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Why I’m Ignoring My Budget For The Rest of the Month

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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

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AUTHOR Derek

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.

23 Comments

  1. Hey Jen, I really don’t know how to thank you! You just spoke my mind as you told to ignore the budget. You know what at times, it’s really very important to pay a heed to your emotions and not to your calculative mind!

    • Hi Tomasz….sorry I never saw this to comment when the post went live–thanks for your kind words!

  2. Wow, hope you are coping as well as you can. My cousin ran the race and finished not long before the explosions.

    Indeed, at the end of the day, there are certainly things that are more important than money and it is a balance in finding that line.

    Thoughts and prayers for the city of Boston.

    • Thanks, Greg. I wrote a post about how I was headed down to the finish line and for some random reason, I decided to head home at the last minute. Otherwise, I would have been there at the time of the bombings. What a day!

      Add in the current madness happening now (we’re all on lockdown because one of the potential suspects is on the rampage) and it’s been a hell of a week for this city.

      Thank you for your support!

  3. I can’t get over what is going on out there. I truly hope all is well. I got a text from NYT. All Bostonians should go inside. This is nuts. My prayers are with you guys.

    • Thank you, Jai! It is certainly crazy–hitting way too close to home. Keep sending those thoughts & prayers, especially for the victims!

  4. If things aren’t tight, I prefer “big-bucket” budgets, anyway, that are flexible for the various desires/needs of a real life.

    Thinking of you and your fellow Bostonians!

    • That’s a great idea, Jenny! Flexibility is key if you really want to be prepared for life’s curveballs.

  5. I often put aside my budget, but I still keep an eye on my spending and expenses. See, I do not use a budget to control my spending because that is my job!

  6. Hi Jen,

    First of all, I want to say that I’m so sorry about what you must have gone through in the past week. There are no words that are good enough to express my sorrow and grief for everyone who’s been affected by this. I just hope that this guy will get caught and Boston can begin to heal.

    In terms of your budget, I wouldn’t say you are abandoning it at all! The way you’re realigning your prioirites is the perfect example of how a budget should work in my opinion – sometimes things happen and the fact that you’ve found ways to meet those needs without spending more than you originally planned is brilliant. Shifting priorities is sometimes the only thing that can be done in an emergency and at least you don’t have to dip into savings or credit!

    Enjoy the time with your loved ones. I’m sure you need that far more right now than anything else. And please know that even people across the country are keeping you and your city in our thoughts.

    • Hi Shannon,

      Thank you so much for your kind words!! It’s been a terrible week but the spirit and resilience of everyone here has been phenomenal. Yesterday was what we all needed!!!

      As for the budget, you hit the nail on the head–shifting the priorities is the first course of action that should be taken when things need to change. There’s no reason to immediately go to savings or CCs when you can just re-examine the plan and move things around a bit!

      I hope you’re having a nice weekend. Today is all about spending time with people, and I’m excited to unplug until tomorrow. 🙂

  7. I think that’s a great reason to throw out the budget. Healing takes a higher priority.

    • Absolutely! At least we were now able to breathe a sigh of relief after yesterday’s events. What a week!

  8. Some times the budget needs to be changed, and that’s ok. This seems like a perfect example of when it is fine to change things around and focus on other priorities.

  9. Your very reasons are the same I have for not keeping a budget at all. If I truly value something, I don’t want to not be able to do it because it, “Doesn’t fit in the budget.”

    • I definitely agree about valuing something, but I like having a budget because it gives me a plan for the month. I still do need to track my numbers because those old habits (that can wreak havoc on my finances) can sneak right back in if I’m not careful.

  10. Glad you were fine Jen. What happened in Boston was very tragic. Hope everything’s fine in your place right now.

    • Thank you, Jeremy! It was a scary week with a crazy ending, but I’m happy to report that we took a nice walk through the city last night after dinner and aside from the crime scene in Copley Square, it really was starting to feel more like normal around here.

  11. Wow! Glad to hear you are ok. You bring up such a great point, sometimes in this life certain things take precedent over money and this is one of them.

    • Thanks, Marvin! Life certainly trumped money last week and there’s still some recovery built in for this week but it’s back to the books next month. 🙂


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