Fell off the bandwagon over the holidays and screwed myself over.... I need help and encouragement to get back on my feet again.

Little back story... so I joined YNAB in late June/early July and for the most part, I got the hang of it. I was doing fantastic. I was keeping up with my transactions and everything. Financially speaking, I was doing well and then the holidays hit. I wasn't checking my budget, importing transactions, etc. I wasn't sitting at my computer like I do at work where I do all that kind of work. 

Not only did I overspend, I put myself in a bad position. I've had a few NSF come through twice in the last week and due to Covid the bank is just letting that slide by. However, I'm not in a good spot financially yet again. (Idiot me....) I thought I knew what I was doing and now I'm feeling super overwhelmed with myself. It's causing depression and anxiety despite having a steady paycheck. Yeah, I've got a second job on top of my already stressful job but the pay isn't steady doing delivery work and I'm normally exhausted so much when I get off work I hurt to the point I don't want to go back out. 

I also recently got engaged. (Which our wedding is super small with a bare minimum budget of about $500-800 in March.) While we're excited, I feel like I'm letting my future wife down and while we've talked about it, I can see the pain in her eyes. 2020 drained all of our emergency fund. The stimulus went straight to bills and couldn't be saved. 

I don't mean to give a pity party but I'm struggling y'all. I hate admitting that. I just want to live again and be happy. 

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  • This is no time to feel sorry for yourself.  Just look at the reality of situation, have your fiancé involved, figure out your priorities and get back to using the 4 rules. You got this!  There is nothing the 2 of you cannot accomplish!

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  • You made a mistake. You're human, it happens. On the scale of mistakes (1 being dropping a glass of water, 10 taking part in an insurrection) this is fairly minor.

    The important thing is to not compound the mistake by doubling down on the behaviour that led to it. Instead, you need to get back to the habits that were working up until the holidays.

    Also, don't beat yourself up about it. 2020 was an exceptionally hard year for most of us. Instead of pulling yourself down by focussing on how you made such bad financial decisions, try instead to refocus your thinking. The spending you did then was important for your mental health (even just by having a break from the work of managing your budget), and now it is time to bring attention and energy back to your financial health.

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  • You have done it in June/July, so why wouldn't you able to do it now? Do a Fresh start with your budget so you don't have to deal with all the transactions you haven't entered during the holidays. And just treat this as if you've just discovered YNAB. No guilt trip about the holidays etc., just what does your money need to do now? You'll get it!

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  • As my late mum used to say: "You've haven't killed anyone."

    It's a big 'punch' but just roll with it. You obviously know the method having spent 6 months using it, so there's no reason that with planning and adherence to the system going forward, you and your wife-to-be can't make this work.

    Good luck in 2021.

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  • Understanding your mistakes means you can more easily avoid them in the future. So, based on what you said, hang on to YNAB through the non-routine times of life, even if it's just by a thread.  You can do that. 

    Also, I'd rather be married to my husband and poor (it's in the vows and everything), so focus on what you and your future wife will be able to give each other in the marriage that's not financial.

    Definitely do a quality marriage prep program - it really helps give tools for communication, working through disagreement, having the hard conversations, focusing on what's important, etc. I know things are tight, but that's an investment (not terribly expensive, depending on where you go... I think I remember you played piano at a church - Engaged Encounter is supposed to be really good, and I think it's cheaper because it's virtual now? Idk. Maybe your church has marriage prep there...) that I would prioritize.

    Life isn't always easy, as we're all finding out in various ways, but it's worth it.  Loving those around us is worth it.  Living (well, preparing for, at this time) your marriage is worth it.

    I wish you all the best!

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  • It doesn't sound like you've done anything that isn't reversible. You can get yourself out of this spot I'm sure. Maybe think about how great it'll feel when this coming holiday season you can say you have it safely covered, that always helps me. 

    And with the help of your fiancée I'm sure you'll be able to work something out to get yourself through this.  Congrats on the upcoming wedding!

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