I am obsessed with budgets, y’all. I love to make them, love to write about them, and I love to use them.
But, you probably already knew that.
This time around, however, I am feeling a little pinch. I am feeling uneasy. I am feeling like I’ve pretty much done all I could to live a simpler life, and yet it’s just not enough.
I make my budgets in 6-8 month blocks which coordinates with my hubs’ loan disbursement for medical school. We use his loans for our living expenses like rent and food, and we use my income to pay all other bills and to save for extras. If my hubs attended medical school in the U.S., I would likely be able to secure a higher income, but because we live internationally, I am working part time in Grenada and part time online (which, despite helping the budget an awful lot, has not made things easy breezy).
This particular 7 month stretch has not gone exactly as planned. We got a large loan disbursement in January, and I planned it out so that we would be good all the way through August. I even planned out that we would be able to take a road trip to Virginia and a road trip to Texas. And, I pre-saved for a new Macbook so that I can continue to support my little 2 person + puppy family online.
Well, the road trip to VA happened, but the road trip to Texas is now impossible. The Macbook will happen, but other smaller expenses will (gasp) go on a credit card.
So, what went wrong? How did I screw this up? Why do I feel like I am working my arse off and yet barely keeping my head above water?
I have thought about this extensively, and I believe it’s because we don’t have an emergency fund.
When I look at my budget sheet for July, I get so frustrated. I pre-paid for my car insurance, which I knew was going to happen in my head but stupidly forgot to put in the budget. I have spent way more in gas than originally budgeted, even with my parents filling me up twice this summer to be nice. Sweet hubs is having some issues with his foot that required 5 doctors appointments and a specific pair of shoes. We had to pre-pay for all of the hubs’ books for school (Book costs are included in the August loan disbursement but we don’t get that for 4 more weeks.) We are pre-buying everything we can’t get in Grenada like deodorant, soap, etc. And, we’ve gone out to eat way more than originally thought.
And I, a self proclaimed budget queen, feel helpless, like I can’t do anything about it. I factored in paying for rent as soon as I got back to Grenada, but I didn’t think about everything that we would need before we got there.
And, to top it off, I feel like I can’t fully express this situation without being embarrassed. I feel like I am working so hard to make up for the losses, but something else inevitably comes up.
Now, I know we are going to be okay. I know that we’ll make it to Grenada in one piece. I’m still going to buy a computer because if mine breaks in Grenada, I am up the creek without a paddle (yet another unique situation – buying a computer or having one fixed in Grenada is so outrageously expensive, I cannot even fathom consider waiting to see if mine will make it through the semester.)
But, I still feel sad that I didn’t make an emergency fund, which would have covered all of the medical expenses and would have provided a “loan” for books etc. before getting the disbursement.
I should note that this exact pinch happened in January too right before we got our January loan, and it was really hard to explain to others why we felt like we couldn’t do certain things or go certain places. It’s embarrassing, and for two people who used to have what we considered well paying full time jobs, it’s really annoying.
So, all that to say, the only way to fix a broken budget is to do better next time. Life allows us to have re-do’s like that, and I’m okay with it. I’m starting an emergency fund immediately, and I hope to grow it to $5,000 using my income as the sole source of it. After this experience, I am more determined than ever to make that work.
I hope this post doesn’t come across as a big whine-fest. My goal was to show you that even though I have a blog called “Budget Blonde,” I screw up too sometimes. Life happens to me too. And, as much as I plan and save, sometimes it’s just not enough.
Have any of you created an emergency fund? Have any of you had unexpected expenses lately that threw a wrench in your plans?