I decided to take another stab at getting 100 times more serious with budgeting. I start every month with a bang, writing down every penny spent and every penny saved, but by mid-month, I am no longer being diligent and often throw up my hands in surrender.
I have tried budgeting through several computer programs. I have tried envelopes of cash for budget categories. And actually, that envelope method is the method I wish I could modernize a bit and make work. I am just not in favor of paying cash for everything? I think it is probably the safest way to live in this day and age, but I just cannot make it doable in my life?
So I printed out a revised budget sheet for October; you know, that list of a million categories and how much money is allotted for each one. As I revised it, I realized (again) that my budget is so hard to make work because there is no wiggle room. So I need to learn to live with no wiggle room. One pledge at church is paid off in early December, and that amount of money will move toward paying off a loan earlier. Once that is paid, I will have quite a decent amount of money to put in savings monthly. Even though it is not super close, I am already excited.
My goal for the rest of the year is to figure out the minimum I can live on. Do I need Netflix? Little Lovely would say yes. And honestly we do not have cable and we rarely rent movies, so it is our one entertainment expenditure.
Do I need to get bottled water each month? Not the little bottles, but the large 5 gallon bottles with a cooler to plug them in to. Yes, unless I can figure out how to make a full house filter more affordable. ‘Cuz really, I would rather not even shower in chlorine and fluoride.
Could I spend less on groceries? I am always in pursuit of that goal, but clean food costs way more than non-clean, processed food. My philosophy is the less variety you have to shop for the better. And that works great for me, but with Little Lovely in college locally, I have a greater variety than I might otherwise have. While I can eat the same breakfast everyday for months on end, she would prefer not to.
One goal I have had is to wean off of random supplements that might not be doing me any good. I am being very careful what I take as health aides, and being intentional about a few, such as protein, reishi mushroom powder and magnesium.
I am feeling confident that my current budget line is the least it can be. Once a year I go through all the bills that have an option to change. I check other insurance companies to see if there is a less expensive option. I investigate whether any internet companies have come into the area to make the one that is here lower their exorbitant prices. As often as possible I drive into Ohio to buy gas, as it is 50 cents less per gallon (this causes me no little amount of stress over whether this is financially worth the cost of gas to get there).
But here’s the thing, a budget is only as good as the budget maker. I can have the most amazing budget on paper, but if I don’t follow it, it is worthless. I tend to put it on a back seat, so to speak. I have now moved it front and center, and I desperately want to only have my weight loss efforts and my budget keeping goals on the front burner for the month. Really for the next few months.
I think it is part of a more intentional me. It is the whole mind-action thing that trips me up on a regular basis. If I keep my mind focused and thinking, it is amazing what I can accomplish. But as soon as I no longer have that focus, everything slides south…
In honor of a clearer focus on all things weight loss and all things budget, I have reset my Happy Planner to help me focus. Last night, I stickered the month of October with all things fall. I inserted index cards in the monthly pocket to record money spent. I revised and printed October’s master budget. I have committed my intentions to the Lord in prayer, asking for His supernatural help to remain diligent.
My future “older” days aren’t particularly pretty. I was a stay at home mom for 27 years of marriage. Now I work part time and make my child support and alimony work. I have dreams of working from home, of being a writer, of succeeding at this whole weight loss thing and and having that platform to stand on to help others. Sad to say, I cover those dreams 98% of the time because I just do not think I have what it takes to accomplish them. Shame on me!! Because not accomplishing dreams if they are God given is just wrong. How to know if God is the originator of the dreams? Not sure, but I sure pray over it a lot. This is where my non-existent patience is most noticeable, right? The whole waiting on God thing?
So many things I am waiting on. A list too long to even put here. Suffice it to say, there are no less than a dozen things that I think I am in the wait mode for, and I do believe that God and I have gone around and around this enough for me to know that He gives us little bits at a time. And right now, my little bits are losing weight and learning to be much better with money.
I have definitely turned my year of Not Buying It into a permanent lifestyle, which is good. That feeds into my hopes for a Tiny House one day (no room for excess stuff). Which my mind then carries away to far places like sitting in front of a picture window in my tiny house, at a desk full of art materials and written pages, in a right sized body that I am maintaining well, free from issues brought on by Lyme and excess weight…
Need I go on? I have spun quite a scenario, right? On good days, that scenario motivates me. On not-so-good days, it saddens me. Trying to stay in the good days. Getting older is not my favorite thing to do. But it is mainly because I have not aged well. I didn’t take care of myself. I got on the healthy bandwagon too late in life? Maybe? Maybe I should be out to prove that it is never too late!
As I close this out, I am alerted to a Tornado possibility for the next 6 hours. Weird. Where I live, we never have anything like that?? Could be an exciting evening at Bible study for me!
Until next time,
Featured Image photo credit: http://sites.psu.edu/ballingonabudget/2015/04/22/in-order-to-ball-on-a-budget-you-have-to-create-one/