Last summer I wrote a post about going into budget lockdown for the first time since paying off my debt.
Sad to say, I’m back in the same situation again. I was riding pretty high when I calculated my net worth in April, but I have several large expenses (already saved up for) coming up in the next 2-3 months and my regular full time job has just ended.
That delightful summer period of watching it slowly plummet is coming. Ugh.
I’m on contract now working on a really cool show, but it’s got stipend pay so I won’t see a penny of that money until mid-July. I also have to pay my own travel expenses (although $300 of that gets reimbursed – also in mid-July) and front any of the money I spend for the show (on exciting things like spike tape and ice packs) until that same date in mid-July.
I’m also going to make over two months what I usually make in about one, so that’s cool too.
Anyway, being on budget lockdown isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it certainly doesn’t get any more fun each time. The goal is to keep the spending to around $500 a month.
So far this month is already looking grim. That ticket I got last month, combined with one from several years ago that I thought had already fallen off my record caused me to get hit with the NJ surcharge to keep my license. So there goes $175.
Normal Mel thinks $175 is a pain in the butt, but Budget Lockdown Mel thinks… a lot of profanities about that. Although the entire thing is 100% my fault.
We also just booked all our Hawaii vacation stuff, which was definitely a huge dent in the net worth. I’d already saved up about $1500 and I had about $1500 sitting in my checking account, but that pretty much covers everything I just bought.
Here are a few things I learned from my last round of budget lockdown:
- It doesn’t actually get any easier. Restricting your own spending, even voluntarily, sucks.
- Hustling is the most amazing thing (seriously, anyone looking for a writer?), because when you’ve really tightened your belt, even an extra $20 can seem like magic.
- Successfully getting though a season of minimal income without really damaging your financial state is worth it.
- There are a ton of free things to do everywhere and it’s even easier in the summer when the weather is good.
- Emergency savings account are worth all the fuss it takes to build them up, because having one you can dip into if the budgeting plan falls apart makes everything less stressful.
- But try to remember what a pain it was to build up that account, so it stays a last place resort.
Anyway –what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?