Remember back in January when I told you that I’d made up my mind about some goals? I’m using the OneWord365 idea and going with the word “brave” to light my way in 2014. Under that umbrella, I’ve made some fairly run-of-the-mill goals. But, uh, I love them! (Thanks to The Art of Simple’s totally spectacular list of questions which helps you formulate SUPER realistic, awesome goals!) So here I am sharing one of mine with you. This corresponds to the question, “What is your plan this month for starting progress toward better financial health?”
My answer: Active saving!
The idea of enacting a successful budget had been making my insides groan with dread for quite awhile until January, when I sat down and churned out a solid thought process about what I want when it comes to financial health. I used January to find a printable budget worksheet (online) that worked well for me, and then I filled it in and edited it (a few times) so that it finally reflected my current reality as much as possible. (For example, I took note that my January vacation required a little more money than I’d expected due to overpriced meals with no other options. So I tried to breathe easy about that and then go back to my budget to allow for more wiggle room when it comes to traveling.) During February, I put the edited version to the test, and things turned out really well! Unlike what I’d imagined having a budget to be like, I did NOT walk around with heavy shoulders and a pent-up mind spinning with calculations about every darn thing I bought. Instead, my on-paper budget had worked itself well enough into my brain to rest as a simple overlay on top of my thoughts when it came to spending. I was aware of how much I had to work with when it came to “fun spending” (like on skincare and makeup products), and I contented myself with being able to build some treats into my budget. (Treats are good! But I don’t need All The Things.) I think that’s really what made the difference for me – building some personal treats in there and allowing for wiggle room while also limiting myself so I could meet my monthly savings goals. It sure felt good to check my bank account on payday and see the amount I’d been hoping for! 🙂 Woohoo!
Granted, things are not always smooth sailing. I bought a pair of cross-training shoes over the weekend, which was a big purchase, so I need to sit down with my budget and tweak other areas for this month so I can still meet my March savings goal (or close to it). Until that happens, I do feel a little anxious. I also need to actually take a pen and my paper budget and edit the numbers to include my new gym membership. In case you’re concerned, I do have enough money to pay for a gym membership and also meet my monthly savings goals, but I know it will ease my mind to have this new expense written down on paper so my brain can take a little rest!
Yay for one month of effective budgeting! Here’s to what I hope to be many more! (And, if you’re interested, here‘s the super basic budget I’m working with. I love it because it’s so customizable!)
What is your plan this month for starting progress toward better financial health?