I sat down last night and paid my first batch of April monthly bills and I feel pretty good about it! Last month I had a bunch of unplanned expenses-mainly things I forgot I had to pay for and budget for. Vet visit for dogs $168, three membership renewals in various organizations $110, replacing my damaged storm door, $300 (ouchy on that one), and in one swoop that was $578 of unplanned for expenses. My electric bill was insane ($249) and I had a partial propane payment that I thought was due in April ($75). Part of the storm door came from my emergency fund, but it was still money out of pocket. I did use a small part of my tax refund to buy some new curtains for my bedroom and some new shades (which will be appreciated come mid summer to block out the really hot rays in that room). I had to give to the Court Trustee a huge majority of my tax refund as part of my BK. March was an expensive month. Oh yeah and the new vehicle......
BUT I am actually very pleased with a couple of things. Even though going back to a budget has been a learning experience (and my attempt at a zero based budget was pitiful). I am much more conscious of what I'm spending my money on. More than I have been in years. For those of you who are working on a budget and have this personal finance thing down pat, you may think-yeah so? But for me,working through this bankruptcy and the fiscal hell that was my life for so long this is a REALLY BIG THING. REALLY BIG.
I still have the second job hurdle to jump over, (this is one of the few times I dislike the rural area I live in). I want to go back to a more aggressive savings program (which will be possible with a second job to offset the car payment.) I'm in desperate need of a real vacation, or at least a 3-4 day weekend at home doing nothing being accountable to no one. Pay Per Post opps have dropped to nothing and I sell a few items on half.com (which gets snowflaked to my emergency fund and every once in a while, I buy myself a new to me DVD). I still have some items that are reaching the end of their working life and need to be replaced (laptop 6 years old, toaster oven-10 years old, lawn mower-8 years old, clock radio-just seems to be dying), but I'm checking out the sales, circulars and freecycle and craigs list.
Overall, I feel pretty optimistic as I enter April, more so than I have in previous months. I know I'm still in a huge relearning curve, but I'm feeling better and more confident about my future than I have in a long time. And that is a good thing.