Usually, I’m an avid supporter of all things related to having (and maintaining) a budget. However, for the remainder of this month, I’m choosing to throw my budget out the window. Granted, there are only 12 days left in the month but I haven’t thrown caution to the wind like this in over 8 years so this decision didn’t come lightly for me.
Why on Earth Would a Self-Professed Lover of Budgets Blow Hers Off?
For any of you who read my blog, The Happy Homeowner, you know that I live in Boston. And while I typically pride myself on my sunny disposition and positive, supportive blog posts, right now I find myself unable to exude the breezy confidence I usually have. I’m also a runner, and I was at the marathon on Monday. If you’re connecting the dots right now, you’d be correct in your assumption that this has been a pretty devastating week. While I’m physically fine, the emotions of Monday’s unspeakable tragedy are still weighing me down.
Therefore, I’ve decided that my time with my friends and fellow runners is worth more than money right now. Obviously, I’m still maintaining my drive to meet my financial goals for the month so I won’t be going on any spur of the moment trips or spending sprees, but I’m moving forward in a way that incorporates more down time and less arduous focus on the financial nitty gritty.
How I Plan to Meet My Goals without a Budget
Even though I need a bit of breathing room right now, I’d be silly to completely blow everything out of the water in terms of my finances. What I’m planning to do is to loosen the purse strings just enough that I’m able to more freely enjoy this much-needed bonding time. This means that my usual tendency to pass on social outings in lieu of my budget will absolutely fall to the wayside.
The $50 dinner that didn’t quite fit in the “dining out” line item last week? I’ll be spending that freely tonight (and tipping the waitstaff handsomely) because I won’t be buying the new running shoes I planned to purchase next week. The $30-40 on food/drinks and the $40 race fee for two charity events raising money that will go to the victims of the bombings? I’ll be taking that money from my “gasoline” line item and biking to/from wherever I need to be for the next 12 days.
In essence, I’m trading my priorities. For me, that’s what a budget is truly all about: Being able to manage and balance your money in a fluid way that allows for all of life’s sudden changes and challenges. At the end of the month, I’ll still be able to meet my savings and retirement goals. I’ll also be able to pay all of my bills on time, and I may even have a bit leftover to funnel to more charitable giving.
The Weight of Personal Finance
As personal finance bloggers and those who are actively interested in managing our finances responsibly, I know there is always a struggle between keeping your nose to the grindstone and living your life when life dictates doing so. I hope that by sharing my unorthodox choice to abandon my budget for a short period of time, I’m helping to illustrate that it is OK to give yourself a breather from time to time. Sometimes, it’s simply more important to take care of your emotions and your fellow people than it is to obsess over every little number.
This post was written by Jen, a staff writer from The Happy Homeowner
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.