So, where is this “normal month” that I keep thinking is around the corner?
“Well, last month was not normal because we moved.”
“Well, this month is not normal because we have all of these unexpected car issues to resolve.”
“Next month won’t be normal because we’ll be traveling to visit relatives for Thanksgiving and we’ll have extra food costs because of the holiday. Plus, starting to buy Christmas presents!”
“December won’t be normal because… yeah, Christmas.”
Seriously? A quarter of the year will go by and I will still think of it as “abnormal.” WHY do I do that? And that completely leaves out the fact that I always think of the summer months as abnormal because we tend to travel, and in the past H and I would both be at home with L all day (because… no work!).
I am starting to realize that there IS no normal month. There is no month that I can say, “Wow, nothing weird or unexpected came up. Cool!”
That means that our budget has to be the kind of budget than can absorb these blows. Prepare for the unexpected and all of that.
In December of 2013, we decided we would start a Sinking Fund, and that did totally help – we now save for expenses that we can predict WILL happen (just not always WHEN they will happen). Our sinking fund covers car repairs, gifts, L’s extra costs (school supplies, field trip costs, etc.), H’s business expenses, health care costs, car insurance, and we’ll soon be adding a clothing sinking fund as well.
Unfortunately, things still come up that are outside the categories, or – worse – the costs exceed the amount we have in the fund. We do have an emergency fund (there’s $500 in it right now – we’re working on beefing it up!), and I’m not above pulling from other categories, as long as they get paid back as soon as possible.
Honestly, this kind of problem doesn’t come up that much… mostly because I took the average of the previous year’s expenses in those categories and divided by 12 to come up with the amount to set aside each month.
However, when it does come up, it’s a whammy! And it’s usually car repairs.
Which is what it is this month.
It’s just so frustrating to feel like we just can’t get ahead with some of our goals. It’s great to be saving the way we’ve been able to these past months, but my main goal right now is to LIVE WITHIN OUR BUDGET.
Thanks for letting me blow off some steam, PF friends. 🙂 Anyone else have a way they deal with these “Abnormal Months”? I think it’s a mental thing – any advice?