Budget Planning Update

Lol, I love Grumpy Cat! The memes this cat has inspired are some of my favorites.

For some reason, it seems the word “budget” has a bad connotation. I can understand why – it usually means restrictions, cutting back, or completely giving things up. So let’s clear it up!

I’m doing an update on my budgeting plans that started several month back. I’ve learned quite a bit about money management, my own personal spending habits, and will power. Budgeting doesn’t mean restricting – it means creating a roadmap for financial success. A true successful budget doesn’t start by eliminating things. Here’s what I did…

  1. Write down total monthly income.
  2. Write down categories like Home, Auto, Utilities, Food, Savings, and yes, even Fun money.
  3. In each category, write the items that category includes. Example:
    1. Food:
      1. Grocery
      2. Restaurant money
      3. Kiddo’s lunch money
  4. Assign values to EVERYTHING: haircuts, weekly spending money, even that expensive coffee splurge – you have to account for ALL of it.

After that, I had a clear view of where my money was going and where it needed to go. I was able to shift things around so that I had a plan that made sense for my family.

Every month since the budgeting started, something has come up – car repairs, Christmas presents, etc. The Savings category has been there to cover all of it. The idea behind Savings, for me at least, was to save money, but it has mostly been a contingency fund. This has been a huge lifesaver since all these extra things have come up along the way.

So how has it been going? Well, I don’t have a savings stashed but I have been able to address random things that have come up with no trouble while not affecting the other parts of my budget. Budgeting allows me to compartmentalize my money so one thing doesn’t affect another.

So wipe out those negative thoughts about budgeting and ask yourself if compartmentalizing your money would make life easier. If so… try making a budget with categories and see if you can get your money moving where you really want it.

Living with Fibromyalgia

I don’t know where this picture came from… but it’s pretty accurate.

I first saw that picture on Pinterest. I don’t know where it came from or who owns it but it is pretty accurate. I’m 40 years old, but I feel much older than that. I don’t look my age so I hear a lot of “you’re too young to be in pain”. Living with Fibro… what a pain. Literally.

I was first diagnosed in my early 30’s but my symptoms were around for much longer. I have noticed they’ve gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. I think the hardest thing about living with Fibro is getting people to understand how awful you feel.

So what is it like? Well… imagine you’ve been awake for 36 hours. Now imagine you run 30 miles without stopping and then push your car around the block several times. Add having the flu, a hangover, and a sunburn. You’re kinda getting close now. The problem with Fibro is the really extensive list of symptoms that anyone can experience at any time.

Here are the most common:

  • Fatigue
  • Widespread muscle/joint pain
  • Brain fog
  • Sensitivity in all of the 5 senses
  • Insomnia/screwed up sleep patterns
  • Depression

On a good day I wake up exhausted. On a bad day, I wake up feeling like I got hit by a truck the night before. I think anyone fighting this battle will agree the good days are few and far between while the bad days require every ounce of strength to just get out of bed in the morning, never mind going to work and being productive. I have learned, as we all have, to roll with the energy highs and lows. Last night, I fell asleep on the couch at 7:30 and then dragged myself to bed at 8:30. Tonight, maybe 9 or so but I did get a load of laundry done this evening. My sink is currently still full of dirty dishes.

My goal is not be super-mom. I work two jobs, I’m a single mom, my son is autistic, and when you add Fibro to that, well, there’s a whole lot going on in my house. Again, not trying to be super-mom. If I go to bed at night after accomplishing nothing, then so be it. If I manage to get a few things done, then so be it. It is what it is. My house is messy sometimes and I’m ok with that. My son is healthy and happy and that’s all I care about.

In the end, living with Fibro really forces you to prioritize your life. Every day, I wake up and ask myself “What is the most important thing I have to accomplish today?” and focus on that. If I get other stuff done, great. If not, great. Priorities. Priorities. Priorities.

It would be great if people really understood what Fibro does to a person, but the reality is that likely won’t happen. I don’t often talk about my Fibro because it’s so involved and the symptoms vary from day to day, that I would rather spend my time on what’s important: taking care of my son and taking care of myself.

For anyone out there fighting this battle… self care is so important. Whatever it is – massages, naps, warm baths… take care of yourself in any way you need to. Remember – it’s all about priorities.