So April’s something new started with this post about trying to live off of my income three years ago. I posted another blog entry about halfway through the month. I was already struggling with it at that point.
I had the most problems with bills, doctor visits, and surprise expenses. Because I have more bills, my rent is higher, etc, more money went to those things. So when Thor had to go to the vet, it would have been impossible for me to pay for it if I kept within my 2009 budget. By the end of the month, I was really just trying to spend as a little as possible in an attempt to get in under the wire on my goal. I didn’t make it.
I did, however, learn some things to stay better on track.
- I can still use the budget I might have used back in 2009 for things that vary like groceries, care items, etc. It can save a lot of money to put a tight cap on how much you’re going to use for those things.
- Pay in cash. I kept a card around in case I absolutely had to use it, but if you only take enough cash out to get you through x number of days or through specific errands, you really have to stay with what you have. I guess that’s only if you have the willpower to do so.
- Take your limits seriously. If you are always telling yourself in the back of your mind that you have a safety net, you might never get serious about staying within a budget. At least, that’s one of my problems. Doing this helped me to really stay focused on the goal even if I didn’t meet it.
So it wasn’t an entirely lost cause. I got more comfortable with budgeting and YNAB in general. I also learned that I can mostly live on a smaller income than I have currently, but it would take some real discipline. I am hoping to get better at that discipline. More discipline = more money saved!