I’m excited to introduce our new Staff Writer, Cat Alford from Budget Blonde.
For the past few years, I have been a die-hard budgeting addict. I live for my budget and look forward to the end of each month when I tally things up and see how I did. Hey, it’s a nerd’s life but someone’s got to do it, right?
However, despite all of my calculations, spreadsheets, software, and general budget extravagance, I completely failed at budgeting the past two months. In fact, I have no idea how much I spent, what categories it all went to, or if I was charged twice for something. Just call me the worst personal finance blogger ever, and I’ll totally agree with you.
I mean, in essence, I completely failed at budgeting. All I know is that it hit me when I got an e-mail saying I earned an airline companion pass for one of my credit cards, and at that point, I knew the spending was out of control since I had to spend about $4,000 to get there.
Of course, I didn’t just give up my favorite pastime budgeting for the fun of it. I gave birth to twins who unfortunately had to spend two weeks in the ICU, and all budgeting went out the window.
Not only did we meet our health insurance deductible, we reached our out-of-pocket max for the entire year in just a few days. Just one night in the ICU is something crazy like $5,000 per kid so it was a little nuts.
In addition the hospital bills, we definitely weren’t counting our pennies or cooking at home. We were rushing down to the hospital cafeteria and swiping our card without even thinking about it. We were driving back and forth to the hospital every day, which was 45 minutes each way. I have no idea how much money we spent on food or on gas in those two weeks, but it was probably double or triple what we usually would spend on those categories of our budget.
Getting Back on Track
It definitely wasn’t a fun time in my life, even though it should have been a celebration of two new lives. It took us a long time to get used to being parents and get in a groove, but now that our lives have settled down a little bit, it’s definitely time to get back to normal.
My advice for anyone who had a few months of budget failing like I did is to go ahead and start fresh. Instead of rushing to get back on track immediately, start on the 1st of the next month. Get some budgeting software that makes it easy to track your spending. Talk to your partner and agree on some numbers. Realize that your numbers might have changed since the last time you did your budget and allow for some flexibility.
I personally can’t wait to start fresh for the month of June. My fingers are just tap-tap tapping away waiting to get to a calculator and get back in the budgeting habit again.
Who’s with me? Who else wants to get back on track with their budget?