When Your Budget Deceives You

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How did my husband and I get into $50,000 in debt?  It wasn’t because life’s circumstances happened and justified us borrowing money. It was because we lived beyond our means and didn’t even know it.  Our budget deceived us.

We had a budget on paper somewhere that included our fixed monthly expenses (bills where you pay the same amount every month) and our variable expenses (bills that come every month, but the amount varies).  It balanced just like it should.

I remember the day in June 2006 when the light bulb came on.  Our life costs more than our fixed and variable monthly bills.  Christmas comes every year and we buy gifts.  Winter comes and we need gloves.  Summer comes and we need new shorts.    My tooth needs a crown.  The brakes go out and they need to replaced.  Those things happen. They happen whether I have planned for them or not.

We calculated how much we spend annually on those non-routine things – car repair, medical bills, vacations, clothes, home repair, home furnishings, etc.  We divided by twelve to get a monthly amount and added it into our budget as a monthly expense. Holy smokes!  Our budget had been lying to us.  It didn’t balance after all.

Your turn: Figure it out for yourself.  Has your budget been lying to you?

I am starting a new feature on Pocket Your Dollars.  Every Thursday (or Friday?) I will share a nugget about my family’s journey from $50,000 in debt to financial freedom. My heart’s desire is to inspire you and equip you to reach your dreams by getting out from under financial pressure.


  1. Nikki says

    Very excited for this feature! We had this realization about 4 months ago…it is sickening how much money we just threw away on "stupid" stuff that we didn't need. Lessoned learned the hard way…now to changing the future.

  2. Hilary says

    I cannot convince my husband to reduce our outrageous directv bill. he insists we need NFLticket and college game day. thats and extra $450 plus tax.

    and hunting is not cheap either.

  3. Jae says

    My budget has always been honest with me, I'm the one that lies to my budget from time to time. Even though it's really a want and not a need, I end up caving in sometimes.

  4. says

    I've definitely noticed that as our income increases, so do our expenses… when there's extra money in the checking account, suddenly it's no big deal to eat out two or three times a week, or buy new toys, etc. But then when the income decreases, suddenly you realize that your spending hasn't! I find period reviews of the budget – good, honest reviews – can help you stay on track.

    Good post! I'm looking forward to this series!

  5. Karen says

    I've always been pretty good about staying on budget, but I'll tell you, volunteering for Crown Financial has helped us immensly. It's hard to overspend when I'm constantly telling other poeple not to. It's also helped me to find ways to save money for others, and then use the ideas on myself.

  6. says

    I can relate totally. We now are living with no credit cards. We budget and if there is no money we are done spending. We listen to David Ramsey on the radio and have his books. Our debt is lower than it was but we borrowed to buy a used car recently rather than buying a $1,000 beater we would have to save for. Our goals for now to save 1,000 emergency fund and then pay off the car as fast as we can. We are working at trying to get extra hours at work and build our internet book business. Good luck Carrie . I look forward to watching you succeed and I hope that you will watch my progress on my blog site.

  7. says

    I am looking forward to this was well. I worked for a bank before I became a stay at home mom and learned a lot about budgeting. I can easily tell others what they need to do and how it works, but at home it is not that easy. I know how much we need for our fixed bills and how much we have left for those variable bills. I can't wait to get the cars paid off and have some extra money in the bank.

  8. says

    That is sooooo true! We never seem to add in those misc. expenses or we list them as misc. and do not account for the HUGE DOLLARS we are wasting – $20 here, $20 there…

    THANK you for an excellent post!

  9. Sue says

    Hi Carrie.. Have you started this new feature?

    " I am starting a new feature on Pocket Your Dollars. Every Thursday (or Friday?) I will share a nugget about my family’s journey from $50,000 in debt to financial freedom. My heart’s desire is to inspire you and equip you to reach your dreams by getting out from under financial pressure"

  10. KJ says

    Hi Carrie- I just saw you on Kare 11 last night. I have used your site before and love saving money. I just wanted to say thank you for all the inspiration you give us. I hope to say my family is debt free in 2 or 3 years, Thanks.

  11. Nichole says

    thank you so much for all of the advice, you are very wise. I pray that someday we too can be debt free, we are done with credit cards but we still have fear and yes I do need much hand holding. God Bless and will buy the book as soon as I can get the money together. Thanks again.

  12. Sheila says


    If you happen to have extra books you don't need anymore, try paperbackswap.com. If you list 10 books you can choose one off the site for free. But the owner does have to pay shipping once someone else chooses one of your books. I normally try to get cheap 10 or 25 cent books at rummage sales for this purpose.

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