:::: MENU ::::

Busted Budget???


With the chaos of the move and settling in to the new place, I kind of let my budget get away from me this month.

I’ve found that, in the past, I do BEST when I have a concrete budget on paper before the month begins. Then I can reference it and know, “Oh, I’ve still got $X left for groceries” (or clothes, or household, or whatever else).

But when all my office stuff was in boxes and I was busy trying to unpack and get situated…..I just kind of “bought.” It wasn’t like I was out buying with reckless abandon or anything. I was still trying to be frugal and mindful to only buy basic necessities and not a lot of extras.

Even so, I finally got around to balancing the budget and….it’s not so pretty.

In my “household” category (which was only budgeted for $100), I’ve already spent $370. YIKES! I swear, I didn’t even realize the number was that high! Again, it’s not like I was out buying anything crazy. I needed a couple new waste baskets (I get the cheap $1 ones for the bedrooms, but I got a $30 for the kitchen), shelf liner for the kitchen cupboards,  a small $20 tool kit, some supplies to connect the washer and dryer to the water and gas lines (my Dad generously gifted the washer and dryer themselves, but I still needed some tubing and hoses, etc.) You get the idea – just your basic run of the mill we-just-moved type of stuff.

The problem is the budget was already stretched thin. I’ve tried to reallocate some funds – reducing the funds that had been set aside for exercise (races, yoga) and clothing and moving those funds to the housing line item of the budget. But even with all my tinkering, I’m still coming up $81 over budget. It could be worse, but I’m still pretty disappointed. I was determined to make the budget BALANCED, so I’m not too happy that my very first month living alone it looks like may be a failure in that regard.

I’m going to try to see if I can make up the money. I do still have $106 left in my grocery budget. It would be tough to make that stretch, seeing as its only the 11th so we’ve still got 2 and a half weeks left of the month. But maybe if I can squeeze $50 from there (leaving me with $56 for the rest of the month), then I’ll only have a deficit of $31. And then I can try to squeeze that from somewhere else. I mean, I’m really grappling with pennies over here, but I’m pretty determined to somehow make this work.

I’ve already pre-made my entire October budget so the budget is completely balanced AND includes some savings for an EF, semi-annual fees, and care/repair maintenance. So it’s not impossible to have a balanced budget (and even put some aside in savings), but it definitely will take some intentionality and a close eye on every outgoing penny. I’m going to give myself a little grace given that I literally moved on September 1st (it would’ve been tough to keep the household budget to $100 given the circumstances), but I’m bound and determined to try everything within my power to get it at least to even for this month, and to have some savings stocked away for next month.

What do you do if you need to make a quick $80 (and/or save it from another category of spending)? Would you sell some plasma? Sell goods on Facebook Marketplace? Or find ways to cut back from other budget categories?


  • Reply AS |

    It’s $81. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a drop of water in what will be a large ocean for you. Breathe, take a pass on the balanced budget, and come back next month. You have a lot of life stress right now.

    Other commenters may push you harder. I get that and in certain circumstances would be one of them. But now right now.

    My advice: breathe, don’t sweat $81, and focus on family and home stability for the next 19 days. You already have October mapped out. Look forward, not backward, and think about November next.

  • Reply Christopher |

    Agree with AS. Don’t be so hard on yourself. When I initially saw your budget, I thought you would be much more over than you are.

    Maybe you should be like Hope and create a list of needs and wants for yourself.

  • Reply Angela L. |

    I was happy to see you mentioned giving yourself grace. Please continue to think along those lines. I know this site is focused on getting rid of debt, but I’ve never known anyone who goes through divorce and doesn’t also go through a corresponding period of financial instability, or a time least significant change. I went through it with my divorce and kids weren’t part of the picture. There will still be financial ramifications from a divorce (or legal separation) for months to come. You have the knowledge and skills to get where you want to be financially in the long run, so please don’t worry about $81 this month.

    For future quick cash opportunities, I would consider selling items I don’t need. Since you have the girls, could you pick up some childcare opportunities that would fit in your schedule?

  • Reply [email protected] |

    I wouldn’t worry about the $81 *as long as it doesn’t happen again.* I think the danger zone here is overspending “just a little bit” every month. Since obviously that’s how you got back into credit card debt in the first place, it’s something to be very careful about.

    Sometime this month, can you do a post that discusses the family finances in this new situation in more detail? I’m confused about how your husband is supporting himself since as far as we know he was just doing some part-time personal training and going to school. Are you still paying for the whole family’s living expenses out of your salary alone? If so, how long is that going to last? And, who is going to be responsible for the debt you accumulated together (tax debt, credit card debt) — I assume you will each be responsible for your own school loans. Wait up: are you paying for your husband’s school out of pocket??? If so, that should probably stop (and he should pay for his classes with loans) right now. It really wouldn’t be good for you to pay for his education when more than likely you will not receive the benefit of it in the future (of course, if you do end up getting back together you can pay back his loans together, along with your own.)

    • Reply Ashley |

      Wow! Yes, to all of these things! I’ll probably wait a bit before writing a post like this. Things are still so fresh that I feel like I need a second before diving into that level of specificity. It just feels a bit overwhelming right now. But yes, it definitely needs to happen so you guys have a full scope of info, and I will do it eventually.

  • Reply Susan Melvin |

    Also, before you do a whole new budget/spending plan to reflect your new circumstances, you need to consult with an attorney about whether what you are planning is what you *should* be doing.

    I know you have to start all over again finding a good family law attorney, but this needs to be priority #1.

    Good job on the move and I am with the others — don’t worry about the $81. Also congratulations on the fellowship at work! Good for you!


So, what do you think ?