Tuesday, December 27, 2011

budget smudget

I'm a little bit peeved with myself right now, financially. Not that I've done anything wrong, per se, but I'm frustrated with what I have not been doing.

A little history for you: I was terrible with money in high school. I worked like crazy, but I didn't save. I viewed cash as expendable. Now, money does not control me, and it's something that can be replaced, but to have control of your own money and to have money available for me whenever I need it is important. In high school, though, I had no concept of control or budgeting. Whatever money I have, was available for spending - and in fact would be spent.

University was a little bit better. I had a semblance of a budget, because the money had to stretch for the school year, but I didn't truly understand the concept of budgeting and the importance of saving. I funded my education mostly through private bank loans, and because I hadn't worked for the money, I had no attachment to it. If I wanted to buy a dress, or a book, or new shoes, the only question was "do I have the money available?" It didn't matter that it wasn't really my money, just that it was there to be used. I missed payments, avoided collection calls, and was just generally stupid with my money.

After I graduated, I quickly decided that I didn't want the black cloud of student debt hanging over my head for the next ten to fifteen years. So, I learned how to budget. I learned that just because money is available doesn't mean that I should spend it. I started aggressively paying back debt, I started building an emergency fund, I created a budget that I can understand and live with. That isn't so strict that I can't stick to it, and can be flexible when I need it to be.

The past month or two, though, I have been avoiding my budget. I've been sticking to it, but avoiding looking at it or thinking about it. This all started when Bunny and I got engaged, and I avoided sitting down and making a super formal budget (which I still have to do. Dang it!)

I haven't looked at my budget, really, since then. I mean I've looked, but I haven't truly reviewed the budget and adjusted it too much, which is unfortunate. I really do need to start doing that more. Especially given that my financial situation has changed, and it's time to really look at how to make the funds that Bunny and I have available to us last. I'm not quite sure why I'm avoiding it, because at the end of the day knowing how my financial situation stands, and where it's taking me, is very satisfying.

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