Monday 161: Patterns of Chaos


Monday, 30 May 2016

With nearly every weekend taken up with a Major Family Event (graduations, birthdays), everything fell apart.  Not horribly, but not well, either.  By “fall apart” I mean we did not pay attention to our finances as we want to, should have, and so on . . . as one event piled onto another, things just slipped away.  Receipts to be entered into the budget were put on the desk, and then thrown away in a cleaning frenzy, never entered into the check register or YNAB.  The budget wasn’t reviewed.  And the result is that the checking account, while not overdrawn, had more money pulled from it in different categories, and self-indulgences hit, such as buying books on Amazon and so forth.

The chaos?

We used more cash than normal, added a lot to the routine grocery bill (some might be for all the parties, but since the receipts are gone, who knows??!!), hobbies had more expenditures than allotted, dining out and entertainment came in, and there were miscellaneous expenses, and altogether I really have no idea where we spent money.  We still saved money, but I don’t really know where our extra cash went.  My May 2016 YNAB is all kerflooey!  I had to just make an adjustment and start with my current balance.

The lesson?

Pay attention to the details as they move along.  Put things in YNAB and the check register daily.

The pattern?

We let things go when we get busy, and that is not good.  Not really bad, but it doesn’t help us with focusing on our financial goals, either.

Dealing with the pattern!

The fact is, when we do get busy, we turn on the “we’ll take care of it tomorrow” button.  Tomorrow never comes.  Chaos is the result of this habit, which is really a pattern in our lives.  It’s sort of hard to describe, really, but it’s like the expression from Lewis Carroll, “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.”  Somewhere there is some zen to be gained from recognizing this pattern, as I really do think knowledge of this kind is a wonderful learning tool.  I can see it happening at periods in our lives, and even within some of the writings on this blog, but the pattern was not recognized.  This is where a subtle form of growth has occurred, just from making a weekly assessment of finances and life.

A challenge, a goal, a lesson.

The next two months will be challenges in this area.  The end of June will see a pick up of events – birthdays, theatre and dinner, weddings.  Many weekends in a row will be busy.  Knowing this, I hope we will be more conscious of this pattern, and work to continue on our chosen financial path, even with all these crazy social events on the horizon.

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