Budget Setbacks

At the beginning of every month I tell myself that I'm going to put pen to paper for a budget...and that I'm going to stick to it [this time]. At the end of every month, I find myself wondering where the heck the money has gone...because I didn't start out with a budget.

I know how important budgets are. They keep us on track. They show us where we can improve and where we can save.

But the thing is (and this is a harsh truth), I hate budgets.

Budgets make me feel like I'm being restricted. I feel smothered and anxious when it comes to budgeting.

I know why. I haven't wanted to really admit it, but I know.

Because living from a budget forces me to get real about myself, the money I spend, and why I spend it when/where I do.

For a long time, money and things have been used to smooth things over, make things right, make things happy.

In the beginning of the Fiscal Friday series, I came clean on some confessions that really rocked me to my core. One of those was that I learned at such a young age that material possessions equal love and happiness. And so that's how I've lived my life.

But I know better now. And so it's time to do better.

When I think about budgeting, I am almost paralyzed by the anxiety. But I'm going to power through and I know I'll come out the other side where I want to be.

During the month of November, I will be writing about how I'm setting up and planning my monthly budget, but first, I had to get down to the heart of it all and identify the things that keep me from sticking to a budget in the first place.

Sales Emails / Ads: I successfully deleted and steered away from four separate 75% off sale emails from Kate Spade this week. FOUR. In the last six months, I've fallen victim to many emails telling me about Flash Sales!, and Discounts Because It's Tuesday!, and Take 20% Off Because You're Breathing! Every time I open my inbox, there's something there. I've unsubscribed from 95% of them over the past six months or so, but there are a few I just haven't been able to bring myself to get rid of. That changes today. If they aren't there, I can't see them. And if I can't see them, I can't be tempted to shop the sale.

Social Media: I see a lot of people saying they struggle with this, and for me, it's a doozie. There seem to be more and more people on Twitter and writing blogs now that are focused on nothing but things. Buying things. Wanting things. Affiliate links to things. "Treating" themselves with things. A treat to me is a $1.99 Dairy Queen Blizzard, not a $900 bag or a $1,300 coat. It's unrealistic. And quite frankly, it's crap. Very few people can live like that and those who really can probably aren't tweeting about it multiple times a day.

Bored / Time to Spare: Oh, Internet. This one gets me every single time. If I have an appointment or am meeting a friend for dinner and have 30 minutes to spare, it never fails that I will find a store. And I very, very rarely leave empty-handed. It may be little-by-little, but it's a drain. All those little things really add up.

Perfectionism: You might think on this one I'm going to say that I want everything to be perfect so I buy the best things I can find. Nope. The problem is, I want everything to be perfect, so if I can't do it perfectly, I just don't do it at all. As an example, I'll use cooking. I love to cook. Love to plan meals, make lists, [hate the actual grocery shopping], and cook. But if I can't do it all the way I think it should be in my head (perfectly), then I don't do it at all. If I can't devote an hour to cooking the meal I planned, then what's the point in spending 15 minutes to cook something easier that night? It wasn't the plan, it wasn't perfect, and so what's the use? And that leads to eating out. Which leads to spending far more on dining out than I anticipated for the month. And once one area of the budget is blown, what's the point in keeping up with the rest of it? It's a vicious cycle, y'all. It isn't logical, but it's the way things work in my world for reasons that would take another 31 day series of posts to talk through.

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This post is part of the 31 Days of Intention series. You can see other posts in this series here.

Join me in November as I discover life on a budget. Fiscal Friday posts are every other Friday and can be on any topic you choose! Just grab the button and join the Fiscal Friday fun! Grab the button below and join me, Katie, and Natalie in Fiscal Friday! Our next post in the series will be November 1.

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