If I had to go on a spending spree (and of course I didn't have to), I guess this was the best month to do it -- three paychecks kept me well in the black and boosted my savings.
My Report for AprilEnd of the month: $731 in the black
Saved: $2,305.55 (nearly 25% of my monthly income)
Total Net Worth: $40,857 (last month I only reported liquid cash; this includes my 401k, car and some other minor assets)
That $731 left for the month is going into savings for a month with five weeks and and only two paychecks.
Going Over Budget Makes Me Feel Guilty
Back at the start of April, I was already on a path to spending way over budget.
But, it was also the same old same old -- clothes, dining out, random mess. And every few blogs posts, I self-flagellate, beating the drum of discipline and my failure to adhere to it.
Then I feel guilty.
But there is something amiss. There's always something amiss when the same thing keeps happening month after month and nothing changes. Maybe I am in denial about how much money I tend to spend on certain things. Perhaps my budget categories are unrealistic.
Debt Was Then, Debt Free Is Now
When I was in debt, I had no saving plan, no plan to pay off the debt and no discipline to get my act together. Once I did get it together, it took discipline to stick to my repayment plan, which meant I had to monitor every last dime and where it went. If I went over somewhere, it automatically meant there was no money available for something else.
My circumstances have changed.
I am saving every month. The savings come out of my paycheck automatically and the amounts don't change, no matter what I spend. I don't have any debt balances by the end of each month. I use my credit card, but I can pay the balance in full by the due date each month. And there some spending categories where I never reach the budgeted amount -- I'm always way under. So, if there are others where I go over, it shouldn't matter. The money is saved. The spending money is available.
Now, if I DO go over income and have to borrow from my savings to pay for my spending, then I have a problem. But even so, it just means that the following month I need to save as usual and ADD whatever I borrowed -- so less spending for me to make up for borrowing from myself.
So why the guilt?
There may be something else afoot. I may be unfulfilled. I may be dissatisfied with some other area of my life. Now, if THAT'S the case, then I need to identify that and rectify it. But coming in on budget for clothing isn't going to fulfill that need.
Going forward, I think the most important thing for me to do now is to focus on saving, not spending, and staying in the black, even if it's by 10 cents. It's ok so long as I met my savings goals. If I arrange for those first, then all the money left over for the month is for me to do with what I please.
I will continue to keep track of all the pennies to see where they are going, but as long as I am saving and not incurring debt I can't repay in the month, then I shouldn't feel guilty about spending the other money.
How about you? For all my debt haters still paying off debt, what's your stumbling block? How do you handle it?
For all of you basking in debt freedom, what trips you up instead? How do you remedy the problem?