I’m not sure if there’s a technical name for the issue I’m having.
It’s the issue that makes me wish society were set up so we were all paid once a month and it happened on the same day all the bills were due so there was never this weird gap between getting paid and paying things.
Cash flow is what I call it. The timing of money coming in vs. the timing of money going out.
I’ve had it happen more times than I can count. I get all my bills together (I can do that whenever because I have a spreadsheet – I’m nerdycoolchic like that) and then look at the money coming in for the month and will know – without a doubt – that I have enough for the month. Then the month actually happens (they do that) and viola! Not enough money.
Because finance is more than having enough money. It’s about timing that money.
Eventually I will finally go on the YNAB (You Need A Budget) plan. You sock away a month’s worth of expenses in your checking account and then you just pay stuff when it’s due. That one month leaves you a buffer so you never go over or don’t have enough.
Of course, that plan requires saving up a month’s worth of expenses, which we had for a long time before, well, you know, stuff happens. Now we are in a holding pattern for eight more weeks. During that eight weeks we’re holding on with savings and the wing and a prayer of the tax return – you know, the one I can’t file for until I have W2 forms that I don’t have yet and don’t know when they’re coming because if taxes couldn’t be filed until January 30th you know that January 30th wasn’t the deadline for getting W2 forms out – which may or may not get us through. It probably will. It usually does. See how that’s almostbutnotquite certain? That’s pretty much how everything is going.
So my reaction? Get gazelle intense. The car broke down again (the fourth time in as many months) and I’m just done with fixing it. Every time it goes into the shop it costs $200ish dollars. I’m done putting money into that car when the ONLY purpose it serves is giving me a car to take the youngest to preschool in. Getting rid of it will save the repair costs and will reduce our overall gas cost.
The only cost is me feeling like a completely awful person for not having my bright, funny, social 3yo in preschool. Not that she’ll remember, but I feel like I’m denying her something important. I hate that feeling.
But if my feelings need to be sacrificed so we can become debt-free sooner, then so be it. I’d rather be in a great position to put her in activities when she’s 5 and can remember it (if I’m lucky) than sacrifice her future for preschool now. Sure, it’s an “and” world and there is a chance we could do both, but I’ve always been of the opinion you have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best, because then you’ve got all the “in between” stuff taken care of. You know where you’re willing to cut down to.
To get financially free, I’m willing to cut almost to the bone. Not quite – I want my older daughters to get back into activities as soon as possible – but other than that the rest is all kinds of scorched earth. If I’m being completely honest with myself, I may wait longer than necessary to get their activities back on the roster so we can hold off on another car until our current car is paid off. I’m not sure exactly how that will all play out. I don’t want another car payment, but again, I’ll see what that looks like when I get there. Planning too far in advance just makes me stress out and that’s not productive.
But back to the main point of this post. How do you deal with cash flow? Do you just get paid twice a month and know that X bills get paid with the first check and Y bills get paid with the second check? We aren’t sure what hubby’s pay schedule will be yet, that’s all up in the air right now and I’m trying not to think about it too much because that’s just toying with panic attacks I don’t need to be dealing with.
So…how do you do your cash flow?
Especially those quarterly bills … do you put a little away every month or do you just get surprised?
I love being in the place where I’m planning my plan. I have some kind of planning sickness, I think. LOL