Yeah, it basically went as planned…
I was expecting some kind of thrilling follow-up, but after writing it all out, it was essentially a copy of our planned budget, and I was bored reading it!
So, to recap, what happened was, we planned out all our spending before it happened, and then we followed the plan.
If you are new to budgeting, it’s going to take several months or even a couple of years before this starts happening for you. You will forget to include occasional expenses, like car registration. You will not know how much you usually spend when you go to festivals or other events where there are lots of vendors. You will not have begun the practice of checking your calendar to see whose birthdays are coming up, so that you can plan to give them a gift. Your tire will go flat, and your emergency fund might not be ready for it.
But then next time you will remember. Each month, I take a few minutes to look at our calendar for the month ahead, and also, at our expenditures for the same month the year before, to see if I may have missed anything. For our second year attending Austin City Limits, I noted what we had spent the previous year, and budgeted the same amount. We ended up spending less the second year, probably because it wasn’t nearly as hot and we drank a lot less beer! So now I know: plan to spend a little more if the weather forecast is hot! And I’ve learned to pay attention to the tires on our cars, to fill them and get them rotated regularly, to ask the technicians (or my car-guy husband) how much life they seem to have left, and to start researching and saving up well before we need them!
But I only learned that through years of record-keeping, which means, if you didn’t get it perfect the first time, if you ended up coloring outside the lines, or throwing it all away and starting with a fresh page, you don’t get to beat yourself up, and you don’t get to quit.If things feel constricted, remember that you won’t have to do this forever. Things will get better if you don’t give up.”Done” is better than “perfect,” and you can do this!
Now go make your budget!