My biggest problem right now dealing my finances is not the reduced income that I am still adjusting to, although that is a pretty big problem.
It is fear.
Fear of not being able to pay my bills. Fear of what happens if I make my budget zero balanced and I don't make enough this month to cover everything next month.
The fear is almost paralyzing.
I know that I have some money left over after paying everything. Before I lost my previous job, I would be sending that money straight to a debt, no problem. But now things seem to have taken on a new color which is making me want to just save the little bit I have just in case.
This just in case fear is not without a price. I am paying more in interest because of it. I am keeping debts around longer than I need to because of it. I am awake well past midnight when I don't have to work because of it.
I am not awake stressing about the debts themselves, which is odd. I am awake stressing about whether or not to submit a payment, worrying about whether I need to keep the money on hand - just in case.
Now, I do have a $1,000 Baby Emergency fund. I also have a $1,000 buffer in my checking account, which at one point was my just in case money. Now, it is sitting there because I have to be able to cover the bills that are due before I get the rent check from my house and my GI Bill is deposited. So, my just in case money has become a necessity because of my depositing schedule compared to my due date schedules.
That $200 payment I made? The one towards the debt with only a $36 minimum payment? I almost didn't send it - just in case. Technically, I had written down in the budget to only send $165 towards this debt - written in the budget so I would send the payment regardless of my just in case syndrome. I upped the amount to $200 because of the just in case syndrome, telling myself that I need to calm down and trust not only myself, but in the Lord as well.
I have yet to have a month where I was unable to pay the debts. Which is not only a testament to myself and how my behavior towards budgeting, spending, and overall money management has changed, but also a testament to the fact that He helps those who help themselves.
I have to let go of this fear of not having enough money. Truth be told, with the money that I am earning, even on a lowball estimate with the buffer, I have enough to cover the bills that are due before the other deposits are made. I need to simply decide how I am going to budget the remaining money I have available for the rest of this month and trust in the fact that although life is not easy street right now, I will have enough at the beginning of next month.
I need to budget the money and then follow through on that budget. I have always made pretty good progress when I have had a plan. This is no different, even if the numbers on the spreadsheet are.