Budget 101

Growing up I think I was always pretty good with money.  I remember saving money for a seemingly large amount of time and then being able to splurge on a coveted item.  Often I’d make deals with my parents about saving up for half of an item such as a stereo system etc.  I’ve been working since I was 15 and in high school I never saved much but I never wanted for anything.

Of course then I graduated and was on my own.  My first year out of high school I travelled to the Caribbean on a set budget and came back with lots to spare and I was pretty proud of myself.  Then I went to college and all my money wise ways went out the window and I was on a downward spiral into an absurd amount of debt.

Fast forward to 2011 when I was in my final semester of University and knowing that I needed to change something and get control of my money situation.  It’s not that I didn’t work hard – it’s that I didn’t know how to properly handle my money.  So I bought an audio book by Dave Ramsey and decided to follow his step by step guide on how to get out of debt and save money.  I never did follow that guide religiously, and I’m definitely not out of debt, but I did learn how to manage my money responsibly.

I used a cash budget for a few years and did so great on it and was able to pay down my credit cards (then build them up and pay them down several times over….) and have very very rarely been into my overdraft or been late with any payment.  Since going back to work after my maternity leave I’ve noticed that I’m being far less strict with my budget and it’s causing stress that is really just unnecessary.  I’m the only one in my household with an income and am solely responsible for a mortgage plus all the bills that come with home owning on top of paying down all my school debt and a car loan.  Talk about a lot of financial weight on my shoulders! That’s the major contributing factor to me not being as strict with my money.  When I stress on things like this, one of my coping strategies is to just avoid.

Well it’s time to stop avoiding.

I’m going back to square one, tracking all my receipts and redoing my budget system.  Becoming far more strict with my miscellaneous spending and grocery budget.

Money can be such a paralyzing factor in people’s lives, but I refuse to give it that power over my life and the life of my family.  I choose to live well and live simply and that means getting back control of my bank account.

Any tips and advice on how to budget? I’m all ears!

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