Thursday, October 18, 2012

Learning to prioritize–budget

After writing off and on about my budgeting practices for probably the last year or so (I know that’s how long I’ve been tracking my spending, anyway), I’m ready for a break. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve trained myself to obsessively track every expenditure and I’m incredibly stressed out as a result. It’s not worth it!

This is going to be very hard for me, but I’m going to stop tracking my finances altogether for a while. I’ll login to my bank account to keep an eye on things and make sure I’m not running out of cash, or to see if I need to move some money between accounts, but my “expenses” Excel spreadsheet is getting temporarily retired. I don’t like that I fret over these things every single day, and that I feel like I don’t know how to get by without doing that. Maybe I will finish off this month, just to end things cleanly, but I need to live a little (I can always go back through my statements to see how much we spent on groceries)! Maybe it’s time to just say screw it and get my eyebrow pierced again. Or buy some extra hair dye. Or some new shoes. It feels silly to restrict myself from buying things like this. Hell, I’d love a new fashionable winter coat to replace my 10-year-old pea coat!

I’m not throwing caution to the wind. I’m still going to hunt for the best deals and use coupons when I can (for example: my preferred brands of cat food and cat litter are 15% and 20% off at Unleashed until the 20th, and I also have a $5 off $25 or more coupon), but if I want something, I’m probably going to get it. I’m not sure how to handle prioritization with this new approach, however. I’m still inclined to tell myself “don’t spend more than x on frivolous things per month”, as that would ensure that I don’t get close to running out of money at any point. I can’t say for sure that there’s no way that wouldn’t happen. I don’t like unknowns.

Sweet, now I can pre-order a book I’ve been looking forward to!

Maybe I won’t do this for long. Maybe it’s just to get some things I’ve been thinking/dreaming about, then I’ll go back to my fairly strict spending habits and I’ll feel fine about it. I’m probably still going to use money as a reason to not buy or do things, but I’ll also be buying things for myself. Either way, I feel like I’ve had some stress released by this decision and I can only hope it works out the way that I want it to.

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