I have a confession—I don’t have a budget.
Sure, I’ve created them a few times, but actually sticking to them, nope. Once I entered the professional world in my early twenties, I wasn’t making great money (not that I am now) but I was sure I didn’t need a budget on my limited income. As time has gone by and my expenses have grown and gotten more complicated I find myself forever playing catch up on my bills and making somewhat impulsive and unnecessary purchases. I’ve got this chick, Sallie Mae, on my back every month wanting me to cough up ridiculous amounts of money I don’t have to pay for my fancy education. I don’t check my bank statement nearly as much as I should (though I did after the Target scandal) and it’s often because of fear.
I don’t want to face things that will cause me further stress. I don’t want to face not having enough in my savings account to support my daughter and me in the event I wasn’t able to work. Not having a budget and not being smarter about my spending in saving is something I can’t ignore any longer, and is a big priority for me this year.
Clearly I’m doing something right if I’ve managed to hold down my own apartment since I was 21. My bills get paid, sometimes late, but they get paid…eventually. Within the past couple of years I’ve made some smart investment choices with securing rental and life insurance. I understand when I make good decisions and I know when I make not so good decisions…like avoiding my frenemy Sallie when she calls…and emails….and calls. I’m in denial – I work in nonprofit and yes, the rumors about pay in the nonprofit field are correct – even with years of professional experience and a four year degree, I’m underpaid. But that’s no reason to not be smarter about my money.