In case you have not noticed, Financial Methods has been a bit lacking as of late. With no post on Friday, my usual roundup on Saturday, and nothing but a single link on Monday, you are no doubt chomping at the bit for more.
Last week, as I drove all over the Southeast US, enjoying vacation and my Birthday with my little Sister, I went a bit over budget. I expected to spend around $250 on everything that was not gas. This did not end up going as planned. It ended up being about double my figure after the meals, going out at night and the experiences we paid for. All in all, I would not trade it for anything, and do not regret going over budget. Luckily, my finances have safeguards to pad what I have available for situations just like this one. (I would call them mistakes, but in my mind that implies regret, which I do not have).
Before you go and get your panties in a bunch, chill out. My emergency fund is for emergencies only, which makes this money unusable. It’s not like I can not pay rent or bills. So the emergency fund is out. I have enough discipline now (unlike the past) to prepare for money “mishaps” like this one.
Separate Savings AccountsLike many others, I keep multiple savings accounts at ING Direct. I did have some vacation money stashed away, so that lessens the overall wallet-blow slightly. On top of that, I am (slowly) saving for a new TV. I had every intention of getting a beautiful new 42 inch Samsung before football season began. Although it looks unlikely now, I do not feel bad taking money from my TV fund to cover my vacation.
I have been in much worse financial dilemmas than having to take money from other goals to cover overspending on a trip. While I will take away some lessons from this trip, I am happy with myself for being prepared with backup funds, even if they were intended for other wants.
- It feels much better to be prepared than to have that desperate feeling that comes with spending more than you have.
- Planning meals and routes far in advance while on the road is priceless.
- Something will always come up…expect the unexpected.
- Using time wisely goes hand in hand with using money wisely. And it is very easy to waste either of them.
- If you are getting your oil changed, ignore all the bells and whistles they throw your way, or you will spend $60 on a $20 filter for your car.
Final Post-Vacation Thoughts:
Since starting Financial Methods in January, I feel like I have learned a lot and have made good strides toward achieving my goals and building a better future for myself and my family. Every once in a while, I get reminded that I need to stay on top of my finances regardless of what is going on around me. Honestly, it does not take much time at all to take stock of what is coming in and going out, and set up some goals and intentions along the way. Successes feel much better than failures, but one step back when you take so many forward isn’t that disappointing.