Wednesday, April 24, 2013

{simply Write 20thirteen} 3500 Pennies

One of my goals for the past few years has been to blog, or write, more. With that goal in mind I've come up with a theme for this year: Simply Write 20Thirteen. In honor of that theme, I'm attempting to have some writing sessions where I just write for a set time. I hope to share some of these sessions with you here on the ol' blog.

NOTE: This happens to be a personal topic, but I think I need to record this for my own sake, and with humility I hope my sharing will be of some benefit to others.

4/3/13 @ 6:40 pm

Ever get the sinking feeling that you over-extended your checkbook? You know – the pit in your stomach when you realized you weren't going to make it to your next paycheck. And now that you're on guard, and reality is hitting, your thoughts go back about a week or more a month ago when you must have stopped subtracting and just threw caution to the wind.

You’re spend, spend, spend- attitude of days gone by was back. Why didn't you take stock last week or the week before?! Where was the line? You crossed it so far back, you are now grasping backwards – you know, when you reach so far back that you pull you’re your neck muscle…oh, it hurts so bad you know you’re going to feel it for a couple of hours, or days…

Well, this pulled neck muscle, is your bank account. That pit in your stomach? It’s not going away for another 12 days – until payday.

Last weekend I scheduled my last few student loan payments and was feeling pretty good about myself. I started this week off kind of bad though. I took a few minutes to review my accounts and got slammed with the reality of having spent almost the last penny in my checkbook. At this point there are still 3,500 pennies, but if I hadn't caught it when I did, there would have been more like negative 13,500 pennies.

This is where I’m thankful that I have two checking accounts plus three savings accounts. Now before you get all “ooh…she has multiple savings accounts…” on me...
My main checking account where my paychecks are deposited is where most of my bill paying occurs.

My second checking account is through INGDirect and is also where I set up my initial savings account. They have this cool feature where you can add accounts to use for designated funds. My designated savings accounts have changed names a couple of times in the past year (mostly because I took a couple of trips and purchased a car). The current names are Emergency Fund (I hope to start to grow this when I finish paying off my student loan and move it to a Roth IRA), Travel Fund, and Unplanned Expenses.

Thankfully, I had some funds at ING. Unfortunately the funds weren't as high as I would have preferred. With a little shuffling around to cover scheduled billpay items and no additional spending, I figured I would survive until my next paycheck.

4/3/2013 @ 9:33pm

I've been thinking about this since I stepped away for a couple of hours, and I know what happened last month. I got busy and my focus got a little skewed. This affected my decisions to not spend. Yes, some day-after-day-after-day decisions to just drive to work and pay for parking was costly: two and a half times my monthly budget for bus riding.

These decisions of convenience led to other convenience decisions. Can I blame the lack of focus on my busy-ness at work? I don’t think so.

Bottom line is that I had a plan, but I didn’t work the plan.

The next two weeks I will be on a strict, budget freeze. You could call it my personal sequester...

- - - - - - - UPDATE - - - - - - -

I realized today that I never posted this. Probably because it was my own mini-crisis and I didn't want to tell anyone, but you should know I survived to payday. I should not be so impressed with myself, but my non-use of a credit card during this time was a victory. I hope to remember this lesson for many, many months in the future.

Putting back the funds into my savings accounts is going to take some time. Oh, and that sinking feeling? yeah, that lasted right up until payday. I'm thankful to be working the plan once again.

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“A budget tells us what we can't afford, but it doesn't keep us from buying it.” –William Feather
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