Can a Budget Tracker really get me on…track?

With nearly 2/3 of Americans living paycheck to paycheck (myself included), when I saw this budget planner, I knew I could not leave Walmart without it.

…and therein lies a big problem for me that the pandemic has amplified – I’ve been indulging as opposed to dedicated. I treat myself generously with my “wants” without much thought of my future “needs”.

Time passes quickly. I blinked and here I am, 20 years post-high school graduation. Entering my 38th year has me realizing that retirement is not as far off as it once seemed and I am nowhere near prepared. If I had not cashed out my retirement account to purchase a home in 2013 I would be closer to being on track with my peers.

According to Ally, I should have somewhere around twice my income saved. More directly, my Edward Jones financial advisor informed me I would run out of money a few short years into retirement if I kept my projected path of contributions.

For someone with a limited education, I make a nice income. I am above the average for those in my age group. While I do not have children of my own, I have stepchildren that live with me and my wife. I contribute to what they eat and the utilities they use but I am not a major part of their other financial needs. Accordingly, I have zero reason to be living paycheck to paycheck and scrounging to pay the credit card bill off every month so we can reap the benefits of its generous points as opposed to being a victim to its crippling APR.

This planner feels very Pinteresty and hokey, but the idea of using a money-management app on my phone does not interest me at this time. I do not need another reason to be a slave to an electronic device. So, I am cautiously hopeful that this $2 budget planner will force me to take a good look at where my money is being spent. I am going to be diligent in the next 30 days to see if I can learn something about my habits. It starts today and hopefully by April 30th I will have an answer to this question.

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