Budgets are nice. For other people, I really do think that. I have also thought about starting a budget every year as far back as I can remember, but I never, ever have.
Back in ye olde days of high school, I was flunking geometry. I wasn't trying very hard, but I have a mean case of math anxiety. Put a problem in front of me that involves numbers (or, ew, shapes) and my heart starts to race, my mind goes blank and I feel almost angry. At what? Logic, I guess. We are not BFFs, math and me.
So I'm thisclose to a D in geometry, which would have made me ineligible to attend the college I was thinking of attending. I visit my guidance counselor and I'm pretty sure (I'm sure) I cried. He told me to work with the teacher after class and I did because he was a student teacher and he was hot. I flunked the exam anyway and on my report card I received an "E" for effort instead of the D- or the F I should have been given. My seventeen year old self (with really big bangs) was like, awesome! I can try a little and still get what I want! My thirty-something year old self knows he didn't do me any favors.
I never had a budget. Even with one child there seemed to be enough money for everything, even day care, because with one in day care, the cost seemed to drop a little every year while I managed to bring home a little bit more. Now there are two and I manage to bring in a little bit less. It took me a few months to fully realize that this was a problem. Because I sort-of tried to stop spending money without really thinking long and hard about what it was I wanted to buy, wasn't that enough? No, spoiled high school girl, it was not.
I was never a wild-out of control spender. I am thrifty, but I don't plan well. I can't say I really have a budget even now, but I make myself track every dollar I spend. When I see really good deals pop up on line, I put the credit card away. I say I put it away because that is my challenge. I still take it out of my wallet and feel the smooth plastic on my fingertips. Then I ask myself, do I really need this? If I do, can I afford it?
If A = really cute matching sweaters for the boys for Christmas and
If B = having $20 to last me until payday, which is still five days out, while I have some cute hand-me-downs that I don't love, but I could live with,
Then C = :(
At least for a few minutes and then I find I've forgotten about it. Them. Those adorable matching sweaters that I have already pictured on my two adorable little creatures. I'm not perfect. I don't have this down to a science, but I'm much better at the end of this year than I was when I started.
(Which was 12 months ago, for the record. I CAN manage remedial counting.)