Happy New Year!
With a built-in fresh start each year comes time for reflection and promises to ourselves to learn from our mistakes or to pay more attention to what we feel is important as we move forward. For me, budgeting is always on the needs-improvement list. Even though we’ve been paying more attention to our budget, this year is no exception.
In the December post, I mentioned my decision to change things up a bit when it comes to tracking our funds. I set my mobile banking notifications to $0 so I’d get a text any time any money was spent. Unfortunately, I can’t track everything this way. For example, my husband and I use the Target debit card, which doesn’t trigger a notification even though the money is taken directly from our checking account.
Overall, though, this strategy has been working really well. I like knowing exactly what is coming out of the account and when. It also provides a bit of accountability. It’s kind of like when you know you’ll have to write down what you just ate when you’re tracking your calories. My phone reminds me exactly how much I just spent. Then it’s easy to scroll through the texts and record the cash coming out of each category of the budget.
As a bonus, it was really fun texting David any time he spent money. He had no idea how I knew he spent $10 at Starbucks immediately after he paid the cashier. It was funny.
Even though I found a new strategy that I think will work for us, December was still a rough month. It doesn’t matter how much you plan ahead, there always seems to be costs you don’t think about or things that don’t go as planned.
David’s birthday is on December 30th. I hastily bought what I thought would be a cool, cheap gift only to find out that the delivery time was 21-45 days and that the company seemed a little suspicious. I had to scramble to get him something else. (I ended up doing a pair of dress socks and having Jimmy Johns deliver his lunch to work, which was actually cheaper and a better idea.) Everything worked out, but the problem is I doubled my spending on his birthday gift. I now have to wait on his original gift to arrive so I can return it and try to get my money back.
David and I also realized we didn’t have a gift for one of our nieces, so we had to take care of that. It’s always something.
Of course, we’re also trying to plan for baby #2. We got all the big items taken care of thanks to several generous family members. However, there are still all the little things, like diaper pail liners, changing pad covers, and pacifiers. Plus, who knows what we’ll find we need when the little guy gets here, not to mention the hospital bills.
We have a rough financial road ahead, but I’m fairly confident that, if we keep working towards budgeting efficiently, we’ll be able to stay on top of things. For now, saving where we can and not overspending is sufficient.