Sunday, 9 December 2012

Confessions and Restarts

I have a confession to make.  I haven't been very clever lately ... and I feel like a fraud.

Once upon a time I was a nightmare with money.  Then I got smarter, and was much much better.  I even went so far as to help some friends, and start a blog.  Then I got pregnant, got sick, got lazy, quit doing what I knew I needed to do to stay on track, and made a mess again.  Not a big giant mess, but messy enough to put me back in that stressed-out money place I said I'd never go to ever ever again.

So here I am, feeling all sheepish and like a fraud since I used to get asked for money help ... and I did manage to help a few people.  Unfortunately, it turns out I'm not perfect and I fell off my budget wagon. 

BUT ... instead of being all down about it, I'm going to have a restart.  The timing couldn't be more perfect either.  The new year is only a few short weeks away, and while I'm not going to wait until the new year to start I am excited to start the new year off on the right foot.  I'm going back to basics and shedding the heavy, stressed out, and overwhelmed feelings that can take over at this time of year with all the pressure to BUY BUY BUY!

Here's how I'm going to do it:

  1. Reviewing my budget:  I've looked and the cash coming in, and what needs to go out/go here/go there and I've made sure it is balanced.  I'm allocating what I need to pay off debt (ugh), save a little, and keep all the lights on and bellies full.  Being as I'm on maternity leave, there isn't much left over at the end, but everything is taken care of ... IF I can stick to the budget ... and I know I can. 
  2. Cash is King:  I always do better at sticking to my budget when I use cash for the day-to-day things like groceries, personal care stuff, entertainment, etc.  I will withdraw what amount I need for the week each payday, and when it's gone it's gone!
  3. Meal Planning:  This one is HUGE.  We budget $800/month for groceries for our family of 5, but that can easily spiral to $1,000+ if I don't plan our meals and shop accordingly each week.  Sometimes it's the last thing I want to do, but I always feel better when it's done.  There are lots of ways to do it, I've found that planning around what's on sale in the flyers saves even more.
  4. Coupons:  This one is such a no-brainer.  Companies send me money off of their products in my newspaper or my inbox ... why would I NOT use them?!  $5 off dog food?  Yes please.  $0.50 off of the soup I always buy?  FINE.
  5. Relax.  I'm bad for getting myself all worked up when the sky really isn't falling.  So I'm going to trust that I can do this, with the involvement and support of my husband, and that the debt will be paid off and we will be taken care of in the meantime.  Life is too short to spend it all worked up and feeling bad. 
I love New Year's resolutions and restarts ... in addition to taking back control of my finances, I plan to train and compete in my 2nd Sprint Triathlon in May, blog at least once each week, sew some shit, and finish a family story book about my Grandpa that I've been working on for far too long.  I'm famous for the restarts, not so much for the finishes ... so I'm going to work on the finishes for 2013.

What are some of your resolutions?  Do you make them?  Do you hate them?  The Big Mulligan is only 3 weeks away and I'd love to hear what's on your list!

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