It’s that time of the month. No, not THAT time. THAT time has come and gone and I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of my next round of cramps from hell and Too Sad Tuesday. Another time.
THIS time of the month is the time when I’ve just about drained my checking account. Payday is tomorrow so at the stroke of midnight, my account will get a magical bump and all will be well with the world again.
As I mentioned in a SFC post, I transfer money to my savings account shortly after getting it in my checking to ensure I actually save something for the month, but then I do the worry game and constantly check my account.
Is there a scheduled payment I’ve forgotten about? Just how much ARE gas stations holding on your card these days before they let you pump? I think I’ll make it.
BUT, just because I’m getting paid, doesn’t change the fact that there’s still two days left in April, so spending is staying down. The end of the month is always when I have to really have to focus on NOT spending and the focusing really makes me WANT to spend!
Case in point, I spent the last two days after work wandering shopping centers. When it got to be 6:00, I thought to myself, who AM I? I’m a homebody, go home! I did end up with a pretty dress from Nordstrom Rack (still using my tax refund to supplement my wardrobe) and couldn’t resist an OPI polish. I do not buy OPI normally, but the color was awesome (Red My Fortune) and it went on so smoothly, I might be a convert.
Anyway, if an $8.50 bottle of polish is my splurge, I think I’m okay.
I have $74.76 left in my budget (really only for gas and two nights out) and $134.08 in my account, so balls to the wall!
I did okay with my budget this month and I also had a realization. When I assessed my spending, I was paying $191 on the second of every month for my car payment. My idea of how much I spent per month included that, but when I finished with those payments last October, my idea of how much I spent per month, and therefore, what I gave myself permission to budget every month, remained the same.
Add to that the fact that I recently started participating in my company’s 401k program (just as soon as they announced they had reinstated their match) and my paychecks ain’t what they used to be, so I realized it’s time to pull back.
Now add to THAT the fact that I feel like I have a well-paying job. I feel like I’ve paid my dues with crappy jobs, with having to work two jobs. I’m a professional in my mid-20s and my opinion is that as you become more successful (and get older), you get more flex room with your spending, not the opposite.
Needless to say, when I presented this idea of pulling back to myself, it was met with a bit of resistance. What’s right isn’t always easy and what’s easy isn’t always right.
Insert big girl panties.
I sucked it up and skimmed a bit off of each category in my budget that had flex room and have now ended up with a budget plan for May that is $150 lower than my previous idea of how much it should be, making myself save most of that car payment I would have previously been making, but giving myself a little reward for being done with it.
This budget thing really is a month-by-month learning process.