Mindful Budgeting Recap: Tax Season | Katie Proctor

Phew. The last few months have been a total whirlwind, and I can’t believe I haven’t made a Mindful Budgeting update since January! The truth is, I’ve been a little lazy in this department.

I was pushing too hard in too many areas of my life and one thing had to go.

Unfortunately, it was the laser-like focus on our budget. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t still been making progress!

This month, we had a pretty sizeable tax return thanks to the write-offs from my coaching business.

In the past, we would have used this as “bonus” money. And in fact, we almost did it again because building a privacy fence has been on our wish list for awhile. But quite frankly, when the trees fill in we actually have a decent amount of privacy and our fence works perfectly fine. It’s just that our neighbors have five (!!) dogs, so we’ve had to find a temporary solution so they can’t see our puppy through the chain-link fence, because then they just bark at each other the whole time.

The key is figuring out what is truly a want vs. what is truly a need. Sometimes we spend money on our wants {aka a pretty extravagant trip to Las Vegas over Easter weekend – don’t miss my healthy travel recap}, and other times we live with what we have. Neither is right or wrong, but it all comes down to personal preference, your financial goals and the rate at which you want to achieve then.

So what did we do with our tax return?

Paid off the final balance on Aaron’s car loan and applied the rest to his student loans! Plus, in February we paid off the LAST OF OUR CREDIT CARD DEBT.

I’d say we have a lot to celebrate!

Really, all we have left now {besides a mortgage} is my car and our student loans {which is not insignificant, but at least it feels better funneling it all into one place}. Sometimes, I get crazy thoughts like “let’s sell my car!”. But then I remember my daily commute to Boulder and it seems like such a burden. Other times I think, “let’s sell or rent out our place and move in with my parents!”. But then I remember we’d never be able to buy back into our urban Denver neighborhood. Oh yeah, and that commute to Boulder.

So we continue chipping away the best we can, and as my business grows it gets easier. And the raises we both received at our full-time jobs have been earmarked for debt only. Resisting the urge to raise your standard of living as you make more money can be really challenging. You have to be on a mission when it comes to your ultimate life goals. And we are working towards that every single day!

Finally, I can share that I’ve been working with my {now friend} Cait one-on-one to inspire each other to keep up with our health and financial goals. We email each other weekly just to check in and see how it’s going, sharing our ups and downs along the way. Having an accountability buddy is not only fun, but it’s critical to reaching your goals! It’s so much easier to just brush things aside {like I did with our budget the last few months} when things get busy, unless you have other people invested in your progress and who can bring you back to reality when you get off track.

It’s kind of crazy how the Internet can bring people together, but it truly does. I stumbled upon Cait’s blog, and she retweeted my first mindful budgeting recap. And before you know it, we were communicating on the regular! I love the Internet for that reason. As much as it can be a distraction from the present, it can also connect us with people who share common ground, and who we may never have known otherwise.

One of the most powerful lessons I’ve already learned from her is to give myself some grace when it comes to my budget. I’d always admired her strength and her ability to really live with the bare minimum. But she also admitted to me that she missed out on a few things along the way — and that you don’t need to go extreme to meet your goals. We also realized how much this has in common with your relationship to food too. Funny how that works.

mindful budgeting

P.S. Check out this awesome Mindful Budgeting planner she sent me! You can get one on her site, Blonde on a Budget

How about you? What big, scary goals do you have right now? Do you have an accountability partner to help you reach them?