I love encouraging others (and myself) to do what works for you. That principle applies when it comes to budgeting. You can’t expect certain scenarios or ideas to work the same for everyone, and yes, sometimes they achieve the same result, but often to the dismay of some.
What I mean is that 50/30/20 budgets may help everyone achieve the same end goal (covering your bills and savings without you going broke), but that doesn’t mean everyone is going to like that method. If you don’t like something, you are far less likely to stick to it in the long-term. Ya feel me?
With all of this being said, we found a budget (or a way of budgeting, I should say) that has worked well — up until recently. I like (wouldn’t say love) this method because it compliments that lazy ass side of me, but it’s not helping me aggressively achieve my goals. These last few weeks have been a wake-up call that our current budget set up has run its course.
I’m basically admitting that my budgeting system is broken.
Just because a particular method works for you now doesn’t mean that it will always work. People evolve, life changes and throws lemons at you, and I’m tired of being knocked in the head by those bitter pieces of fruit. It’s time to make some lemonade (hey, Bey!).
Now that I’m finally admitting that my budget is no longer doing what the hell it needs to be doing, I’m opening up the door again to all possibilities and exploring new systems that will help me do the following:
- To stop being so lazy
- To check in bi-weekly
- Help accelerate our debt repayment
- Build a bigger and better emergency fund
See, I mentioned in this post that we had a little air conditioning mishap pop up that set us back $8,500 dollars. Yeah… right when I’m ready to finally buckle down and start my aggressive student loan repayment. Can we say, suck much? This has thrown a monkey wrench into my plans to start aggressively paying down my smallest student loan.
Now I have to divert all of my side hustle income AND make payments on another monthly bill because it doesn’t sit well with me at all that this new HVAC system is financed at a rate of 9 FRICKIN PERCENT! I mean seriously; we have a better interest rate (2 percent) on our auto loan.
Needless to say, my lazy budgeting plan needs to be replaced so I can come up with some extra change to get this loan paid off immediately. I want it gone before next spring so I can refocus on my student loans.
But as if that wasn’t enough…
My husband has to have surgery.
Now this expense didn’t necessarily throw me for a loop as much because, after all, we have insurance. We also have a small emergency fund for expenses that pop up like this. However, since medical bills don’t have an interest rate and you can set up monthly payments, I’m not eager to knock the co-insurance that we’ll owe on this procedure.
Tired of me rambling? Okay, to the point…
My budget is broke and I need to fix the ish asap and carry on with life. Enters the zero-sum budget.
I’ve tried this budget before and while I’m not a fan, I really don’t see any other way to slay the demons that have been eating away at my carefully crafted lazy budgeting system.
Since I’ve started side-hustling, meal planning has gone out the window. My kids have decided that they don’t eat just about everything. I’m sleeping less, and the only thing I want to do after I step away from the computer is go to sleep. These circumstances have led to an increase in our food budget because we’ve been getting more takeout more than I would like to admit.
To overcome these challenges, I’m going to zero in on every expense, withdraw cash for groceries, and stick to the damn plan. I cannot eat away life at the expense of financial freedom.
This has also made me realize that a $3,500 emergency fund just ain’t going to cut it for me. I was naive thinking that we could get a new HVAC system for $3,500.
I thought that was a good enough amount for anything major happening to the house and I clearly couldn’t have been more wrong! I will be re-evaluating this and determine how we can beef up our ER funds as we pay off debt.
So now that I’ve gotten all of that off my chest, I’ll share a couple of articles I’ve found that will help me fix this mess. Thought I’d share just in case some of you are having an, “Oh S&% t” moment too.
The Power of A Zero-Sum Budget – Get Rich Slowly
How to Repay Massive Amounts of Debt With a Zero-Sum Budget – Tay Talks Money
Any of you ever had a broken budget? Please share! What did you do to get back on track?
*P.S. – This is probably the first commentary piece here at LAAB on my little mishaps. I’ll occasionally post them to let you know when I screw things up… just to remind you I’m human and I’m no expert. I’m in the trenches right along with you.