Today has been one of those days. You know, where everything feels like it is outside of your control and nothing goes right? Yup, that's me. Besides the obvious pity party that comes with a bad day, bad days are often the time where your financial organization can go out the window. Having financial organization and discipline is sort of like adopting a healthy eating plan...stress comes along and the next thing you know you're eating ice cream.
I think it is completely unrealistic to always be frugal when you are overwhelmed. Everyone is going to have days where things get out-of-whack. The trick to surviving such times is to have some plans to minimize the damage. There is a little bit of self-awareness in this, because where you are likely to overspend depends on you. Some people find they like to do some retail therapy when things are tough. Some people like to drink. Me, I like to eat out.
I think there are two ways you can maintain some sort of financial control. The first way is to have some "in the middle" options. For example, if you are a shopper, how can you shop without blowing your budget? When my husband and I were first married, and money was very tight, my big splurge was grocery shopping. I figured that food was a necessity, and therefore that was a safe place to go a little wild. Another option might be to limit yourself to the thrift stores. It is a lot harder to do significant damage when you are buying $4 pants than when you are buying $40 pants.
The second way is to have a enough cushion in your budget to absorb an unexpected expense. Tonight, after the madness, I suggested to my husband that we go out to eat. Yes, it cost us about $40, and I hadn't planned it into our budget, but we could afford it and it gave me great pleasure. Back in the newlywed days, a big purchase might have been a Slurpee at the 7-11, but it was something out of the ordinary that helped me blow off some steam and get myself together.
No one is perfect, and sometimes life is hard. A temporary situation doesn't have to spell an end to your hard financial work, just try to minimize the damage and put things back together in the morning.
And that is what I am off to do.