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Tag: budgets

Money Anxiety (AKA Buyer’s Remorse)

Money Anxiety (AKA Buyer’s Remorse)

If you’ve ever bought a house, then you are probably familiar with the idea of buyer’s remorse. It’s when that voice in the back of your head questions whether lending six figures of debt for this house is really worth it. Many of us assume that buyer’s remorse is a normal part of the home-buying process. If you are purchasing something as significant as your home, then it’s natural to feel doubts or regret. It’s not like you are signing your life away to a mortgage lender and committing to decades of debt. No big deal. Those feelings don’t matter once you sign the dotted line and walk into your brand new home. It’s impossible to go through such a life-altering experience without just a little bit of anxiety.

My problem is that I feel buyer’s remorse for almost every purchase I make.

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Fixed Costs Matter More Than Everyday Spending

Fixed Costs Matter More Than Everyday Spending

2016 has been the year of slashing budgets in the Rustic Walks household. Our Frugal August Challenge showed us what a difference small changes can make, so we’ve whittled down our spending to focus on the essentials. But we realized that we only cut back on everyday expenses. The easy choices like packing lunch over eating out, buying less expensive coffee beans, or resisting the urge to buy every wool sweater in sight (this can’t be just us, right?). Things like our rent, utilities, and transportation have yet to be put on the chopping block. In fact, they are staying the same even though we’re moving to a new apartment.

That’s the thing about small changes. They’re easy, but they also make us feel like we’re making a difference. Of course saving $200 each year by cutting back on everyday spending is a step in the right direction. But what difference does an extra $200 make if other expenses are higher than they should be? How much money could we save if we reduced our fixed costs? Certainly more than $200.

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Tracking Spending: Falling Too Far Down the Rabbit Hole

Tracking Spending: Falling Too Far Down the Rabbit Hole

When I first started diving deep into the personal finance community, the first tenant of Personal Finance 101 that stuck with me was the importance of a budget. There’s no way to know where your money goes without keeping track of it. It’s the same as monitoring your data usage. When you get an alert that you’re about to go over your data for the month, you start hunting down all the Wi-Fi hotspots within a three mile radius so you can stay under the limit. Budgets mean nothing if you don’t keep track of your spending.

Unfortunately, my idea of budgeting was to spend whatever I wanted and hope that it stayed within my budget. Most months this strategy was a complete fail. I logged into Mint every day to check up on my progress, but as the month continued and my budgets teetered on going over I ignored the spending alerts in my inbox and carried on my merry way. Then I’d go over my budget by $100-$200 and wonder what went wrong. Mint told me that I’d gone over on groceries, shopping, and the illusive “Everything Else”, but it offered no advice on how to change my habits. Even worse, I told myself I would do better next month to make up for it, but I didn’t identify where I’d slipped up and what adjustments I should make.

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