How We Got A Month Ahead in Our Budget… Again

In July of 2018, just after my family moved to North Carolina, we finally made it a priority to get a month ahead in our budget.

We took money we saved from not having a mortgage payment on the first month we bought our new house, together with some savings, and used that to create a bare-bones budget for the month of August. We lived on that money during the month of August and saved Mr. ThreeYear’s two paychecks to use for the next month, September.

We’ve kept this system up ever since, so that the money we budget is the money we earned from the previous month.

This has been a phenomenal system for a couple of reasons. One, we have a cushion in our bank account so we never have to worry about the timing of our credit card payment or other bills being taken out. Two, we know exactly how much we have to spend each month, before the month starts, so there’s no guessing with budgeting.

So why am I saying that we got a month ahead in our budgeting again?

I started a full time job last August, and began to get two paychecks per month. I am currently maxing out my 403b, and I’m a teacher, so to say that the paychecks aren’t huge would be an understatement. Still, they’re nice additions to our bottom line.

When I started to get regular paychecks, I decided not to add them to our budget, because I wanted to save them, or spend them on non-budget stuff.

Did I think that by not budgeting the money in our traditional money things we would somehow be more efficient or productive with the money? Apparently I did.

The months passed, and those paychecks got eaten up in some way or another, very rarely being spent on purpose like I had envisioned.

When we refinanced our mortgage to a 10-year, and our monthly payment went up by $450 per month, I realized that something needed to change.

I needed to add my paychecks to our budget, because we needed them to pay the bills. As much as I didn’t want that to be true, it was. We were going over budget every single month and if we wanted to make headway on savings goals, we were going to have to have a clear-eyed vision of exactly where our money was going.

At the same time, I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t very good at budgeting.

Guys, I have been budgeting since 2008. That’s twelve years. That’s a long time to be bad at something.

But you know that saying, if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting?

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Musings on Covid-19

Oh, good. My site’s still here. As I logged on, I wondered for a second, since it’s been so long since I posted.

My family spent last week at the beach for Spring Break. I realize how incredibly fortunate we are to have that house to visit, to have a different view for a couple of days, and to be able to visit the beach. Still, we had planned to be in Spain, and I had a few moments of mourning that trip.

Your feelings are your feelings, as selfish or ungrateful as they feel, no? I read an article (I’ve read many over the past several weeks) explaining the unsettledness we feel as grief. Grief for a future that seemed more certain, grief for what we’d planned and didn’t come to pass.

Many years ago I read an explanation of Black Swans as events that would change the course of history but that come out of left field, completely changing the course of history in ways that are inherently unpredictable because of their randomness.

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