I did not expect I would have as many errors and hiccups as I did when I started this challenge. But with each mistake, I came across a valuable lesson. Certainly one of the major realizations was financial awareness, but the biggest shocker was how badly not having a budget affected my life and how I chose to live.
Error #1: Fear of failure and unattainable goals
Lesson #1: Financial awareness and goal setting. It is easy to set a goal, but it has to be attainable. By having a budget of $100 a week (which includes gas) I was setting myself up for failure from the start. This budget is not realistic, as my job requires driving from one meeting to another… and all around the mom schedule.
Error #2: Emergency Fund
Lesson #2: It became apparent by the end of week two that everyone should have access to an emergency fund. You never know when you will need to bail your dog out of the pound OR have a car repair OR a household repair… you just never know! The truth is you cannot control the unexpected surprises in life, but at all costs we can plan for them. After my pup got loose and her picture going viral, (how I wish I would have put the MC logo on that picture!) having to pay more than my original weekly budget to get her home made me feel like I had failed. Publicly! Time to admit to the cyber world I should have thought about an emergency fund…
Error #3: Always going over budget because of the inevitable
Lesson #3: Set new goals and a more suitable budget. After revisiting my budget, I decided to exclude gas from the equation (I don’t know who I let convince me that gas should be included in the $100 /week budget! Jenn Wallace!!!) I travel for work a lot and had it remain in my budget I would not be able to buy other necessities. I had planned to include walking and biking to where I needed to go with the little Miss until…………………d r u m roll please……….. life’s next unexpected hiccup…I got hit with pneumonia! Walking and biking was out of the equation for me. Once that was over and done with, I decided to extend the challenge for a couple more weeks. At all times for personal use I allowed myself $100/week. When it was gone, it was gone!
Lesson #4: I managed to save money on my grocery bill by planning a shopping list before hitting the grocery store. I was able to purchase what I needed and, in turn, waste less food at home.
Lesson #5: The other MIND BLOWING news that I have to share is that I have lost 10 lbs. since I started this challenge! The same 10 lbs. that I have been TRYING to lose all winter falls right off since I started watching my spending. All I can account this to is that when you have ZERO accountability with spending, you slip up! In my mind it made sense for more to pick up what I thought was healthy take-out but apparently it wasn’t! When cooking at home I was able to control and watch what I was actually eating. I try to cook daily and limit what I eat outside of the home.
Lesson #6:Priorites. It turns out that socializing for both personal and business purposes is more important to me than cable so that’s going away now! It feels good too!
I do believe I was able to re-evaluate my current situation and create a better and healthier lifestyle for the little one and myself. This challenge is not over for me. Going back to my old habits does not make sense and I plan on moving forward with this budget. In the end, if I look back at the entire span of the 4-week challenge, I did not go over budget. This has inspired me to set another challenge for myself! Thoughts?
**Stay tuned! We have a stay at home mom who has been tracking her day-to-day spending and will be sharing her journey with us!