On the 1st of the month I like to update everyone on how I am doing with my budget and whether or not I’m staying on track. 1) It’s nice to hold myself accountable by writing about it. 2) Hopefully I will inspire some others to pick up the healthy habit as well.
Overall, my past few months have been great. I have had a surplus in my clothing, spa, groceries, dining out, and many other budget categories several months in a row. Basically this means I haven’t been spending. I have been so focused on saving, saving, saving, and paying off my credit card debt, that I have almost been too strict on myself. I realized I was close to falling into the same trap many people trying to lose weight often fall into.
How many dieters do you know that restrict themselves from candy and chocolate and soda for months while trying to lose weight? Yet the minute they hit their goal weight, they go right back to their unhealthy eating pattern. For me, I don’t want to restrict myself during my money diet so much so that when I’m debt free I fall back into the same trap of overspending.
That’s why looking at this as a lifestyle change and NOT a diet is so important. I’m a firm believer in moderation. Whether its cutting back on sweets or spending, you have to be sensible. It’s a balancing act. I finally decided to let loose in May and actually spend some of the money I have allotted myself. I knew if I didn’t, eventually I would do something I would regret. I would throw down my credit card and go nuts. I would be right back where I started… a credit card debt nightmare.
As always, savings first. This month I managed to put $100 into my car savings account. I also put $100 into my emergency savings account. Finally, I put $300 down on my credit card debt. After all this “money fasting” I decided to spoil myself. It’s time to actually spend!
After savings, spending. After the mandatory bills, I decided to spend money on some “wishes and wants”. My chocolate I went shopping and bought some clothes. I got a fresh haircut. I allowed myself to go to a few lunch and dinner outings as well. I even splurged and bought a few gifts for people.
When looking back at my finances I did manage to go slightly over in a few categories, but nothing more than $20. I think I deserved that new dress and delightful dinner with friends. Besides I’m right back on track for June and it was worth it!
Point being, make sure you don’t go too extreme if your trying to budget, climb out of debt, or save money. Allow yourself some pleasures now and again. After all, you work hard for your money and you cant take it with you when your gone.