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Posts tagged with: Budget

A Big Weight Off

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I’ve mentioned before that I do my forecasting out a quarter at a time. (It’s just a simple Excel spreadsheet.) I include all my regularly budgeted items, any extras I know about (birthdays, holidays, travel, etc.) and my income based on current contracts with clients.

As I continue to go full speed ahead with debt payoff, I spent some time this weekend creating my forecast through the end of the year. And you will never guess what…

I am finally at a place of stability again…by that I mean, if I maintain all my current on-going contracts, I will make enough to cover all my currently budgeted for expenses for the rest of this year!

That is such a weight off my shoulders, especially as we have been living paycheck to paycheck for so long. Obviously, there are no guarantees, but right now, my financial situation is stable, my income streams are varied and I am very hopeful for the long term.

The Caveat

There are a few caveats to this and one is glaringly obvious, at least to me:

I do not have a car, car payment, fuel costs or car insurance in my budget. (Well, I do have car insurance but it is minimal since Sea Cadet and I are both insured on his car.) That will have to change in the next couple of months somehow.

But for now…I can breathe. And I don’t have to count every single penny, although I am.

Switching to a cash only budget has made a big difference to me. There’s something about seeing the dollars in my purse dwindle that keeps me from spending on things that are wants rather than needs.

There is definitely something about seeing positive numbers in my forecasting and money in the bank that is very motivating. What keeps you motivated?


What if You Don’t have the Money to Cover Your Budget?

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I have started putting some effort into creating an all-inclusive budget. The BAD comments on Ashley’s air conditioner post have definitely given me some food for thought.

But one of my biggest questions is this:

What if you don’t have the money to cover your budget?

I can’t be the only person that faces that. For instance:

  • Someone mentioned that put away $200 a month for car expenses and maintenance. That is awesome! Thankfully our car has required little other than new windshield wipers and regular oil changes.
  • And even though I know it’s a want, not a need; I certainly want to include a “gift giving” line item to cover special occasions and particularly Christmas.
  • Utilities fluctuate, and although you can average them, what if in the end, your “budget” is off. I had months this summer where my utilities were closer to $300 than the average $150. That could throw everything else off in a tight month.

I know many of the “planned” budget items are variable in that they can be “skipped” during some months. But in the larger scheme of things, all the budgeted items must be covered over the course of a year (with a few “want” exceptions.)

I realize my variable income is not necessarily the norm. But it’s really not that uncommon to be short at times.

Creating a balanced budget

But what do you do when you are trying really hard to stick to a budget and your income just doesn’t cover it?

Obviously, you “borrow from peter to pay paul” when you can’t cover your monthly bills. I am quite familiar with that method. It’s how we have survived the last couple of years.

But how do you live with a budget when you are continually living like that?


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