be making sure we work hard on restoring our frugal habits now that we are getting past the worst of the moving ordeal.
After contemplating the whirlwind of activity that has happened this last month (and still continues actually) I believe that these stress-induced bad habits led to our busted budget during the move.
All home cooking came to a grinding halt. I simply stopped cooking and opted to pick up most of our meals while out and about. Sadly, cooking even simple meals at home lost all priority. Eating out all the time not only affected our budget in a huge way but it degraded my sense of well being (physically and mentally). Cooking brings me genuine happiness and during the time when I could have benefited from the stress relief most I felt I had bigger concerns to deal with. It’s ironic. “Forcing” myself to cook during this move could have saved more than just money; it could have helped save some of my sanity.
We stopped using coupons and comparison shopping for the small things. We still comparison shopped for the big things like our new refrigerator but I stopped looking for the best deals for the small things like paper towels or trash bags. Clipping coupons went by the wayside and I shopped for convenience rather than savings. For instance, instead of getting the cheaper kitty litter I normally get at Sam’s I took the easy route and got the brand name version at Target. When faced with finding the best deals on the rare big ticket item purchases suddenly putting the time and effort to save some change on a bottle of dishwashing liquid didn’t seem to matter as much. The problem is that those little things add up. The extra money I paid for convenience could have helped pad our budget, especially when so much money was being spent everywhere else.
We lost our normal schedule and stopped waking up early. This one bothers me a great deal. I feel the most productive and happy when I’m waking up early and getting a good start to the day. Rolling out of bed at 8:30 or 9am when I have pressing matters to take care of doesn’t feel good. Instead of feeling proactive I feel reactive to my day. It makes me feel lazy, and worst of all, it makes me feel bad about myself for not being as productive as I know I can be. This affects the way I look at many aspects of my life, including money. I stop having that sense of pride about managing my money closely because I feel I have bigger fish to fry and less time in my day to accomplish it. It’s funny how something “unrelated” can touch so many facets of your life.
Although I wish we could have maintained our frugal ways a little better during this upheaval we realized a possible financial regression could occur and put aside extra money in the house fund for “miscellaneous moving expenses”. I know fast food and expensive kitty litter aren’t traditionally considered moving expenses but thankfully we have that savings to help cover these overages.
What’s important now is that I take back control of my budget and my habits. It’s time to get back on track and develop a plan for the new year!
Image Source: GoldenEel