My Budgeting Confession


*This is part 4 of my budgeting series*

You've no doubt heard me talk before about our budget binder and how Jordan and I each have a monthly allotment of what we call "blow money." It used to be $100, but when I lost my job we cut it down to $50 each. That means each month we get $50 to spend on whatever we want.

I don't know if you know this, but $50 is not a lot of money. It's like one pair of jeans from the Gap or half a pair of new running shoes.

That's why, in my list of posts I usually skip, I should have added fashion posts, because it kills me to see all the cute things you people are buying! Luckily, I have a few awesome friends who heard my childish cries for cash and gave me gift cards to spend for my birthday, which is how I acquired my pair of green skinny jeans that don't actually fit my giant runner's calves.

But I digress.

Fifty dollars. It goes fast when you have to, say, buy new running shoes or sign up for races, and sometimes I go over my month's budget. Then sometimes, I go over the next month's budget. 

All of the sudden I'm 3 months behind, and Dave Ramsey is frowning at me.

This happened to me recently over the summer. I needed new running shoes, I renewed my blog domain name for another year, I bought a mint green t-shirt, and by the time August hit, I had already spent my entire month's blow money.

I'm telling you this because despite the spreadsheets and the insanely organized binder, I don't want you to think I have my budgeting act completely together. I don't. But I'm working on it. I was really proud of myself, because in August I didn't buy anything, and I'm finally caught up with the current month! It's a great feeling. 

I've read a lot of blog posts about how difficult it is to not spend money. And that's true. But I think spending money is just like anything else: it's a habit. I would even say it's a habit than can be broken.

Sure, I wish I had unlimited number of dollars to spend. I've been majorly crushing over a pair of plaid Sperry's that I saw a friend of mine wearing at church a few weeks ago, and it would be awesome to be able to go to the store right now and buy them. But it's not the end of the world. Those Sperry's aren't going to make me a better person or make my life any better. They're just shoes. Now I just need to repeat that to myself until I believe it.

Spending money doesn't have to be a crutch or something we do just because we're bored. Staying on budget is hard sometimes, but it's worth it to pay attention to what you're spending and get back on track. 

All that to say: My goal for the last four months of 2013 is to stay on budget each month. We're halfway through September, and so far so good.

I can do this! I just have to stay strong.

Also check out these great budgeting posts I've found: 

>Sallie & Perkins series from Erin @ Love, Fun & Football
>How to Have a 10-Item Wardrobe from JenEricGeneration
>Our Debt-Free Story from Words of Williams

Do you have trouble staying within budget? 
What do you do to get back on track?


  1. Good luck! I know how hard it is to budget—especially while abroad. It's too easy to talk yourself into spending. For example, oh, paragliding from the top of the Alps is ONLY 95€ and you're already here! Why not? Yikes, I hope I have enough to last me JUST FOUR MONTHS...

    Michelle @ Mishfish13

  2. I am the WORST about staying within budget. Well.. not even that. I'm the WORST about making a budget.
    I can't get out of the mindset of: I have a full time job, no husband, no kids, and no debt. Why not enjoy my money while I can?
    Translation: I spend WAY more money than I should. It's embarrassing.

    Don't get me wrong, I make sure to put a chunk into my retirement and my savings account, but not nearly the amount that I should. I hate that I can't seem to break this habit!

  3. I don't have issues staying on budget but Tyson does. There are days I look at our bank account and blow steam out my ears over some dumb thing he bought that left me scrambling to juggle money and figure out how to make what we have work.

  4. You make me laugh (out loud) in almost every post. I completely relate to this, I am struggling to establish a strict budget right now. I really love your non-materialistic attitude. In blogging we see so many people with so. much. stuff. It's easy to develop eyes much bigger than our wallets. All in all I heart this post!

  5. Kate and Michelle, I totally agree with you!
    1) Materialism is a tough one to fight
    2) Especially when single and having no one to care for but myself.

    I'm trying to figure out budgeting with my new job and have been keeping a spread sheet where I track ALL of my income and ALL of my expenses. Every night before bed I sit down and have to face how much money I'm spending. Next step is creating a budget that I can actually begin to live off of rather than just making random purchases that I think I want.

  6. I always appreciate your honesty and openness in your budget posts. Our budget has seen some extremes in the last five years, but I feel like we've managed pretty well in spite of it. I'm an all or nothing type shopper anyway. Can I just say, when the disposable is more plentiful, spend it wisely! Now that I have none, I'm kind of glad that I bought quality things when I could. Now I can still feel pretty, even though I'm poor. ;) It's superficial, but it helps, haha.

  7. Love your honesty with is and also your determination. I recently started using and I am loving it. It's nice to see the big picture and pretty graphics don't hurt either ;)

  8. Yes, budgeting does become a habit. My husband and I went through a similar process a couple years back and it was hard not spending money and shopping for the sake of shopping, but now, I find it hard to actually get motivated to go out shopping. You can do it!

  9. budgeting SUCKS! but you're 100% right in that spending is a habit; much like living on a budget is a habit; it's a skill that has to be learned.

    Vodka and Soda

  10. $50 bucks for the whole month is not much at all. I know that's what you set but even if you went over a little it's still not spending a ton. I'm on a no spend month for this month and it feels good. I'm normally thrifty and had gotten away from that. Good luck sticking to your goals. It is hard!

  11. Thank you so much for your shout-out and as always, for your honest, helpful posts. While being on a budget does get easier, it still isn't fun! I think of all the things I'd love to buy for my wardrobe or my house, but I know being out of debt needs to be our main focus.

  12. I only just started budgeting and it's so difficult! You're right, spending totally is a habit. I've reined in my clothes spending and some other non-necessities just because I was SO POOR over the summer (internships in my field don't pay well at all). But I've already spent next month's budget for races and have some other categories I'm struggling with.

    Thanks for sharing the struggles and the successes!

  13. As a budgeter as well (and one with a purposely small wardrobe) I too skip over fashion posts. But I think that's the lovely thing about being on a budget, it allows you to focus on what truly matters to you.

  14. Love this--totally know how that is. Good luck!

  15. We struggle with this too, but as long as we're making payments towards our debt each month, I don't worry too much. But sometimes even that gets hard.

  16. I am the definition of an impulse shopper. I too have my monthly blow money, but I also have my monthly "retail therapy" money ... I have those weeks where I just need to buy something. Anything I don't use, I add to my savings. This is a good reminder for myself to get back on track! No more needless spending!

  17. Totally agree that spending money is a breakable habit! Since starting to budget the last couple months, I've notice that I instinctively think I can go buy something right away, before I remember that I need to stick to my budget and that I really don't need mint green shoes to match that dress that looks perfectly fine with the black flats I already have. I'm starting to break that mindset that spending money is perfectly normal and everyone does it. You're totally right that it's just a habit--and now that I'm aware of my spending habits, it's getting easier and easier to break them!

  18. I don't like spending money--so that tends to be a big help to me in sticking to our budget. My husband's paycheck is different every two weeks, so I have to separate it out differently, and some times we have more fun money than others so we have to be adjusting. For us, the questions "Will we regret NOT buying this?" and "Will we get a good cost-per-use out of this item?" are the most helpful questions when deciding whether to spend money or not!

  19. You CAN. I know it. (I'm not one to talk... I bought a car & upped my student loan payments, never re-budgeted, & wondered why I'm so broke all of the sudden. Budget fail.)

  20. Yay for budgeting! My husband is super frugal so this has become a way of life. Hello fellow Oklahoman-I'm always excited to find someone in this wide world of blogging who lives where I do! I ran my first marathon in April 2010, but I haven't run one since! Perhaps you'll inspire me to do it again!

  21. I typically live within budget but I do have my splurge moments too!! I need to be better about those!

  22. It's good of you to be honest! We're on the Dave plan, too, but it's so easy to get off track especially when we're traveling. Our blow money is $50 each per month, too, and it goes so fast!! That's the exact same reason I don't post fashion posts either because I have nothing new! haha I know it's worth it in the end, and we're so close, but it's not always easy. Good for you for sticking with it and being transparent about when it doesn't go perfectly.

  23. Budgeting is hard, but at least you're keeping with it. I think having "blow money" is essential. We can only take so much deprivation.

    I giggled when you said Dave Ramsey is frowning at you--hee hee! :)

  24. Yuck! I have been the absolute worst this month with budgeting I was doing so good at the beginning of the month and then it seemed to just spill out all the time and always on things I just didn't need to buy! Why does that happen all the time I have pretty much zero will power - next pay day I am no longer taking my bank card out with me I will be saving it purely for emergencies and only taking small amounts of cash!


  25. I love your budgeting series! Over the years, my husband and I have had different periods where we were "in transition" - me in school, he transitioning careers, requiring "in-between jobs" before landing in his new field, etc. We learned really quick what it "really" meant to budget, as we lived on tight incomes during those days. I became best friends (and still am!) with Seriously, it's amazing. Today, it's important to us to stay with it. You never know when a rainy day could happen. Your posts keep me inspired to stay with the program!

    PS - Just wanted to let you know that I've nominated you for Liebster Award. It's a peer to peer "recognition", so to speak. :) If you'd like to participate, check out

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  27. I wish you were here to sit down across the table from me and just tell me what to do! ha. Your finance blogs will just have to do. Love 'em... I'm going to go over all four of your series blogs with Greg at some point this week. It's time to get back on track! (Though we are saving a LOT and have literally spent about $30 on food in the last month and a half because of the produce box I get from my internship. A-mazing.)

  28. You can!!! Budgeting is tough stuff. I would love to be better about it, but it's so hard to get my husband on board. He does, but then he blows it, and then it's not a matter of just making it up in the next month or two because he isn't really invested in it in the first place. So frustrating!

  29. So somehow I missed your previous budgeting posts...but I just checked them out and you have inspired me! We just moved and I accepted a new job, and my husband is currently not working...meaning we need a budget overhaul! I'm planning on using many parts of your system...especially the binder--I LOVE how organized it is! Thanks for sharing!


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