Do you panic when a bill is due?
Do you stress about how you are going to cover next months rent?
Do you barely make ends meet, living paycheck to paycheck?
If you answered yes to any of the above then a buffer may be right for you! Just call 1-800-need-a-buffer, today to get yours!
Okay, excuse the cheese! I thought it was funny. But back to the serious side of things (maybe). Without our buffer I would lose my mind. I don’t even think I am kidding here.
Okay, for those of you that don’t know what a buffer is, it means that you are budgeting the current month using only income received last month.
Mr. Wanderlust and I have had a variable income since we started dating. He now makes a salary and my income is more steady than it was in college but still variable. In college we didn’t struggle to make ends meet, simply because we were in college and didn’t have that many expenses. Now, we have a lot more expense and not paying them can have more dire consequences.
I cannot imagine the stress of waiting for a paycheck to hit the bank on the 30th of the month so that I could pay rent on the 1st. Of the 15th paycheck to hit to be able to buy groceries. My sister talks about how she can’t wait to be paid next week so she can get the electric turned back on or buy groceries. The stress that she endures because of this just confuses and worries me. (I have offered to help her set up a budget but the timing never works out well).
So, why do we live off a buffer?
For peace of mind.
On the first of every month I have a finite amount to work with. 99.9% of the time this is more than enough to cover all of our expenses. Occasionally, something major comes up that we haven’t encountered before, so it isn’t a category in our budget or we fall off the budgeting wagon (overspent). In those cases, we have to make the tough decisions of where can we cut back. This, typically means, nothing goes towards a new car savings fund or any of our savings categories. Sometimes I cut the grocery budget back, which means simpler meals and emptying out the freezer. Of course there are times where we don’t get date night money either. But in a typical month, last months pay covers all our bills, savings, and fun stuff.
Paying all Bills on the 1st
Or you know, whatever the first business day of the month it. I can sit down and pay all of our bills at the start of the month. No stress, worry, or concern about having the funds exists, because it is already in the account ready to go.
I don’t have to hope and pray what the next paycheck will be. I don’t really worry much about incoming paychecks or expenses.
Please note, that it took us a while to get to this point. It took time to build our initial buffer, and honestly, I don’t remember how long it took or how we really accomplished that. It was years ago that I started using this system (I think 4 or 5 years ago). I by no means think this is an easy process, but the peace of mind that comes after is amazing. We spent around a year getting all of our budget categories. Part of this was done by stalking other blogs and Facebook groups where people would post pictures of their budgets. Some of it was done by trial and error. And a few budget categories came from “Oh, shit” moments where a bill showed up, or our tags had to be renewed. It sucked. We still get derailed from time to time (I’m sure you will hear about it come tax time) and it isn’t fun, it is frustrating and sometimes I cry. But like I said, that is the rare points now. The majority of the time our buffer works, and with that my stress and worries go down from month to month.