by Michelle Jones
This has been one of the busiest, most packed-full, summers I've ever had in my life. Even though the school-year ended for 3 of our children in June, things didn't really start to slow down until sometime in July, and before we knew it, we were celebrating 3 more birthdays and getting ready for BACK to school all within a few weeks.
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I'm sure many of you can relate, especially if you have young children still at home, or are working several jobs at once. But I've learned something new about money over the summer and I'd like to share it with you now.
I guess you could call it, a money spending danger zone.
Similar to the way many people over-eat, drink, smoke, etc., when they are OVER-STRESSED or TIRED, they (we) also tend to OVERSPEND when we are over-stressed and/or over-tired!
Think about that for a moment and see if it applies to you or your family members. Of course, everyone handles life differently, so there may be people whose spending is completely unaffected by stress, emotions and circumstances, just as their diet may remain unaffected as well. Lucky folks.
For the rest of us dear emotional souls... stress, emotions, and even exhaustion may spell, among other things, money troubles.
What kind of troubles am I talking about?
Just to name a few: eating out more often, buying groceries you don't really need, gifts you can't afford because you're too tired to make a special homemade one, spending $20 on a birthday cake from the bakery instead of a taking a couple hours to mix, bake and frost one yourself for $2 a box. At least that's one area I've got under control (baking our own cakes), even during our busiest 4 birthdays in a row. It's a piece of cake! ;o)
These are just a few of the endless ways we can overspend our budgets.
It can happen so easily if we don't remain alert and focused on managing our money wisely, every month.
How about paying bills late, running over phone and computer limits, taking longer hot showers (running up both the water and gas or electric bills), and even splurging too much on entertainment costs because you're so stressed or tired. Surely, you "deserve it."
The Real Danger Zone
More importantly, when you're tired or stressed, you may lose perspective of the difference between needs and wants.
A key for every successful budget!
Whatever the reasons we sometimes overspend might be, what are we going to do about about it? We can try to avoid stress and get more sleep, but sometimes that's easier said than done.
But the truth is, if you can just keep your bills and your BUDGET organized each month it will help tremendously.
Here's a few critical steps to follow:
Have your budget in place and review it monthly for updates.
Have a set day every week to pay the bills. Even if you don't have any bills that are due for a particular bill, you will continue to keep your budget in focus throughout the month.
Make a grocery list each week and stick to it.
Plan out your menus for the week and stretch the meals into two when you can, this will avoid those last minute runs for take-out.
Take small breaks during the day just for you. Read a book!
A 10-20 minute walk every morning or afternoon will not only keep you fit, but it will energize you and help you get through the rest of the day.
Enlist family members to help around the house, make up a chore schedule if necessary.
Make sure your budget includes money for lunches, groceries, gifts, vacations, everything you've spent money on in the past (as we've talked about many times here on the site). Discover how much is okay to spend, and how much is too much. If you spend on these items without a budget in place, especially when you're stressed and exhausted, you're very likely to spend... TOO MUCH.
Pray for guidance every day, it really does help. And when you do that, all of the above will usually fall into place.
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Copyright © 2002 Michelle Jones. All rights reserved.