We’re only in the first week of January, and I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to meet my New Year’s Resolution. In fact, I think I resolved to do the wrong thing. If you remember, I resolved to maintain a positive bank balance in January and February (Small Cents: SMART Goal 1). I don’t think this is specific enough.
I’m scared of not being able to meet this goal, and then giving up entirely. Am I giving up too quickly? Not rising up to meet the challenge? Not forcing myself beyond my comfort point into new territory? Probably, probably and definitely.
My problem in the past however, has always been with going over my budget in certain categories. Obviously, keeping my bank balance on the positive side of zero is going to be the result of sticking to my budget, but I think it’s more important for me to learn to respect the budget and not overspend. Enough is enough, in more ways than one.
For example, in December we went over by â‚¬600. Luckily we have a very flexible overdraft account and a fairly reasonable banker so we weren’t zinged by charges. This month, in keeping with our resolution, I drastically tightened the budget strings, giving us a ‘surplus’ of â‚¬600. This should fill the hole, and let us start over at zero in February.
I’m not being realistic though and I feel like I need to give ourselves some wiggle room. For one thing, my husband isn’t very happy about having his belt tightened so drastically. For another thing the national sales are starting. There are things (next size up of kids clothes, winter boots etc) that I can buy now for drastically lower prices than they will cost next year when I need them. There are also some things I forgot to put in the budget, like my Chinese lessons.
Am I justifying? Definitely. Are there things that are in the budget that could be taken out to help us meet the original goal? Sure. But I think this adjustment will be better for us in the short and long term. I’m being more specific and on track and by doing so, I’ll be better prepared for the bigger goal down the road. The most important lesson I need to learn right now is to stay within my limits, and this is the best way to do that.