Financially overwhelmed

By glblguy

stressed

Do you ever feel financially overwhelmed? Over the past two weeks we’ve had to pay property taxes on our rental home, home owners association (HOA) dues for our current home and rental house, our car registrations came due, a few bills were due, and another misc expense.

Under normal circumstances, none of these issues should have been a problem, as I would normally have saved for each of them and had the money in my savings account. But due to us moving and having to float two mortgage payments for a bit, I had to dip into those savings to cover things. I didn’t have to dip too much, but enough to make me have to scramble a bit and tap the emergency fund to cover all of the expenses this month.

Even though the money was there, I was stressed. I was watching my hard earned and diligently saved money just flying out the door, all in one week! In hindsight, it was a bit silly and we had the money to cover everything, so I’m not sure why I felt so overwhelmed and stressed, but I did. Any of you ever feel like that?

I think my biggest issue was I felt out of sorts for not having all the funds in the right places like I normally do. This coupled with feeling some guilt about having to pull money from my property tax and home owners associations funds to cover normal expenses. See, I fund my property tax and home owners association accounts throughout the year, so that when they come due all I have to do is transfer over the money and make the payment.

To be perfectly honest with you and myself, when it comes to finances, I have a bit of OCD. I’m also pretty confident that much of that is due to my integrity. See, when I write articles here on Gather Little by Little by little, advising you to follow particular things or suggesting that you “do this” or “do that”, I hold myself accountable to follow those practices myself. When I don’t, I feel guilty and get frustrated with myself. After all, I’m supposed to be the “expert” since I write the personal finance blog right? Ha! Well guess what? I make mistakes, get stressed, and even overspend every so often, just like everyone else.

Talking the talk and walking the walk are two different thing entirely. Writing about what to do and actually doing them 100% of the time is hard. Money is stressful. But I’ll bet you knew that already huh?

So how about you? Ever get frustrated or overwhelmed with your finances? Ever have those moments where you just want to throw all the bills up in the air and yell?


15 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Financially overwhelmed”

  1. Jen Says:

    We had a month like this last November… just before the holidays! Serveral variable bills all happened to be due that month. Plus, we had arranged to purchase free range beef, pork and chicken, in bulk, from a local farm. With a little rearranging and belt tightening, we made it through.

  2. My Life ROI Says:

    I am pretty OCD about finances as well and have been known to get annoyed at myself for simply missing part of my budget. My monthly budget may be perfect, but if one of the categories is up I don’t care if another one was down… I just get annoyed that one was up.

    I guess it comes down to the fact that I know I could have hit the budget and the money saved could have been used for much better things. Not even just in terms of investing it… maybe putting it towards a vacation or something!

  3. Neal Frankle Says:

    I struggle with this often.

    Its easy to tell others not to stress, to take it one day at a time, to be grateful etc…..

    Its another thing to live that way. One thing that usually helps get rid of the stress is to be of service to others.

    It’s magic.

  4. Dan Says:

    I have lived with financial stress so long that I find when I’m not experiencing it I tend to make mistakes. This is a major problem for which I have not yet found a solution. It’s almost as if I do not know how to manage money unless I feel the financial gun to my head. As soon as I accumulate a little savings, I feel the urge to spend on frivolities that a month before would have been out of the question. Before I know it I’m down to the bare bones again and living once more a fiscally disciplined life.

    This is a common thing, I understand, for many types of bad habits, from trying to lose weight to drug use. As soon as you don’t feel threatened by the bad thing (excess weight, being strung out on drugs), you lose focus and start to slip right back where you were, where you feel… if not exactly comfortable, at least familiar.

    In short, I’m finding it very hard to feel comfortable with a comfort level of financial security. I seem to do my best when under a lot of stress. Any advice on how I can break free from this vicious cycle?

  5. GrannyAnnie Says:

    This is the kind of article I read PF blogs for. Thanks for opening up about a struggle. Whenever you do, I don’t feel alone. I get the sense that someone else has been there and it’s okay. Last December was one of those months I felt overwhelmed. I had homeowners association fees due, Christmas was upon us, my son was home from the Marines (hence higher entertainment expenses and food costs)and I chose to forgo the 12 hours of overtime I usually work every week in order to spend time with family. Although I had saved for this all year long, and I had the money available, it felt like money was FLOWING out! The bag lady syndrome in me kicked in around the end of the month, and January felt really uncomfortable psychologically. This was the first time since I started my personal finance journey a year ago that I experienced this. I also felt guilty (I’m spending too much money!)and angry with myself.
    Looking back over the last 2 months, I have come to realize a few things. I did not go broke. I still had money in my accounts. My savings plan and financial program were still in place. I was still okay. I had done the right thing generally by planning for December. Were there things I could do better? Of course. This was my first year doing this the right way. But I came out of it with no new debt, money left over, and my financial sheets were still healthy in the black. In other words, I could BREATHE. In “celebration”, I automated another $20 per paycheck to my ING account. Just you wait, December 2009! I’m coming at you prepared!

  6. jill Says:

    It just hit me last night how much my job loss is going to affect our budget and our plans this year. Our wedding is next year and the outflow of money has pretty much started for confirmations and what nots so we have been dipping into our savings (the wedding’s saved up for so I shouldn’t worry). But it’s not knowing how long I will be out of a job for.

  7. Deb Says:

    I can relate, I have the horror story of horror stories for budget nightmare.

    14 months ago we purchased a tiny house on 4 acres, while hanging on to my first home as a rental. The ancient, tiny house needed a lot of work to become fairly livable, and a shop (just a big metal pole building) had to be built. That took so much longer than expected that I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, or both.

    Then we had to rehab the rental house, have it completely repainted inside and out, redo the hardwood floors, wallpaper removal, etc.

    We’ve done as much of the work ourselves as possible while working fulltime, and paid for professional help when prudent and affordable. Nonetheless, we have been carrying TWO mortgage payments for 15 MONTHS! About 5 months longer than we had planned.

    A renter is moving in this Sunday, and thank God the nightmare is ending. But we now have to really focus on building our cash reserves again, as well as work hard to pay down the $9k in credit card debt we amassed as a result of this debacle. I haven’t had credit card debt in 11 years!!

    It’s been a very tough 15 months, but we lived through it. We’re employed in health care and high tech infrastructure, and our work seems very secure, thank goodness. Yes it was horrifying to see our budget evaporate because nothing went as planned, NOTHING. But we’re alive, we’re still happy, and we’re focused on counting our blessings! Obama copied our personal “YES WE CAN” mantra! :o)

  8. DDFD at DivorcedDadFrugalDad.com Says:

    Financially overwhelmed? All the time. Then I focus, prioritize, and get going . . .

  9. Gina Says:

    I had a similar experience to GrannieAnnie – unexpected root canal 3 days before T’giving took my $1k emerg savings & all but $100 in my cking acct. SCARY! Talk about a panic attack (never had one before); I even got so angry at the dental ins customer service rep that I had to hang up on her (never done that either, I’m in the cust service industry so I know how to talk to them).

    In the end, everything worked out. And I didn’t use a credit card to ‘bail me out’ like I used to in the past. THAT felt good! Like DDFD, I am now focused on rebuilding that $1k emerg fund and getting back to my debt snowball.

    Thanks for being honest with us! Like GrannieAnnie, I don’t feel alone.

  10. Diane Says:

    Financially overwhelmed? Only every day for years and years, until just recently.

    I’ve spent the past 12 years working my way out of the business & personal debt my ex left me with (community property state), including filing bankruptcy & dealing with an IRS lien on my house – while raising 2 boys as a single mom & working full-time.

    I’m finally in decent shape financially – car paid, all debt paid except mortgage, a good emergency fund in place & FINALLY collected some back-due child support & starting to save for retirement (way behind).

    After all this I’m pretty OCD about my finances as well. I’m just learning to live without severe financial stress & really determined to keep expenses to a minimum & save money. It’s hard to believe that I’m actually okay & don’t have to worry every day.

  11. Abigail Says:

    I had a little financials-induced meltdown about three days ago, as a matter of fact.

    We had a decent amount of money in checking (for us, anyway) but could touch almost none of it. We had to leave enough money for general expenses for the coming week, plus my husband’s insurance premium — a painful $502.

    It was also the second week in a row we couldn’t even make a dent on our credit card debt.

    I just felt so… well, like a failure. My husband calmed me down and reminded me how far we’ve come in three years (about $25,000 on one income). He told me it was all thanks to me and all that other sweet stuff spouses say. It cheered me up a bit. And my mom (one of THE frugal women out there) even told me: It doesn’t matter if you can’t always move forward — so long as you’re not moving backward.

    I don’t know why but that combination is really helping me stay strong, as we face potentially living on even less in a couple of months. (Hubby’s unemployment may run out, which will mean we live on $1700/month instead of $3100.)

  12. glblguy Says:

    Thanks everyone for sharing your stories! Seems we’re in good company.

  13. Michelle H. Says:

    My Lord, I could of written that word for word! I guess OCD financial minds think alike!

  14. James@paidonlinesurveys Says:

    I had a month like this, in October when I had to pay out for car repairs, car tax, council tax, MOT and service on top of regular stuff like insurance, bills, food and so on. Sometimes it is tough especially in the run up to Christmas.

    That’s why it is always good to earn a bit of extra cash on the side to help reduce the financial pressures.

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