I'm on a budget. I've been on a budget since 1983...for reasons I may explain later. I suspect this budget thing could be considered an addiction. I used to carry a list in my checkbook of what I could spend and when. Obsessive, right?
For most of these past 29 years I have records of what I budgeted, what I spent, the budget-vs.-actual numbers and anything I was able to save (and not). When I bought my home 20 yrs. and 1 month ago, I knew, going into the closing, almost to the penney, what my payment would be and how I was going to keep this homeownership thing afloat. I prove out my checkbook every month...to the penny...and I don't give up until it balances. I could never imagine being off by a few cents....oh, the humanity! Yes, some of my friends think I'm nuts.
Right now, I'm crunching numbers with my sights set on retirement. Mind you, the big event is probably about 2 to 3 years in the future. But, when I think that I just celebrated 39 years with the company I work for, the big day will be here before I know it. Instead of a full-out budget, I've been keeping track of just my expenses since January 1 and, with a few unexpected events, I'm pretty much on target. That is until the past two weeks when the checking account statement arrived and my hairdresser moved to a high-end salon.
I really really really thought I had deposited $640, not $620 like my statement shows. But, alas, the deposit slip revealed the truth. I must have put that $20 in the gas tank. Ugh! OK, all is not lost, no checks bounced, and I made it to another payday. Whew! And then there was the visit to the hairdresser this past Saturday. Ooooooo, a new salon with a spa and a manicurist and a boutique and gormet coffee with treats and a shampoo girl that does more for my attitude than a Xanax or Valium and, ultimately, new prices! I actually thought they had overcharged me...after all, I blew out my own hair. But, no, I was wrong! In fact, I got a $15 break from my hairdresser; correction, at these prices, he's got to be a stylist. Don't get me wrong, he's worth it. I've never had more care-free and healthy hair than I have now but, I have to admit, I had sticker shock. Going from paying $85 for a color and cut to $115 will do that.
So I'm revising my expense list and my retirement target date has not changed. It's all still good...or at least it will be once I can wrap my head around these bumps in the road or when I discover where I can find an extra $30 to add to that hairdress expense. Keep calm and carry on!