Creating a budget can be scary. Seeing all those numbers (and debt) in black and white is very sobering. Especially for a single person that has no backup. If you screw up the budget…it’s all on you. But, not having a budget was just no longer feasible. The vague, kind of knowing where my money went meant that my money was going lots of places it didn’t need to: like coffee and lunches out and random purchases and more coffee. Worse, I was using a credit card to buy some of the purchases I really didn’t need. Yikes!
I decided to start a new budget with the beginning of July but tracked all my purchases in June to get an idea where things were going. Then I set a pretty strict budget with all extra money going towards an emergency fund. It didn’t set right at the beginning to not start immediately throwing extra money at debt, but sitting in that vet’s waiting office with three credit cards with minimum amounts on them made me see the light with having at least a $1,000 emergency fund before hitting the debt.
I looked around at a few sample budgets from different bloggers (and of course, Dave Ramsey). I wanted to like Mint but you couldn’t customize it or split up a payment (ex. getting cash back at the grocery store with groceries couldn’t go into two categories). I actually found one that fits how I spent money and how I wanted to change course, plus didn’t require extra software—just a simple excel spreadsheet.
Seeing everything on paper is both daunting but also I feel like I have more control. I have a budget and a plan for how I’m going to tackle my spending and debt. Now I’m putting it into action.