Where did all my money go? I had more at the beginning of the month but none now, why? Where did all my money go?
This is one of the most important questions to answer, in my opinion, when you start on a journey like this. That is one of the main reasons why we started to do this. My husband and I both have full-time jobs and make good money at them. So why were we not able to make it through everything each month?
Enter YNAB. Yes, I spoke of this in the last post, and I apologize, ok not really but I will speak of it again and again and again.
The biggest difference is when you are allocating your money. Knowing what you have and what it has to be spent on is an eyeopener. Instead of thinking "Oh, I just got paid, I have money for this, that and that other thing over there", the mindset changes to "I just got paid, and after taking out the bills, mortgage, car payment, grocery money, gas money, etc. etc., turns out this and that I can pay for now, but whoops! I don't have money for that other thing over there after all."
Whether it's an envelope system that you physically put cash into, a budget spreadsheet where you fill in the numbers, the concept is pretty similar: take what you have, determine exactly what NEEDS that money has to spent on, and go from there. We are becoming fans of the YNAB system, which has you looking ahead only as far as your next paycheque. If you get paid on the 1st and the 15th, your budget each month is basically split into two halves: what your money needs to do for you from the 1st to 14th, and what it needs to do from the 15th to the end of the month.
It's a huge adjustment for people like us who are used to planning a month or more in advance. But that advance planning in a lot of cases is a giant mouthful (actually it's a bowlful). The idea of "what do I need my money to do until I get paid again?" breaks that into smaller chunks that actually fit on the spoon.
And no, it's not "living paycheque to paycheque", it's just budgetting that way. We've been doing this for not even a month and we're already finding that we have money left over at the end of the paycheque.
It's kind of a novel concept.