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Budgets Keep Coming Up

December 11th, 2006 at 08:14 pm

I am using a budget on My Challenge, because I do need to monitor spending pretty closely to achieve my goals. The mentions of budgets on other blogs and posts have interested me, because this budget is the first time Iíve used one, and I feel like Iíve been able to peek over the fence from No Budget Land into Budget Forest.

I track every penny I spend. I have done so since April 1998, so I can see that I had $10,304 in income in 1998, or that I spent $248 on auto service in 2002, or $225 on Books in 2004. Itís all there, every smart expense and every dumb expense.

Iíve never budgeted, though. My goal has been threefold: to always get a good deal on what I do buy, to avoid buying things that I donít need, and to always put as much in savings as possible. In the eight years I have almost always saved much, much more than ten percent of my income; the times I havenít have been when Iíve worked part time at minimum wage and had debt.

Iím not sure if Iíll keep budgeting after My Challenge is over. To be honest, I donít need to. I donít need to, as in, even pre-Challenge I was living well below my means. I donít need to, in that Iíve always had a cushion and never been unprepared to pay a surprise car repair bill or the like. My income has gone up quite a bit over the last few years, over 300%, but my spending hasnít even begun to approach that increase. Thatís the benefit of being frugal. I could afford to buy coffee everyday now if it was important to me; I still brew my coffee at home on a free coffeepot with Grocery Outlet whole beans and stick the coffee in my beat up Stanley thermos I got for $5 at a garage sale. (Yeah, $5 is a lot for a thermos, but it was a Stanley so I went for it.) I get maybe 3 to 4 fancy coffees a year and enjoy them as treats.

Iím not anti-budget. I know some people who are spending more than they make, or getting unpleasantly surprised at Christmas or when other large expenses roll around, would be better off budgeting. I suppose I have a decision to make come March!

(For My Challenge Iím using the YouNeedaBudget spreadsheet (youneedabudget.com) that I bought from a savingadvice member. If I keep budgeting, Iíll stick with this program, because I like it.)

3 Responses to “Budgets Keep Coming Up”

  1. Aleta Says:

    Sometimes budgets or spending plans aren't only to keep you from spending; they are there to make you spend on areas that you should be spending on. I found that out myself. Sometimes we just don't spend enough on ourselves. So, they have a two-fold purpose.

  2. Aleta Says:

    Sometimes budgets or spending plans aren't only to keep you from spending; they are there to make you spend on areas that you should be spending on. I found that out myself. Sometimes we just don't spend enough on ourselves. So, they have a two-fold purpose.

  3. threebeansalad Says:

    I'm in a similar situation as you-- my monthly pay is $1358 (after taxes). Above minimum wage, but not enormous. I think budeteing is the only way those of us on the low end of the pay scale can be sure we're achieving our goals.

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