Finally, a review of first quarter budget, which did not reveal any major surprises. I set our budget for the year by taking the amount spent in each category for the previous year and dividing by twelve for each month’s budgeted amount. This way of doing things doesn’t really allow for inflation, so there’s a risk of running over. And while I do try to budget in emergencies — say especially in the “Other Auto” and “Pets” categories -- I probably don’t budget quite enough, mostly because I can’t make the income side balance. We try to get close, then cross our fingers and hope for the best.
For the quarter we were over about $200 on expenses, but also over on income thanks to Kat’s overtime. In fact we were a little ahead for the quarter, but May has seen some setbacks that will show up in the second quarter review. Our expenses for first quarter weren’t too over because we were under in a few categories, including — miraculously — Pets.
I do “pad” the Pets budget line to anticipate vet expenses, and we were slightly under budget even with Beano’s dental work. But a couple of weeks ago we took our two senior dogs in for full physicals, vaccinations, and x-rays. Guess how much? One thousand dollars. $1,000. Un mil. Our vet has a new loyalty card that gives us 10% of each visit toward our next visit, so the lovely thing is that we now have $100 credit at the vet’s office. I have no doubt we’ll use it before the end of the year.
I should be ok with our first quarter financials, and I am, but it’s hard to rejoice when here in May I’m floating among the wreckage of the budget. It’s not just the vet bill — our cushion savings will take care of that — but I have felt out of control of our spending since I started hobbling around on this torqued leg. I’ve started massage therapy (expensive and not in the budget) and I’ve bought cushions and I will say here that I’m willing to pay whatever will end this pain and release me from the fringes of my own life. And then the gifts!! May/June is becoming Christmas II with all the graduations, weddings, mother’s and father’s days, and birthdays. All happy occasions, but hitting at the same time.
One of my favorite sayings — “All crises pass” — has become a mantra these past couple of weeks. It’s not just the financials, though that adds to it, it’s the scattered and out of control feeling that comes from not being able to maintain former routines. It had been a goal of mine for the spring to create a routine for my writing, and it wasn’t until I was unable to sit at my desk that I realized I DID have a routine. It just didn’t look like other people’s routines or what I thought a writing routine should look like. When I enter the work-bubble that is my desk, usually late morning or early afternoon, I slip into writing mode. It’s a nice, warm, captainish* feeling, and I’ve missed it and can hardly wait to get back to it.
All crises pass. This one will too.
* To borrow from Rabbit of the Hundred Acre Wood