For those of you that have read my posts here, or visited my blog, then you know I was tired of living paycheck to paycheck and wondering where all my money was going.
I got on a budget, using Dave Ramsey's EveryDollar budgeting tool, which is free. I stumbled a bit at first, learning true restraint and impulse control. As I became more focused and aware of the state of my finances, I couldn't believe how much money I had left at the end of each month!
I got to a point where I was living off 50% of my net income! I assure you, no one was more shocked than I was. I get paid bi-weekly. So I was living off of one paycheck a month and building my 6 month emergency fund with the rest.
Then this last December and January, with Christmas and my mother's birthday in Dec, my sister's birthday in January and my father's birthday on Feb 1st, I found I had fallen off the wagon.
Those expenditures led to MORE spending that was entirely frivolous. Now, a lot of people are divided on gift giving. In my life, I'm single with no kids and therefore all of my family members are adults. So I recently decided, no gift giving. Period. We're all grown danged adults and we can all afford things we need. I decided to focus on sharing TIME with my family rather than compulsive gift giving.
What I really became aware of is how easy, even after a year of sacrifice via a strict budget, that a person can be pulled back into the materialistic spending habits they previously had. But rather than beat myself up over it, I thought, "Hey! I recognized where I am going wrong and I'm going to take a deep breath, readjust and refocus on my financial goals."
And, in fact, since I've done so, it has brought me so much peace. Knowing I can pay all my monthly bills off all at once and be done with it is a fantastic feeling!
Then....knowing that the next paycheck isn't assigned to a budgeted item, it goes right into my soon to be completed six month emergency fund. And that, alone gives me greater peace.
So, my fellow Penny Hoarders, if you've become aware you've fallen off your financial wagon or just let things go, then USE that opportunity as a springboard to reassert your goals and refocus on your good habits that help you build towards financial freedom and a better future.
Stay thrifty, my friends!