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If You're Going Through Budget Hell, Keep Going

If You're Going Through Budget Hell, Keep Going

Angela Colley

Photo via iStock

Photo via iStock

For most people, budgeting is kind of a drag. And if there isn’t a lot of money coming in, it’s a lot tougher than plugging numbers into some budgeting software and reaping the satisfaction of a job well done. Once you’re in uncharted financial territory, budgeting becomes less of an occasional chore and more of a mission.

Misty Mathews, who found her financial boat rocked seven months ago, shares her journey of budgeting in uncertainty on The Billfold. She’s found ways to lower her expenses—like mostly cutting out the weeknight takeout—without going insane in the process (or eating ramen by candlelight). But there’s been some struggles too.

One of her biggest challenges has been emotional spending. For Mathews, the instant gratification of small treats is just the thing to get you through a hard time:

“If I’m having a rough day at work, that salad or microwaveable meal I have waiting for me in the work fridge doesn’t necessarily look as appealing, and I know I can get a burger and slice of cheesecake from the deli downstairs. And I deserve it, I tell myself, because I’m having a tough day.”

Learning when to go for those little luxuries and when to push off the impulse is tricky because you really should reward yourself every once in a while, but you don’t want to run out of money for the utility bill in the process. Mathews is still figuring it out, but she’s learned enough to keep her family afloat until the money starts rolling in again.

Want to learn more of her tricks for navigating uncertain financial times? Check out the rest of “Our Finances Aren’t Totally Screwed Yet” at The Billfold

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