I haven’t freaked out about $$ yet, and I’m doing an OK job keeping track of my expenses. A little dismayed at how easily it is to bleed money over tiny things that add up, but that’s really the point of this exercise…to force myself to think more carefully about what I’m spending my money on, and to get in the habit of evaluating each purchase before I make it. 12 months ago
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Got paid today, and distributed my money into my various envelopes. This caused me a bit of anxiety; taking a hard look at my finances always does, because while I’m in OK shape and pay my bills on time, I also don’t make much money and don’t have a huge safety net. Quantifying the specific size of my small safety net makes me wonder, “what if something big happens?”.
It’s this type of anxiety that’s put me off strict budgeting in the past. Honestly assessing my own vulnerability is scary. But really, the best way to assuage that anxiety long-term (besides addressing general anxiety issues) is to save/pay down debt more aggressively. The only way out is through, to quote an apt cliche.
Putting my head down and going through…now. 13 months ago
I think I may have found some free envelope budgeting software that 1) has a mobile version (not important now but could be soon) 2) is not too painful to enter transactions into. Here it is.
I needed an envelope system because I actually find money to be very confusing, especially when mixing monthly/fixed and annual/irregular expenses. I need the concrete image of envelopes full of cash, even though I almost never use cash. I think I also need the mental prompt of “oops, the envelope is empty for now!” to keep my spending in check.
I put together a list of about 20 monthly/annual envelopes, and will distribute my next paycheck (Thursday) among them. Unfortunately this method doesn’t allow me to keep tabs on all my debt and focus on paying it down, but that’s actually a good thing at this point – I’m not there yet. I need to get in the habit of sticking closer to my budget before I work on aggressively paying down my debt. It’s a mental/emotional thing.
I’m a bit ashamed that it’s taken me so many years to take the financial bull by the horns. Better late than never, I guess? 13 months ago