On this blog, in this podcast, and in my eBook, I've told the story of how car maintenance changed my budgeting life.
Last week, I spent over $500 on my car...and not a tear was shed, not a freak-out was had, and I even got a little kick out of knowing this would increase my cash back on my credit card this month!
Honestly, I'm not trying to brag, but to point out that having a living, breathing budget makes all the difference.
I wasn't expecting to need 3 new tires at this service...but the reality is, cars need new tires. This is why I've kept $500 in my Car Maintenance category. The total for the tires, oil change and smog certification came to $452 (this is for my old car, not the new).
The other $101 was for my car registration. That came out of my Car Registration category that gets funded every month, based on the last registration fees for both cars, divided over 12 months.
I got somewhat lucky that this happened this month because next month, I get a 5th paycheck, which will mostly go towards replenishing the Car Maintenance category for next time. Because there will be a next time.
And that's my point. Call it the Power of Negative Thinking or Realistic Budgeting or simply getting through life. Kids need new clothes, holidays and birthdays happen every year, and anything of value you own will need servicing at some point. When your monthly budget reflects these realities, budgeting is actually easy.