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Feeling Broke

July 17th, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Maybe it is the trying to do two No Spend Months in a row, but I'm feeling broke. I was just looking at my pay stubs for the past five years and my take home is about $170 more per paycheck than it was when I started. And I was extremely happy to be getting what I was getting when I started!

I like my job. I mostly like the people. I don't really have any burning desire to get another job and I think I get paid well for what I do. I'm lucky. I know this.

So what gives? I'm actually wondering if the budget itself is making me feel broke. When I first started my job, I was on my own, in my own apartment, paying all the bills myself. Now I live with my boyfriend and pay him a certain amount (about 40% of the bills) and the groceries. But the budget tells me that I have no money to eat out. What I used to do is take out a certain amount of cash and used it for groceries and clothes and out to eat. Cash gone? Done spending.

Now I'm trying to fit that cash system into a budget and I have a lot of cash left in my wallet, but my budget says I have no money. Admittedly, these past two months have been lean on spending (or supposed to be) because I'm paying off my credit card after fixing the camper and the car.

The strange thing is that I feel broke, but if you had me sit down with a pen and piece of paper and asked me what I want---I can only think of a handful of things I wish I could buy. Of course, they are BIG things (trip to Hawaii, anyone?).

So where is this feeling of being broke coming from? The budget. The excel budget. It is telling me that I have $65 left to spend for the rest of the month. Nevermind that I have $120 in cash in my wallet. Or that I get paid on the 28th and will have another $220 then.

I know there are tricks to make yourself feel less broke. Make a list of free things to do like go to the park or the library. Start a gratitude journal. Savor the little things. Use up some of my gift cards.

Or maybe for the month of August, go back to cash and not track and see what that does for me.

Yesterday was a No Spend Day. Today will be bowling $10, lunch with co-workers $7, dinner at Subway with boyfriend $???, and a stop at the grocery store for taco shells $3?.

6 Responses to “Feeling Broke”

  1. doingitallwrong Says:

    If your budget says you only have $65 left and you have $340, then you need to adjust your budget. Smile A budget should ease your money anxiety, not increase it! If the cash system worked for you, maybe try it for August while also tracking all of your spending, and then revamp your budget for September to more accurately reflect your actual spending habits. If you're an online type of person, you might try mvelopes.com -- it's a free budgeting program based on the cash envelope system. (There's also mint.com, which I think is more powerful for actual free budgeting options, but it's not based on the cash envelope system.)

  2. Rachael777 Says:

    Just saying I feel the same way as you. you are not alone. I w ill be reading these comments to learn too. Smile

  3. rob62521 Says:

    Besides seeing the $65 on paper, are you hanging with people who are spending a lot? We are friends with a couple who are big spenders and who really can't afford it and sometimes it makes us question ourselves if we are nuts.

  4. crazyliblady Says:

    One thing that could have changed for you is just the costs of stuff - food, gas for your car, rent, insurance, etc. Some of that kind of stuff you can control by making different choices and some of it you can't. Like everyone has to eat and you could eat out, grow and eat your own food, or buy it at a store.

    Another thing is does your budget account for where all of your pay goes? In other words, do you budget down to the penny? Perhaps if your pay varies, you could vary your budget every month accordingly.

  5. My English Castle Says:

    For me, telling myself, "no, no, no," is really draining sometimes. Tonight I was feeling kind of like I've been pinching pennies a bit too tightly, and used my Starbucks gift card for a nice frappucino. Sometimes that's all it takes.

  6. SecretarySaving Says:

    You are also older now and are paying on credit card debt. Once that is gone, it will free up that payment. I think you are doing a great job! It may stink at times but just know that you have a plan and most people don't.

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