Most people write glowing reports about their budget and give advice on how to set up yours just like theirs. I am not most people. As you may have noticed by now, I am not most people.
We are in our fifth month of budgeting. I will give some shoutouts to the good.
- We have not used a credit card in months. I don’t know if it goes all the way back to October, but pretty close and any use has been minor.
- We are no longer living paycheck to paycheck. Sort of. We still budget one paycheck at a time, but we have funds disbursed across envelope categories and sinking funds and these do not tend to be empty at the end of each pay period. Some sinking fund accounts have never been withdrawn from. Granted, we only set them up this month. But they have had two deposits made so far, and no withdrawals.
- We have an emergency fund and have socked away a decent sum of money for the Dude’s downtime after his next surgery. We have a flex spending account to cover the costs of his surgery. It is funded above and beyond his annual maximum.
- We are tracking money and we are sticking with the budget and having actual conversations about money: challenges and goals.
So, what is the problem?
Some parts just really suck.
- Getting everything set up is hard.
- We consistently overthink this AND underthink it! We have come up with increasingly elaborate ways to divide and track our money, but then we forget to use the methods we have employed.
- We have to spend a lot of time tending it weekly.
We have had our whiny time, now it is time to reset. Here is what we are doing:
- Visiting the budget consistently. This has been one of those, “grown ups have to do things that suck sometimes” moments. We just keep going back to it, finding the holes, finding the flaws, and working to fix them.
- We are allowing our personalities and strengths guide the process. I love planning things, the Dude enjoys getting into the details and problem solving. I do the set up of things and he reconciles things.
- Setting up multiple accounts. I am trying to trap our money into smaller piles that are easier to track.
Marathon not a sprint
We didn’t pick up these habits overnight, and we will not change them overnight. The process takes training and trial and error. It is not always fun. But bit by bit, we are transforming.